Original Article Written for Bass Guitar Magazine
Introduced in 1968, the Fender Telecaster (or Tele) Bass was largely a reissue of the original 1951 Precision Bass before it took on its more recognised, contemporary design in 1957.
With its thin, Telecaster style headstock, single pickup and large pickguard with separate chrome control plate, this essentially was a like-for-like substitute for the early P-Bass. Some Tele-Bass prototype models were partially constructed from surplus early 50s Precision Bass parts.
The Telecaster Bass’ headstock decal was altered in early versions, but the third and most generally used decal had a silver Fender script with the words ‘Telecaster Bass’ underneath. This can be seen on the 1969 model at Andy Baxter Bass, as photographed below.
The Tele Bass soon received some modifications and its second series was introduced in 1971. The traditional pickguard with metal control plate was reshaped to become a one-piece pickguard and – most prominently – the Tele Bass’ single-coil pickup was replaced with a larger, higher output hum bucker pickup, which was moved from the middle of the body and repositioned up against the neck.
Fender manufactured the Telecaster Bass throughout the 70s until it was woefully discontinued towards the end of 1979. Nowadays, you can pick-up Squier’s Vintage Modified Precision Bass, based on Fender’s second version of the Telecaster Bass as well as Fender’s Modern Player Telecaster Bass. Yet, the more serious Fender Tele Bass buff may want to book an appointment at Andy Baxter’s (dog-friendly) showroom in Hoxton.
Pictured is a nicely matched pair of Blonde Fender Tele basses with Maple fingerboards in stock at Andy Baxter Bass. A 1969 model, which is 100% original and an early 1972 model, with its one-piece pickguard and humbucker pickup, which is again, all original with the exception of the case. Both basses remain in excellent condition and symbolise an iconic part of Fender’s bass guitar heritage.