This past November, I and several other representatives of the music media industry were treated to a firsthand look at the newest series of USA-made guitars and basses from Fender: the American Original Series. These new models represent “best-of-the-decade” versions of Fender’s most iconic instruments, combined with some intelligent modern updates. Clocking in at just under $2,000, the American Original Series instruments are priced less than the American Vintage Series, which is nice.

There are four bass models in the American Original Series lineup: the ‘50s Precision Bass, the ‘60s Precision Bass, the ‘60s Jazz Bass and the ‘70s Jazz Bass. The ‘50s Precision Bass sports an alder body with a lacquer finish, a Pure Vintage ’58 P-bass pickup, and a thick “C” neck profile, with a 9.5”-radius fingerboard – with this fingerboard radius being a more modern feature shared by all four models. The ‘60s Precision Bass also rolls with an alder body with a lacquer, but has a slightly different neck profile, called the “1963 C,” and has a Pure Vintage ’63 P-bass pickup.

The ‘60s Jazz Bass features an alder body (lacquer finish), rosewood fingerboard, a slim “’60s C”-shaped neck profile, and has two Pure Vintage ’64 single-coil J-bass pickups. The bridge pickup features the “over the paint” copper grounding strip, which connects up to the bridge. The ‘70’s Jazz Bass comes in the expected “ash body with a maple fingerboard” configuration, and the fingerboard is nicely dressed with blocks and binding. The body on this model is finished with polyurethane. The neck profile is a “’70s U” shape, and the pickups are the Pure Vintage ’75 single-coil J-bass variety.

All three models offer a limited number of color options (two or three) and come with a vintage-style hardshell case. We look forward to a more detailed review to follow!