New for 2023, the Fender Custom Shop introduces the ’53 Precision Bass Journeyman Relic. Exactly 70 years after its groundbreaking (and ground shaking) predecessor, the instrument is loaded with looks, sound and vibe that expertly evoke the Precision Bass in one of its earliest incarnations.
The two-piece select slab ash body is most conducive to sweet midrange and tight lows, and is wrapped in cool Journeyman Relic flash coat lacquer finishes in Aged Nocaster® Blonde, Aged Black and Aged Two-Color Sunburst. This special treatment imparts the look of a bass that has changed hands or been handed down over the years, mostly played around the house and the occasional jam session or weekend gig. This generally well-cared-for look includes light finish checking, several “friendly” down-to-the-wood nicks and dings, some dulling of the hardware, and general moderate playing wear. The look of a very lucky find, in short.
The one-piece quartersawn maple neck has a ’51-style “U” profile and is thicker at the body end, with a slight taper toward the nut for feel that’s big and round but not cumbersome; topped by a 7.25”-radius maple fingerboard with 20 medium vintage (47095) frets and a bone nut. Beneath the early-’50s-era chrome cover sits a single Custom Shop hand-wound Vintage Precision Bass pickup with vintage wiring for full and warm low-end power and tone. Other premium features include a single-ply black phenolic pickguard (parchment on Two-Color Sunburst and Aged Black models), two-saddle vintage-style bridge with fiber saddles and chrome cover, vintage-style tuners, disc string tree, deluxe hardshell case, strap and certificate of authenticity.