Fender Telecaster Bass
The Fender Telecaster Bass (also referred as the Tele Bass) is an electric bass introduced in 1968 by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. With few physical changes through the 1970s, it was discontinued in 1979 and reissued in 2007 by Fender's subsidiary Squier as the Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass TB, which was discontinued in 2014.
(occasional reissues thereafter)
|Pickup(s)||1 single-coil pickup (1968-1971)|
1 Fender Wide Range bass humbucker (1971-1979)
2 Fender Wide Range bass humbuckers (Modern Player Series)
1 Fender Wide Range bass humbucker and 1 single-coil Jazz Bass pickup (Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Bass Special)
|2-Color Sunburst, 3-Color Sunburst, Blonde, Black|
Released as a reissue of the original version of the Fender Precision Bass, it was named as "Telecaster" after the Telecaster guitar model. The Telecaster Bass differs in shape from the original Telecaster guitar in that the latter is a single cutaway guitar and the bass is double cutaway.
History and details
Early version (1968–1971)
The Telecaster Bass was introduced in May 1968 being essentially a straight reissue of the original 1951 Precision Bass design (which was in fact influenced by the Telecaster guitar), with a large pickguard, small Telecaster-shaped headstock, single pickup, and separate chrome control plate. Early versions had a two-piece maple-capped neck with no "skunk stripe" on the back of the neck and some also had the rare paddle-style tuners that were most commonly seen on the Jazz Bass. The pickguard on the 1960s Telecaster Bass was slightly more slender and employed more mounting screws than the originals of the 1950s. There were also three different headstock decals in the early version. The earliest had a regular silver Telecaster guitar logo with the word "bass" added underneath. Only prototypes are known to have this decal. The earliest prototypes were partially constructed from leftover 1952 Precision Bass parts. The second decal was the larger Black (gold outlined) Telecaster Bass logo (bass being in the same style of script as Fender). The third and most commonly used decal had the silver Fender script with the words Telecaster Bass written in a sans-serif type font underneath.
In the early 1990s, Fender Japan reissued the '51 Precision Bass, which is in essence, a reissue of the first-version Telecaster Bass. The earliest "Made in Japan" versions vary slightly from the current "Crafted in Japan" model. For example, the early 1990s version uses the larger, more historically accurate string ferrules that were used in the 1950s.
Second version (1971–1979)
In 1971, the Tele Bass was modified in some aspects. A new neck plate with Micro Tilt system for a more precise neck adjustment. The old-style pickguard was redesigned to eliminate the control plate, and the single-coil pickup was replaced with a larger, more powerful, humbucking unit. The Telecaster Bass was produced alongside the contemporary Precision Bass through all the 1970s. The decal logo had changed from silver to gold, with black outlining.
It was the final version of the Telecaster Bass, which was discontinued in September 1979 and reintroduced in 2011 as a part of the Modern Player series, featuring two Modern Player Wide Range Precision Bass pickups, three-ply parchment (Sunburst model) or single-ply black (Butterscotch Blonde model) pickguard, three knurled “chrome-dome” control knobs (neck volume, bridge volume, master tone), vintage-style bridge with four brass saddles, open-gear tuners and nickel/chrome hardware. Available in 2-Color Sunburst and Butterscotch Blonde.
Reissued Versions: Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass TB and Classic Vibe '50s Precision Bass (2007–present)
Squier is a subsidiary of Fender and features less expensive versions of Fender instruments. The Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass TB was released in April 2007. It is based on the second version of the Telecaster Bass, featuring a similar Telecaster Bass headstock, pickguard and humbucking pickup.
Squier has also issued a 1950s Precision Bass model in the style of the original Fender 1951 Precision Bass as part of their 'Classic Vibe' series. It comes in three finishes: A Butterscotch Blonde with a black pickguard, a Lake Placid Blue metallic with a white pickguard, & a White Blonde with a white pickguard. All have maple fretboards as well as contoured edges & front & back comfort contours, making them similar to the 54-57 Precision Bass design. The pickup on these models is a single-coil similar to that at the bridge position on a Telecaster guitar.
Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Bass & Telecaster Bass Special
Modeled after the Telecaster guitar, the Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster and Telecaster Special basses feature a Telecaster guitar-shaped basswood body, Telecaster-style control plate and a 32"-scale maple neck/fretboard with 20 frets. The Vintage Modified Telecaster Bass sports a Duncan Designed PB-102 SCPB single-coil pickup and three-way switching among special tone circuits, which feature a modern bass sound (middle switch position, volume and tone controls), softer "double bass" sound (neck switch position, volume control only) and authentic tic-tac "baritone" sound (bridge switch position, volume control only). The Telecaster Bass Special has a large chrome-covered Fender-designed Wide Range humbucking neck pickup paired with a Duncan Designed JB-102B single-coil Jazz Bass bridge pickup and three-way blade switching. Other features include black "barrel" switch tip, knurled chrome control knobs, vintage style bridge with four chrome saddles, vintage-style tuners and strap buttons and a single-ply white or black pickguard. Available in Black and White Blonde finishes. Introduced in August 2012.
- Arthur Kane, original bassist of New York Dolls.
- Charlie Tumahai, from English progressive rock band Be-Bop Deluxe and New Zealand reggae band Herbs, played a 1968–1971 version of the Telecaster Bass.
- Paul McGuigan, original bassist of britpop band Oasis, also played the 1968–1971 version.
- Dusty Hill, Bassist of ZZ Top.
- Doug Stegmeyer, bass player for Billy Joel used a blonde 1968 Telecaster Bass.
- George Porter Jr., of The Meters, used a '68–71 Telecaster Bass in the band's early years.
- Chris Squire, original bassist of Yes, used a '68 Telecaster Bass (with a single-coil bridge pickup added) on several occasions from the late 60's to the mid 70's.
- Sting of the UK Band The Police uses '70 Telecaster Bass.
- Ron Wood Bassist with the Jeff Beck Group, used a Telecaster Bass.
- Tim Bogert Bassist for the Vanilla Fudge and Beck, Bogert and Appice, used a Telecaster Bass.
- Peter Bertges. The Fender Reference. Bomots, Saarbrücken. 2007. ISBN 978-3-939316-38-1.
- Brosnac, Donald. Guitar History: Guitars Made by the Fender Company Volumen 1 de Guitar history. Pg. 14. Bold Strummer, 1987. ISBN 0-933224-06-0, ISBN 978-0-933224-06-3
- Telecaster Bass
- Squier guitars - Vintage Modified Precision Bass TB