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77 Precision color question - Vintage White, Olympic White

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by soaf, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. soaf

    soaf

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    I am restoring a 77 P-Bass (s/n S752XXX) to it's original color. It was my Father's bass and I remember it to be a creamy white, almost yellowish. From the colors I have seen, I am sure it is Vintage White, however I don't think Vintage White was a color option in 1977, I believe only Olympic White was offered, but I do not know for sure. I have read that Olympic White from that era is prone to yellowing over time from the nitro clear coat over top of the 2x poly base coat. I also think there was a sealer used on the body first. I remember seeing the bass in the late 70s and early 80s and it was creamy then, when only a few years old. Many people confuse Vintage and Olympic White, but Vintage White is the yellowish, and Olympic is closer to white.

    Does anyone have any calalogs or Fender color charts to see if Vintage White was a color option in '77 or '78?

    Also, since I want to restore it to original, I am hoping to use the same process Fender used at that time... a sealer coat, then 2x polyurethane base coats, then a nitro clear coat. Was this the procedure of the day? Please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks!
  2. Pet Sounds

    Pet Sounds

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    The '70s color chart reproduced in "The Fender Bass, an Illustrated History," page 61, indicates it's Olympic White. But this Oly looks kind of cremey on the color search. That's the only shade of white offered.
  3. Pet Sounds

    Pet Sounds

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    Oh, and it definitely would have yellowed over time. The "Vintage White," in fact, is supposed to simulate a yellowed Oly.
  4. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

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    I owned a mid-70's Precision in the color you're talking about. It was absolutely not and aged Olympic White. I removed the pickguard, and the color underneath, though lighter, was not Oly White.
  5. FourBanger

    FourBanger

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    Didn't Olympic white use to be yellower, less like the arctic white color it is now? SomeFender colors have shifted over time.
  6. soaf

    soaf

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    I remember it being a cream color from the time it was only 2-4 years old. I don't ever remember it being a true white, even when new.
  7. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

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    Like this - [​IMG]




    Oly white in 1960 is the same as Oly white in 2013. That color above is not Oly white. I always called it "cream".
  8. Lownote38

    Lownote38

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    Original Olympic White was REALLY white with almost a blue hue to it. If it was clear coated it would yellow. The color Fender called Olympic White in the 70s is really more like the yellowed, or aged original olympic white. They should have called it vintage white as that's what it really is.
  9. soaf

    soaf

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    The paint code for Olympic White in the 60s and 70s is most likely the same. Perhaps when they switched from lacquer to poly they put a little yellow tint in the clear coat to vintage up the look of the white. I wish retired Fender staffers would weigh in on these Forums :confused:
  10. thebrian

    thebrian Still can't think of anything good to put here. Supporting Member

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    Don't forget, "Blonde" was also a color option in the '70s. Blonde and Oly can look almost the same 35+ years later, but blonde is transparent so you can usually see a bit of grain through it.
  11. Groover

    Groover

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    Sounds like you have all the correct information. I have a 77 in Olympic white as well that is now pretty much yellow (because of the aged clear-coat). In what state is the bass now?
  12. soaf

    soaf

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    The bass is currently stripped. It was creamy from the beginning... that's what I don't get... so throw the yellowing over time right out the window. It was stripped in the 80s... the second owner hated the yellowish white so he painted it brown. I am the third owner and want it original again.
  13. soaf

    soaf

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    I guess I will just use the Olympic White paint code for the base, and tint the first nitro clear coat with a yellow to give it the vintage look that Fender gave it in the beginning.
  14. FourBanger

    FourBanger

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    That's it, that sounds like what I was trying to remember. Seems between yellowing, aging, and materials changes some of Fender's colors can be tough to nail down on a vintage instrument and it seems especially applicable to the whites and reds.

    Edit: http://www.fenderforum.com/forum.html?db=2002&topic_number=182937 this old page has discussion about Fender whites with some interesting insight from someone posting as a Fender employee.
  15. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't bank on that getting you what you want. As you already know, that color isn't "yellowed through age". The color itself is pretty common on 70's Pbasses.
  16. thebrian

    thebrian Still can't think of anything good to put here. Supporting Member

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    The guy in that thread that says he worked/works at Fender says Oly White was replaced with Arctic White in 1980 and it wasn't Oly White again until the Custom Shop started using it again in the late '80s. However, I'm pretty darn sure that the color used on the early Fullerton AVRIs ('82-84) was called Oly White, not Arctic. I've even heard that it may have been called "vintage" white on the Fullertons. But seeing as though Fender was returning to their roots when they released the AVRI series, I highly doubt they would have called the white on those reissues a brand new color that did not exist in the '60s.
  17. soaf

    soaf

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    It was definitely not a transparent. It was Vintage White only that colour had not ezisted yet as a Fender color. They must have shot it as Vintage White with a yellowish-tinted clear coat.

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