1972 (?) Fender P questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Barton Lee, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Barton Lee

    Barton Lee Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    36 years ago, my girlfriend bought this Fender P bass, which she gigged for ten years before switching over to a Jazz. I used this P for a couple of recording sessions years ago, but never used it much otherwise as I already had a 66 P as my main player.

    We've decided to sell it as part of our downsizing plan. Here's the bass:

    It was refinished and missing the original bridge and covers when she purchased it. This bass came with two necks. The one currently on the bass is stamped September 1971 and is a narrow Jazz width (1.5 by my measure). This other neck is the original, or so we've always believed:
    20190605_134025.jpg 20190605_134107.jpg
    I've always assumed that a previous owner pulled the frets on this 72 neck, which was on the bass when she bought it. The other neck was thrown in as part of the deal, and the fretless neck was what drew her to the bass. What (if anything) do the "Special" or "B" stamps mean?

    My questions are, would it be better to sell this thing with the 72 fretless neck or as is? Better to sell it with both necks or one separately? The serial number on the neck plate is 320244, so perhaps the fretted 71 neck is actually the original one??

    The 71 fretted neck is rough cosmetically but the frets are in great shape, the nut is new and the pocket is very solid. Intonation is perfect and it's sounds exactly like an early 70s P bass should. The fretless neck worked just as well last time it was on the bass and I'd keep it around if I needed it, but I have a Tony Franklin fretless that I love. I've always assumed it's harder to sell a fretless and this bass is far from all there, with the Schaller roller bridge, replacement knobs and no original case, though I believe the pickup and pots are original.

    Perhaps this is just a slightly more valuable parts bass. I honestly don't know the best way to go. I'd include a new Fender standard case as part of the sale but have no idea how best to present it and price it. Anyone?
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  2. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    The stamped lettering, as I understood it, referred to nut width and not neck profile.
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  3. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    Yep, I believe a "B" is 1 5/8 at the nut.

    The "C" is 1 3/4 at the nut.

    OP, as I understand it the most valuable neck on the 70's P bass tends to be the "A" -- 1 1/2" at the nut, like a Jazz. Presumably there were less "A" profiles released.
  4. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    I had a '57RI on loan back in the late '90s and it had, I think, the C width but a shallow profile.
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  5. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
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  6. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    'Special' might mean B stock, a neck with certain flaws. Or, just maybe, it was a special order, given that it has no skunk stripe (which you'd see on a P neck of that era) and thus most certainly has a maple cap.
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  7. Barton Lee

    Barton Lee Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    I'll take it to a local high-end vintage guitar shop and see what they think it's worth. Guessing it might be best to leave it as is. I weighed it last night for the first time and it's a fairly heavy beast at 10.4 lbs, but it also sounds "heavy" and aggressive. The pickup sounds very similar to the P pickup on my Tony Franklin.

    Since I had the scale at hand, I weighed my other basses including this Dakota red 66 P that is my avatar. I purchased this bass in 1981 and played hundreds of gigs with it over the years, but never knew exactly how much it weighs, though it's always felt lighter than any other P bass I've run across. The scale doesn't lie.
    7.6 lbs! It doesn't sound lightweight at all, though the tone is warmer than the other P, more low end and less mid-range bark. It's an old refin and missing the original bridge, a knob, the case and covers, but then I'll never sell it anyway. So many memories with this one...
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  8. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Yes, someone defretted that 72 neck.
    Yes, fretlesses are generally harder to sell.

    You'll probably do best selling the defretted neck off separately. the underside of the pickups will have stamp codes, last digit being the year. If the pots are original they'll have date codes too.
  9. leche


    Feb 2, 2009

    what kind of pickups are those? they original?
  10. Barton Lee

    Barton Lee Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    If you're referring to the red 66 P, I believe the answer is yes, they are original. The bass was sold to me by a reputable shop as a stock 66 with new paint. I've never pulled them to look for the date codes and never had anything done to the bass other than setups. It was the light weight that drew me to the bass, and the color. It was pristine in 1981 other than a deep dent in the back of the neck at first position. That annoyed me at first but I got used to it, and over the many years of playing it, my left thumb completely wore it smooth; you'd never know it had been there. The pickups sound great with an overdriven tube amp.
  11. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I've never seen the word "special" on any Fender bass neck and I have 2 J's and 3 P's from the early 70's and 1 1960P.
    My 73' P came with the reasonably rare A neck and as stated above by those in the now the letters mean:
    A - 1 1/2" (at the nut) Jazz width
    B - 1 5/8" which covered all of the 70's to the present with a few "vintage" offerings
    C - 1 3/4" standard early 60's width but don't remember when they switched to a B neck as the standard size