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!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Fender Tuners - How Can You Tell What Year They are From?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Groover, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I see a lot of "Vintage" Fender Tuners on eBay, but I'm not sure how you can differentiate tuners say from a 1969 Fender P-bass versus tuners from a 1979 P-Bass (or any year in between)

    Are there markings on the tuners stating the year?
  2. beadgc


    Oct 10, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I don't think there are markings that indicate the year. There are two pages on Id'ing tunerss in "The Fender Bass: An ilustrated History" by Black and Molinaro. It's too much information to try to convey it in a post. Some of the difference are very subtle, some are obvious.

    Here's on bit that might help" "A registered trademark [an 'R' in a little circle] was added above the Fender logo in the early 1970s. This was the primary gear for all bass models until 1977." after that, they used Schallers and Gotohs on differnt models. some look similar to the older Fender ones, some are really different.

    If you could track down a copy of the book, it would help you figure it out.
  3. ummmm...you could try carbon dating...:D

    seriously, I don't really think there is a definitive way to tell...

    bodies and necks are generally marked, and sometimes pickups, but hardware like pots, tuners, and bridges are generally just that..."unmarked hardware".
  4. Here are some guidelines drawn from my experience...

    The oldest tuners you'll find have tall shafts, smaller "cloverleafs", a rivet at the joint of the cloverleaf and the shaft, have more threads on the shaft and are reverse turning. These were made with a nickel plating that takes on a characteristic patina with age. These are the type that were used on early P and J - pre CBS for sure.

    The next oldest tuner that I know about replaced the ones above sometime in the late 60's if I'm right and continued in use through the mid 70's. This one generally looks the same as the older tuners but has a larger "elephant ear" top and no rivet. They were also left hand threads to make the tuning motion like we use today. These were still nickel at this time.

    BTW, The two above would have had "Fender" stamped on their frames and they would be the type with captive worm gear shaft. NOT the current version with cheap spring steel under the shaft. They would have also sported a smooth transition between the top and the shaft.

    The next version is similiar to the last with the same size top but instead of a smooth, blended transition between the elephant ear and the shaft, these have an abrupt, square edge. They also have a slightly shorter shaft that makes the tops appear closer to the headstock from the front. These took over sometime in the late 70's or early 80's and were usually chrome plated. The ones like this I've seen don't have "Fender" stamped on the frame.

    That's about all I can recall...