Old School: 1966 Fender Precision Bass

Chuck Hoffman shares his 1966 Fender Precision bass, one he bought about seven years ago, and credits as the source of his love for bass today.

1966 Fender Precision Bass

The 1966 Fender Precision was the first of the CBS-era of Fender basses, with 1965 being considered a transition year after Leo Fender sold his company to CBS. 1966 also brought in the new, larger tuning pegs and other changes to the “P”.


1966 Fender Precision Bass

How long have you owned it?

Since sometime around 2004.

1966 Fender Precision Bass - close-up

How did you come across it?

Kevin Jass (of The Mittens in Cedar Falls, IA) called me up out of the blue and told me he had this nice old bass he wanted to sell to someone who would play it and appreciate it. Someone like me.

Not being primarily a bass player, he hadn’t been using it much, and I suppose he needed money for something. As luck would have it, I had student loan money about to come in in about a week or so (I was working on my Computer Science degree at University of Northern Iowa at the time) so I told him if he could wait that long I was interested. I met up with him at his work to check it out and bought it on the spot.

I think it was getting this P-bass that really triggered my starting to see myself as a bassist. Over the next couple years I just found myself playing regular guitar less and less and falling in love with playing bass, especially this one.

Stock or customized?

It has some kind of brass bridge on it, and the tuners are obviously not original. Pretty sure everything else is stock.

1966 Fender Precision Bass - head stock

Any special characteristics?

Just its aesthetically pleasing level of play/road wear. If it could talk, I bet it would have some good stories. Also the pick guard is pretty spiffy. I don’t think I’ve seen another quite like it.

Any notable bassists play the same instrument?

It’s a P-bass, so, all of them? :D

Do you use it on gigs?

All the time, it’s the only bass I have that’s gig-worthy. I should really think about getting a spare one actually. I have a late-90s Danelectro I practice (read: fiddle around) on at home, but its jack is shorted out and I haven’t bothered to get it fixed.

Any other vintage gear?

Yes, my amp, a Kustom K200A-1 tuck-and-roll bass amp, “Charcoal” color, with matching 2×15 cabinet. Actual year unknown but in examining scans of old catalogs online, my best guess is 1967. Maybe as late as 1970.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m really not that much of a gear nut, my knowledge about what makes stuff good is pretty limited, and I don’t like bass amps with too many knobs and blinkenlights on them. I know what I like when I hear it, and I’ve always had a taste for vintage stuff, especially of unusual brands.

I’m 36, and I play bass in Why Make Clocks and Fetal Pig and multiple instruments in my own noisy home-recording projects.

If you own any vintage gear you'd like us to spotlight in "Old School", we'd love to hear from you! Drop us a line at oldschool@notreble.com.

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  1. Howard Linton

    Pretty sure that’s not a stock pickup. The photos are too small to be sure but it looks like a Dimarzio.