Help Identifying a strange P/Tele Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nth Man, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. Nth Man

    Nth Man

    Jul 3, 2020
    A1C2512A-A7C1-451E-9FF1-52188152ED79.jpeg 034D0D4F-AED7-44C6-A68F-467948B4E27B.jpeg 2B0940AD-F519-45B1-A546-CA4831A19337.jpeg Hello everybody! I’m new here, hoping someone with more experience than me can help me identify this neat bass I found.

    At first glance it looks like a Telecaster bass, but it’s actually labelled a Precision bass. I’ve read all about the original P and Tele basses, so I guess that part might not be ridiculously strange, but for the life of me, I can’t find another one like it on the internet.

    It’s a CIJ, and based on some quick research, the serial number seems to indicate that it came from the Tokai Gakki factory in Japan, possibly between 1999 and 2003.

    I’m looking for a bass pretty much for recording purposes only, I currently have a Squier Jazz Bass, and it’s not great, although I like the playability, the neck is super thin. When I saw this, I was immediately drawn to the aesthetics, and when I plugged it in, it was basically the exact opposite of my J, insane amounts of thundering bass.

    I guess my only worry is that it’s some sort of frankenstein bass, because if I decide the sound isn’t what I’m looking for, I don’t want to be that guy selling a fake tele bass.

    Any thoughts or input would be appreciated! Also, if it makes a difference, the price is at $599 CAD, so it’s not expensive, but I’m on a covid budget, so I need to make the dollars count!

    WillyWonka, Border and Dark Horse like this.
  2. PWRL


    Sep 15, 2006
    Welcome to Talkbass! The shape of the pickguard makes me think that it's a Japanese-made 51 reissue which has been modified into a 70's-type Telecaster bass. Only a look under the pickguard would tell for sure, but that's my impression. It looks pretty cool to me.

    Edit- I think that the pickguard sweeps down at that angle to cover up the original route for the old type single coil pickup that would have originally been in there.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm almost wondering if someone modded a CIJ 51 reissue? The guard is funky looking. The screw pattern is off. And the part under the strings comes down toward the bridge a little too far. I'm thinking maybe (and this is a guess based on just a couple of pics) they swapped out the old single coil pickup for a Tele style. And then they had to create a guard that covered up where the single coil pickup used to be? Yeah that's a lot of guessing from two pics.

    I'm talking about a bass like this.
    Fender Precision Bass '51 Reissue Crafted in Japan Butterscotch Blonde | GravityMusicGear | Reverb

    While we're at it, the yellow looks "too yellow" to be butterscotch to me. So my gut is leaning more towards parts bass (Frankenbass).

    I would have a look under that guard before I spent one dollar (American or Canadian) on it.

    Good luck with it. Welcome to TalkBass!!!
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  4. Nth Man

    Nth Man

    Jul 3, 2020
    Interesting, maybe that’s why I can’t find another one like it. Most of them have the single coil, I didn’t realize that people were going to those lengths to modify these things. Thanks for the input!
  5. Nth Man

    Nth Man

    Jul 3, 2020
    Frankenbass! That’s my ultimate fear, although it probably doesn’t matter anyways, I’m not a collector, I just want to make music that sounds good. Thanks!
    4 Strings Good and two fingers like this.
  6. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    If you like it and the price is right, buy it. As far as if it's some modded piece, when it comes to resale, I'd worry a lot more about the yellow paint job than any work that's been done to it. I think it's fairly split around here about that original PBass form (Tele-style head and that slab body) about who prefers the original single coil to the humbucker.
  7. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    If this has been customized, it can be a crap shoot as to how well the removal of body material under the pickguard was done. Unless the price is such that you don't care, I'd want to see under the guard before I bought it. Not that I wouldn't buy it if the work was shoddy, but it would affect what I'd be willing to pay.
    4 Strings Good and Nth Man like this.
  8. I've always wanted one. Somthin about the combination of the slab and that Tele headstock.... It just looks so dang cool.
    Not sure why they'd put the humbucker that close to the neck. I gotta think it's gonna produce a Gibson rumbelishes sorta tone.
    I even think the bright yellow looks cool on this design.
    What's 600 bucks in Amurican money?
    I'm gonna blame Dusty Hill for this.....
    LT131, Big Shrek and Blueinred like this.
  9. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    two fingers and PWRL like this.
  10. mikecd1


    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    Greetings and welcome to Talkbass! As others suggest, not sure of the authenticity, but they went to a lot of trouble to get that Fender logo pickup if they did which was part of a real Telecaster bass which I've not seen a CIJ model. Now as to buying this bass to record with - this would never be my choice for a go-to recording bass. If you put a set of Duncan SPB-1 pups in your Squier Jazz along with a series / parallel switch (push-pull my fave) you could cover Jazz / single coil tones with those pups and a humbucker type tone when the series is engaged. Running my jazz with the pups in series is a punchy thick tone which suggests a pbass and with the other jazz tones (put a nice tone cap in there with a linear tone pot perhaps too?). Although this looks to be a cool bass it comes with some questions and if recording is your goal my 2 cents is upgrade your current rig and get some nice recording tones. Good luck and let us know what you decide!
    Nth Man likes this.
  11. Nth Man

    Nth Man

    Jul 3, 2020
    It’s definitely a rumbley tone, but I think it can be tamed with some eq. It also has flatwounds on it, so that might contribute as well.
    $600 CAD is only like $450 USD, give or take.
    Pdaddy1978 and TN WOODMAN like this.
  12. Nth Man

    Nth Man

    Jul 3, 2020
    The fender humbucker threw me off as well, that’s the one component that doesn’t seem to be easy to come by.

    I’ve thought of upgrading my Jazz as well, but I never got around to it. My friends have some good bass gear, and my main instrument is drums, so the J always gets put on the back burner.

    Is that a difficult upgrade to do? I’m guessing there must be a pick guard readily available to make it happen?

    Thanks for the input, I appreciate it!
  13. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    That would be nice if the routing from the single is under the pickguard you can restore it and have a two pickup bass.The price is not bad,usually these basses are a bit under 1000$ used.
    That neck though...makes my hand hurt just by looking at it :)
    thomas-k and Nth Man like this.
  14. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    One way to do it- This is a MIA with a CIJ precision neck.
    As to making it a recording bass, mine, without the added P pickup is way, way woofy. So much bottom end!! I need to put a HPF on it and then it sounds great. I would buy that for $599 CDN.
    That's the colour of CIJ vintage '51s IMG_0743.jpg
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  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    The neck looks good but obviously we can't touch it. If it plays well it will be a fine bass. It looks super cool.
    In my own (yeah, I know I'm wrong) vocabulary I'd probably accidentally call that a Tele out of habit. But that looks alike a real rockin' parts body so let it rip if the price is OK with you.
    Nth Man likes this.
  16. hieronymous

    hieronymous Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2002
    SF Bay Area
    I deleted my earlier post, I didn't read the original post closely enough. I think it looks like a cool bass! If it were me, I'd put a single-coil P-Bass pickup in and wire it with a separate output. That way you can do the SCPB thing or the super-bass humbucker thing, depending on the circumstances. Mine is like that, but with a split-coil Alembic P-Bass pickup (since that's what the previous owner had it routed for).


    Agreed that the humbucker is pretty bassy (and high output) - though not as much as a Gibson "mudbucker".

    There actually have been humbucker-equipped Tele Basses made in Japan, though they were only for the Japanese market and not sold over here - I lived there from '82-'88 and '90 and had a catalog that had one - that started my obsession!
    mikecd1 and Nth Man like this.
  17. PennyroyalWe


    Sep 2, 2018
    If you want an unaltered one, there are a few Squier Precision Bass TB out there. They’re fantastic instruments, and sound a bit clearer than the old 70’s pickups. FWIW I call all these basses tele basses, whether it says telecaster or Precision Bass.
    mikecd1 and Nth Man like this.
  18. ArteK

    ArteK Supporting Member

    I had what was basically the Squire version of this bass. I'm betting your neck is better than the one I had. As for the sound, it was really beefy (to a fault). I can see how it's the opposite of your Jazz. I'm a Precision guy through and through, though, and while I thought the hum bucker Tele bass had plenty of oomph, think the regular split-P basses have better definition.

    I've always found the single-coil Tele basses too thin sounding for my tastes. I've owned three (two Stings and a 51 reissue), modding a couple of them with "better" single-coil pickups (Seymour Duncan SCPB-3, Lollar, etc.) But compared to my regular Fender split P Precision pickup sound, the E and A strings always sounded too low in volume in the SC Tele basses.

    I love the look of them, but the sound never did it for me. (Of course, many would disagree with me, which is why lots of people have them. I even find a Jazz too thin a lot of the time, so take my opinion with a big grain of salt.)

    After all that, if you like the sound, I'd say go for it. You should always be able to sell it for at least $500US (despite the modifications), so I don't think you're taking all that much of a risk. Aside from the pick guard mod, it has a really nice vintage yellow look about it.
    Nth Man likes this.
  19. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    That bass looks like a 71. The only difference being that those basses were branded telecaster on the headstock. Neck swap?

    And Fender used that pg for 1 year
    Nth Man likes this.
  20. Mikeinfife


    Jun 18, 2020
    The Squier vm p tb bass Humbucker says Fender on it - so not quite so hard to find...
    mikecd1 likes this.

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