Fender basses in the early 1970s

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mosfed, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Mosfed

    Mosfed Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 21, 2013
    Mont Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    hey boys

    So I just purchased a 1972 Fender Jazz bass which is the first instrument I have from my birth year.

    My question is - was Fender still using nitro finishes in the early 1970s? There is significant wear on this bass that I have trouble believing could have happened if it was coated in acrylic or urethane. but I had thought that Fender had moved away from nitro by 1972.

    Does anyone know?

  2. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i don't have an answer, i just want to see it!;)
  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Change over to poly was supposed to be in 68 so a 72 should not be nitro.
  4. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    Poly finish but it does show the wear and tear with heavy use .
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  6. 6stringpanda


    Aug 9, 2013
    Actually I think they used a thin coat of magic on their instruments in the 70's.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yep. Poly, although not quite the super thick coats that came later. It does wear and weather check though. The only nitro shot on those era basses are the face of the headstock. You may notice its a bit darker in color than the rest of the neck...
  8. zacmac


    Dec 10, 2012
    67-68 was the switch. Well really 68 but you see basses from time to time with old logo nitro necks with 67 dates and a poly burst body. Nitro returned in 1982 with the reissue American Vintage series
  9. From what I've read, Fender switched to polyurethane in 1968 for the base coats and back of necks but continued to use nitrocellulose for the top coat and headstock for some time. Don't know how true that is and if so how long Fender did that for. Of course over time any finish, even poly will wear down with heavy use.
  10. sonicblue62

    sonicblue62 Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Twin Falls, Idaho
    + 1. I just got a '73 Jazz that I'm in love with; it's also beat to heck. Planning on posting picks after I get all the correct parts (bridge cover, etc. )
  11. Dragan


    Oct 5, 2009
    Everytime I had the chance to play an early 70s Fender I was thinking thats the best bass in my life. Congratulation!
  12. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I had a few early 70's Fenders and the poly back then was nothing like todays. It was thin and fragile. All of mine had cracks and wear marks not as much as nitro but not far behind it either.
  13. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada


    my two 72 Pbasses showing the wear and tear . Not done with power tools , just honest wear and tear
  14. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    By '72, just the face of the headstock was nitro, but the rest of the instrument was poly. That's why a lot of the early to mid 70s Fenders have an orange-ish headstock face. The nitro would start to "amber", but the poly stayed the same.
  15. tomydacat

    tomydacat Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2009
  16. yes and no. There was still nitro being used for the color layers (sunburst for sure!), the base- & clearcoat were poly. Face of the headstock was nitro.
  17. whatever4


    Dec 12, 2012
    This is the only photo I have on hand, but it shows how my Olympic White 72 yellowed on both the body and the headstock. The finish also checked, but you can't see it in this photo.

    Attached Files:

  18. Here is my '72 P (funk-machine) lol
    Rare A neck with a very dark FB
  19. Just got an old beat to hell early 70s jazz. The finish is definetly poly but is much thinner and seems like it wears much easier than my 2005 American standard