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Fender P-Bass 101

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JRBrown, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Where can I find info on buying a 60s or 70s P-Bass? Which years are best? Which years should I stay away from? What are the pros and cons? I've got my eye on something... ;)

    Or would I be better off with a Lakland USA Glaub?

    Any and all help is appreciated...Thanks!

  2. Beav

    Beav Graphics Whore

    Jul 17, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Designer: Beav's Graphics
    If you're buying a vintage axe, you never really know what you're getting, but buying a new one, you know exactly what you're getting.
  3. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    All I can say is that a USA Glaub is absolutely wonderful. I can't recommend it highly enough for that vintage tone and feel. You could get a great vintage Fender or get ripped off. A USA Glaub will be excellent under any circumstance, and will be much less than a good vintage P. If you played mine (which you're welcome to do btw) you would have no doubt about your choice.
  4. 1960-1965 is considered pre-CBS, since CBS bought Fender in 64 and had completely transformed the company by late 65. The golden years, those are.

    I think from 65-80, basses maintained similar quality. It's not necessarily the same consistency and quality as a pre-CBS P, but there are of course many excellent basses from that period. Generally, 60s Ps are rosewood and alder, while 70s tend to be ash and maple (especially towards the mid to late 70s).

    The Fender CBS era basses aren't bad, but there are always lemons, and this era seems to have produced a lot. Make sure you play before you pay. One thing's for sure, they tend to be very solid workhorses (but watch out for warped necks). Many of them have Di Marzio pickups and Badass bridges, common mods at the time.

    For a collector and home/studio player, pre-CBS basses are it. However, for a gigging bassist, they may not be the best choice for their exaggerated price tags and increasing value. You may want a late 70s P, which tend to be cheaper and still solid. Just decide on woods and color options to help you narrow it down. Early years = solid/sunburst finishes on alder (and blonde on ash, the only transparent finish) with rosewood boards. The early 70s brought maple boards and the alder bodies were soon replaced by ash bodies and natural finish.
  5. Id personally go with a USA Glaub.
  6. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    The authenticity and originality were exaggerated (often beyond the point of outrage into the realm of pure comedy) in at least 95% of the "vintage" Fenders I've seen in recent years. Fenders are so easy to fake-up, you're just asking for it unless you're really expert and can examine the instrument on the bench prior to purchase. Buyers desperately want to be deceived, though.

    Vintage is about collectability anyway, not anything useful to a player.

    Save yourself some grief and buy a recent axe. In most ways they are better anyway, and certainly better values.
  7. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I'm starting to look for a '60s Jazz but the tariff may be more than I can stand. If I decide to blow off the Fender thing, I may well look for a used Lakland USA JO. I've played USA Laklands and was very impressed. Overall they're probably a better idea than an old Fender for at least one reason: Less likely to be stolen.
  8. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I played a Lakland Skyline Glaub and was blown away by the construction. The feel of the neck and fingerboard, and the tone was outstanding. I really wanted a Jazz bass, though, so I've ordered a Skyline Darryl Jones 5-string w/J-retro preamp.

    And so the waiting begins. My apologies in advance to any UPS man in my area who might get tackled by an overly enthusiastic recipient of a bass-shaped package from Chicago. :D
  9. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    I think the first P bass made it's appearance in 1951.
    not to be picky...but anything before 1965 is pre CBS. Even after 65, for a few years they made the instruments with old stock and old tooling before changing things.

    bottom line...all pieces are different and you should actually play the piece to find your honey :)
  10. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    I have a 66 precision, and have played several 64's and a couple 62's. I can find absolutely no difference in feel tone or otherwise.
  11. RunngDog


    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    As an alternative to a pre-CBS (which go for some pretty hefty prices), you might want to look into the reissues that came out of the Fender's Fullerton plant in the early 80's. These probably have the best reputation of any Fenders since the 60's.
  12. He DID say "a 60s or 70s P-Bass"... :D
  13. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    The later 70's P's were very heavy and not real resonant from my experience. But I have played a 79 that is really heavy but sounds fantastic too.
  14. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    I've got a 78' P that, to me...feels super light. Weird...

    Haven't weighed it but it's ton's lighter than a Warmoth P that I put together. I'll have to weigh it and see.
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I've played 70's P-basses that were heavy and pretty blah in terms of tone. But I've played some 70's P-basses that were light and sounded great. I've also played some 70's P-basses that were heavy as hell and sounded great.

    Overall I think your money is better spent with Lakland simply because all vintage Fenders are overpriced IMO. What I mean is, they might not be overpriced for a collector, but they are for the player. IMO, the Lakland has a better quality/dollar ratio. But then, the Fender name has more sex appeal... I'd understand completely if you went that way.
  16. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    1957-1965 are considered the premo years for p-basses.
    These basses comand the highest prices.
    I've owned over 20 vintage fenders in my life.
    First off, each bass is different, that said, I've never played a bad fender from the years 1963,1964, 1965, all were consistent
    good playing and sounding basses.
    My sleeper years are.
    1966-One of the best years for fender basses.
    1970-1972- Consistently good bass at half the price of Pre-CBS fenders.
    Later 70's fender can be hit or miss, but, I've owned two 1977 p-bass that were very good, look for lighter body weight.
    Also 1982-1985 reissues, great basses for the money.
    1982 being my fav.
    odarellmc likes this.
  17. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I'm still on the fence with this one.

    I'm not looking for an investment. I'm looking for "THE" P-bass tone in a quality bass.

    Here it is with the seller's pitch:

    This is a complete and Original Fender 75 P bass with a rare A neck. Neck is straight, finish is in good shape. Comes with original Hard Shell Case and both original bridge and pickup covers. Don't miss out on this sweet playing and low action 75 P! $1550

    Attached Files:

  18. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Big pic:

  19. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Pic 3:

  20. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    In an earlier post on this thread, I had said I might buy a USA Lakland JO. I did and I'm extremely happy with it and it's a high-quality bass. The guy I got it from also had a USA Bob Glaub and I played it and told him if he ever wanted to sell it, I'm first in line.

    I had originally been looking for a '60s Fender Jazz before I bought the USA JO and as far as I'm concerned, the Lakland USAs are a terrific substitute. They may never appreciate like an old Fender, but I could never have bought a '60s Fender in great condition for the price I paid for the used Lakland.