Introduced in 1951, the Fender Precision Bass was the first solid body electric bass guitar ever produced, and is undoubtedly the most popular bass guitar design throughout music history. The Precision Bass has long been the go bass guitar in studio and on stage, with its stripped back design, minimal controls and split coil pickup offering a huge amount of versatility for a variety of styles.
This 1966 Fender Precision Bass is a fantastic example of a mid '60s electric bass, with a beautiful factory custom colour Candy Apple Red finish. When this bass arrived with us, it had an Olympic White refinish, although further inspection revealed what looked to be the original Candy Apple Red custom colour underneath. Once we had confirmed that the body had not been stripped before the refinish, and that it was actually applied directly over the Candy Apple Red, our head luthier Gerald at the Vintage Instrument Workshop set about restoring this guitar to its former glory. Many hours painstakingly removing and polishing out the thankfully quite thin refinish layer, the original Candy Apple Red custom colour finish was revealed.
Candy Apple Red was a true Fender Custom Colour, and not based off a 1960's car colour that was available at the time. Supposedly Leo's favourite colour, it features a primer coat followed by either a Silver or Gold Metallic undercoat, followed by the translucent red colour coat and a final clear coat. This process gives Candy Apple Red its deep metallic look, and this 1966 P Bass perfectly showcases the finishing process, with areas of play wear and the neck pocket showcasing the primer and gold undercoat layers quite clearly.
This Precision Bass features an Alder body with a Maple neck and veneer Rosewood fingerboard, with the pearl dot inlays and thicker silver headstock logo that were both introduced by Fender in 1964. The neck heel shows a faded FEB '66 stamp. The body is fitted with the split coil pickup found on all contoured body Precision basses, with a particularly full and punchy sound that makes it one of the best Fender basses we have heard in quite some time. The body is finished off with a multi ply Tortoise plastic pickguard, 4 bolt neck design with 'F' stamped neck plate, and what appears to be the original chrome bridge and pickup covers.
The pots and wiring are correct but have obviously been desoldered as part of the finishing process, with the original CTS pots reading 137 6609, and the staggered pickup showing a pencil date of '66 on the bottom. It is hard to confirm if the pick guard is original to the guitar, as custom colour finishes are usually seen with a white guard in this period. However, there are examples of Fender producing custom colour guitars with tortoise guards in the '60s, and this pickguard has all the hallmarks of an original mid '60s Fender guard, including paint transfer from the original Candy Apple Red finish.
This guitar is in very good condition, with the kind of patina and play wear you would expect, only adding to its vintage vibe. There are patches of play wear that have exposed the gold metallic under coat, and also some areas of lacquer checking. There is also still evidence of the removed white refinish in the control and pickup cavities, as well as some small specs that have remained in the play wear to the original finish, although these are minimal.
This guitar has been given a full service and appraisal by our luthiers at the Vintage Instrument Workshop, and includes a 3 year warranty. This guitar also includes an original Fender hard case.