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In 1950, Leo Fender designed the Precision bass and changed the music scene forever. The P-Bass, as it is also known, is to this day the most popular and copied electric bass guitar in the world.
The traditional electric bass guitar features four strings tuned one octave lower than the four lowest strings of a standard, six-string guitar. Prior to Leo’s Precision bass, the stand-up acoustic bass (a.k.a. contra-bass, stand-up bass, upright bass, bass viol, etc.) provided the bottom end in virtually all forms of music, from classical to jazz to that new genre: rock’n’roll.
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That all changed with the P-Bass and use of the upright bass today is minimal. The popularity of the Precision bass – and electric bass guitars in general – began with its use by Bill Black, Elvis Presley’s bassist, in the movie “Jailhouse Rock”.
The Second Fender Bass Guitar
Leo Fender’s second bass guitar is also legendary. First called the Deluxe, the Jazz Bass was introduced in 1960 for musicians who wanted a brighter tone with less emphasis on the fundamental harmonic. This was accomplished through the use of single coil pickups in place of the split humbucker on the P-Bass.
In addition to many variations of the Precision and Jazz bass models, today Fender produces the Jaguar, American Deluxe Dimension, a Telecaster bass and the short-scaled Mustang bass for smaller hands.