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Doubts about vintage Fender Jazz Bass 1975 painting

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Andrew92, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Andrew92


    May 17, 2015
    Hello to everyone,
    I have some doubts regarding my vintage 1975 Fender Jazz Bass painting.
    Since it was a strange black painting, I supposed that it was repainted over its natural colour , so I brought the bass to my luthier.
    He used a light solver and, since the black started to go away very easily, he jumped to the conclusion that the bass had been repainted, also because Fender stopped using Nitro paintings before 1975 and a Poly finish would have not come off easily with that solvent.
    Below there are some photos of before and after the solvent.

    You would say "All ok!", but then here come all my doubts, I've found THIS:
    1975 Fender Jazz Bass, Black

    The paint is black as it was mine, but I can't see effectively if it's a nitro or a poly painting.
    Thinking about the year, it should be poly, but the wear and age signs are very similar to my black body.

    What do you think about it? I'm afraid I did a mistake in taking it to my luthier for un-paint it if the paint was original.
    Looking forward to your replies, hope you can help me to understand the mistery :)
    Thanks to all in advance.

    Attached Files:

  2. Andrew92


    May 17, 2015
  3. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    There have been some new Fender instruments that were repainted prior to being shipped. I am not certain why this was done but I believe that it is possible that your bass may have shipped new with a black finish OR it also could have been refinished. Not much help, I’m afraid, however it certainly is a cool bass and you should enjoy it regardless of it’s history.
  4. Andrew92


    May 17, 2015
    You're right man, the important thing is that the bass sounds cool. And that's what I hope too.
    But I'm also trying to keep it as original as possible thinking about a future selling in case I need money or simply I don't feel comfortable with it.

    I'm really afraid I'm just lowering the value of bass.. Actually, I don't know what to do... :(
  5. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    You need to finish the job.

    Unless that has multiple and mismatched pieces of wood for the body, it looks like it may have a very pleasing grain pattern.

    Many 70’s Jazz basses were stripped to natural.

    Just play your bass. Worry about resale if and when that time arrives.
    FenderOli likes this.
  6. Andrew92


    May 17, 2015
    Yes, from what came out after my luthier used a very thin sand paper on that point, the grain pattern seems to be very nice, hope that it's like this on all the bass.
    You're right about resale, I'm just trying to keep the bass as original as possible just to take back, at least, the same money I used to buy it (it was a deal, I have to say, also considering that one pickup is not original.)
    If I feel comfortable with it, obviously I will keep it, as I've always wanted to own and play a 70s Fender :)

    But my question is also a matter of "information" . I'm trying to understand if it's possible that the black Nitro finish was given by Fender (even if in 1975 they used Poly for sure) or by someone else.
    Yesterday I called my luthier, and from what I've understood, below the black nitro finish, there is a clear poly layer. So there are two possibilities:
    1) the bass was factory natural, refinished with clear poly and then re-painted black with nitro by someone else.
    2) Fender painted it with nitro (strange for the period!) but put the clear poly layer as catalyst for the nitro.

    If there are some paint experts on the forum, it would be nice to understand the situation and solve the mistery.
  7. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    There is a third possibility. The bass was painted by Fender, stripped to natural and given a poly coat by a former owner and then painted by the same owner or a successor.

    I have very little confidence that Fender used nitro over poly.

    This bass is 99.9% refinished post-production.
    Spinal Tapper likes this.
  8. Andrew92


    May 17, 2015
    That is a possibility too (the worst one, as it would mean that I'm stripping the bass to natural for the 2nd time :D).
    I hope it was refinished post-production too! If not, at least, I hope I'am the first who is stripping it to natural :roflmao:
  9. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    IIRC Fender used to put a clear coat of nitro over the poly back then.

    I had a black 75 Precision, in certain light it was a weird shade of mossy green. The nitro clear coat would yellow over time causing that effect.
  10. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    For a mid '70s Fender black finish I would expect to see a little green or khaki in the colour. The clear coat yellows on those old poly finishes, and a yellow clear coat over black makes it look slightly green in some lights.

    Your bass appears to have a thick, single-stage black finish. I wager this isn't the factory finish.

    Either way, you've started now! I'm guessing your chat with the luthier consisted of more than him doing some destructive testing of the finish in a really conspicuous area of the body?!
  11. Andrew92


    May 17, 2015
    The upper finish was nitro for sure, as it was melt by the solvent (specific for nitro) that the luthier gave on a small area of the body.
    Furthermore, when I bought the bass, it was kinda sticky in some areas of the body (another sign of nitro finishes!) . Fender, as it's reported by many sources, stopped using nitro in 1968, so I logically thought that the bass was repainted.
    If there are some exceptions, then my bass could be one of them, but I really hope that it isn't and I am not taking off the original black finish.:thumbsdown:

    Of course Axstart, when I brought the bass to him he put a little drop of nitro solvent in the body area where the pickguard stays (you can see it the last photo above) and he saw that the finish was going away.
    From that, knowing that Fender used Poly finishes in the 70s, we jumped to the conclusion that the paint was not given by Fender. So we decided to take off the nitro finish and strip it to natural.
    Then, doing some researches, I found some black basses that were similar to mine and here come my doubts.
    Then I re-called him to explain my doubts and he sent me the photo above, telling me not to worry because under the black finish there is a clear poly finish, so much probably the bass was repainted in post-production by someone.
    Here's another photo (from the ones the seller sent me) where there is a little crack of the bass and the natural color comes out, in the lower part of the body. Maybe it can help a bit more.
    View attachment 3474343
    As you said, at this point, it doesn't matter as I started the work and I have to finish it.

    Actually, I just want to know if I'm doing a mess or not... quite "sadistic", but I'm really curious about it! :laugh:
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019

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