Has anyone ever compared a Fender reissue to a stock original?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Every1TookMyName, Nov 5, 2001.

  1. How accurate is... say a RI '62 Jazz to a '62 Jazz?

    Of course you wouldn't get the vintage vibe from a reissue (unless its one of those relic jobs), but tonewise.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I have played many old Fenders (unfortunately never a real '62) as well as most of the RI basses. IMHO, many of the RI basses sound nice, but there really isn't much difference between a RI and a "regular" new jazz bass or P bass.

    I think that a great deal of the tone you get from the vintage is directly related to the fact that it is old. The aging process itself effects the tonal properties of the wood.

    True vintage freaks argue the same about the electronics. That it is the aging process itself that makes them what they are. (Along with the material used of course) So even electronics built in the "vintage" style don't sound like vintage electronics.

    Underneath that RI paint job, hardware and pickguard is the the same new wood body and neck that you find on any other new intrument.

    The pickups are brand new just like any other Fender bass.

    This doesn't mean they aren't cool. I think many of the RI basses are, but they are not vintage clones.

    I can't imagine anyone paying $5000 for a beat up old bass just for the nostalgia of it. Pre-CBS Fenders and other 60s Fenders bring top dollar because there is a very real truth to their unique tone properties.

    My question is this: If I happened to have some 40-50 year-old alder and maple lying around as well as enough 50-year-old brazilian RW to make a finger board, and got a Roger Sadowsky type (someone who could match the build quality of the real Leo-ran factory) to build you a bass out of it, would you have something like a pre-CBS Fender?

  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I owned a 1983 '62 RI P-bass at one time and had the opportunity to compare it side-by-side with a nice original '63 P-bass, same color and everything. The reissue didn't have the vibe that comes from years of play, but tonally I couldn't tell very much difference at all. Weight, balance, neck size, etc. was all about the same. I think the biggest difference was the fact that the neck laquer had been worn away on the '63 and it was so incredibly smooth, while my RI still had the full laquer coat.

    Bottom line: I gave about $600 for my reissue. The guy with the original '63 wouldn't have parted with his for less than about $4K. If playability and tone were the only considerations, I wouldn't have paid any more than about 200.00 more for the original than for the reissue.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Nope, because old wood is not the same as old wood that's been vibrated for 40 years.

    It's because the instrument has been played for so many years that gives it the "vintage" sound.

    I have a RI J bass that's only about 10 years old, the original owner played it so much that it has a lot of finish missing...it plays and sounds much better than an off the shelf RI that has never been played. I'm looking forward to how much better it will be in a few more years :)
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    So if you happened to run accross a 62 jazz bass that had never been played, (you know in grandma's closet since junior left for 'Nam) it wouldn't sound that great?