How do you determine the worth of a sentimental parts bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Garret Wheeler, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. Garret Wheeler

    Garret Wheeler

    Mar 1, 2016
    Hey everybody! This one may be a little long-winded, so for the TL;DR crowd, skip to the bottom.

    My first bass was a Squier VM Jaguar bass. It had an active preamp with a single humbucker at the bridge. At the time I didn't really know what a preamp did, so I always kept everything wide open. Of course this sounded terrible coming through my little 8" practice amp, but instead of researching and trying to find a way to make the gear I already had sound good, I decided that I needed a new instrument. Hindsight is 20/20 lol.

    Around a year in, and after doing a bunch of research on what my favorite players used, I decided I needed a P bass. The only problem was that I was a broke fifteen year old, so there was no way I would scrape together the $550 or so for a new Mexican P bass. Instead, I did a ton of research and decided that a good move would be to buy a Squier P bass and progressively upgrade it. That would keep the cost down and would allow me to get the instrument itself sooner rather than later. What can I say? I was an impatient kid.

    After purchasing a Squier Affinity P bass with a less-than-stellar neck and electronics, I went to town on it. I started by having my luthier replace the stock maple/rosewood neck with an all maple Mighty-Mite Jazz bass neck with black tuners. From there I upgraded the bass with a Seymour Duncan SPB-3, vintage spec pots with cloth-wrapped wire and orange drop capacitors, and a Badass II bridge. I was a massive fan of Steve Harris at the time, so I was trying to model the bass after something he might use. Anyways, I ended up with a 100% gig-worthy bass. As a matter of fact, that was the bass I used at my first gigs, and the first instrument I really felt like I bonded with. I can pretty confidently say that it was with that bass that I truly discovered the magic of music. Now that I think about it, the research I did for that project is what ultimately brought me to TalkBass. So you get the idea, it's a little special to me.

    Nowadays, I hardly ever touch the thing. I've got several other instruments that are definitely of a higher build quality, so naturally they feel better. These are the instruments that make it to gigs, recording sessions, jams, and the shed. The P bass actually sounds really good, because, well, it's a P bass. It also doesn't hurt that it's got a SD quarter pounder and 6-year-old flats, but the action is on the high side and the frets need some work. My main bass now is a parts bass that is similar in spirit, but the parts themselves are just better (Fender Classic 60s Jazz body, USACG Roasted birdseye maple/rosewood precision neck, and an identical SPB-3 pickup in the neck position). It gets every job I need done. The neck is more comfortable and radically more stable, it stays in tune, and it does the P bass thing exceptionally well. It actually doesn't sound too terribly different from my old P bass, but it feels soooo much better.

    So here's my dilemma:

    I'm moving into a new house, and I want to get rid of a lot of stuff. I don't want to have a bunch of instruments/gear that I don't use so I'm debating selling off some instruments to make space.

    How do you determine the value of a parts instrument? I know the sentimental value it has to me will mean nothing to someone else that just wants a new bass.

    Should I just base it off of the value of the aftermarket parts, and for that matter should I just part it out?

    I'm not looking to make a bunch of money, but I know what the SD pickup/Badass bridge could fetch on their own. I was even in the market for these exact parts for another bass not too long ago.

    Beyond that, to what extent is it worth it to keep an instrument solely for nostalgia?

    I'm also not looking for an appraisal, maybe just some tips on how to determine its value.
  2. Another buyer won't have the same sentimental attachment. I would think a buyer would only go for a price equivalent to the resale price of the components.
    Garret Wheeler likes this.
  3. Garret Wheeler

    Garret Wheeler

    Mar 1, 2016
    Yeah, that's kinda what I was thinking. Should I base most of the price off of the aftermarket parts? Beyond that it's just the body from a $100 Squier.
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    For starters, tally up the parts, knock off a few bucks and see if anyone is interested. If they aren't, you're probably best-off parting it out.

    If there are parts you want like the pup and bridge, it wouldn't be the worst choice to pop a no-name pup and bridge in there, sell the bass and keep the most valuable parts for later use or resale. You could probably find them for just a few bucks here or on Ebay.
    Garret Wheeler likes this.
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