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Early '80s Fenders

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SmallFace, Nov 2, 2002.

  1. I have often heard people saying that the basses Fender put out during the early '80s were of somewhat worse quality than the earlier and later ones. What's up with that? In what way were those years ('82 - '84, and such) particulary bad? Sure, Fender DID cut a lot of corners (single-ply white pickguards etc.), but I can't see how USA-made instruments from one of the worlds largest makers could be "sloppy" or "low quality". Do we have any owners of basses from this era, who could tell me some more?
  2. Since I don't know anything about the basses made by Fender in the eighties (their bass production was more or less down for a few years, wasn't it?), I'll just direct you to a thread at another forum which deals with that topic. Hope you'll find it informative, even though you will not get a straight answer.
    Oh, here's the link.
  3. You can never make a blanket statement that will cover each individual instrument. That having been said, the probability that you'll get a bad instrument is higher at some points in history than others. The 70's and 80's were bleak years for Fender and Gibson; they were more concerned with high production numbers than quality. Quite a few manufacturers who were more concerned with quality than production numbers emerged and prospered during that period (brands like Hamer, for example). That doesn't mean that everything made by Fender or Gibson during that time period is junk, it just means that there is a higher probablilty that you will get a sub-par Fender or Gibson instrument if it was made during that timeframe. I wouldn't buy a 70's or 80's Fender or Gibson sight unseen, that's for sure but I would have no qualms about buying one if I played one and I liked it; I love 70's Jazz Basses.
  4. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I play an '83 Am. Std. Jazz, and absolutely love it. Of course, it's not the best American Jazz I've played, but it's FAR from being one of the worst. I think things stand about the same then as they do today. You just have to pick through them and find the one that's right for you. Some might be total crap, but another might be the best Fender you've ever played.
  5. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    The same can be said about the Fenders of the late '60's compared to the early '60's. The same can be said of all '70's Fender basses as compared to all '60's basses. Today it will cost you a lot of money to purchase any of these basses. And you're right about the quality of the instruments made in the '80's...generally speaking. The funny party is that they're all now considered to be "vintage" instruments. The crap that was put out in the mid to late '70's now demand high, vintage prices where they once weren't touched with a ten foot pole. Buy your early '80's Fenders now before prices skyrocket!!! :)
  6. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I have two '83 Fender Elites and they are of as high, or higher quality as any Fender I have seen. For example: take a look at the high-quality tuners and bridge on an Elite, very heavy-duty. I believe the early '80s was when Fender took a good look at what they were doing and decided to improve. I agree that the pickguard and knobs on the 83 Jazz leaves a little to be desired; however, my main gigging axe (out of the 19 basses I own) is a '83 Jazz that I will always keep. Where are all these crumby Fenders anyway? In the thirty plus years I have been exposed to Fenders, I have never seen one that I thought was truely horrible. It's not that I don't believe they exist, but they must be the exception rather than the rule.
  7. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Don't know about the regular stuff but I got a 82 walnut pbass special that indeed is special. Awesome high end and deep lows. excellent passive mode to boot.
  8. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I bought a "Vintage" 57 strat re-issue (#v-0000138). Tobacco SB Maple neck.

    Fender talked up the craftsmanship. But, this guitar had filler holes, the nut wasn't cut correctly, the holes in the back pickguard didn't line up with the string holes. I was outta that guitar within months.

    I gotta Mex '57 re-issue now that's a much truer reproduction, and the quality is much-much better.
  9. Okay, thanks for all the replies! The link Lousybassist posted provided some very interesting information. If anyone was given the impression I dislike or have anything particular against Fenders from the early '80s, that is wrong. The reason for starting this thread was basic curiosity, as I had been reading some negative comments on basses built during these years and wanted to get things straight. Now I'm actually looking forward to buying an extremely light (I was really surprised as i picked it up) and nice '83 Precision I tried last week! It plays like butter with very low action and sounds like... Well, "the business". Plus, it does have those ultra-cool white pickupcovers, which were standard many years ago :)
  10. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    My number 1 bass is a 1983 Fender Pbass, I absolutely love it.
  11. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I used to have an '83 MIJ Jazz that was a real nice bass.
  12. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I had an '83 Fender Precision that was better than any of the (early or late) '70's Precisions that I owned. That said, the best Precision I've ever owned (and one of the best I've ever played) was a 1964.

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