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Fender re issues-Fullerton and beyond

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by emblymouse, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. emblymouse

    emblymouse I Dig A Pony Supporting Member

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    Endorsing Artist Lakland**Bag End**Schroeder
    I am hip to the 82-83 Fullerton reissues. The line goes on though, what about the following years? How does an 88 compare for example?
  2. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

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    The Fullertons are quite a bit different than the later models like an 88. Fullertons were made using jigs and pin routers in the old Fullerton factory just like the pre CBS basses from which they were patterned. In general the Fullertons have more period correct body contours and neck profiles, and the workmanship is top notch/custom shop quality. The later AV basses (made in the Corona factory on CNC machines) are usually very nice, but not on par with the Fullertons.

    btw, the Fullerton reissue period is from 1982 to the end of 1984.

    Lots of good Fullerton reissue information here (mostly guitar oriented): http://www.fenderreissue.com/
  3. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

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    My bass says, "Made in Fullerton, CA" on it....

    It's a G&L. :)
  4. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

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    Forum member Leif Bas started started a Fullerton reissue website www.myoldbass.phpbb24.com that had some really good information and photos, but that site has since disappeared with no trace. Also, Mr. Bas hasn't been around TB it seems for a couple of years: see this thread for more info: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=325355

    Does anyone know if that website is back under a new name/domain perhaps?
  5. emblymouse

    emblymouse I Dig A Pony Supporting Member

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    Thanks, good stuff!
  6. davidprice

    davidprice

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    Bugged me that I could still always tell them apart from the pre-CBS ones from across a room though - besides the obvious white dots (on the '62 reissues), the different tortoise material and the wider ground strip on the Jazz Basses, the headstocks looked glaringly different from the originals - particularly on the jazz basses - and, of course, the decals and other details if looking closer. The ones now seem to have the look a lot closer.
  7. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

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    The new may look a little closer (pickguard only IMO), but they do not feel or sound closer -- at all.
  8. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

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    they had alot of finish issues on the early ones too. they weren't very smooth with lots of orange peel and a pretty dull finish. when they first came out, i wasn't impressed at all. by '84, i think they got 'em pretty good though.
  9. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

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    The finishes on my 82 and 84 are both really nice.
  10. davidprice

    davidprice

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    I do think they are good instruments but beg to differ. While they are not bad, a lot of the newer stuff, at least the custom shop ones, are closer to the good vintage ones IME (though there is a lot less variance to neck carves which is good or bad depending on one's preferences). I played a friend's custom shop '59 P and it really was within spitting distance of my real '59 in terms of weight, feel, look, detail and tone - much more so than any of the early reissues I've seen and tried (which is a lot as I worked in an SF repair shop that was a Fender warranty center).
    I always found the jazz bass headstock - especially the exaggerated point by the 'E' tuner - at least as obvious as the pickguard differences.
    Still, again, fine instruments and I thought the '50s models got closer than the '62 versions.
  11. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

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    You are comparing Fullerton reissues to current custom shop models. I and the op were comparing Fullerton reissues to current AV reissues. As far as that goes, though, to my knowledge the current custom shop models are cut out on the same CNC machines as the current AV models -- not the original pin router and jigs like the pre CBS and Fullerton reissue models. The custom shop body contours (on the models I've played at least) are not like pre CBS and Fullerton reissue models. Also, the custom shop models I've played (and that often get posted here on TB classifieds) are typically heavier than typical Fullerton reissues; and the Fullerton rosewood boards are typically much nicer than the light brown boards that show up on many custom shop models.

    These are all nice bass (Fullerton reissues, current reissues, and custom shops), but the Fullerton reissues are unique in a way that the current models just are not.

    btw, the shop I worked in years ago had an early 58 Precision that we kept around (belonged to the owner) and I know that my 57 Fullerton feels a whole lot more like that 58 than any AV or custom shop model I've played.
  12. davidprice

    davidprice

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    We agree these are all nice basses. Yes, I did cite the custom shop basses (and one in particular) but I believe you are correct that the necks and bodies would be cut out on the same CNC machines as the current AV models so not wholly different. Yeah, the op asked about how the Fullertons compare to an '88 for example - actually, he says, "The line goes on though, what about the following years?" and the thread is titled "Fullerton and beyond" which seems to leave it pretty open. (I'd say the average Fullertons are better than the average 88s - but I think they've improved since the late '80s, so I think it's relevant - though my original statement is still true; I can easily spot them - especially the 62 models - as reissues from a distance and that has gotten harder/less obvious with some of the newer ones).
    As to the weights, the Fullerton ones may be typically lighter though I've seen heavy ones just as I've seen light newer ones. I do agree that the lighter colored wood boards on the newer ones is an obvious giveaway though the Fullertons I've seen didn't have the really dark Brazilian rosewood either - a sort of incremental difference compared to the pre CBS instruments.
    I had a Fullerton '57 P bass (and gigged it quite a lot) so I have the frame of reference. I have a '59 and had a '58 (and owned other '60s ones and played a lot of others via working in a repair center and vintage shop - I also worked in Jim Messina's recording studio where he had original examples of just about everything). The custom shop '59 I mentioned was WAY closer in feel and sound to my real '59 than the Fullerton - and was lighter and more resonant than the Fullerton, too - pickup sounded much closer and, while it doesn't effect the sound at all, a lot of the cosmetic details were closer (eg the anodized guard looked more 'correct' and was lacquered as the originals were) and the contours were closer when putting these instruments side-by-side. Granted, I think that was a particularly good example so it may not be a fair comparison - just as yours may be picks of the litter.
    Again, the Fullertons are great instruments and I can agree that they are more unique in that there was more variation in manufacturing. I just don't believe the current ones are inherently inferior. To say "they (the newer ones) do not feel or sound closer -- at all" as an absolutist statement does not correspond to my experience - there are great ones in all eras and ones that are less so.
  13. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

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    I do think both of my Fullertons are very nice examples! Staying with the Fullerton versus current AV comparison, though, and I have had several of each, the AVs are not like the Fullertons. I am looking at my 2005 AV 62 Jazz and my 84 Fullerton 62 reissue Jazz right now, and there are many subtle and not so subtle differences. The deep body contours (router hump) and slim neck profile are defiantly more like a pre CBS Jazz on the Fullerton, versus the AV. The Fullerton, at 8.5 pounds is almost a pound lighter than the AV too! The rosewood board on the Fullerton is darker and tighter grained than the AV. And the Fullerton is more resonant and punchier than the AV. I have not owned as many pre CBS basses as you have, but I have played a bunch of them over the years. I know there was quite a bit of manufacturing variance in the old ones. I had a good friend who had an all original stack knob back in the early 90s (I got to play it quite a bit too!). I can say that my Fullerton 62 neck feels more like that stack knob than my 2005 AV.

    As far as the Precisions, I've had a late model 57 RI, a late model 62 reissue, and my current Fullerton 57. Again, the Fullerton has the deep body contours and soft v profile neck (like a real 57) that the current AVs do not have. My Fullerton weighs 8.2 pounds, and is the best Precision I've ever played -- including several pre CBS models.

    All of the the AVs I've owned and played were/are great instruments, and I play my 2005 as much as my other basses.
  14. davidprice

    davidprice

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    I have to defer to you on the 2005ish ones - I've never owned one of those so you know them better. Really just saying they did address some of the cosmetic details that I noticed as 'off' on the earlier iterations (which still would not stop me from using one - same being true of just trying out ones from 88 or 2005 or whatever - it's pretty much always take the individual instrument on its own merits - even if made via CNC). Good that you've got good ones!
    Interestingly on the 57 RI having the 'V' carve, of all the pre CBS ones I've seen, I only remember 2 basses with a 'V' carve on the neck (pretty common on the strats) one of which was extreme - a blond '57 in exceptional condition that went to Albert at Guitars R Us and is in his Fender bass book.
    I actually played a '80s Japanese Fender jazz and the neck carve felt remarkably like my old stack-knob (except for the poly finish of course)
    There was a lot of manufacturing variance in the old ones but I think they tended to be more consistent than people give them credit for. I actually think the bigger variance is what level of abuse they may have been subjected to in all the years since being made - I remember seeing a pre CBS (custom color, no less) jazz that had been kept for years in a tool shed in Louisiana and looked just like one would imagine. I don't see how the neck (or metal parts) on any bass would have survived that.
  15. someparts

    someparts Supporting Member

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    One of my main players is a beat '57 P reissue from that '82-3 era, and they just feel "old". Flattest neck of any P made since the early 60s....lightweight with lots of growl and rings like a bell. I've had a bunch of C-code necked Precisions in my time...60s, 90s and 00s AVRIs, Custom Shops, CS Limited Editions and so on.....so I can say that from a playing standpoint they are real high on my list.
  16. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member

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    IME, the weight of any year AV RI or CS bass, comes down to the individual bass. i've worked on and played a few 9 1/2lb '82 AV RI p basses, and several 8 lb ones. and in 2005 i played a brand new AV RI '62 P at a sam ash that weighed 7lbs 10 oz (i took my scale with me because i couldn't believe how light it was).
  17. MetsMan75

    MetsMan75 Supporting Member

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    Hey all,
    Just been wondering if anyone knows the entire truth on the Fender "fullertons" I've been looking on different forums to see how many people own a Fender "Fullerton" '57 reissue that has a V shaped neck (which is what would be period correct). I'm even curious about the Strats too because to be period correct they would have a V shaped neck. I have owned a couple Fullerton '57 reissue P basses, one from 1982 and the other from early 1983 and both were said to have had V necks but when I recieved them they definately were not even a soft V in my oppinion....they both were definately C profile to me. Maybe some people have a different oppinion of neck profiles? IDK I also see some people sell them that say they are C and on a website right now theres an '83 for sale that says it has a V profile neck. If they trully exist I would love to find one because I happen to Love V profile necks, theres nothing like them. I was lucky enough to play a real '57 before and it was the sweetest most comfortable I've ever played in my life! I'd appreciate any input anybody has on their experiences with these things. They do seem to be beautiful basses and have great craftmanship but I'm curious about the necks. I even compared both of mine when I owned them to my classic '50s P bass & Road Worn and they were similiar especially the nut width of approx 1.75 (I think my "Fullerton" was about 1.77) but the classic '50s was actually deeper front to back of neck. Usually a V neck is a little thinnner at nut but deeper front to back and feels chunky front to back but skinnier the other way because of the V contour. Real '50s V necks are usually about 1&5/8 at nut. I've played the newer Corona '57 reissues and the neck looks very similiar to the "Fullertons" and the Road Worn and Classic '50s...all C necks to me. I recently saw a Fender "Fullerton" '62 reissue for sale being advertised to have a V profile neck which has to be false. I've been reading as much info I can find about the early '80s Fullertons and I cant seem to find any legitimate source to back up the theory that Fender hired the original guys from the Pre-CBS days to make these reissues and even used the original jigs and tools and that they were made by hand like the old days and not on CNC machines. I have a bunch of Fender bass books and I can never find that much info...i'm just curious to know the truth about them. In the last edition of Guitarist magazine (Dec 2012) Theres a cool little article about the "Fullertons" in there and it was only a couple pages. According to Dan Smith they did research on the old guitars and went to a vintage music store and purchased particular models to help guide them because technical drawings were not available for pre-CBS guitars and basses. He didnt mention anything about hiring the old Pre-CBS guys and he also didnt mention anything about acquiring the original jigs and tooling. It dont mean it didnt happen, but if it did it just wasnt mentioned in that article. I wish they did a longer article. Smith also was quoted as saying that he made the decision to NOT do V necks on any of the reissues after talking to different guitarists. That was the main modern concession he made because he felt more people prefer a C neck and it may detract some people from buying them with a V. I'm just curious if they were hand made and necks hand shaped like old days, if any of them were given a V anyway by some of the Old Fender Guys? I'm curious if there are variations in each of the necks as it should be if they were made like the old days? I'd love to hear all your info and experiences with these things. Happy New Year!:bassist:

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