Guitar Making – Reimagining the Bass V

I am working on custom versions of the Bass V.

The Bass V was proof that Leo Fender was still deeply involved with his work. My suspicion is that he realized there was a problem with the design of the P Bass and J Bass necks. Above the 12th fret there is ramp pulled into the neck by the tension of the strings. There is no way the truss rod can remedy this without engineering compensatory fall off into the neck, which they weren’t equipped or willing to do.

Leo reckoned you could play across the board as easy as you could play up the board. Shortening the neck, not the scale length, taking a step back in time to stringed instruments of antiquity with shorter necks joining the body at the 9th or 10th fret, the Bass V neck literally joins the body at the 10th fret and only has 15 frets.

With the addition of the high C string, the top note is the exact same top note you can play on a vintage P Bass or J Bass. It is an extremely practical way to make a bass instrument.

The Bass V was Leo Fenders final offering to the universe. This is my opinion. He also offered up the Mustang at around the same time. Another strange beauty.

Nonetheless, only 200 Bass Vs were made between 1965 and 1970 at which point they were discontinued.  A commercial disaster.

A 1965 Fender Bass V

blueprint Bass V

Templates were made using measurements from the original

This pattern is routed into the top of a body blank for one model that will feature an inlay inspired by the first 5 course guitar made in 1581 by Belchior Diaz in Lisbon.

More to come on this limited run of the Specimen Bass V Custom