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1958...Or 1969 Frankenstein Fender P?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by L. L. Elwood, Mar 25, 2020.


  1. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Colorado
    Hey everybody, inspired by another recent post I thought I would just share pictures of my most prized possession. This is a 1958 modified precision that I inherited from a dear friend as it is. The body is 1958. Pickup is also from '58, it has a lollar jazz pick up that has been routed in & series/parallel wired electronics. The neck is from a 1969 tele bass and is as thick as 1/2 a baseball bat...and It has THE tone. I use it 99% of the time with just the p pickup on..it just sounds like.. wood. Warm and beautiful wood. I've tried different necks on it and it actually ruins the sound. It's an enigma. Love it! IMG_20200325_181743.jpg IMG_20200325_181748.jpg IMG_20200325_181754.jpg IMG_20200325_181758.jpg IMG_20200325_181805.jpg IMG_20200325_181817.jpg IMG_20200325_181821.jpg IMG_20200325_181830.jpg
     
  2. shojii

    shojii

    Sep 7, 2011
    .

    Oh my, that's rather special....never sell it!
     
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Very. Cool.

    That thing could tell some stories.
     
  4. Dluxe

    Dluxe

    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Do you know if it was previously refinished? The reason I ask is the Sunburst pattern by the neckplate looks very 70's ish. What's your take @The Bass Clef
     
    The Bass Clef likes this.
  5. That nut looks quite interesting. Looks brass and snake like. Killer bass! I bet that thing thumps like no other.
     
    707GK and imabuddha like this.
  6. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    I agree, the black swooping under the neck plate was a ‘70s way of doing sunburst (starting in 1969). A pre-CBS sunburst pattern looks like the pic below. All sunburst finishes were done by hand, so there is the possibility of human variation at any point. But if I were interested in the bass as a buyer, I would want to thoroughly investigate the bass further to have any confidence personally, that this is the original finish.

    2E087B48-498F-48D6-A831-8BD695AC3426.jpeg
     
    imabuddha and Volker Kirstein like this.
  7. stonehenge

    stonehenge

    Apr 8, 2011
    Duvall WA
    Cool bass! What’s the little black Fender thing clipped on the headstock? Doesn’t look like a tuner
     
    ROOTSnFIFTHS likes this.
  8. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Colorado
    Yep.Tuner.
     
    stonehenge likes this.
  9. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    Oh, me gusta.
     
  10. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Colorado
    OK. I've been digging in a little on the date of the body question. Though the neck plate is from 1958, the body does appear to have a clear hard undercoat, possibly poly. And from what I have learned, fender started doing some sort of poly undercoat then shooting nitro over that around about 1963. The pic of the up close neck plate clearly illustrates that there is a robust undercoat of some kind. Would love to unravel this mystery! Perhaps this is a '69 or '70 body... I'll take the neck off today and see what I can discover.. I don't remember seeing any discernible date last time I had the neck off, but there may be some clue there...
     
  11. Axstar

    Axstar Banned SUSPENDED

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    I was thinking the same as there is a lot of red in the mix on the back. I would expect a 1958 burst to be a lot more like a 2-tone burst.

    Scalloping between the strings is a slightly old school luthier thing, built into the notion that you isolate the strings more if you remove mass between them at the nut.

    So, you upgrade to a brass nut for mass and sustain, but hog 33% of the brass away for.... reasons.


    I think these player modded basses will actually become the next big thing on the vintage market. If some guy loved his bass enough to stick a Badass on it and some hand crafted brass nut, and maybe some cream Dimarzios, then it must be a gem of a playing instrument. Not a glass case instrument, but one that has a story to tell.
     
  12. Ghastly

    Ghastly

    Oct 18, 2015
    Mill Valley
    I may be off by a year, but I thought the 3 tone sunburst began in '59? Cool bass, however, especially for a parts bass!
     
  13. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I would not care if it were made up of old Fender parts and Indonesian Squier parts from all decades... do NOT care... that bass is COOL, has the TONE, and is definitely a keeper!
     
    707GK likes this.
  14. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Colorado
  15. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Colorado
    Okay I've done a bit more digging and found that the two names in the neck pocket are commonly seen in the early '70s. Chambers and Ayala. Also I did some sunburst research and in fact the poster above talking about the straight black under the neck plate was definitely a feature of 1969/1970. So, I guess where I'm a little confused is the top coat finish I would guess is nitro just because of the way it has deteriorated and the feel of it it feels very thin. I have had a 1977 precision that definitely had Poly finish and it felt much thicker and plasticky. The question now is when did fender stop shooting Poly. If I had to guess I would say this is right around 1970 or perhaps 69? So it is a true Frankenstein even down to the neck plate! The neck plate is from 1958 but that may be the only 1958 component on the bass. Regardless as some other posters have said above the combo is absolute magic.
     
  16. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    The black swooping under the neck plate started in ‘69, but it wasn’t a “69/70 thing” because they did it that way all through the whole decade of the ‘70s. So your body is ‘69 at the oldest. If you take the pickguard off, we can narrow it down further, as the body routing changed in late 1973, and then again in 1976. Poly started in ‘69 as well, but there are widely varying thicknesses of the poly in the ‘70s. And sometimes they shot a mixture of poly, nitro and acrylic, depending on the colors and even the worker and the day, which is why some ‘70s Fender’s finish checks just like a ‘60s finish, and some ‘70s finish just cracks and breaks off in large chunks like a shell (typical of the mid-later ‘70s).
     
  17. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Colorado
    Cool. Thanks a lot! I will take the pick guard off tomorrow And shoot a picture. Thanks for your help on this really appreciate it!
     
    The Bass Clef likes this.
  18. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Colorado
  19. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    Since there is no route (only a tunnel for the wires) between the pickup and control cavities, it places this body in the 1969-73 range.
     
  20. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Regardless of age, that is a very very cool bass you have there. :bassist:
     

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