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'78 Precision Bass... Your thoughts...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DionClassic, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. DionClassic

    DionClassic Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2012
    Hi guys... Looking for some input. I have an American Deluxe P (my back up bass) that I like but I find it lacks that vintage thump... It's way more versatile then any P bass I've encountered but I feel I lacks the P tone...(which is what I'm after, I have a 4003 so the other end of the spectrum is covered)

    I got a trade offer for an all original, beat up (which doesn't bother me at all... Actually I prefer it) 1978 Fender P Bass.

    Are these hit and miss or are they solid basses that give that nice vintage P tone... He lives 3 hours away but he will be in town for a couple of days... I haven't tried it yet so obviously that's something I need to do... But I don't want to waste my time if what I've got will blow it away...

    My question is... What's the general feel here on TB on late 70s Fenders and do they still give that classic thump and are they worth having... Moreover would you trade an American Deluxe if you were in my position...?

    Thanks guys!
  2. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    vintage thump? probably not. if its heavy, its going to have a more compressed harder hitting sound. if its on the lighter side itll be more hollow sounding but without the low mid girth of a lighter alder p.
  3. DionClassic

    DionClassic Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2012
    What are these ones typically made of?
  4. Hit and miss.

    Based on past experience I never thought I'd own a 70s fender, much less P, but I scored an awesome fretless 78P recently. Played it and it just hit all the marks for me.

    It's worth checking out I think.
  5. Many were ash. These are definitely hit or miss, but I have a '79 that sounds wonderful (strung with old Fender flats).
  6. Robus


    Aug 25, 2013
    Chicago Area
    Different strings/pickups on your American Deluxe?
  7. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    starting somewhere around 74 they started becoming all ash. i personally think its more preference than hit or miss. many people dont like the heavy ones because they dont do vintage thump. they do attack and sustain. the neck pockets on all of the late 70's stuff is pretty sloppy. keep the neck bolts tight and its a non issue.
  8. DionClassic

    DionClassic Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2012
    This guy said he played it for 20 years and then got into guitar. I would assume that its gotta be a good one to be played and loved for that long... Of course taste is an issue... But yeah its interesting to hear that they aren't renowned for the thump.
  9. DionClassic

    DionClassic Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2012
    Yeah I actually just ordered some labella tapes so that will be the first thing I need to try...
  10. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    I never knew what the weight range was on Fender P basses in general, can someone enlighten me?

    How light can a P bass get (without some type of weight relieving or extra routes)?

    I do know Strats were heaviest in the mid to late 70's but there are quite a few exceptions too and I suspect the same with P basses...some of the ash wood was full of mineral apparently.
  11. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
  12. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    I'd trade for the 70s p in a heartbeat, especially if you like the way it plays I really like their tone. I had a 76 p bass that was about 9 1/2 pounds but I've played some over 12. Either way it's not that bad if they sound good.
  13. MR PC

    MR PC

    Dec 1, 2007
    a friend has a alder body 1957 P, with the rare V shape neck contour. One piece maple neck. Very light, dry, resonant, probably 7.5 lbs. Great sounding bass. I've handled some very early ash bodied P basses that sounded fantastic and weighed about the same.

    It's a crapshoot though. Lots of opinions about this. You can go get an Asian made P that's feather weight ash and it might not sound that great in the fundamental territory where real bass tone lives.

    So, a late '70's P. I owned a '76 alder maple neck fretless, it was feather weight, less than 8 lbs, pretty rare I think. I bought it because of the weight, but as it turned out it wasn't the greatest sounding bass for my purposes. I also owned and wore out a '72 alder/rosewood P that weighed a ton and sounded mediocre until I stripped it. Under the black lacquer it was sealed with some kind of epoxy resin that was very hard and a b*** to remove. I think they sealed the wood "green", unseasoned. I put a very thin finish on, as the wood dried over the years it ended up weighing significantly less and sounding much better than it had originally.

    Seems that the most player appreciated P Bass weight is around 9lbs these days.
  14. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    Trust me I know that V shape well, I briefly owned a real 56 Strat!

    I figured 7.5 lbs was as light as could be expected for a P bass and I am guessing few are under 8 lbs.

    8 to 8.5 lbs. is my limit if possible which I know restricts my options in terms of tone...my 54 year old body has too many bad days to deal with 10 lb+ guitars anymore unless it is a really desirable piece at a stupid low price.
  15. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i sold my 78 pbass to a friend and wish i hadn't!:( i recently heard a recording from a live show and was shocked how great that thing sounded. :crying: then i got to play it at a jam and it was buttah! :bawl: WHYYYYYYY? :(
  16. MR PC

    MR PC

    Dec 1, 2007
    David, in case you don't know a lot of the MIM Roadworn P (and J) Basses are very lightweight/resonant alder. They thump real nice too. Some like that (I do!) .
    TMARK likes this.
  17. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill

    Yes I keep an eye out all the time for MIM Fenders in general, but I don't see many MIM P basses (used anyway).

    I did see a pretty nice looking cream Korean Squier P bass...its been sitting a while in a pawn shop and is fairly lightweight....what are these made of?
  18. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I've owned several late 1970s Fenders and all have been great.
  19. How much do you have into your American Deluxe P? Even if it's not the greatest bass you could get, the '78 will increase in value while the Deluxe P is going to lose value in the coming years. You could at least get your money back if your not happy with the '78.
  20. My 78 maple @neck p has worked for me since I was 17... lots of styles... can get "vintage thump. Or thick punchy rock.. old funk.. slap... imo amf for me its been nothing but a fantastic work horse just refretted it in nov for another 40 years of joy