Some insight on a P-bass purchase

I have the opportunity to get a hold of a used players series P-Bass.
It is in nice condition about 6 years old and the previous owner installed a Seymour Duncan quarter pounder.
I live about 2 hours away from the store that has been very helpful with me living in a rural part of B.C.
so I will be going to take a look at it this Wednesday and I am not a Fender expert so I would like any insights as to what I should look for in buying a used Fender?

I know the physical aspect of what to look for but it seems some models are prone to issues I would like to be aware of.

Thank you.


I’m not an expert on Fender, but there is nothing wrong a player series bass. I would recommend not to limit yourself to a certain brand. Check out all basses they got and buy the one you like most.


For me, it’s about the neck. Making sure it’s straight, and that the truss rod works as it should. Do you like the way it feels in your hands? Then move on to the other things you would normally inspect before buying a new (to you) bass. I’m not sure when Fender went to pau ferro instead of rosewood on the fretboard. I personally don’t like it as much. Maple is nice too. There’s a good reason that precision has endured so many years, and remains so popular. Tough, reliable, workhorse. Best wishes!


I think around 2017 when CITES imposed restrictions on instruments featuring rosewood, But only on their lower tier models. If you paid enough you could get rosewood.
Anyway the only advice I’ve got is the neck. If it feels right in your hand you’re a long way there.
Good luck.


1000% above and most important.

The Seymour Duncan’s are a more modern tone pickup Vs a vintage P-bass sound. So make sure you like the tone and decide if you like as is or are willing to put regular or vintage style pickups in if not. Ask seller if they have original pickups etc.


It’s all about the neck as both @santino and @John_E stated. If it has a little bit of curve in it and the truss rod is working fine no worries.

Look for cracks around the tuners, at the nut (make sure the nut is not cracked), back of the headstock where the neck starts. Any bumps or dings in the neck? How bad are they? Make sure the neck fits snuggly into the body joint (no spaces on either side). Make sure the volume and tone pots turn smoothly and are not crackling or cause drop outs when turning. Make sure the pots and jack are not loose. Look at the frets and make sure they are not grinded down or have dents in them.

How much are they asking and relate that to the condition it is in.

Again I stress the neck’s condition is most important. Most other little things can be upgraded or fixed.

Finally as @Barney pointed out. How does it feel in your hands? If you don’t feel comfortable you are not going to like playing it and that won’t help you get any better.


That makes sense. Right about the time some guitar makers had problems with seizures of inventory.


Guys thanks for the replies to my post.
I did not mean to mislead any one but I already have four basses all ready.

My other basses except one are not Fenders and that is a players series fret less jazz bass. So I was looking for a Fender P Bass to have both Cousins in my stable.
It is a late Christmas , early B-day present and it is going cheap.
I agree that there is nothing wrong with the Players series that is why I am taking this chance.
But( and yes there always seem to be one) some years have some major issues that need to be checked. These I am not aware of.

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The only rumors I’ve heard that may effect a particular era of basses from Mexico is as follows:

The original Mexican Fender plant burnt down in 93 or 94.

Before and after the fire it was said that American parts (bodies and necks) that did not make the cut were sent to the plant and assembled there with cheaper hardware and electronics imported from Asia.

Some say they got great guitars and basses (as far as the wood) and others say they were not well matched.

The new Mexican plant started making there own bodies and necks in the early 2000’s. Most say they do a very good job and the basses of those years were well worth their price. Please remember they were half the price they are now and up till a few years ago they were under $650.

Those are the stories I have read and heard about. I think it will be hard to find a precise account anywhere. What does seem to come up repeatedly is that one can differ from another even if they were made in the same year and the same month.

All my Fenders are from Mexico and made mid 2000’s to now. P, PJ, Jazz, active, maple, rosewood, pau ferro, FSR and anniversary edition are some of the attributes mine have. I can’t rate them good to bad because its all subjective and they all have different tonal varieties. Not like one really stands out from the others. I am not gonna say thats the reason I got them either. I have what most here call MBD.

I think they are good instruments for what I bought them for. My last purchase was a brand new 2020 P (also my only new bass) which I got for just under $700 before they shot up to the new $1000 Cdn price.

As the others have said it will come down to how it feels in your hand even if it is rumored to be a bad year.


The same things you’d look at buying any guitar/bass. Play all the notes up the neck to look for buzzing frets, check for scratchy pots, dodgy wiring, loose runners, loose bridge hardware. I don’t usually spend too much time, if it looks good, and 15 seconds of quick playing sounds good, then it’s usually good.

The only thing fenders are really prone to is dead spots on the fretboard. I’ve got a player pbass and I love it! couldn’t ask for more :slight_smile:

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Pau ferro or Rosewood, for me No differrence at all, anyway I prefer Maple

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