Fender Telecaster Bass


The Telecaster Bass was introduced in 1968 and as it's name suggests it resembles the famous Telecaster guitar.

Somewhat of an oddity in the long line of Fender Basses, the Telecaster Bass is basically a reissue of the original Precision Bass that debuted in 1951, which itself was designed after the Telecaster guitar.

The bass featured the slab body, mid-placed single coil pickup, maple neck with the smaller headstock, and string through body design just like the old 51' P-Bass. The large pickguard shape was also the same except that now it was white instead of the original black color.

Why Fender would come out with this bass in 1968 is anyone's guess. The music climate at the time seemed to be moving towards more powerful and advanced bass designs. Possibly Fender saw there was an interest in the older, simpler style that was becoming more popular in the blues-rock revival.

One of the more unusual paint schemes Fender has issued was done on some Telecaster Bass models. These were the red paisley and blue flower finishes introduced in the late 60's that reflected the fashion trends of the time. These rare basses featured a clear pickguard rather than the standard white one.

The first version of the Telecaster Bass pretty much resembled the original 51' P-Bass, however Fender changed the single coil pickup in 1971 to a humbucker repositioned at the heel of the neck. This model is often referred to as the mudbucker, owing to it's muddy, bass heavy sound.


In 1972 Fender introduces the new 3-bolt neck design on all Telecaster Basses instead to the usual 4-bolt neck. The Telecaster Bass was in production until 1979 although Fender has reissued similar models recently under the Squier line.

Not many notable bassists have used the Telecaster Bass, although there have been a few including George Porter Jr. of the Meters and Dusty Hill of ZZ Top.

I've played a few a Telecaster Bass reissues and although it's not my favorite Fender model there are some things I like about it. They tend to be light weight and fun to play.

The sound is deep and barky with the single-coil model although it is susceptible to 60 cycle hum. The humbucker model is a little to muddy sounding for my tastes but it could definitely work in the right setting (death metal maybe?).

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