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Do 70’s Fenders Get A Bad Rap?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by faulknersj, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I have had the good fortune to play one pre-CBS Fender Jazz, and it was a magnificient instrument. But so are my 70’s Fenders. I think that 70’s Fenders get a really bad wrap based on my experience with them. They set up and play beautifully. That have incredible tone for days, big fat indeed punchy, yet articulate. Every note on the fretboard commands the same ‘heft’ and they sound fat and full even in the upper register of the fret board. They all have incredible slap tones as well if that’s your thing. But you know what....I really hope the bad rap continues so that they stay affordable

    1) 78’ P w/ Flats
    2) 78’ Jazz w/ rounds
    3) 73’ Jazz w/ flats

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
    Chickenwheels, Mili, Mosfed and 21 others like this.
  2. Sweet collection there brother. I love my '73 Jazz bass. So much soul in that thing.
    faulknersj likes this.
  3. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    The necks on the 73’s are an incredible thing of beauty...probably the best jazz neck profile I have ever held in my hands.
  4. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    Only when the duct tape gets on the bass.
    Inky13, Fxpmusic, RSBBass and 12 others like this.
  5. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA!
    Hey, if you've got good 70's Fenders, more power to you ... the fact is this was perhaps their most inconsistent era of production.
    But yes. I've played some good 70's Fenders myself - my first real bass was a 76 Mustang that was great ... my second was a 79 P that was garbage!
    whyseye, JJR58, Marikk and 5 others like this.
  6. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I was thinking that their ponchos ran off. They get angry when their wraps go bad like that.
    interp, Charlzm and JJR58 like this.
  7. MrBKerth

    MrBKerth The Gypsy Bravado

    Apr 20, 2013
    Came here to say this. From what I've read, the 70's had a reduction in quality control at Fender. Surely, any company is capable of making a great instrument, and any company is capable of building a dud. The 70's Fender stuff seems to have been a bit more hit or miss.

    I usually bring this sort of spread up when people ask about how much to spend generally on an instrument or want to know if more expensive instruments justify the price. I find, cheaper lines have a tendency to be a little less consistent in construction from instrument to instrument. I find in a general sense that there is sometimes more consistency in decent to good build quality as price goes up.

    Hopefully, you'll never end up with a dud. However, if it happens I try to count it as a statistical likelihood as opposed to a "XXX Brand/Line sucks, don't buy it" - That being said, I lusted for a 60's or 70's J for forever. Missed the mark entirely and bought a 77 Ric
    MCF, Erich Bruning and faulknersj like this.
  8. nomaj


    Apr 2, 2012
    The wrap on my bound J neck has held up just fine.
  9. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I always hear about the quality control thing in the 70’s at Fender. What is that based on? Any ideas? I always find these instruments to be incredibly well constructed, and even 40+ years later they are always reliable and never let me down...
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  10. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    They were deeply unpopular, and heavily criticized until about 2007 or so. People hated their weight, the poor QC, the pickups and the colours and finishes used in the factory. Pre-CBS was where it was at.

    In 2007 we had the recession and suddenly people had less disposable income. At the same time '70s Fenders suddenly became cool and desirable, and everybody had that one rare 'diamond in the rough' example. No connection there.
  11. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    My '76 precision bass. D shaped neck with jumbo frets. 9.2 lbs. Plays wonderful. My tech says it has the best neck of any of my basses. Fat sounding gray bottom pups. Olympic white faded to buttercream.

  12. In my case I owned a '75 P Bass that had a too big a neck for my short fingers. After a while I realized the neck was not made for me and sold the bass.
  13. I like the "TV" logo they used.
  14. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    Never heard any complaints, except about the weight.
    SwitchGear, faulknersj and jimmyb like this.
  15. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    She is a beauty! Thanks for sharing!
    SwitchGear likes this.
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Whether it is a Seventies Fender or a 2018 SX, the player is the only person who has to like the bass. I remember when Sharay Reed got big after that video of him playing at a Christmas concert. All sorts of boutique loving bassists went crazy about the performance. When I mentioned he was playing the sort of active Fender they don’t like, suddenly, the line was his playing is great, but the tone only OK.
    Judge for yourself:
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
    Caca de Kick, 74p, Skillet and 4 others like this.
  17. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Plenty of great 70’s Fenders it’s just finding them. I owned a few and all were excellent basses.
    JJR58 and faulknersj like this.
  18. MrBKerth

    MrBKerth The Gypsy Bravado

    Apr 20, 2013
    I think the most damning thing I saw for this was neck pocket tolerances in combo with the 3 bolt system they started using. They had that weird transitionary period after Leo in the mid to late 60's and then moved the pickup and continued to change. Most folks seem to attribute it a bit to the change in ownership. I've yet to personally experience these issues but the statistician in me is inclined to think that any of them that saw consistent play over that many years are probably alright whereas problem basses probably had further work done on them or were retired. Pure conjecture but just an idea
  19. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I had a new Sienna sunburst Jazz with maple fingerboard in the late 1970's. My first mistake was using Rotosound strings on it that just ate the frets and my second mistake was trading it.

    That ash body jazz did indeed have something special in it and the neck was very good. I was not crazy about the 3 bolt neck but really regret letting that one go. Mine was right at 10 pounds so it was heavy but not in the boat anchor class.

    You have a nice collection there.
    faulknersj and SwitchGear like this.
  20. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    Fender basses are a lot like Star Trek episodes: even when they aren't at their best, they are still better than a lot of other things

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