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Fender Jazz Bass, ’66

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Fire Mist Silver, Serial # 137016.

The development of the revolutionary Fender Precision Bass in 1951 changed the sound of modern music forever. Since the bass was so functional and easily portable, Leo Fender thought one model was enough. Its design was upgraded twice during the ‘50s, while the preceding versions were discarded. By 1959, Don Randall at Fender Sales requested that Leo devise a more sophisticated, high-end model along the lines of the recently introduced Jazzmaster. The result was the new for 1960 Jazz Bass.

 

The body of the new Jazz Bass followed the off-set contoured style of the Jazzmaster. The neck was narrower at the nut permitting trouble-free faster playing for those uncomfortable with the wider Precision Bass neck. This proved popular with guitar players doubling on bass for session work. Two single coil pickups were included for extra tonal versatility. The neck pickup gave a warm full sound already familiar to those used to hearing the Precision Bass. The bridge pickup provided a sharp trebly attack to add punch to a bass line or solo fill. Each pickup had a separate volume control allowing the player to achieve the desired blend.

 

The 1966 Jazz Bass pictured is a striking Firemist Silver, a custom color introduced the previous year. While this finish is very rare, the rest of the bass’s features are typical to any 1966 Jazz Bass. These include: a rosewood fingerboard with pearl block inlays (replacing dots)and white binding (unbound in previous years), a three ply white vinyl pickguard (changed from greenish nitrocellulose in 1964), two volume controls and a master tone (replaced stacked volume/tone controls in 1962), and metal pickup covers.

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