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1952 Fender bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by suraci, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. suraci


    Apr 11, 2005
    I once paid $280 for a Fender bass that killed in the studios- just before click tracks came in. I only played with a condescending Bernard Purdie one blessed time. and it was with that killer bass. HIGH action, old old La bella flatwounds, heaviest gauge. The money notes, low E and Low A sounded great. Lots of sustain in a unique way. Neck was V shaped the way string basses were.

    It was stolen by a man I never forgave. He owned a guitar shop where I left it, and never saw it again. he gave me $280 for it around 1971 0r 2.

    The thing about the sound was this ( I own a pre cbs sixties jazz now, which does NOT in anyway resemble that punch ) it had an initial drop in volume after the attack, that amounted in my mind to punch, YET it sustained well after the initial drop in volume. genius in my book= Leo Fender.
    No other bass in my experience does this. That is until I met Paul Jackson ( from Chameleon Headhunter fame a great great player ) and he owns a similar bass as mine. His was maybe a year newer. It had totally different custom pickup from bartolini on it... they said "Hi A" on them- two of them.
    Here is the thing, I told a fellow bass player about it.. long story he said that drop in volume that I love for punch is essentially solely from the pick up design. ( I guess it was a no name pick up or some type of Telecaster, I really do not know- serial number was #1089 .) If you own it, I guess its yours now, but that was one hell of a bass- engineers loved it - a session guitar player said the low E reminded him of a Piano Strings low low E being plucked- unique sound.

    Do you agree with his opinion... only the pickup would account for the initial attack as I attempted to describe it?

    edit: For history buffs I bought it in the East Village from a shop that Dan Armstrong owned.
  2. REMBO


    Jul 26, 2011
    Cool story.....maybe it can be found?? ya never know!!!
  3. suraci


    Apr 11, 2005
    My days of hoped-for-carrot-on-a-stick glory, have come and gone.
    if you owned that bass, would you return it? I don't know the current thinking on allegations of stolen vintage basses form 40 years ago!! I cannot prove anything except my recall of the serial number... no bill of sale from Mr Armstrong, nor a letter of apology from Pietro Carbone for "losing it".. who is likely not alive.
    I would be curious if a fellow like Enwhistle had it in his collection.
    One other recall about it/// The tuning pegs were very very very hard to turn. before the days of electric tuners. I don't recall tuning it a lot!
    It had a very strong powerfully built feeling in your hands. And the tuning pegs ( or whatever they are now called ) were appropriately tough. I can't explain the physical sensation of picking up and playing a little. Just exuded power somehow.
    Another funny note... Purdie did not say one word to me, except that I was out "of tune"! lol I doubt I was, he just wanted me out of there, is my guess, so Rainey could be there. lol
  4. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I know, people back then didnt think to document instruments, they were simply just old used "guitars". Nobody thought they'd actually be valuable someday.
    But the same topic can be said about anyone who somehow 'lost' a Mustang, Camaro, BelAir, etc. To theft, vadalism, ex wife, etc.

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    Wow..what a story. I am sorry to hear it.

    There is a book by Detlef Scmidt "FENDER PRECISION BASSES 1951-1954 " that has many of these early Precisions and their serial numbers.

    I just moved into a new home and my copy of this book is not with me at the moment. I could swear #1089 was in there. Could be wrong but I will stop by and pick up the book and let you know.

    Have any pics of the bass by chance?

    I would think even in the early 70s, that bass would be worth more than $280 but hey who knows.
  6. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Music shops aren't good place to leave gear.
  7. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Sounds about right to me.

    This '57 cost me $250 in 1972.

  8. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Thanks for posting your story - I was w/every word. I just acquired a '66 P and it for sure speaks to me. (related to your description of your ex-bass) I've built my own basses that sound awesome, and I also own a '64 T-bird, but this P has "it". Speaking of my T-bird, the bass that proceeded it was a '63 T-bird that I bought in a loan-shop for $150 (w/orig case!) in 1974. It was stolen in early fall 1978.

    Like I said.., every word. Life.