I decided to buy this particular bass (model) for basic tracking in the studio. Like many, I'm a fan of the Motown and Memphis sounds. This bass is billed a new model of one of the renewed instruments played on many great records, including- but not limited to - those. Its unique tonal qualities, and the way it fits in a mix is perfect to my ear.
Getting "that" tone is as easy as some think, but I've found that it starts with the instrument. Many bassists, producers and engineers insist on the P-Bass for tracking. I asked around for a long time, and finally made up my mind. My Sweetwater sales rep, did some asking for me. too. He consulted with the store's resident bassets - a couple of fanatical players, with strong opinions and serious expertise.
This American Vintage '58 is made differently from the later models, including the '63. The neck and fingerboard are one, fairly chunky, piece of maple. Although may not be as easy to play as later models, or a J-Bass, this instrument came set up, and plays perfectly.
The sound is the "Definitive" P-Bass in the studio - and has quickly become my main bass for live. The tone can be described as deep and round. The punchiest of any bass I play. It has that distinctive "growl" that puts an edge on notes so they cut through, and the percussive bottom that gives bass lines a solid push. It's simplicity is refreshing and it's just a gorgeous instrument.
Note that the frets in the first position are longer, and can pose a little bit of a stretch, due to the scale length and number of frets. Also Fender claims to have kept spec on these, so its nitro finish is thick and not modern. Its tuning machines work "backwards" compared with new models, and there are a few other old style features- that make it "vintage."
This review was not written by an expert on vintage basses, but rather as a serious player who's ears work. As one of Sweetwater's bass experts said, and I'll agree, this may well be the "desert island" bass!