For whom among us, is vintage not really vintage?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GretschWretch, Jun 22, 2022.

  1. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    There is no shortage of NBD threads on TB about how somebody got their VINTAGE bass that they always had been wanting. A vintage bass, ANY vintage bass as long as it was vintage, especially a pre-CBS Fender. And I admit I sometimes envy those who score a 1962 or 1963 Precision.

    But I am coming of the mind that I don't really care so much if it is vintage, and I certainly have no shortage of "vintage" basses, which I define as any bass in production before Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency (I will make an exception for Gibson's "Big Bottomed Girls.") And twenty-something years ago when I subscribed to Vintage Guitar I wondered why I never saw any of these basses listed among the dealers. Where are the Voxes? Where are the Magnatones? Where are the budget Japanese? Where are all these basses that I grew up with, even if I couldn't afford them? Then eBay came along and answered that question.

    And now I find that getting a vintage bass does not give me the same charge it appears to give some younger players who were not around in that era. It's just an old bass that I grew up with, from my youth.

    Am I alone in this? Is it just a Boomer thing? Are younger players more stoked about getting a vintage bass because it pre-dates themselves and therefore has some kind of mystique?
  2. I, for one, might like a vintage (Pre-CBS) instrument, but it would have to be in very good shape.

    I wouldn’t spend a lot of money for something that looks like it’s falling apart.

    I would prefer a new instrument that sounds vintage.

    I’m 65, and clearly remember the sound and feel of my old friend’s 1965 Precision bass, which he bought in 1972, and I played many times between 1974 and 1980.
    And, yes, I think some younger players are enamoured by basses made during the 50s through the 70s only because they weren’t alive then.

    But, I could be wrong. ;)

  3. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I dig vintage instruments and amps as long as the vintage is post 2000, but a more recent vintage is even better. Zero interest in antiques though.;)
  4. Well, you've seen many of my vintage basses, and I started the pre-CBS Fender Club, so you know I enjoy vintage instruments. Aside from my Fender and Rickenbacker basses which are still being made, most of my vintage basses are unavailable today -- my Kays, Mostrite, Ampeg, and my Gibson EB-2. So I had to go vintage to get them. But I also have and play newer instruments. So it's not a mystique thing, it's a tone thing. At least for me. And that applies to the Fender basses too, I wanted the tone and had an opportunity to grab authentic instruments from the eras I was interested in so I did.
    Keyser Soze, TyBo and blacktocomm like this.
  5. spatters


    Mar 25, 2002
    Instruments are so much better today than they were when I was young, that I have no desire for anything that was around then. (High five to @Passinwind on that one.)

    Also, I'm old enough to know that they won't make me look or sound like the people who played them.

    Instruments from before my time that are in any way playable are so expensive that I can't afford them.

    Accordingly, I find myself preferring post-2000 instruments. That's when Korea really started making instruments that were the equal of typical American instruments, which meant I can afford to own them. There are so many beautiful, fun, unique instruments from 2000 on that I don't feel a need to get anything older.
  6. I think the people who are more intrigued by 60-70’s basses are the ones who were born after the basses were constructed. There does seem to be a bit of a mystical aura around them for some reason even though those of us who grew up with them know that generally newer instruments are made better. Fender in particular.
    Hazeyhaze, thmsjordan, Rezdog and 5 others like this.
  7. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    I've never cared about "vintage" in the slightest. I didn't when I was 16, and I care, if possible, even less now that I'm 66. No disrespect to those who do, but the issue for me has always been whether a particular made object will do what I want (or at least think I want). I've never seen vintage instruments as necessarily doing that better. If anything, it's the opposite.

    YMMV as always.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
  8. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I’m not a Boomer, but I’m not a young’un either. I’m 55. And I have zero interest in any vintage instruments.


    There is absolutely no appeal there for me. Modern basses are always better. Except for the bargain basement stuff, but anybody serious enough knows to avoid the bottom of this barrel.

    I’ll never understand the craze over vintage stuff. To me it’s like searching for, and paying a premium for, vintage tires. Or vintage socks. Or vintage shingles. Really? Just buy new. Because it’s always better.

    Bring out the pitchforks!!:cool:
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I love looking at vintage basses but I wouldn't pay the price for one. With Fender/Gibson Mod Shop-Custom Shop offerings, one can get close and score a playable bass that tone-wise is not too far from a classic. Plus, it's your bass, not a used one with questionable pedigree.

    There's just too many really, really good options buying new or gently-slightly used with a vintage appearance. For 20% or less of the cost of a pre-CBS era Fender.

    I gig quite a bit so a good sounding - solid working bass matters with no issues regarding weather, worn frets, etc. Funny thing tho', the frets on my 2010 Precision V, after hundreds of gigs, rehearsals and practices over 12 years are in need of some attention now. Yikes!
  10. Jogobass


    Feb 5, 2013
    Vintage just means old to me, so indeed I don't see them as 'vintage', or worth 25k. I've seen the development of basses over the past 30 years or so and it has only gotten better. I'm a fan of the modern sound, where the sound of a good bass string actually rings true in its fullest potential. I never believed in the sound of old basses since they all had their limitations, which, granted, made them sound unique, but I wouldn't call that a good instrument by definition.
  11. J Wilson

    J Wilson

    Apr 22, 2022
    An Undisclosed Location
    You start talking 'vintage' Fenders and Gibsons, to me there's no real point. I'm not a 'vintage guy', and to me they are just old axes, and no way on God's Green Earth if I had $toopid money in the bank would I be shelling out for some bass that was made when I was a kid in the 60's when for me, any number of Fender's really good reissues would do just fine, and I wouldn't worry I gave away five grand if I got it refretted or changed the pickups.

    For me, vintage would only be stuff that's just not made any more, nor likely to ever be reissued: Roscoe Beck Fives, a PBass Lyte, the 24-fret Jazz, if I just had to have some FSO objects. More likely MIJ 80's Yamaha BB's, Ibanez Musicians, Bass Maniacs, ESP Horizons and the like from those days, Matsumoku Arias, etc.

    Gruhn's, Carter Vintage, and Rumble Seat Music are all 20 minutes from my house. I go in once in a while, as it is interesting to see Mandocellos, harp guitars, or some crazy old electrics, but it's just not really my thing.

    And for gosh sakes, realize there's a whole lotta guitars and basses that are just old, and not automatically a desirable vintage piece. There's thousands of Gibsons that AREN'T a 59 Burst, and L5, or a F5 mandolin.
  12. red_rhino

    red_rhino Artful Dodger Gold Supporting Member

    I never much cared for today’s vintage instruments even when they were new. As far as basses are concerned, only 1 in 10 were originally decent players. Now that they’re “vintage”, it’s more like 1 in 100. The art and science of bass building has advanced considerably in the last 40+ years, to the point that new instruments built to vintage specs are almost always better than their vintage ancestors. (And if you really can’t live without that vintage vibe, just get it relic’d.)
  13. txhawaii


    Feb 22, 2020
    For some strange reason I remember seeing a man with his arms outstretched waving on television. I was on my mother's lap and I was about two and a half or so in '74. She was watching Nixon's departure from the WH.

    The '72 Fender Jazz I picked last year is my birth year. I got it for several reasons, mostly because I knew I'd never see an instrument like that in my neck of the woods so I had to snag it. Honestly, the Japanese made '96 jazz is more versatile and less worrisome if I scratch her. But I don't worship the '72 because it is 50 years old and truly a vintage instrument. It is a wonderful player and makes me happy but had it not fallen in my lap, I am unsure if I would buy one sight unseen as, in the end, they are just old basses. I do feel like I am in a special club but who cares. Those with '62 will say mine isn't old or vintage enough.

    I do wonder who owned it in 72 and where it travelled in order to get to me. Maybe it was played by someone famous or made a well known song. Who knows...
  14. WillyW

    WillyW l’art pour l’art, fonction de baise

    Dec 10, 2019

    2021 and 2022 vintage…

    bobyoung53, Roger W, Ralf1e and 13 others like this.
  15. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    A buddy of mine just sold his 1966 P Bass. It was in excellent shape and played well, but it was just another P bass. Both he and I have NASH PB-63s and we both prefer them to the '66 Precision.
  16. Slade N

    Slade N Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    There are many basses that I would love to have that are vintage and many that are not vintage. Older isnt always better, but has a different appeal. Not better just different.
    SJan3 and Mike Mulligan like this.
  17. antfarm


    Oct 2, 2017
    I was born in 1973, and most of the records I like (Jazz Funk, R&B) were released in or around 1972.

    That’s why I want a 1972 Fender.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
  18. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I like instruments that have “good years”. For example the 1993-1995 era of the MusicMan Stingray—I’m lucky to have bought a 1994 Stingray new back then. I don’t subscribe to the theory that if it’s old it must be good. It has to be good before I’ll buy it.
  19. ac100X


    Apr 6, 2003
    I like different vintage basses form 1979 or older and I am sick and tired of looking at Fenders. What has changed are the prices. Old VOXes are not worth the money (they use to be $500 bucks or less). I think they would have more fans today if they cost under a grand. There is a certain nostalgia element in this too that motivates me.
  20. friedlbug

    friedlbug Supporting Member

    Authenticity isn’t tangible unless it is? Lol. I didn’t know what 70s Fenders we’re like until I played them. Sure, now I could list the aspects that make one authentic, but the real thing is, well, real. My Ric 4001 isn’t exactly the same as the 4003s available today. Plus, I mod the hell out of most things, so if I can start with an old husk and bring it back to life, too? That’s the most fun for me.

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