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If you’re looking for that vintage Fender Precision or Jazz bass vibe but don’t have ten grand or more to throw down for an authentic late ‘50s axe, check out the masterful Relic bass models from the Fender Custom Shop. They are gorgeous, meticulous recreations of the classics, crafted with fanatical attention to period details like pickup windings, paint finish, hardware and neck design, using traditional materials, tooling and construction techniques. The Relic basses are also “aged” to varying degrees, with carefully administered battle scars like worn or chipped finishes and tarnished hardware, among other “relic-ing” tricks, so they look like well-played and much-loved vintage instruments, but without any of the tuning, playability or scratchy electronics issues you might get with a fifty-year-old instrument. Most Relic basses are part of the Custom Shop’s “Time Machine” series, offering faithful recreations of guitars from a certain era or specific year, while others are Fender signature models, replicating the axes of bass masters of the past and present, from jazz genius Jaco Pastorius to session whiz and current Who bassist Pino Palladino. For instance, the Custom Shop 1959 P-Bass Relic rocks the look and feel of the fabled original Precision, right down to the gold-anodized aluminum pickguard and period-correct finishes, including Sonic Blue, Dakota Red, Olympic White, or Chocolate 3-Color Sunburst, each lovingly pre-dinged with just a few nicks or bit of belt rash for a bit more old-school impact. The 1964 Jazz Bass Relic sports a ‘60s-style neck, aged vintage hardware, and comes in retro-cool finishes like 3-Color Sunburst, Vintage White, Black, or Aged Lake Placid Blue. You can also get a Custom Shop Relic 1957 Precision Bass, 1961 P-Bass, or 1969 P-Bass, each with period-correct vibe and killer Fender tone. The 1950s P-Bass Heavy Relic is a well-worn warrior, with a battered thin-lacquer finish with extensive arm and edge wear, tarnished hardware, and vintage-style Jazz Bass decal, made to look like it’s been kicking out the jams every night for fifty years, but built to rock for fifty more. Or check out the 1966 Relic Jazz Bass, built by master craftsman Dale Wilson, with hand-wound vintage Jazz pickups, ’66-style paddle keys, and a way-cool charcoal frost finish. The Custom Shop Pino Palladino Relic Signature replicates the ’62 Precision Pino prefers, and he’s played with everyone from Jeff Beck to Eric Clapton, and even Adele! The Fender Jaco Pastorius Relic Jazz Bass is a meticulous recreation of the battered axe that Jaco used to redefine jazz and jazz fusion, from the peeling paint and extra pickup screw holes to the vintage-style reverse tuners and fretless epoxy-coated fingerboard. The Limited Edition Relic La Cabronita Boracho Bass is part of Fender’s Cabronita line, featuring unusual designs with unique twists, like the Boracho’s reverse Jazzmaster body and special T.V. Jones Thunderblade pickup, for head-turning looks and heart-thumping power. These axes might look like they’ve had some use, but they’re brand new, rock-solid tone monsters with loads of retro vibe and an already-broken-in feel - plus, Fender’s already taken care of that first ding, so you can stop worrying about that! These axes are generally produced in very limited runs, though, so if you see a Relic Bass that plucks your heart strings, grab it fast!
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A Custom Shop replica of Pino Paladino's '62 Precision.
The re-created Jaco Pastorius stays true to the original with Jaco's famous 'distressed' look, Jazz Bass...
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