NBD - Fender Custom Shop P -best Craigslist transaction ever.
I'll preface this by saying I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who has never been burned in a Craigslist deal...everyone I have dealt with has been honest and straight forward.
On Wednesday on my lunch break I was browsing Craigslist to see if there was anything interesting. I stumbled across a MIA Fender P5 listed at a too good to be true $550. I wrote it off as either a stolen item or some other shady proposition. During the rest of my shift the thought of bass kept returning to my head. When I got home later that evening I decided to email the seller. What's the worst that could happen?
I got a response the following day. The seller apologized for the post still being up. He said he had sold the bass in a matter of hours but he did have two other basses he might consider selling. One was a Fender Custom Shop Relic 60's P bass in shoreline gold and the other was a Fender custom shop 5 string PJ in sunburst with an American flag airbrushed on the back. His response included photos of both basses. I replied that I was intrigued but that both would certainly be out of my price range.
He quickly responded saying the Custom shop relic actually would not be. He said he used to be the VP of operations for the Fender Custom Shop and had the bass made to his specifications to match a bass that he had previously owned. He said he had them leave the custom shop label off of the reverse of the headstock because a bass from the 60's would not have that and therefore not be authentic. Red flags were going off everywhere but for some reason I pressed on inquiring for more photos.
He sent me every photo I asked him for and went on to elaborate that he had taken a similar position in the custom shop at Martin Guitar in Nazareth, PA. I did Google image searches of the photos expecting one to show up somewhere on a message board giving me a reason to bail but they did not. All of this sounded too good to be true.
I did some more homework and started looking for geotags on the photos. The original ones he sent me actually returned a hit for Corona, CA. I searched his name and Fender and it was actually in several locations on Fender message boards. Either I was dealing with an extremely good con artist or everything this guy was saying was true. Eventually I told him I wanted to meet and most likely purchase the bass. We set up a time and a public location. He was going to meet me on his lunch break.
I waited in the Lowe's parking lot anxious and nervous at the same time. Then right at noon as we had agreed on a black car pulled up with California plates. I got out of my car and introduced myself. He showed me the bass and I responded "You said you wanted $$$$ right?" He responded yes and I quickly unlocked my car and got an envelope with the money from my glove box. The neck plate had the correct style serial number everything looked legitimate all that was missing was the custom shop logo, just as he had said. I ended up getting a MIA custom shop relic for less than I would have paid for a new MIM road worn bass. I guess I can't be 100% sure it is real without the decal but if he was trying to scam me I'd assume he would have been asking market value. However after all of the emails, pictures, the transaction and actually holding and playing the bass I fully believe the story. The parts alone are probably worth close to what I paid. I took the bass home, plugged it in and played it for as long as I could before I had to leave for work. It is awesome. I haven't taken any pictures of it myself but here is a teaser from what he sent.
I've told the story to a few family members and friends. I'm pretty sure they all think I am crazy. I figured I had to tell the story to some folks who might actually appreciate it.
Congrats dude. Good on you to not assume it was a scam so quickly and do your due diligence.
I wonder - the guy worked for Fender right? Former VP of Operations selling a custom shop bass in the $500 range? Sounds like he was desparate to sell. He MUST have known what the real value of that bass was. He could have gotten a lot more.
He absolutely knew what the value of the bass was. He said "these sell for no less than $3700 new but since this doesn't have the custom shop marking the value is obviously decreased." When I talked to him in person you could tell he really wasn't concerned about how much money he was getting. He was more worried about appeasing his wife. He said recently he and his son had gotten into the shooting sports and his wife said he needed to get rid of some stuff. He admitted to having 31 guitars and said he was just thinning out the ones he didn't like as much. I also paid more than $500. All I said was that I paid less than what a MIM road worn series P would go for new, which I believe is around $1000 or so.
On a side note when we met up he brought up the American Standard P5 that I had originally inquired about and said "that red on that you emailed me about, they aren't very good. This is the bass you want. I'd keep it but I play 5 strings not 4 strings and can't get used to it." Makes me wonder what the other 29 guitars he has are.
You know of course we will require detailed photos of everything, including any stamps, numbers etc to rule out foul play and so we can drool a lot. Seriously though either the stars aligned and the bass gods are happy or you bought a good looking parts bass that is worth a couple of hundred bucks. I mean think about it. The guy must have received more than a few emails about the bass he had for sale and yet he ends up offering you the other basses he was also considering selling. That's one of two things...incredibly good luck or a version of the old bait and switch trick.
I would take the neck off and look for the usual CS stamp / markings. Neck date, body date, might find "RELIC" under the pick guard. I like the idea of not having the CS logo on the back of the headstock for the same reason (Looks more original) Actually I like the original CS logo best.
Take it apart, that's how you'll know what you have. And yes we want to see pics ! :)
Congrats dude! That's the best looking shoreline gold I've seen perhaps ever. I don't think everyone is out there to scam would-be buyers and it sounds like you really did your work on this one. As suggested by fellow TBers, I too would take the neck off to investigate further but either way, you have a great looking bass there!
Congratulations! I hope it is what you hope it is.
Now all it needs is a tort guard! :hiding:
Sorry, someone had to say it......
I hope you enjoy your bass. We on these boards get very anal about country of origin, manufacturing etc, but really, if you think it kicks ass, that's what the whole thing is about.
I'm pretty sure no one on a gig is going to comment on your tone based on what is written on the neck heel of your bass. It either sounds good or it doesn't.
Wow...sounds like you got a fantastic deal. I have little confidence in Craigslist but you definitely got the real deal and then some !
Awesome find. It seems like a phone call to FMIC with the serial number could confirm that its an actual custom shop.
The whole bass in nice but that neck is freakin gorgeous! Nice score!
Like I said as soon as I saw it I pretty much told the guy he could take my money. I really didn't care if it was the real deal or a parts bass. Seeing it in person definitely sold me. Worst case I would have gotten an Atkinson like relic for an Atkinson price. After checking things out I'm fairly certain my gut was right and I lucked into an awesome deal. Looks like I got an early birthday present.
Looks awesome. Headstock relic logo looks just like my 59 CS P. Congrats on your Craigslist score. Those deals happen once or twice for most people. Random, unexpected great deals. I've had a few myself that I just happened to talk to the right person, or just happened to look at CL at the right time.
One time, I bought a solid state SVT Ampeg for $400. Then as I was leaving he said "by the way, I have this SVT-CL I don't use. Needs a little work, but you can have it for $100 if you want it". You never know what you'll stumble across.
"Genuine," or "as described" be damned. Who cares. That was a steal just for that gorgeous neck!
Only mod needed was the TI flats . Well done. Enjoy.
I don't typically check craigslist for instruments maybe once a week, if that. I also wasn't in the market to buy another bass but it was just too good of a deal to pass up.
You can't post this kind of stuff on TalkBass...
In order for this bass to be acceptable, not only do you have to install the flats but you also need to immediately replace the pickguard with a brown/yellow tort--the splotchier (and hence, uglier) the better.
Change out all the pots and install an orange cap. If the bass works perfectly the way it is, then it is IMPERATIVE that you do this.
Also, get out that green Scotchbrite pad and rape the back of that neck.
...oh, and I almost forgot. You need to sand off the Fender decal and install a NEW (and preferably improper) Fender decal. Then, rat-can over it whilst at the same time stating you don't care what the headstock says.
THAT'S how you do it at TalkBass!!!
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