1959 Precision Bass(es) conundrum

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by magnaton, Mar 17, 2021.

  1. Bass 1

    22 vote(s)
  2. Bass 2

    39 vote(s)
  1. magnaton


    Dec 12, 2013
    New York
    Two vintage 1959 P basses have become available to me for purchase from a private seller. While I'd obviously love to buy both, that's not something I can entertain right now (and owning one would be special enough!)

    Had an incredible time putting them through their paces and they're unique and fun in their own way so having an impossible time choosing.

    Trying to get a sense from the collective wisdom here which is the way to go. They're available to me for the same price. Both 3TSB, anodized guard, maple neck, tweed case and 2-59 neck date. Wanted to call out some key differences below. Which way would you go and why?

    Bass 1:
    Refret and new nut. Neck finish, while original, feels quite thick compared to Bass 2. More tacky to slide up and down almost like a newer P, which I don't love.

    Bass 2:
    Original frets and nut. Neck much smoother and more worn so really feels great like a vintage P should. From finish transfer marks where neck and body join (you know, how some body paint lands up on the neck butt) it seems like this neck is not original to the body. So at worst *possibly* a period correct neck swap.

    Help me please! Carrots assumed to be the right option so left out of the polls :)
  2. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    No pics, no bass, you know the rule.

    If I liked both the same way, and they sounded both great, I would pick the one that could be most valuable in the future.
  3. rhubarb
  4. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    If for me, bass 2, but I’d want to know facts about that neck pedigree. May be a bargaining chip if they don’t have info. I’m no collector/investor, so how it plays is my priority.
    satjhmo and Tbone76 like this.
  5. FenderP

    FenderP Supporting Member

    May 7, 2005
    I had a mixed '63/'66 P at one point.Part of the point of the design is that you could swap necks.

    If you're buying it as a player not a museum piece, get the one that feels better in your hands.

    That said, I don't think an era appropriate neck swap is going to affect the price much, if any.
  6. Well, I'd like to know fret/nut condition on Bass 2, but even if the nut is good and there is 70% or more left on the frets, the possibility of a non-original or period-correct neck concerns me.

    With what I know, Bass 1 gets the nod, and do some gentle treatment on the back of the neck until it's not so sticky for you.
  7. magnaton


    Dec 12, 2013
    New York
    Thanks all! Helpful so far

    I know ugh sorry. Seller asked for discretion but promise NBD and tons of pics after I make the purchase.

    Fret and nut condition of Bass 2 is probably at around 60%. Maybe a bit less but I play flats so likely not gonna be an issue.
  8. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    I’d go for number 1. You don’t need To worry about a future refret. If the finish is indeed original, then your personal opinion of what it should feel like is irrelevant.

    I’ve ever only owned one 58-59 P. It was a wonderful bass. But , there is nothing that The 59 bass was better at than a modern production (cv or CS squier), except for mojo.

    keep in mind that these basses were made in a workshop , not anything close to a modern factory.

    If you can afford either one , go for the one that clicks with you. If you have to stretch your budget to buy either one , buy the one with the highest possible resale value.
    J_Bass likes this.
  9. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    I voted #2 because:
    - there isn’t a carrots option. I mean, they’re both ‘59 P basses.
    - you like the feel of the neck better, and for me that’s always the weightiest factor. But maybe a little light sanding on the neck of bass #1 wouldn’t be a big deal? Anyway, I like a satin or even bare wood feel on the back of a neck. It’s really the only thing I like about relic’ed basses.
  10. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    The tacky neck finish of Bass 1 is easily fixed without jeopardizing the instrument's value, whereas the questionable pedigree of Bass 2's neck would be a red flag for me.
    bassbully and nattiep like this.
  11. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    FOR ME, at the end of the day it's always about feel and weight. The best feeling and lightest would go home with me
    soonercub85 likes this.
  12. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I'd go with #1 and get some steel wool out for the neck
    Groove Doctor and jerry like this.
  13. sonojono

    sonojono Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2013
  14. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    I didn’t vote and almost didn’t post because I don’t care either way, but are you playing it or collecting it?
    Your description sounds like you preferred playing 2. But I don’t know what your goal is in buying either of these two basses. Perhaps identifying that will help you narrow it down.
    Zoffy and BurningSkies like this.
  15. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Buy them both.
  16. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I voted 1 because no pics and also because a played bass of that age isn’t devalued with frets or a nut or a pot any more than replacing strings.
    Since no pics I also vote dropping in an EMG pickup and all new black Hipshot hardware just to poke the TB bear. That would be a funny thread.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Are we sure that the neck on bass #1 isn't an overspray or refin. If the finish is thick and still 'sticky' but it's had enough play to need new frets and a new nut, I'd be suspicious.
  18. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Routed for a Kahler bass trem.
  19. Stewie


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    #1 Lemon Pledge on the back of the neck will clean it AND make it an easy slide. Repeat every couple weeks or as necessary,
  20. shufflebass123

    shufflebass123 Inactive

    Feb 19, 2019
    I would go with #2. Why do you think it's a period correct neck swap? Therer's an easy way to find out if that's the case:

    1. Check the date stamp or pencil mark on the neck itself. I'm assuming there are pics. If there aren't, this guy is up to something and it's a scam. That's true for both of these.

    2. Check the dates on the Pots. The months don't have to match up exactly and often times don't. But if they match up within a few months, it's real. If they're off by 6 months to a year, it likely isn't.
    Ghastly, UNICORN BASS and iiipopes like this.