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Help identifying old p-bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass Kahuna, May 16, 2005.

  1. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hi All,

    As many of you know, I am sucker for basses that have had a hard life and been broken or modded to where most people aren't interested in them anymore... so recently I was able to snag this old p-bass (made arrangments outside of ebay - I know, I got lucky - after not making the reserve):


    It arrived last week and I love it! It's a great bass with tons of mojo and except for a few very small things like the weight (it's really light and my old `71 p-bass is dang near a boat anchor) and different fret wire, it feels 99.9% exactly like my old beat up `71. It is definitely a keeper! Woo!

    Anyway, just for my own curiousity, I would like to be able to confirm if it might be some kind of one-off prototype or something similar from fender from around `73 or so as claimed, or is it some type of an old clone with a fender replacement neck?

    The silverburst finish has the right amount of checking, wear, and yellowing for the age stated, as does the hardware and electronics (I haven't run a pot date check yet...). The neck plate has the correct "F" of the time period, but no serial number, again making me think it might be a one-off (or can you buy a fender neckplate with no serial number?...).

    Any info or help would be appreciated. Again, this is just for my curiosity, this bass is definitely a keeper for me and as soon as the parts arrive it will get modded and setup to match my heavily modded `71, so I'm not looking to find out to try and resell or anything, and it won't break my heart at all if it turns out to not be an actual `73 fender p but a really nice clone.

    Thanks in advance...


  2. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    Hey Grandon,

    How you been? FWIW, my '73 P also has a "F" logo neckplate with no number on it. I always assumed it was a replacement... that's the only place with the SN (until late 70s when they put it on the headstock).

  3. FWIW in a 90's issue of Guitarist Magazine they had a feature ("my guitar/bass is") is on a rare 70's slab-bodied precision (like Entwistle's Frankenstein) and had closeups that showed paint cracking and filler receding slightly where a bridge J rout had been made (although in the "correct" pos. and not so close to the bridge as the original one on yours) and also where holes had been drilled on the back for string-thru- apparently done at the factory.
  4. Marshes


    Sep 20, 2004
    Did you read the description the seller put up????

    It clearly states that the neck was replaced.
  5. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Yes, I was very aware of the replacement neck. I've pulled the neck and it is dated 2000. No biggie there, it is actually very, very close to my `71 p-bass neck. It is just a bit thinner from front to back, not quite as much of a base ball bat, and it has thinner fret wire and a slab fingerboard, but it feels almost the exact same in my hands which is everything.

    Again, I'm not into the whole "oooh, it's rare and therefore worth something so I'm gonna lock it up in a case and try to retire on what I can sell it for" collector thing. Please, I'm not trying to offend anybody with that statement, it's just that to me they are tools built for a specific purpose and therefore should be used for that purpose. As silly as it sounds, when I saw this one on eBay it spoke to me, but again, I like basses that have had a hard life and it shows and they're still kicking (again, like Stevie Ray Vaughns #1 strat), and obviously, prototype fender or clone with a fender neck, it has that "vibe" - for me anyway. I'm currently rebuilding a 1977 ricky 4001 that had a really, really badly broken neck... it was broken twice in the same spot. I couldn't resist buying it and bringing it back to life. Somehow, for me, putting "sweat equity" in it like that just makes me connect to it even more. Goofy, huh? Too many years with wood in your hands can do that to you (I've got this really strange idea about building instruments from something that used to be a living being - trees).

    Anyway, now that everyone is leaning back in their chairs going "woah, bk is really whacked..." I am just curious if it might possibly be some kind of a one-off thingy from fender. Personally, I find that a bit hard to believe that they would let an instrument like that out into the publics hands, but hey, ya never know. If so it would just give it more "personality" but no more value.

    Fender or clone, I've never seen this silverburst finish before except on Les Pauls.... the tort pickguard just absolutely puts in over the top in ugly ... and therefore beautiful!

    Now to find an email addy for Fender somewhere....
  6. That looks like an antigua finish, which was big in the late 70s early 80s (well not big, but made around that time). The neck is an obvious replacement. Looks like some guy made J pickup routes. I wouldn't conclude anything. It looks like it could be a refinish, with the added J pickup coming later.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Nope. Not quite antigua...Antiqua as a bunch of white and a bit of 'brownish' color to it.

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