However in recent years its reputation as a fine, versatile rock instrument has risen. The Performer was also made as an electric bass.
The unusual body and headstock shapes have been rumored to have originated in the shape of the scrap wood leftover from making Japanese Stratocasters. The poplar body is small with a deep double cutaway. The tuning machines are found on the upper edge of the triangular headstock and a locking nut clamps the strings behind the plastic nut typically found on Fender guitars. The rosewood fretboard is two octaves and features a locking nut and jumbo frets. The bridge is a floating System I tremolo. Both bass and guitar are built to the highest level of quality and detailing. For example, the controls have inset rubber grips, the tuning heads have fully enclosed gears and the jack sockets are an enclosed, not 'skeleton', type, in contrast to many other Fender products with 'economy' hardware. A variety of poly finishes were available.
The bass is characterized by a slim two-octave neck with micro-tilt adjustment, that demands the use of light-gauge strings. The profile is closer to a typical six-string guitar than a normal bass guitar. Combined with light strings and a low action this encourages a very fast fluid playing style - but it is not really a 'slap' bass.
The two pickups are custom Humbuckers which sit at an angle as in the case of a Strat Or A Tele bridge pickup. It appears that the coils are offset to keep the magnets in line with the strings, although they are potted in epoxy so it is difficult to tell. The guitar features a volume knob, a tone knob, a pickup selector switch (neck/both/bridge) and, most importantly, a coil tap switch which disables one coil of each humbucker, resulting in a guitar with two single-coil pickups. This is perhaps the guitar's most famous and useful feature, as it can produce heavy, fat humbucker sounds as well as crisp, sharp, Strat-like tones. The tone knob used stacked 250k and 1M pots with center detent which may have been a predecessor to the TBX control of later years.