70's Fender Jazzes with block inlays... matching pickguard color?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by armybass, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    I was fortunate enough to have owned a handful of vintage 70's Jazz bass when I was younger and I seem to remember on most occasions that the pickguards would match the color of the inlays.... as in a natural jazz with a maple board that had black block inlays came with a black pickguard. Am I wrong here. On most of the current Fender AVRI 70's Jazz basses they seem to be doing the opposite. Now I know that was not always the case... like the classic Geddy bass had black binding and a white guard... but I thought for sure in most cases the guard matched the color of the neck binding. Anyone?
  2. Batmensch


    Jul 4, 2010
    Media, PA.
    I think it depended on the body color mostly. Natural finishes tended to have markers and PG match, while colored ones like the Geddy Lee type tended to have the PG usually associated with a particular body color, like Fender's other black basses came with white PG's no matter what the neck was like.
    I rhink. :)
    armybass likes this.
  3. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    Hi. I'm interested in this topic, but is all of this accurate? What about stock Fender Precisions from that era with maple fingerboards, black finishes, and black pickguards? Isn't that the opposite of what Batmensch is saying?

    And I've seen black jazzes with black pickguards and maple necks with white blocks that are stock, and natural jazz basses with black pickguards with maple necks with white blocks. Are you saying these are NOT stock basses?

  4. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    No I am asking what if any was the norm? The New AVRI's seem to establish a pattern of pick guards being the opposite of the color of the blocks. Just wondering if that was a standard practice back in the early 70's.
  5. Batmensch


    Jul 4, 2010
    Media, PA.
    I guess I could be wrong, all I can tell you is the 70's is when I first got interested in Fenders, and I checked them out quite a lot, and I even had a number of Fender catalogs, and what I said is what I remember about those catalogs. Again, I could be misremembering I suppose.
    armybass likes this.
  6. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    I don't know if you are right or wrong, but I am seeing plenty of allegedly stock 70s jazz basses which may contradict your assertions.

    If you have information or catalogs or images or info to the contrary, please post it here. I think it's an important topic.


  7. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    The guard color has more to do with body color. Generally speaking, "custom" colors came with white guards, and sunburst came with tortoise. My black 72 j with black blocks originally had a white guard. My 74 j (sunburst) came with a tortoise guard, rosewood board, and pearl inlays.

    I think that strictly speaking about natural finishes, black blocks do have a black guard and white blocks do have a white guard.
    armybass likes this.
  8. Dale Griffith

    Dale Griffith

    Jun 6, 2016
    My '72 Jazz is a sunburst with a maple fretboard, black inlays and black pickguard, so the inlays and pickguard match.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
    armybass likes this.
  9. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    my '77 with rosewood / pearloid / ash had a black pick guard (that I took off), for what that's wroth.
  10. It had nothing to do with colour, but all with year.

    Block inlays were used from 1966 onwards:
    In 1966 the standard fretboard was rosewood, with pearloid (whitish) block inlays and white binding. You could-factory order a maple-cap neck, which would come with black bindings and black plastic blocks.
    In 1970, the one-piece maple neck became available again, and was now a fully fledged option next to the rosewood fretboard. Inlay & binding procedure stayed the same as it was: pearloid for rosewood, black for maple.
    In 1973 things started to change for the maple neck. The black binding & black inlays were ditched, and replaced by the same material as used for the rosewood fretboard: white binding and pearloid blocks. This stayed like that until the early eighties.

    Pickguard colours did change over time as well:
    In 1966, the "policy" was: sunburst or white -> tortoise pickguard (WBW plastic pickguard, with tortoise layer on top of that). Custom colours (everything that wasn't white or sunburst), white WBW plastic pickguard. This stayed like that until around 1973, even with colours appearing and disappearing. Notable exception was the "mocha" finish, that one got a black BWB pickguard.
    Late 1973/Early 1974 things started to change. Tortoise was discarded, black became the new standard, but white was used as well (but not on sunburst instruments or white instruments). White guards appeared on black & natural instruments, but those also had a chance of having a black guard.
    In the course of 1976, the white pickguard was phased out, and black became the sole standard.

    So, there you have it. It did happen that the pickguard colour did match the colour of the inlay, but that was not intentional.
  11. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Perfect! You sir are a steely eyed missle man!
  12. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    EXCELLENT INFO! Man...thank you!
  13. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    @Mr.Fingers great post...Lots of killer info the history buffs.
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