precision bass

The family resemblance between these popular Fender models is obvious. Both are leaning on a relative: a 1958 Bassman, which won the favor of both bassists and guitarists.

This pair—a Precision bass and Stratocaster from 1959—have much in common besides their iconic status.

If any of you have delved into the history of Fender—and how can you play guitar and ignore it?—you probably know that Leo Fenderintroduced the Precision bass in late 1951, following the success of his radical electric 6-string solidbody, the Telecaster. The P bass proved to be even more groundbreaking. The new-fangled guitar-sized instrument was widely embraced by bassists and guit-pickers alike, following its early appearance in the band of jazz vibist Lionel Hampton and, in rock, in the hands of Bill Black, who used one while supporting Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock.

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Photo by Ariel Ellis

Whether electric bass is your main instrument or you're a guitarist who doubles on 4-string, it's important to keep your axe in tip-top shape. In this handy guide, Nashville guitar tech and luthier Tony Nagy explains how the pros do a bass setup.

As you'll soon discover, it's not hard to make your bass play and sound great. In this step-by-step tutorial, Nagy walks you through the entire process. With a few tools and some patience, you'll get the job done right and—best of all—have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

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