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70's FENDER, 100% NATURAL??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lowphatbass, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    While there are obvious fakes(strip-jobs), with the price of a 70's Fender being what it is it seems like I've seen a lot of "questionably Natural" basses on the market lately. It also seems that a fair amount of 60's basses were stripped in during the 70's when that natural look was at it's peak popularity.

    Any tips? Is there anything concrete or is it just a matter of judging grain and looking under the PG for fading or residue? It seems like spotting a real "Natural" Fender may just take an experienced eye.
  2. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    For the amount of money those basses are getting, I'd insist on pics of the neck pocket and under the pickguard. You could strip the entire body and refin it natural, but you'd lose any Fender markings in the process. And one that doesn't get completely stripped will have the original color showing in the pocket.
  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    most early 70's p basses were still made of alder, with the exception of the custom colred trans blonde finish, and they never offered a natural finish on alder. IIRC the ash bodied ones came out as the standard body for all colors, in around 1976, but its possible that they may have made some candy red and lake placid blue ones using alder bodies, since the metallic finishes usually required a wood with less grain relief.

    by the 70's all of them were 'poly' finished. probably the most difficult to detect would be one that was originally natural and then reshot natural again, as its pretty easy to see if a custom colored or sunburst bass has been refinished.
  4. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I can certainly understand, as well as agree that a good view of the neck pocket is mandatory. It seems like the stamps, stickers and marking on these areas of the basses are pretty illegible and can be inconsistent, I think I read somewhere that at around half of all Fender instruments ranging from the 50's to the 70's were either unreadable or not marked at all, although this may be been referring to neck stamps only.
    So as far as you guys know there isn't a lot of "doctoring" going on in terms of pocket or neck markings? Or is it like a good counterfeit bill, you never see them because they're so good you never notice them and pass them on to the next person?
  5. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I think if someone were to do a really good counterfeit, they'd choose to fake a bass with a bigger payoff than a '70's Precision. Early Strats, Les Pauls, that sort of thing.
  6. FanOfAlice


    Nov 8, 2006
    But then you would be expecting that now wouldnt you?
  7. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    You're too cynical. IMO the money that would go into copying a 70s instrument would not give you a large enough margin on resale. If you see a bass that is natural that has an odd grain or very obviously mismatched pieces of wood, chances are it was a solid color. Otherwise, if it's from the 70s, it was probably natural. Most original natural finishes from that time period have yellowed so they won't look like a modern natural (or a recent refinish).

    This website is pretty good if you want to look over the details of the specific era, although it's more directed at 60s instruments, it does cover the 70s as well:

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