Fender Original 60's Bass (Jazz, Precision) vs Custom Shop

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JRFTX, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. JRFTX

    JRFTX Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    Anyone have experience with/opinion on the Fender Original 60's line of Jazz and/or P-basses vs the Custom Shop. Knowing the that price difference between them, new or pre-owned, is substantial, I am still curious whether it is worth the difference for a Custom Shop Relic 60's bass or go with an Original 60's line bass. In either case, I would be looking at a pre-owned bass.

    Thanks in advance for the input.
  2. Difficult to say .. I’ve got an AO ‘60s jazz bass and it’s difficult to think about a more authentic ‘60s jazz bass tone .. what you should pay more for in a CS is the wood selection (maybe) and the luthier’s work .. however the difference will not be night and day as to fully justify the price gap between the two in my opinion ...
    Yahboy likes this.
  3. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    I’ve got the AO ‘60s P and the only real improvement I can imagine is if it went from weighing 9 lbs 5 oz to 7 lbs 5 oz.
  4. One of the strangest things in my opinion is represented by the Pino Palladino signature, CS P-bass ... it is sold new at the same price of a Fodera practically and it’s really hard to understand why ... why??? ... moreover, you can find a lot of them for sale on the used market for slightly more than half the price, which still is a high price but also shows a bass model affected by a huge depreciation .. I would never buy one even if it can proved that it is the best sounding P-bass in existence ...
  5. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    Because it's a great bass and gets attention from Fender's master luthiers. Now how much $ that is worth over a production model is up to the player and their ability to afford the difference.
  6. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    I have a general opinion about CS vs. USA Fenders, best described by a friend who said the USA models feel "plastic-y." I was in a store recently playing quite a few P and J models. In a head to head comparison between an American Original '57 P and a CS '57 P, the CS model felt like the real deal and the Am. Original felt like a soulless factory bass.

    That said, I have an Elite Jazz Bass V which I like a lot, and an exceptionally good Road Worn P with a Lindy Fralin pickup (that I bought used for $650) which holds its own against just about any P-Bass I've ever played, including my '62. My point is that there might be other options to consider - if you're not a Fender diehard that could include basses from other makers like Moollon, G&L or a Lakland Bob Glaub.

    I agree that the CS models are ridiculously overpriced, but there are enough of them floating around on the used market at more reasonable prices.
  7. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    Reflects my feeling somewhat - while I feel that the AO is a great bass, I wonder how much it feels like a 'new' actual circa-1963 P Bass did when it was fresh off the line (I firmly believe that time enhances the wood and benefits a bass's feel). I've owned two 2008 American Standards, and while great basses, these to me felt almost over-engineered in their solidity. Like ad9000, my Road Worn in contrast has a very open 'organic' feel to it - no less solid, yet it feels more like an organic extension of the body. Super light, too. It is far and away the best Fender bass I've ever played - and that includes a pre-CBS 1961 I used to own. This proves to me that careful wood selection makes a huge difference, and if the CS basses receive this consideration, it definitely has benefits, should you be able to afford them.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  8. Great bass .. it's a P-bass, which is great to me in terms of tone, but doesn't offer stuff such as exotic woods, electronics, multi-coil pickups, which are provided with Foderas, F-Bass, Sadowsky etc. within the same price-range.
    On the other hand, there are a lot of TBers who will put the guys at Fodera, F-Bass, Sadowsky etc. on par with the so-called Master Luthiers at Fender CS (I used the words "so-called" as the "Master Luthier" thing has been greatly used by Fender to publicize and support their CS operation, but two words do not create nor change any substance of course ...).
    Hence my opinion regarding the Pino Palladino signature, CS P-bass .. likely a great bass surely sold at a multi-grands price.
  9. Steve88


    Mar 27, 2014
    Macedon, NY
    I owned a Custom Shop '64 for 6 or 7 months. Beautiful birdseye maple neck. When I finally found and bought a Roadworn Jazz with a rosewood fretboard, the CS went in it's case and got sold, and I don't miss it. There was no contest about which bass felt, played, and sounded better.

    I no longer assume just because a bass is a lot more expensive, it will actually be better.
  10. Wood selection .. uhm .. my road-worn, fiesta red P-bass, in terms of wood, is nothing special ... the bass, unfortunately, seems to be a little on the heavy side and, hence, all-in-all, I prefer my Am. Pro although I like its tone .. in terms of tone, however, my AO '60s Jazz Bass is a step above all Fender jazz basses I played (for this reason I sold a 2014 Am. Std. which was a very good bass indeed, but that's all it was) and I believe the same will be for the AO P-basses ...
  11. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    I'm very sorry you got a heavy RW. Mine is 7.6 lbs. and from its acoustic properties is clearly a fine piece of body wood .. intentional or not.
  12. Yes, there are good deals on the used market but yet not for all pockets always
    Ah it’s not super heavy .. just a little bit ;)
    The real boat anchor was the Marcus Miller jazz bass .. uh .. and the Am. Elite P-bass also isn’t joking in this regard (the Elite is actually heavier than the RW :() ..
  13. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    It seems like used CS P or J basses used to be seen for sale at around $2K or a bit under, now they are often in the $3K range unless you happen to find an exceptional deal. That is a high price tag for what is essentially a plank, although a really nice plank.
  14. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    There are approx. 24 Fender Custom Shop Basses on Reverb right now priced between $5K - $12.5K
    "fender custom shop bass" Gear
    5 of them are $12.5K.
    I doubt that any will sell anywhere close to this price.
    From what I see, these are horrible for resale where as the real thing (when bought accurately) is a blue chip stock.
    Not saying they are not good instruments but I don't see the value no matter how good they may be reported to be.
    OTOH, they wouldn't make them if they didn't sell!
    But do they sell to collectors or players?

    Also, I find it interesting that the RW is mentioned here since they are purely machine made instruments although I agree that the 3 I've played were great players, sounded great, and lightweight which is also the same characteristics of the vast majority of the Pre-CBS basses I've owned / played.
    My 1960 plays like a dream with very low action (if I want that) and is in the low 8 lb. range.
  15. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Yikes, those prices are insane. I guess it can be said that the Custom Shop instruments, especially the Master Built ones, are getting priced out of the hands of musicians and are being geared more for the guitar aficionado/wealthy hobbyist demographic. Maybe some collectors are buying them, but that seems a little overly optimistic.

    I have a CS '60 Strat that I bought used in 2001 for $1200 and a Relic '64 J-bass that I bought for $1900 in 2004 (and sold a few years later for a couple hundred more). Those purchases I could justify, but not $5K and up.

    I've played some RW basses that are dogs, but my RW P (from 2008) is a freakishly good one - 8.5 lbs and very resonant, with a straight and solid neck. Installing a Fralin pickup was a worthwhile upgrade. It was a no brainer at $650 and I feel lucky to have found it.
  16. mickebas


    Sep 7, 2008
    Good morning thread.
    I do agree on that time and playing-hours makes a big difference on a Fender bass in, most of the time, a good way. What I don't really believe is that the CS instruments are worth all the extra money. I've yet to be blown away by a Fender CS instrument and feel they are just as varied and sometimes stiff in feel as the regular American Fenders. I own and have owned several pre CBS Fenders and the CS's don't even come close.
    The Mexican Road worns, especially the first generation does a better job at that in my opinion, but of course as always, every instrument is it's own individual and if you look beyond the name and the money an old vintage Fender, usually the role modell for a lot of us bass-players, was a simple, not too expensive instrument when it came on the market 50-60 years ago. Still now they're magic :)
    ad9000 and Lowbrow like this.

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