Help ID 77-78 Fender P bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by OldSchool50, Dec 20, 2013.


  1. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    Connecticut
    I'm trying to confirm dates on a nice looking Pbass that has a headstock serial number putting it at 77-78. Ive read many threads about ID from pots and pickups and am pursuing it. I have some photos but not enough to confirm yet.

    Here are a few pix that the owner has posted. Anyone see anything here that would indicate it's not all original. I realize that there are other things to check but I'm hoping to avoid a long drive if there's some obvious tipoff. I'm not sure why pots etc weren't photod when it was open but I will find out.

    WHat about this pickguard serial #? Does it tell anything.
    MOre photos coming

    Any help is appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    Connecticut
    Two more photos

    Attached Files:

  3. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    inside

    Attached Files:

  4. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    Again, thanks for any assistance from the eagle eyes out there.

    Attached Files:

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  6. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

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    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern PA
    All looks original so far. Pickup codes and pot codes will help confirm.
  7. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    Mar 15, 2013
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    Thanks any more input? Need to decide on making the drive
  8. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

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    Aug 7, 2009
    ask for pic of front of headstock. serial number on front of headstock should match serial number on back of pick guard.
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies Supporting Member

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    Feb 20, 2005
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    Seweracuse, NY
    I concur. From the details given, it looks to be original. Pot dates, picture of the pickup backs/codes would confirm.
  10. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    Is this true? the serial numbers of headstock and pickup are different. GIven how these were assembled (from what I've read) wouldn't it be common to have different serial numbers. I'm still waiting for more photos of pots and PUs.

    Headstorck S896797
    Pickguard S754468
    Should this discrepancy be of concern?

    Attached Files:

  11. Dluxe

    Dluxe

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Either the pickguard or neck have been swapped. Not a big deal for me. The neck dates to 1979 according to the code.
  12. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    THat what I thought. IF you run the pickguard serial through the various dating (fender and dating project) it also dates to that period. But I can't find much info about serial numbers on pickguards, which seems unusual. I don't think I've ever seen a sticker like that one on a vintage Fender, but That's just me.
  13. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

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    Aug 7, 2009
    I'm selling a vintage J all original and I have a picture showing matching serial numbers. Matters to some, not to others. I cant say that I've ever seen that kind of number stamp on the neck heel on a vintage fender, maybe someone else can speak to that...
  14. Cree

    Cree

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    You are probably going to need the pot codes to truly identify the year. I have a P-Bass from that era that the serial number says was manufactured in 1979. I looked at the pot codes and they are from 1980.
  15. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    You appear to be right about the pickguard stickers and headstock serial matching. I've found a number of basses from that era for sale. WHen they showed both they matched. And that neck heel number does seem odd with the cent sign right in the center and numbers not corresponding to any logic I've seen on other neck. A bit of a mystery on that. I'm expecting to see some pot photos in the next few day.
    Thanks to all for all the help so far. More input is welcome, especially on that odd neck stamp.
  16. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

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    Well, the bass is certainly not "all original". It may have all "period correct" parts. At this point it comes down to how well it plays and how much he is asking for it. And maybe how much it weighs. Do you mind us asking you how much he is selling it for?
  17. HeavyRockBasser

    HeavyRockBasser

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    Location:
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    My guess is that it probably began life with a white pickguard. Late 70's/early 80's Olympic whites were often white on white. If it was replaced with another Fender OEM pickguard, of similar vintage, I don't see that as a bad thing. Might bother a collector. Wouldn't bother me.
  18. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

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    Location:
    boston, ma
    I have three 78s, all the pickguard and headstock serials match. This is definitely not stock, but could be a period correct replacement. The sticker in the pickup cavity is curious. There should be a brass shielding plate under the pickup that is attached into the body and soldered into the pickup grounding, makes me wonder if this was removed during a refinish? It's part of the grounding of the pickups so it may have been pulled out with the pickup for the picture. As others have said, if it was the late 70s/early 80s style of white on white then it may just be a replacement. Wouldn't bother me if the price was right and it played well.
  19. OldSchool50

    OldSchool50 OldSchool50 Supporting Member

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    Here's a few answers and info.

    Asking price was $1400 but I'm pretty sure he would take less. I have a few more photos but they don't show much else except the Fender case with a period correct emblem.

    NOw that it's pointed out, that cavity looks odd to me. Is that the even the right shape?

    I hadn't considered a refinish. ANyone see other signs that it was?

    The owner says he's owned it since the early80s. Email only so far but I expect to talk by phone soon.
    I've been promised more photos. Other than pot and pickup codes and better look at the body with pickguard removed, any suggestions for photos as this point.

    If that checks out only thing left will be to make the drive and play it.

    Again, thanks for the helpful comments
  20. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    boston, ma
    Hard to tell without more pictures. Compare it to the 80s routing seen in this thread. This is one my 78s:

    [​IMG]

    And here you can kind of see the brass shielding plate:

    [​IMG]

    On the jazz basses they used glazier points to hold the brass plate into the control cavity and the pickup cavities, I can't recall if they were on the P basses as well of it they were just soldered into the ground wiring. If it was just in the ground wiring that would explain the absence from the picture.

    The body stamps look different than the one of my basses I've disassembled which could point to later 70s/early 80s style:

    [​IMG]

    As said above, the neck stamp appears to code to 79 though the guidelines also say 0110 would be fretless maple, could have been loosely followed.
  21. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

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    Aug 7, 2009
    All in all, IMO, there are too many questions here and nothing terribly special about the bass so far to make me want to take a drive to see it. He would have to go significantly lower on the price for me to bite.

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