1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Fender 3-Bolt Necks - Good? Bad? Collectable?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Las Olas, Mar 27, 2004.

  1. Las Olas

    Las Olas

    Apr 20, 2003
    Scarborough, UK
    Just wondered what your opinions were on three bolt necks on a seventies Fender Jazz (early 75). Are they as bad as I've heard? Any good points? Collectable value? Are they sought after?

    Many thanks

  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    A 3-bolt-neck is stable when the construction quality is good.

    70s Jazzes used to be the Pariahs of Fender basses, but are becoming collectibles now, but I don't think they will go up as high as, say, pre-CBS Fenders. IMO just another argument for the theory that anything becomes collectible if old enough.

    If it sounds and plays well, buy it for a reasonable price (read: lower than new), but don't expect profits or anything.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i have a 78 jazz and even though it is pretty road worn, i've still been offered over a grand for it, multiple times, which is a lot more than i paid for it.
  4. Las Olas

    Las Olas

    Apr 20, 2003
    Scarborough, UK
    Yeah, I was going to say, they seem quite sought after, at least here in the UK. I was wondering if anyone had real problems with the three bolt - so far, apparantly not!
  5. watch for neck joint gaps though-
    in Bassist magazine they had a Jazz Bass special in which the editor's 3 bolt 70's Jazz was shown-
    huge gaps around the neck joint-
    bound to cause problems with the neck shifting.

  6. Las Olas, the three bolt neck has what is called micro tilt, and it make for a not so stable neck!

    I myself wouldn't purchase a three bolt neck but this is just because I have had problems with them in the past.

    I recently picked up Carol Kayes older MIJ P Lyte Deluxe, this bass has a combination 4 bolt on neck and also the micro tilt is added, this setup for adjusting relief is perfect IMHO.

    I would suggest doing a search on google with the words micro tilt necks and see what kind of results or feed back you get.

    Micro Tilt, is basically designed so Fender players will not need to shim the neck in order to get the proper neck alignment. Keep in mind that neck angle and relief are two different things.

    The quote below is taken from the Fender tech support sight and it explains Micro Tilt.

    Here's another great link that explains more about Micro Tilt and how it works!


    I would also add that just about any instrument that is 25 to 30 years old is considered Vintage but that refers mainly to the age of the instrument.

    3 bolt Jazz basses are not a collectors/Vintage buyers first choice when puchasing. There are many other years and features that are desired.

    Hope this helps!

  7. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    I had a 72-Tele. bass, it had a great neck, more B profile
    played like butter.
    Bass had 3-bolt, I live on the coast, neck would always
    go out, would have to ajust neck constantly.
    Finally sold bass.
  8. Las Olas

    Las Olas

    Apr 20, 2003
    Scarborough, UK
    Thanks for all your help, it's much appreciated. I'm still undecided, it looks like a nice deal too, so I'm loath to pass it up. Any other opinions?

    Many thanks

  9. With the greatest respect, may I disagree? A properly mounted neck does not rely on support from the sides of the neck pocket for firmness, and so the size of the gap is pretty irrelevant. Of course, a tight pocket protects against shifting when you whak the neck really hard, but the solution to that is simple! It's a Fender. Whack it back!

    I have played great 3 bolters and lousy three bolters. What Treena says about the microtilt (which was, I believe, designed by Leo Fender for acoustic guitars, not basses!) is true, and I have seen such necks collapse during gigs (due, in that case, to a lack of proper maintenance)! If you like 70s jazz basses (I don't, but that is a style not quality issue) and you find a three bolter that plays well and sounds good, then you'll have a good bass.
  10. yeah, in normal playing it shouldn't shift, but when restringing it might.
    my Fender Precision plus has an average neck joint, and is 4-bolt (and has a microtilt adjust, but I've never used it- the neck heel is flat against the joint) but sometimes does shift when I do the occasional bit of neck-bending (for effects on open strings/harmonics).

    -if it was a 3-bolt, with large neck gaps like the Bassist editor's 70's J, it would be all over the place....

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.