Fender A/E-P Bass Reviews 4

These are FL basses. The fretted version is known as an 'HMT P-Bass' and AFAIK is rather rare. The A/E-P is not too common either, but had a longer production run and is easier to find. The common features of teh A/E-P and HMT are thinline semi-hollow P-body, Lace P-PU, and a wooden bridge with piezo ribbon. A thinline FL suits my style, as I play in small ensemble, small venue contexts with no drummer. Therefor, when I heard about these basses, I kept watch for one, as they are no longer made :-( Now I have one in sunburst and one in plain clear finish.

I got one by private sale which fortunately has a Walter Woods piezo buffer installed by the previous owner. The other is from Bass NW in Seattle, PNW, USA. They each cost several hundred, which seems to be the longstanding going rate.

http://www.bassnw.com

It's thinline hollow, it's light, it has enuf top-horn to give good balance, it looks cool, it fits in any bag or case that will hold a P-Bass .... and it sounds really cool. The strongest feature for me is the mag-piezo hybrid PU config.

The tuners are pretty good, but could easily be better. If you want to solo the piezo PU, thus using this as a thinline acoustic like the Godin A-4, then you need to instal a buffer for the piezo or use an outboard 'acoustic pre-amp'. You really do need to address this issue but *IT'S WORTH IT!* This is a very very very likeable ax, comfy to play, not heavy, looks great.

Like many thinline basses, it's a shelled-out hardwood body with a cedar top. This one is the Fender P-body shape and size, and the neck is also toadally Fender-esque. It has a Lace Sensor P-PU in the P-spot, and a piezo ribbon in a wooden bridge. Controls are 3 knobs: Volume, Tone, and PU Blend. It's odd that such a simple setup requires a battery, considering there's no buffer circuit for the piezo ... I mean, what's the battery for ? But it's good that there's already a 9v battery on board to power a buffer if you choose to instal one.

I'm rating it a '4' and that rating applies to the one that already has a Walter Woods buffer in it. It's an excellent sounding, versatile, affordable, easy playing, good-looking [traditional Fender looking] ax, with simple controls. If they all came with the buffer as standard, and if the bridge were more ingenious so as to allow some adjustment, I'd definitely bump it up to '5'. *Without* the buffer installed, it might fall back to '3', but only if you expect a very 'acoustic bass' voice from it. The *unbuffered* piezo is a cool tone to blend into the P-PU tone. The PU-Blend knob will allow you to solo the piezo ... but you will just disover why it you should add a buffer or use an outboard acoustic pre-amp ! BTW, the outboad pre is $100 +/-, from companies like Baggs or Fishman, so it's not a big expense, but it's one more piece of clutter in your outfit. OTOH, the outboard method allows you to bypass the buffer if you find that you also dig the 'Special FX Blend' of mixing the raw piezo with the P-PU. It all good. I have two of these basses, one with onboard buffering and one without. Both good. It really IS possible to allow some bridge adjustments without having seperate saddles, as proven by Steinberger. But Ned Steinberger is all about ingenuity, and Fender is all about ... something else. Call it 'tradition' if you like. This ax is 'different' yet still very 'traditional' and that is very appealing.

Golem rated this unit 4 on 2010-04-16.

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