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51 Precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ariabass, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. Ariabass


    Mar 29, 2008
    I recently inherited my Uncle's bass. He told me through the years that this was a '51 precision (though I only I saw him break it out once). He played for years as a pro in the 60's and 70s. What's the best way to verify? Also did he wreck it by applying tongue oil and removing pick guard? First steps for restoration? Help appreciated.

    As an aside, I'm a guitar player, not a bass player, but this thing plays like butter. Remarkable.

    Attached Files:

    Tbone76, Brio, cazclocker and 10 others like this.
  2. stacker

    stacker Banned

    Feb 24, 2010
    Nothing wrong with tung oil: it actually lets the wood breath and take on a natural patina. Me? I'd keep it the way it is but would get rid of that Badass monstrosity. You'll need to pull the neck for dates and also we'd need to see close-ups of the pots/wiring and of the pickup itself, which looks non-original. The original bridge may have had the serial number on it; do you still have it?

    But if you want to restore it, you'd have to have it stripped then chose your refinish colour and degree of refinish. But, I'd leave it. It looks great the way it is!!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
    wncBass, Aqualung60, RiZzBot and 7 others like this.
  3. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Well, the pickup cavity looks like it's slightly widened to accept that Jazz pickup. But pulling the neck off and that pickup out are the two spots to check if the dates are still here. hopefully someone didn't sand them off.
  4. nerkoids

    nerkoids Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    He's pretty much replaced everything. Those look like mid-60s tuning machines, badass bridge, jazz pup. Didn't know they had anything other than one piece bodies.

    Looks cool though.
    Laklandfan likes this.
  5. Ariabass


    Mar 29, 2008
    Does this have any value in this state? Should I rebuild with original parts to the extent possible? Not much on the Internet about this bass that I've been able to find. Thanks!
  6. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    It's collector value is pretty shot, but as a player, it's got something to it.
    I would only replace parts as to what you would like to do with it. I would keep it pretty much as is. Maybe add a pickguard.
    Mastermold, fred2720 and Aqualung60 like this.
  7. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Oh it certainly has value even in that state. The original bridge had the serial number on it. Any chance he had a junk drawer in a garage or shed you can try finding?
    Finding original parts for those 51-54 slabs boil down to two words... good luck.
    Ductapeman, floydman and fred2720 like this.
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Very cool looking Fender. Congrats
  9. That's a beauty! Good luck with the resto. And yes definitely has value.
  10. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    If it is from the very fitst batch, it is worth good money even in this condition. Look for any date marking and let us know
  11. Ariabass


    Mar 29, 2008
    Thanks for the info! I'm on vacation but I'll look under the neck when I get back. There's no original equipment laying around anywhere unfortunately. It was modified many, many years ago.
  12. mojomike001

    mojomike001 Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    That's definitely a cool bass to be given. The bridge should certainly go. The pickup routing stretched for the jazz pickup will hurt the value. It could be repaired, but then would need opaque paint. Also something looks off about the shape of the neck heel. It doesn't look as squared-off as the normal pre-57's, but I can't be sure from that picture. Regardless of all of that, it's a cool bass.
  13. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    See now, that is one cool looking bass. No need to do a thing with it. Lots of natural mojo. Let it be. Play it and be cool. Sell it to someone knowing you let a beautiful instrument go into the world. Whatever, it's a win-win.

    Oh and BTW, don't buy any lottery tickets. All your good luck in this lifetime just got spent. Dig the bass.
  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If it the color of the wood, or did he sand a round over where the left arm lies (like a '54)?
  15. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Kinda looks like that spot on the body was contoured a bit.

    Still, a fantastic family treasure.
  16. Ghastly


    Oct 18, 2015
    Mill Valley
    This is my holy grail bass… sort of. It looks totally cool as is, though I generally agree with the sentiment about the badass bridge, etc. It is a shame about all the mods, especially the body stripping; but it still looks truly beautiful right now. And if it plays well… Bullseye!

    BTW, it's lost all of it's value, but since I feel sorry for you I'll give you $1000 for it 'cause I'm a decent guy. :smug:
    Ariabass likes this.
  17. Planespotter


    Oct 11, 2015
    I'd leave it as is. It's a family heirloom that your uncle modified to make it the way he wanted. The very definition of mojo if you ask me.
    Tbone76, wcriley, Roxbororob and 10 others like this.
  18. Dluxe


    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Post a pic of the back of the body when you get a chance.
  19. I like it fine the way it is! Now enjoy it you're a fortunate son!
  20. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    So I guess your plan is to try to turn this around for cash? I doubt you'll get what you think... this is a player piece, not a collectible. I suggest picking up the bass! It's a fun instrument and you'll do your uncle proud. :D

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