Fender has made some tweaks to their range over the last few years adding features, colours and options to meet an ever demanding public. The newly introduced American Performer line is Fender’s most affordable Californian made instruments. Of course continuing the classic J and P basses the line also features a Mustang Bass model for those wanting something different. Anything different with the P I hear you ask? Read on!
An Alder body Maple neck and either maple or rosewood fingerboard form the basis of the American Performer P bass. 34” scale length, 20 frets (medium jumbo sized fretwire),a modern C shape neck, vintage styled steel saddles bridge, light weight vintage styled paddle tuners and Fender’s new Yosemite pickups and Greasebucket tone circuit round out the instrument. This particular example came in Satin Lake Placid Blue finish which looks great with the maple neck and black scratch plate. Other colours in the lineup include Penny, Three Tone Sunburst and Arctic White. Time will tell if more colours are offered but the mix of traditional colours and some modern/new looks will surely help to cater to a wide audience.
Taking cues from vintage Fender P basses, the Performer not only looks good but plays beautifully too. The neck is easy to whip around and coupled with the low action on this example it really was a breeze to play. Low single note lines, upper register licks and chords all felt good and benefited from the good intonation and playability. Fender’s new Yosemite pickups sounded good to my ears providing a usable range of tones. The Greasebucket tone circuit is designed to have no loss of gain or fundamentals when cutting treble and it seems like Fender have put quite some time into most aspects of this new Performer Series. I was actually tracking some bass parts on a recording with a Fender J that wasn’t quite getting what I wanted. Plugged in the Performer P, dialled up a blend of the split coil and bridge single and instantly had a great tone. Thick and dynamic with plenty of body – great!
My first impressions were of a comfortable weighted bass that looked the goods straight out of the gig bag…and this impression didn’t change throughout my time with the instrument. Sunburst would have to be one of Fender’s most popular finishes and this instrument does it well.
Of course the new colour offerings are cool and add some modern touches whilst keeping the traditionalists happy and the price point is very competitive. Good tones, a good player and a good price.
Hits and Misses
New range of colours are on point
Plays great and the P/J combination is a winner