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Fender Vintage Reissues vs. The Real Thing?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PolkaHero, Dec 12, 2004.


  1. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Michigan
    I'm looking to purchase a Fender Precision for mostly studio work. I'm having a hard time deciding whether to go for a used vintage late 60s to early 70s P-bass and risk getting one with a warped neck, worn frets, or scratchy electronics vs. purchasing either a 57 or 62 RI new (or fairly new in excellent condition). I'm not a collector but do realize the true vintage P-basses will go up in value while a reissue probably won't.

    How do the Reissue series compare to the real thing? Is there noticeable difference between the 57 and 62 in terms of tone and playability? I have a Steve Harris signature right now which plays great, but it is a little too aggressive soundwise for the style of music I'm performing. Much thanks to anyone's suggestions!
     
  2. I like the newer ones. But a quality reissue with some age on it would be a good compromise. I like played in basses and pups with a little age on them.

    A bad neck is a deal breaker. Electronics can be repaired, frets can be redressed. Unless you are a collector or you can get a good price, I would get a newer reissue.
     
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    I think that the post '99 MIA RIs are some of the best instruments Fender has ever made, and certainly better than most stuff made after about '68.

    That said, there is considerable variation among the RIs, not really quality issues (though of course there will always be quality issues with mass-produced instruments) but just differences in sound, feel, weight, etc. But you find that with the vintage instruments as well. Its increasingly rare to find a vintage bass that is a really great player.

    There's no real difference between the 57RI and the 62RI Ps in playability, though the rosewood fingerboard doesn't feel as slick beneath your fingers. But the tone is pretty different. Either one can approach the other's tone, but they each have their own territory. Try some and see what you think.
     
  4. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Michigan
    I checked out some sound clips on Fender's website and the two do sound different. The 57 definitely sounds brighter than the 62. I thought I read on here recently though that the 57's high end isn't as harsh as the 62. None the guitar shops around here stock these so I can't really try them out. Thanks!
     
  5. P60J65

    P60J65

    Nov 11, 2003
    i have a 1960 p bass and compared it directly to a reissue 62' ....the differrence was astonishing... in comparison the reissue sounded very thin and choppy between tones, it had no soul....the vintage was smooth sounding very deep .....you should get a real one..you could get a refin for much less and it will still go up in value..much slower though..sounds almost the same.... thats all i got to say :spit:
     
  6. Well, I played the 62' RI Jazz for five minutes once, and I instantly got that warm, 60's jazz-sound. It really lives up to the name. I also played a RI P-bass, don't know exactly which one, but it sure sounded like a fat, old P-bass.
     
  7. kjones

    kjones Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    Maryland
    Before you make a decision, please audition the Lakland Bob Glaub. Incredibly comfortable to play, and truly a vintage sound and feel. Once I played it, I certainly made my mind up when I had your dilemma.
     
  8. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Well, that's a sample of one. There are certainly many RIs that sound better than the RI you tried, and there are certainly many vintage instruments that sound like crap.
     
  9. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses

    +1 on the Lakland Bob Glaub, the Skyline version is also an incredible bass. IMO with the numerous aftermarket parts available, a great sounding P-Bass doesn't have to have a 'Fender' decal on it's headstock.

    I'd also recommend that you try a few of the MIA Standard P-Basses, most of the MIA's I've tried were as good sounding the 70 's P-Basses that I've owned. I found one on ebay for relatively cheap and put in a Nordstrand NP4 pickup. IMO the bass now sounds very vintage.

    Just my 2 cents, -Art
     
  10. r379

    r379

    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Lyle;

    Can you explain why you prefer the '99 RI Fenders? Thanks.
     
  11. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    I'm not sure of the exact date, and knowing Fender, there's some overlap, but round about '99...

    They changed the necks (profile and thickness) and redesigned the US Vintage pickups. They also seem to have been getting better wood (sonicly and visually) and just plain making them better- tighter neck pockets, better finishes, better fretjobs and well-cut nuts.

    In the '80s and '90s, it seemed like I would play 20 or more Fenders before finding a really good one. The last few years, aside from some terrible store setups and old strings, I've run across a LOT of really good ones. So then I just have to find the really great ones. And they aren't so hard to find now, either.

    I've played lots of crappy guitars and basses over the years, and a ton of them had Fender on the headstock. I'm no brand name cheerleader. But when a company gets its act together, they should be applauded.

    Gibson did a similar quality overhaul of the Les Paul Standards in 2003. I guess between PRS and the MIJ/MIK competition, the "giants" realized they had to get their act together. And they seem to have done it.

    The post '99 Fenders I've bought are the first mass-production instruments I've ever purchased new where I didn't instantly need to upgrade the pickups (speaking strictly about the Vintage pickups- their Noiseless and new cobalt pickups leave me cold).
     
  12. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    I've owned a lot RI's and Pre-CBS basses and if you get a good pre-CBS the RI's can't touch 'em.
     
  13. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    And +1 on the Skyline Glaubs and Osbournes. Also strong contenders.

    To be honest, I went with a new Fender '62 RI J over the Osbourne solely because I don't like the looks of the round Lakland bridge on a "Fender." But the JO sounded and played great. I realize my decision was partly silly, but there it is. If I spend $1000 on an instrument, I don't want any part of it to bug me.

    That said, as much as Fender has improved, I gotta say that the Skyline Laklands are overall more consistent than the Fenders. Highly recommended if the aesthetics float your boat.
     
  14. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    No doubt. But finding a good pre-CBS is almost as difficult as affording a good pre-CBS. And once you get into the price range of even a refin with RI parts, you're playing against Sadowsky and custom makers, which is a more level playing field than against the RI series, which is constrained to a certain price point.
     
  15. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    That's the issue with most Fender instruments. If you find a good one it will sound a lot better. Fender was very inconsistent in making their instruments. There is a big different in sound with the older instruments since the wood has aged and "set". As the newer instruments age it will mellow a may even sound as good. Some of Fenders custom shop and american reissues are some of the best sounding instruments you can buy....

    Then there's the Sadowsky ultra vintage....
     
  16. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    Hey, I agree! But I have yet to find any bass, no matter how good they are, that have that feel, that sound, of a well aged Fender. I wish I had one now. :bawl:
     
  17. Reefer

    Reefer Guest

    Mar 9, 2003
    You're correct in lot of what you're saying, but having owned quite few early Fenders, MusicMan's, and G&l's, there is something about the ones that Leo had his hands in. Having said that I do have a Custom Shop '62 Jazz Closet Classic that will be arriving tomorrow. I'm looking forward to checking it out! :hyper:
     
  18. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    Same here if I were in the market for one.
     
  19. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    '73 well aged enough for ya? Got one if you're interested...... :bag:
     
  20. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    '73 well aged enough for ya? Got one if you're interested...... :bag: