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FACTFILE Modern Player Telecaster Bass DESCRIPTION:Solidbody bass. Made in China PRICE: £526.80

BUILD: Alder body, bolt-on maple neck with 20 medium jumbo nickel frets on a maple fingerboard. Vintage 4-Saddle bridge with brass saddles and standard open-gear tuners. Chrome hardware ELECTRICS: Passive with two Modern Player Wide Range Precision Bass Pickups, two volumes and one master tone control LEFT HANDER: No FINISHES: Two-colour sunburst, butterscotch blonde RANGE OPTIONS: See above

SCALE LENGTH 864mm/34" WIDTH OF NECK Nut 41mm 12th fret 57.5mm DEPTH OF NECK First fret 21mm 12th fret 24mm STRING SPACING Nut 11.5mm Bridge 21mm ACTION AS SUPPLIED 12th fret treble 2mm 12th fret bass 2.5mm WEIGHT 4.15kg/9.1lbs

CONTACT: Fender GB&I 01342 331 700

Like these? Try these.. Squier VM Precision Bass The Squier Vintage Modified Precision is a more ‘regular’ model and even more affordable than the Modern Players. The Jazz Bass ’77 (£351) is a goodie too RRP: £327

Fender Modern Player Jaguar Bass The ‘other’ Fender Modern Player combines a nostalgic Jaguar body with a P/J pickup arrangement RRP: £442.80

The MPT adds a Wide Range humbucker at the bridge

Maple fingerboard: there’s no rosewood option on this model

The Modern Player Tele Bass is made for pumping out the grooves, with the emphasis on soul, pop and rock reduction in harmonic life makes it a duller, more thuddy sounding bass. The midrange is darker; whereas winding all the knobs up on a regular Jazz creates a great slap tone, here the highs sound choked and compressed. That’s not to say it’s a rubbish-sounding instrument, but in twin-pickup mode it’s just too rock/blues oriented to really be a Jazz.

It’s also bluesier with the neck humbucker, but there’s a pleasing acoustic quality here and plenty of definition. The D and G strings are fat and practical, making adventurous forays into the higher registers a viable option. Solo the bridge pickup and you get a decent rendition of the usual funky gurgle with just enough high mid for snappy clarity without being too nasal. Rolling back the tone control produces a smooth yet punchy variation that’s practical and versatile.

Modern Player Telecaster Bass The Telecaster Bass of 1968 represented the company’s first ‘reissue’, being based on the pre-’57 Precision. The body shape and dimensions were the same, as were the skinny headstock, pickguard shape, control panel and maple fingerboard. This Modern Player is a very close reboot, save for one detail: two fat, chrome-covered humbuckers instead of just the one. These are Modern Player Wide Range Humbucking Precision pickups, and there are now three controls – a volume for each pickup and a master tone.

Our MPTB has a two-tone sunburst alder body and a sweeping pickguard that transports you right back to 1968.

Both the bolt-on neck and fingerboard are maple and the neck’s ‘C’ shape contour makes it very playable. There are 20 medium jumbo frets, and the neck culminates in the classic skinny headstock (oddly, with a pre-CBS spaghetti logo). The bridge is the Vintage 4-Saddle with brass saddles.

Sounds The MP Tele’s old school visual credentials are well matched by its sound; this really isn’t a P-Bass clone in unfamiliar clothing. The new bridge pickup – which is set up to be louder than the traditionally-placed neck unit – has a smooth yet dull thud, but with satisfyingly lively higher strings. We perhaps don’t find the brightness or the level of high mid we’d really like; in fact, it’s a surprisingly neutral sound… in some ways a disappointment, but in other ways this makes it more stylistically practical as there’s clarity without bite and plenty of width. It’s a bass for pumping out the grooves, with the emphasis on old-style soul, pop and rock. The neck pickup is all smooth and silky, and though the volume drop is a shame, it’s a quality reggae sound.

Verdict If you’re not deterred by the two chunky humbuckers, Fender has done a pretty decent job with the Modern Player Tele Bass. We love the skinny headstock, the big, sweeping pickguard and the comfortable overall playability; tonally it’s perhaps a little unexciting, but that equates to a workmanlike bass for everyday applications. The MP Jazz is equally as nice in the hands, but we feel that while those humbuckers may be big, they’re certainly not that clever. They’ve turned a potentially quality instrument into a bit of an also-ran. It doesn’t sound bad… it just doesn’t sound like a Fender Jazz. Fender claim that the Modern Player Series ‘continues that great my-first-Fender tradition’. With the Tele Bass we’d almost agree; as for the Jazz Bass, well, maybe they could just kit it out with a pair of skinny single-coil pickups. Now, there’s a thought…

FINAL SCORE MODERN PLAYER TELECASTER BASS Build Quality 19 /20 Playability 16 /20 Sound 16 /20 Value for money 16 /20 Vibe 16 /20



92 Guitar & Bass FEBRUARY 2012

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