In 1959 Leo Fender and his design team started work on a new bass. The Precision bass had been Fender’s only bass model since 1951. After Leo and his build team redesigned the P-Bass in 1957 the marketing department at Fender pushed Leo to introduce a new model to augment to the bass line.
The original prototype Jazz bass was conceived as a “deluxe model” to appeal to guitar players who wanted or needed to double on bass. The neck was markedly thinner than a Precision bass, only 1 ½” at the nut compared to the 1 ¾” of the Precision. The body featured an offset asymmetric design borrowed from the recently introduced Jazzmaster guitar (hence the name Jazz Bass).