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Confusion over Fender Jazz - neckplate screws?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Las Olas, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. Las Olas

    Las Olas

    Apr 20, 2003
    Scarborough, UK
    Hi everyone

    At the moment I'm looking at two Fender Jazz basses. They are:

    1) All original 1977 (with bartolini pickups, though originals included) Black with black s'plate.

    2) Aparantly all original 1972, similar to the Marcus Miller in looks - natural, ashtrays. White scratchplate and honey block inlays though. The serial number is: 369263.

    Now this serial tells me it's a 1972, or very close. They guy doesnt know - he told me the serial and I checked it through a few sites.

    Now here's my problem: Apparantly the 77 has a Four bolt neck, whereas the 72 has a Three bolt neck!

    This is confusing, as far as I'm aware Fender started the three bolt neck in 1975.

    Have I got the date wrong on the 1972? Suggestions welcome! No pics of the 72 yet I'm afraid.

    Kind regards

  2. pitbill


    Mar 27, 2003
    Bluefield, WV
    Very good questions Mike. Of course most people will tell you to pull the neck and check the neck stamp, but the problem with the 70's models is that for some reason they don't appear on all of the basses Fender produced during that time period so you have to do a little "detective work". So try this: See if the serial numbers on the basses are on the headstock or the serial number plate? The '77 should have it on the headstock decal while the '72 should be on the plate. On the '77 if it would be possible to remove the 4 screws on the 4 bolt neck plate and look under to see if there are any "extra" holes where perhaps a 3 bolt neck was replace by the 4 (you should also see the extra hole for the neck adjustment screw used by the 3 bolt if this is the case.)

    As for the '72...that is a little sounds to be a different matter. Actually, it's not unheard of for the 3 bolt neck to be found as early as late '72 on a Jazz; the 3 bolt neck was available as a "special order" in mid '72, but did not hit production models until '75. The serial number will definitely be on the neck plate, but for a Jazz with maple neck '71-'73, the neck should have the black block inlays. There are always elusive exceptions to this, as we do see Fenders pop up from time to time that have been custom ordered even back then by customers with particular tastes. It is more possible for the '72 to have a neck stamp and should be checked as well as pulling out the pickups and pots (which should be date coded as well.) The easiest way to tell though, is to look at the thumb rest (or holes for the thumb rest). Are they above the E string or below the G string? If below the G string, it is more than likely an actual pre-'74.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Las Olas

    Las Olas

    Apr 20, 2003
    Scarborough, UK
    That was a great help - thanks a lot. I've emailed the owner of the 77 re. serial number, where it is, and the neckplate!

    Still havent got pics of the 72 and teh owner is a bit green, so need to talk him through it!

    I'd be interested in hearing other opinions!

    Kind regards


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