Help identifying (hopefully) '72 P bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HenLo, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. HenLo


    Jun 16, 2020
    Hi all,

    First time poster (though long time lurker).

    So, long story short: last week I picked up what I was told was, for want of a better word, the remains of a 72 p bass. At the time I had no idea what was more or less likely to be genuine - all in parts, horribly broken neck, heavily scarred body, but pickups looked the real thing, and neck stamp at least gave some hope that the rest of the guitar might be more or less genuine. Seller had picked it up as parts from someone who was moving home: apparently it had laid in a cupboard, in parts, for at least 30 years.

    Got it home, and here's what I found:

    - Neck: completely broken (see pic) but looks genuine. Heel stamped Sep 197-something (could be 2), with what looks like a "B" following. Tuners check out, though one's been changed for a Hipshot at some point.
    - Neck plate also looks genuine, consistent with 72.
    - Pickups - stamps looks genuine, and again point to 72. One pup has been rewound by Kent Armstrong who confirmed was between 85-90.
    - Bridge - looks fine. Only came with three screws though so no idea if ever had extended 1 3/4 G string saddle screw.
    - Pickguard - also looks period correct. Holes in right place for tug-rest.
    - Wiring - all changed, as far as I can tell, for what looked like late 70's / 80's British-made pots. No idea about cap. Jack stamped "Switchcraft Mexico".

    So far so OK. Here's the puzzle though.

    The body is in lousy shape: it seems to have been used as the head of an axe when (presumably in a fit of punk) the neck was broken. On the face of the body though, all seems 72-consistent. BUT - the neck pocket was, when I got the guitar, completely varnished over. Have never come across a Fender guitar with that, so I assume the body has been refinished, or at least re-varnished at some point in the past.

    The body checking suggests a nitro finish, and sure enough, with the gentle help of acetone, the neck pocket cleaned up, revealing a hanging pin dowel in the right place as well as what seem to be routing/dremel marks where some of the original pocket has been removed.

    More intriguing, removing the pocket finish revealed what seems to be the remnants of some green-coloured lettering - a stamp? - with a small circle beneath and what seems to be a letter/number underneath it (treble side of pocket).

    The other thing that throws me slightly is that there are an additional two screw holes beneath the bridge plate, that suggest that at some point the guitar has had a different bridge fitted.

    I'm not enormously worried about value of the guitar as plan is to get it up and playing (Hosco neck ordered).

    I'd be hugely grateful, though, for any thoughts on whether the body looks genuine - particularly given the previous state of the neck pocket. TIA!

    Attached Files:

  2. HenLo


    Jun 16, 2020
    And one more with p/guard and bridge.

    Attached Files:

  3. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Your assessment is all pretty much spot-on. It's a legit '72, everything but the pots, jack, wiring, one tuner.
    HenLo and FenderOli like this.
  4. HenLo


    Jun 16, 2020
    Huge thanks. Much appreciated.

    Have to confess am really puzzled by what could have happened to the neck pocket. The sunburst itself looks original. Is it possible someone just decided to lacquer over the original finish - depositing gunk in the pocket and, I assume, also in other routings?

    The things folk did to (now) vintage instruments in the 80s...