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Fender Precision New vs. Used

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RockInRollDaddy, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. RockInRollDaddy


    Nov 28, 2010
    I have recently returned to playing bass with some friends after a several decade layoff. Its more fun than ever, but I need to get some of my own gear. I have played a number of guitars at various stores and still like the P-bass best. My question is this: back in my day (the 70's) everyone wanted pre-CBC guitars because the CBS Fenders were perceived to be lower in quality. I have played some 70's basses and they have varied considerably. Some I really liked, some not so much. I have also played brand new USA Standard basses and have found some that I really liked as well. Does anyone have an opinion about the 70's basses vs. the current basses? Is it worth a (pretty small) premium to get a 70's P-bass?

    Thanks in advance for all the help!
  2. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    FWIW, the vintage 70s P bass will likely hold its value and even appreciate, whereas the new one will immediately begin depreciating as soon as you walk out of the store.

    So from a purely financial perspective, if the prices are in the same ballpark and you find a 70s P bass you like, I'd go with that one.

    Good luck!
  3. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Hi and welcome back!

    For the last two years (back to late 2008) Fender's quality has greatly improved. This also includes the Squier line.

    I think you'll be very happy with a late-model P bass. In fact, with the economy in it's current state, there are some very good deals to be had.

    Keep your eyes open and check the TB Classified as well as the usual sources (eBay, Craigslist).

    Best of luck! Lots of good info available on current Fender quality available here at the forum.

  4. Or get a used new one on the classified here at talkbass and it will appreciate over the years. Cheers.
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    A big difference you'll find in today's P-basses and ones from 10+ years ago: The neck is about 1/8th wider on older models. Doesn't sound like much, but it FEEL like a mile. I much prefer the newer configuration - but some like the old necks.
  6. I prefer the 1970's era P Basses to the newer ones. The older basses seem to have better sound.
  7. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000

    I agree with Bob entirely.

    Unless if you find a true gem in a 70's P-bass, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I'd find a shop that you like, play all that you can. If they have a nice used inventory, even better. There are some gems across Fender's product line. It doesn't matter if you want to spend $300 (Squier) or well over $1k (USA Fender/Fender Custom Shop). At this point in time, I'd be tempted to stick to a MIM or MIJ Fender unless if a MIA hits you the right way. I feel like they provide an amazing value.
  8. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008

    i have a 70s p bass and i prefer it in feel and sound over modern day basses.
  9. I would think that at some point the value of older bass guitars will drop with the exception of some rarities. Me thinks the whole vintage business model is based on old musicians getting back into the game and wanting something that feels familiar. This as the newer generations are used to the more modern sound/style/feeling of the newer models.
  10. it all comes down to each individual bass. there are good ones in each batch. i personally wouldnt buy a 70s fender without playing it first. the new ones in my experience are more consistent.
  11. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    In my experience, I have had good luck buying new. A MIA Precision in 2002 and a new; just this month MIA Precision V.

    Both have great vibe, feel good and tone-wise I think they're comparable.

    The materials, fit & finish is as good as Fender has ever been.

    You're payin' the same (or less) looking for that one 'classic', if you want new, try a few out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  12. bassalo


    Jan 23, 2008
    Late 2008? I thought the consensus was that the perceived quality improvement began with the updates effective with the new 2008 model year. Some of which were made in very late 2007. I could be wrong though. I know my 2008 MIA P is my favorite among my lineup (along with my Ray of course).
  13. bighead4G&L

    bighead4G&L Guest

    Jun 30, 2007
    The new American Standard Fenders have some excellent improvements over the 70s basses. Unless you come across a "sweetheart" of a 70s axe, I'd get the updated version and the warranty that goes with it.
  14. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I'm interested in this as well.
    What have the changes been in the American Standard line since 2008 till now?
  15. They got rid of the S-1 wiring, replaced the bridge, and spend more time on fit and finish.
  16. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Thanks, but actually what I meant is, what are the differences between 2008 and 2010 models? I recently bought a 2008 MIA P5, and I was just wondering whether a 2010 would have been much different.
  17. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    New one. Cause theyve got bigger frets, better bridges, and slighly narrower necks. To those that dont think theyd hold theyre value or become collectors stuff. Id say theres good chance they will. Especially those made during the first couple yrs of fenders changes of fretsize, bridge type, and narrower neck. If by chance, fender goes back to the old trad frets, bridges, and neck, then these newer models have a better chance of becoming more valuable over time. Rarer. But all that matters is which you like better for whatever reason. I like fenders improvements. So I like the newer ones better then the older ones.
  18. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown

    May 1, 2000
    SLC, UT
    No difference. As stated above, the way basses are made now reflect the changes that were started in late 2007 for the 2008 model year.

    I too have an '08 P5. It's worked its way into my number 1 spot. I've been really impressed with the new American Standards.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i've played examples from all time periods that have been alternately great and alternately crap. in the end, get the bass that most makes you want to play.
  20. jpfbass


    Sep 28, 2009
    I don't think 70's fenders are anything special, having tried my friends '76 (might've been a '74, not sure). To me it just felt like a normal MIM fender, even though I was playing it through a 70's tube amp. The new ones feel great though, better setup and more comfortable all around i guess.

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