You know when you hear a classic rock song and it transports you back in your mind to that year in your life? Oh, the memories of days gone by. Did you ever notice that guitars can do the same thing? That’s what happened when I started looking at this 1978 Fender Precision Bass. Who can forget Bill Wyman’s bass line in the Rolling Stones song “Miss You,” or the power of “Who Are You” from The Who on the radio, and those movie sound track albums from “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease”. 1978 was also the year that a band out of LA released their debut album with that unknown guitar player, Eddie Van Halen. Yes, the memories of my high school years brought back by a Fender P Bass.
The Fender Precision Bass was first introduced in 1951 three years before its little brother, the Stratocaster, debuted in 1954. The P Bass went through a few changes and improvements in its early years and is still in production today. Bass players like Sting, Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, Roger Walters from Pink Floyd, Tommy Shannon with Steve Ray Vaughn’s band, and session great Carol Kaye all gig with the Precision Bass. This P Bass is from the CBS era of Fender guitars with a serial number starting with “S8” this tells me it was made between Dec. 1977 and Dec 1978 at the Fullerton Plant in California. The maple neck is surprisingly clean for a bass of this age, which tells me it has had some fret work done on it; a pretty good job too, the frets are clean and smooth. The body is showing its age however, with the “Jet Black” paint and lacquer finish cracking and flaking over parts of the body revealing the natural wood underneath. The bass is missing a few things. The original single coil split pickup is there, but the metal cover that went over it is gone. Most players that I know take them off anyway. The thumb rest that goes above the low E string is missing as well, which is not that big of a deal. Playability wise this bass has some serious MOJO. It’s tone and feel just grooves, and there is no mistaking that P Bass sound and feel. The only drawback is the overall weight of the bass, a little over eleven pounds. This P Bass would make a great studio bass, but I would not want to play it live all night for my backs sake.
Reverb.com is estimating the price range from $1,500 to $2,000 depending on condition for a mid-70’s Fender P Bass. Pawn shop prices will vary. They will most likely try to make a loan on or buy a bass like this for as little cash as possible, so be prepared to negotiate in a friendly manner to get a deal on your own Pawn Shop Prize.