Fender Custom Shop Basses: Masterpieces

Published on 05 July 2024

4 minutes

 

Fender changed music history forever when they invented the Precision Bass. There was literally no such thing as an electric bass guitar until Leo Fender struck on the notion and made history.

In the decades since, innumerate brands have added to the universe of the bass guitar, but Fender still lead the way, and do so largely with designs that are directly from the 1950s and 60s. 

 

Fender Custom Shop

Fender’s Custom Shop began in the 80s and have built up a reputation as makers of some of the finest instruments in the world. Their Team Built and Master Built instruments (Master Built denotes a single specific maker building the entire instrument as opposed to a group) are, for many bassists, the ultimate purchase. Owning a Custom Shop bass is a dream come true, and today I’d love to check out some with you. We have a selection of pretty incredible CS basses in stock, so here’s some of my favourites…

 

The Article at a Glance...

Fender Custom Shop Historic 1951 Precision Bass Nocaster Blonde

Fender Custom Shop 62 Jazz Bass Relic Aged Black

Fender Custom Shop Jaco Pastorius Fretless Jazz Bass

A Bass Goldmine for Lefties 

Bass Heaven

 

Fender Custom Shop Historic 1951 Precision Bass Nocaster Blonde

I’ll start at the beginning, with this amazing recreation of the original Precision bass model from 1951. The first P-bass is a distinct beast from the one we know today: the design was redrawn in 1954 to more closely align with the then-new Stratocaster. This Custom Shop 1951 P-Bass in Nocaster Blonde recreates that inimitable vibe with the single coil pickup, distinctive pickguard and metal cover. It’s one of those ‘if you know, you know’ basses, with a sound that’s different from the P-basses we all know and love today.

 

Fender Custom Shop 62 Jazz Bass Relic Aged Black

1962 was a watershed year for Fender designs, and is often referred to in contemporary reissues of guitars and basses. This was the year (actually it was mid 1961 but let’s not go there) that saw rosewood fingerboard fully happen to Strats, Teles and basses; this was the year of the double bound edge telecaster; and it was the year that the Jazz Bass looked perhaps cooler than ever.

This masterful Custom Shop '62 Jazz Bass replica gets every detail correct, from the abundance of chrome (check out that ‘F’ - stamped bridge plate!), to the finger rest, to the stacked control knobs. It’s a suave, charismatic design that shows off the best of Fender’s quirkier golden age adornments.

In particular, the relic work on this example is fantastic: hopefully our pictures here capably show off the checking of the aged black finish and nitro lacquer, because it has been carried out to an exceptional standard. The real fireworks for this bass are in the handling, though: the sound and feel are out of this world, as are all basses in today’s roundup.

 

Fender Custom Shop Jaco Pastorius Fretless Jazz Bass

Jazz fusion pioneer Jaco Pastorius is the first person most of us think of when we consider the notion of a fretless bass. He famously pulled the frets out of his favourite Jazz bass and covered the fingerboard in epoxy resin to make the surface as smooth as possible.

He was definitely onto something, which you’ll be able to experience with Fender Custom Shop’s exhaustively detailed tribute to the man and his bass. All of the details have been recreated here, from the epoxy on the rosewood board (which has an unusual but accurate 12” radius), to the screw holes where the pickguard has been removed and the bridge replaced. 

In every way, this is a prime example of how close the Fender CS artisans can replicate famous basses, but it’s no museum piece: this instrument is designed for Jaco-levels of outside-the-box playing! If you’ve never tried a fretless bass before, this model may well find you reassessing a great many things about your playing!

 

A Bass Goldmine for Lefties 

It’s true that our entire industry often treats left-handed players as an afterthought. You get limited colours, less choice of models and so on. We’ve battled that since day one, and whilst we can only buy what’s out there to buy, we’ve made a point of stocking up on lefty basses from Fender’s Custom Shop. Why? Well, the waiting list for these is literally years sometimes, and we think you’ll be more likely to find your perfect bass if you have an actual selection to choose from!

So with that said, we have a gorgeous selection of lefties available, from ‘61 and ‘62 Jazz basses to '57, ‘58 and ‘63 Precision basses and more! Contact your local guitarguitar store to see what they have at their location or just order online and have a Fender Custom Shop bass delivered to your home!

 

Bass Heaven

If you’ve admired Fender’s Custom Shop bass offerings from afar but never gone as far as playing one, please consider this blog as an invitation to see what you’ve been missing out on! It’s obvious that they look gorgeous and will fit into all musical situations, but the real wows come after sitting down for 20 minutes and just flying around casually on these. Once you test your favourite basslines, you’ll hopefully start noticing the detail of the notes, the wonderful feel of the necks and the overall response from these basses. That’s the real gold for me, certainly.

Every bass guitar in the world owes Fender a debt of gratitude for inspiration. These Fender basses are the best models the company makes. It goes without saying therefore, that these are easily some of the world’s best basses. Find out for yourself, whether you are a P-Bass player, a Jazz fan, a lefty or a righty: we’ve got a selection for you that’s worth fully investigating. 

Browse our Fender Custom Shop Basses

 

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Ray

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I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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