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Rating and Reviews: Fender Deluxe Active P-Bass

Need versatility? The Deluxe Precision Bass Special's set of P and J style pickups can switch between active or passive modes to suit the task at hand.

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"Not too bad" submitted November 21, 2017

By Justin r in Centreville, MD
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Playing for about 20 years. The bass, guitar, Trumpet, Tuba, Trombone. I play in a local gigging blues band and at church
Music Style: Blues, Rock, Praise, Metal
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Overall: This bass is a great instrument for the money. I was switching back to a 4 string from 5 and 6 string basses and didn't want to spend too much. This seemed to fit the budget, had a ton of features, and fender tone is second to none in my book. When the bass is in passive mode it has great highs and lows, as well as sustain. There is no tone control in passive mode, but that works for me. The finish was great despite purchasing a blemished model, the neck is straight and the action was perfect for me. The high mass bridge is a great upgrade leading to tons of sustain and uninhibited tone. The intonation was about a semitone off on every string, but that was easily corrected. The active mode on this bass sounds amazing, however is no stranger to that standard fender buzz/hum. It was something I had hoped fender had resolved given the other upgrades and much cheaper basses not having this problem. That being said, I ended up pulling the pickguard off and applying my own copper shielding to the cavities. Once inside it was easy to see the problems, there was a very thin layer of shielding paint in all of the electronics cavities, only decent shielding was on the back of the pickguard. I'm glad I made the decision to open up the guitar for 2 reasons. The first was the shielding took care of almost all of the hum/buzz. the second reason was that I discovered the electronics were not grounded to the pickguard, the wire had come loose. It made must enough contact that the bridge/strings/tuners were grounded, but a good shake or jolt could have caused much bigger grounding issues (we all know that would have happened while gigging somewhere). In the end I had to remove the bridge, expose more wire from the its shielding and put everything back together. Now this bass sounds great no matter the mode. After about an hour of work on the bass I can say I absolutely love it and would have happily paid much more than I did. This covers all types of playing with the active/passive mode and fits just about any genre.
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