Help verifying a 1981 Fender P-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Andrew Stokes, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    Hi, I'm looking for a bit of help to verify what I think (hope) is a 1981 CBS era Fender Precision. The serial number on the neck checks out, and looks authentic. The pots are CTS and, again, seem to check out (R1378106). As far as I can see there's no date stamp on the pickups or the body, but there is a sticker that matches the neck serial number that has been stuck to the owners manual, so maybe that was originally on the body?
    The thing that confuses me most is the neck as it has no 7 digit code written on it in the joint region, instead it has a weird S and two stamps - a circular one that looks like FRR 20 and a four-digit code 2013 (which initially gave me heartburn as I thought it was a modern neck on an older body). The neck also has the cross head truss rod adjustment at the body joint. Does that sound right for a bass made in 1981?

    I'll try to post some pictures as well but would really appreciate any advice from you guys as this is my first foray into older basses and I don't want to make a mistake
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  2. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    neck joint.jpg
  3. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    serial number.jpg
    Shawn Luckman likes this.
  4. Had an '81 PBass aswell.
    S9 Serial was used until around 1981.
    Poties are from (R1378106) 1981.
    Matching Serial Sticker was underneath the Pickguard.
    1981 often came with white pickup cover and no more fingerrest.
    But with both chrome covers.
    Looks all legit for an 1981.
  5. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    Thanks for the reply - I bought the bass yesterday and was restringing it last night with flat wounds and nearly **** a brick when I took the neck off (thought I'd been duped). I guess part of the problem is that it looks in almost too good condition for the age - probably sat under someone's bed for most of its life. I'll post some more pictures
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2019
  6. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
  7. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    packhowitzer likes this.
  8. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    packhowitzer likes this.
  9. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
  10. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
  11. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    The other thing that worried me is that the neck joint has been shimmed with a rough cut bit of plastic sheet (see pic below). I had noticed the neck was sitting high but hadn't spotted that as the plastic is a good match to the body colour. I guess I can just remove that and adjust action and relief accordingly? (assuming the truss rod is ok)
  12. Andrew Stokes

    Andrew Stokes

    Jun 24, 2019
    neck shim.jpg
  13. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    According to the serial number, it's a 1978-1979 model (at least the neck is anyway).

    According to these sites, S9+5 digits comes from 78-79.
  14. DavC likes this.
  15. It all looks correct to me. The amount of overspray/paint in the body neck cavity is a little odd as it has obliterated any production codes/dates. But as late 70s early 80s was very hit and miss quality wise for Fenders the body is still more likely genuine. How heavy is it? Basses from that era are some of the heaviest I've played which is why many ended up not being played and are still in almost new condition.
  16. Acoop

    Acoop Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    Interesting is the fact this would have been the last year before overseas production took Fender by storm. ... I can't remember when CBS handed over Fender to it's employees but, must of been close to this. ... Nice piece of history.
  17. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    Not if the bridge saddles are bottomed out.
  18. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    So, we're trying to verify if this bass is "genuinely" from the worst period in Fender's history? Why?

    It's a musical instrument, and one which is highly unlikely to become a valuable collector's item (the basses made in the last 20 years are, at least typically) better than this one. So, evaluate it as to whether or not it's a good musical instrument. I wouldn't be at all worried if the neck was actually from 2013 - that'd make it a better instrument.

    It looks nice. If the neck is straight and doesn't have a massive dead spot, play it.
    JMarkD and salcott like this.
  19. Agree and some ordinary guys bought them even in a double pack: