Vintage Bass: Fender vs MusicMan vs Rickenbacker vs Gibson. Which One’s Best??

In this bass gear video, I demo six vintage bass guitars. A 1968 Fender Precision, 1978 Fender Precision, 1975 Fender Jazz, 1978 MusicMan StingRay, 1979 Rickenbacker 4001, and a 1973 Gibson EB3.

They each have a unique character and want to be played in different ways. Scroll down for examples of six great players using them live.

1968 Fender Precision

This one is a post CBS era bass strung with LaBella flatwounds. CBS bought Fender a few years before this and the pre-CBS instruments are still considered to be the most desirable ones.

Here's James Jamerson playing a similar one with Marvin Gaye.

1978 Fender Precision

I actually use this more than the '68. This one is strung with stainless steel roundwound strings and has a brighter tone as a result (along with the maple fretboard).

1975 Fender Jazz

A Fender Jazz is a more versatile instrument due to the two single coil pickups. John Paul Jones achieved a fantastic rock tone with one.

1978 MusicMan StingRay

Louis Johnson and Bernard Edwards helped to make this great bass famous.

1979 Rickenbacker 4001

Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee, Lemmy, and Chris Squire all used one of these and they are fantastic for rock.

1973 Gibson EB3

This is a short scale bass with a monster tone! Jack Bruce played one with Cream.

I record a lot remotely and have been a professional session bass player for nearly twenty years now so that's how I justify all these basses!

You may gravitate towards one particular make or tone and that's fine. Modern basses these days are truly fantastic too so there's no shortage of excellent instruments that will be just right for you.

Just try a few until you find something you like!


I send 1 email every Sunday with free lessons, pro tips, gear, gig advice and more. Your details will not be passed on or shared with any other party. Privacy policy.

Online Bass Courses Dan Hawkins Bass Store


If you get any value from my lessons and would like to help keep this site running and the weekly lessons flowing, click the button below for a small donation. Even something small really helps me cover running costs!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

The Bass Guitar Resource Book

I send out a newsletter every Sunday packed full of bass tips, news, and lessons, plus if you sign up you get my free Bass Guitar Resource Book. You can't find this anywhere else so don't miss this special offer!

>