Fender Precision era 1976-1978, value opinion ???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Turlu, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. To all Fender experts out there....

    What would be the street value for a Fender Precision 1976, and up to 1978, in excellent condition?

    I am leaning towards vintage basses these days, and, although some would not consider them 'vintage', they still appeal to me. Anything I should be aware of before buying one of those ???

    Let me know please!
  2. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Gee that market can be all over the place. Also someone's view of excellent condition can be a crap shoot.
    I wont buy a bass online and would never do it with a vintage bass. There is a post on here this week about a TB'er getting burned by buying a vintage Fender online. You have to make sure that it real and what is original. Be careful, pics can be deceiving.
  3. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    All caveats aside, that era seems to be in the $1100+ range in original, excellent condition. Some will ask as much as $2000, but that's preposterous for the later 70s, standard for earlier 70s. :)

    My buddy picked up a '76 Precision Natural ash/Maple in 80% condition that weighs about 8.5 pounds for $900 with the OHSC. It was strung with Chromes and has an EMG in it while the original PU and harness was nowhere to be found. The electronics easily accounted for about $200 of value. Amazing player bass, it's one that argues against CBS Fender being sub standard.

    The main thing to look out for is the wild-card build on these, some are built well, others have wonky neck pockets and routs. Fender also switched from swamp to northern ash (cheaper $) which is much more dense and heavy. I had an ash 76 P in 3TSB/Maple and it played and sounded great, but did weigh about 11-12 pounds. It was assembled OK, the neck pocket wasn't as tight and precise as my 80s Ibanezes and G&L, but it held solid.
    The usual stuff holds true, look for congruent dates on the PU, pots, neck and body (the pickguard will often have a matching serial # on it).

    IMHO and experiences, excellent condition instruments from this era are often that way because they were the negative outliers in playability and tone and therefore spent their time in the case or in a stand on display. The finish is very thick and tough so it takes a lot to wear and chip it away, but after 35-40 years of play, it does happen. The ones with honest play wear are way more often than not the ones to get. My buddy's bass mentioned is a prime example. It was used a lot, but not abused. It's clean enough to look good, but played enough to have street cred.

    Good luck with the search!
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
    jamro217 and DiabolusInMusic like this.
  4. I have an opportunity to pick one up in my hands and to give her a try before buying, not an online unseen purchase.
    I, too, was thinking in the range of 1100-1300$ as per the reply from bigtone23. For an excellent condition P Bass, is that accurate, or should I stick with more recent ones, like 2006 and up ??
    bassbully likes this.
  5. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Grab the older one if you really like it. The hands on thing is important. It's easy enough to swap out hardware and electronics on these to dial in your sound, if need be.
    The USA P basses from the last several years are really nice instruments and built very well, but don't have much of a history, yet. I see used 20xx P basses sell for as little as $600. That's a steal, IMHO, for a bass with a tighter build, great hardware and electronics.
    Vintage Ps, even a 70s P is not going backwards in value, for what that's worth.
  6. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Cool glad to hear you can test it and check it out. There are lots of fakes and parts changed out on vintage basses. I had a 73' 74' and a 78.' All of mine were original except for the 78' but the original pups came with it.

    The most I spent was $1700.00 for the 73' which was all original and with OHSC. The 74' was about a grand and the 78' was $1300.00. This was a few years ago.
    I don't follow the market but I think its fallen some. You should be able to get a decent vintage Fender in the dates you want in the 1200-2000k range, depends on condition and how original it is.

    If I were you I would get a good (newer) Fender or something like a Nash if you want the vintage vibe, or even a custom built.
    I love old Fenders I truly do and drool over them but they are all over the place in quality and price.
    After playing and owning a few I cooled my heels. I highly doubt I would dabble back in them unless I drill for oil and strike it rich.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Ask the weight!
    bassbully likes this.
  8. She weighs about 10.5 pounds apparently.... I find it a little heavy on the scale side of things!!!
    DiabolusInMusic and bassbully like this.
  9. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Pretty normal for those Fenders.
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    That could arguably be called "light" for that era.

    ;) :D
    bassbully likes this.
  11. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I did a trade plus cash deal for a '78 that was in pretty rough shape cosmetically. Also the electronics were not original. I think trade + cash value was about $1200-$1400 CAD.
    Wish I'd kept it! It was a sweet sounding bass.
  12. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

    '70s Fender Precision love

    I have a few 70's P's and these are my favorites. I have paid between 1K and 2K for each one. It takes awhile to find the "right" ones but all of mine or within a an ounce or two of 8lbs. In addition to looking for lightweights, I am also a fanatic on neck-pocket fit so, as you can imagine, it takes me some time to find 70's bass that I will buy. The '70-'73 basses are my favorite but I have a "parts bass" that is a '75 ash body with a '76 neck that is fantastic and my '74 walnut (mocha) is no slouch either.
    Laurent likes this.
  13. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    The question remains to be asked: Are you buying this as an investment or as a player? If it's an investment, then things like original parts and condition matter greatly and playing it risks diminishing its value. If it's a player, then the only things that really matter are feel and sound (and maybe appearance to some extent).

    All that said, the market for 70's P's (my avatar pic is my 76) seems to be around $1500, about the same a new American Standard. So your plans for the bass are important.
    9mmMike likes this.
  14. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

    Good points. One of my best is a '76 natural ash with a maple neck. I played it until the electrics started to make too much noise and then put new pots and pups in. No longer original but still awesome.
  15. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I know we are talking about P's, but a few months ago I almost bought a VGC '78 sunburst J with what looked like a 1 piece alder body. (or a really good 2 piece match) It was tempting as it played/sounded good and wasn't stupid heavy priced at $1800 - no case. I really didn't need another J but I played it for long enough to know it was a good one and would have paid $1500 but they wouldn't go down. It sat on the floor for a while but eventually sold so someone felt it was worth $1800. Point being if it speaks to you it's worth whatever you are willing to spend.
  16. That is a great question and one that plagues me daily. I learned to play bass in the 70's, and have owned quite a few 70's Fender's. I am not of the impression that it's a bad era, but I do believe they are extremely overpriced. For me, it's become more nostalgic than anything else. Therefore, I think the more recent Am Std's are a much better value. With each passing day, my desire to own another 70's passes. I just don't see the prices as being justified.
  17. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Well, monetary value is one thing; Quality of instrument is another. Some Fenders from that era are nice, some are firewood. Okay, many were firewood.
    Just be aware of what you are buying and play before you pay.
  18. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

    If you like the 70's P's, the current modern offerings from Fender are not going to do.....except for the Nate Mendel which is a darn close copy. The body contour and neck on those is really nice....if you like the 70's basses. Not a fan of the heavy bridge anf 1/4 pounders on that model but the rest is very 70's. So 70's-like that it took me two tries to get one that weighed what I wanted. :)
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    I hate to be "that guy" but it definitely wasn't a one-piece Fender body, those don't exist outside of possibly FCS one-off's that were done at a customer's request.
    SanDiegoHarry likes this.
  20. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Most likely - but as I said, I studied it closely and if not is was a very stealthy match.
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
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