Squier's Vintage Modified Series, the new Telecaster Bass and Telecaster Bass Special (pictured top). These are not to be confused with the original Fender Telecaster Bass which in itself was based upon the original slab-bodied Precision design before it was redesigned to have a more contoured Strat-like body. 1970s examples of the Telecaster Bass (of which the Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass is quite an accurate representation) featured a huge humbucker pickup in the neck position instead of the centre-position singlecoil pickup. It also had a twin-cutaway body, rather than the same basic shape as the Telecaster guitar as we see here on these new Squier offerings (although it seems to me that the body has been lengthened). I guess that Fender/Squier must have decided that bassists wanted the same shape as the Tele guitar but I can't imagine it'd balance anywhere near as well balanced as the double-cutaway P-bass shape.
It all seems a bit silly to me. What's next, the Stratocaster Bass? And no, the Precision is not already the bass equivalent of the Strat. It was originally the bass partner to the Telecaster, and if anything, the Jazz Bass was the Strat's opposite number in the bass camp, although some would argue that with its offset body shape the Jazz Bass's natural sibling would be the Jazzmaster/Jaguar. But of course these days there's a Jaguar Bass too. I wonder how long it is before Fender/Squier issue a Jazz Bass-bodied 6-string guitar? Hey, I reckon I could work for Fender marketing too with ideas like that.
With the Squier Telecaster Bass having a singlecoil pickup similar to that in the original P-Bass, and the Deluxe version having a 70s Telecaster Bass humbucker in the neck position and a J-Bass unit nearer the bridge, no doubt these new Telecaster Basses will appeal to players out there, although for me the designs are far too Frankenstein-like; for example that pickguard design is quite patently created for a guitar and not a bass. But never mind my nitpicking, if you're interested get yourself over to the Squier website and check out the specs for yourself.
G L Wilson
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