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How long did it take for your bass to become roadworn

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Danilixo, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. I have three basses and only one of them seems to have aged. I actually kind of like a beat up look to basses because it gives the bass character. Though each one of my basses seems to age differently. I have a Fender American standard jazz bass, and for the past three years I don't think it's aged whatsoever. There's maybe one or two scratches but no finish issues (which is usually good since that's what Fender was aiming for). It makes me think just how much bassists like Flea have played on their basses to bring them to that kind of shape.


    Feb 10, 2016
    Michigan USA
    My first bass, a 1998 MIK Jazz is lightly used and rarely goes out. Even so it is gaining a rather nice patina as it ages. The only road worn stuff i have already had fading and battle scars.
  3. AndreasR


    Oct 23, 2012
    I bought my P/J Road worn.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  4. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    Fleas bass is going to have a totally different finish than yours, his is an early 60s with a nitro finish yours has a poly finish. You could play yours for 50 years and it would never look like his...
    Gaolee, Leiria, fhm555 and 9 others like this.
  5. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    My stuff is more Craigslist worn.
    Kevnn4, Novarocker, dfp and 22 others like this.
  6. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    the first band I played in where I actually got paid was with a group of old timers
    who played the country honky tonk circuit of sawdust dance halls across our part of
    the State.
    We traveled in a Buick station wagon with all the gear crammed into the back end...
    drums, guitars, bass, amps, and none of it was in cases. Guitars crammed in with the drums and drum stands. I'd signed on as the bass player and the band provided the bass and amp so when I moved on to another band I had to leave the gear with them.
    Sometimes I wonder just how 'road worn' that old P bass got before those guys retired. :)
    meteor, mngnt, RyanJD and 2 others like this.
  7. Blaargh


    Apr 4, 2016
    My MIA Jazz has barely aged in the six years I've had it, barring the odd ding. My Thunderbird has aged quite a bit in the three I've had that for, though. It's been heavily gigged, thrown up on, had beer spilt on etc. Plus having a nitrocellulose lacquer probably helps too.
    gumtown likes this.
  8. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    My '96 Carvin looks brand new from two meters' distance. It has a few dings if you look closer and on the neck PU and on the end of the fretboard you can make out the places where i rest my thumb. I'm not the person well known for taking good care of my stuff, but that bass might still look about the same in ten year's time.
    Pilgrim and Mechanical like this.
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Never, if I had my way. In reality, dings happen, but I have 30+ year old instruments that aren't road worn yet. But that's just me. I doesn't happen naturally if you're careful to avoid damage.
  10. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I'm careful with my instruments, so all my basses are in near-mint shape, but the saddles on my SB-2 and JB are a little tarnished from palm muting. My oldest is a 2003 MIA Jazz I bought new, and it's in fantastic shape, with a perfectly broken-in feel. The maple neck and fretboard are developing that vintage hue, which is great. My 2004 Strat has a large ding, I believe caused by others who borrowed it for recording, but it has the same broken-in feel as the J.

    The first instrument I ever owned, however, was fairly beat up when I finally got rid of it. It was an Ibanez guitar bought new in 1981, and traded toward the SB-2 in 2007. The frets were worn, the input jack needed a plate because the original jack had been damaged, and it was covered in dings, some through to the wood. And almost all of this happened by 1992, the last time I played it on stage. The neck was undamaged and perfectly straight though, so it was functionally excellent and would have played like new with some new frets. I never liked its feel or tone, but that thing was a tank.
    pappabass likes this.
  11. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    My L-2000 is 28 years old in April and shows minimal wear. The owner(s) before me took very good care of it, minus a giant scratch on the back of the bass. A few micro dings, worn paint and small bits of exposed wood are what I see. The wear is so minimal it's almost impossible to photograph.

    I really don't know how many hands the bass went through in 26 years (I've had it for one), but i am sure great precautions were taken to ensure the bass remained in good shape. Road-worn looks are cool, but I will certainly keep my bass in the best condition I can.
    Pilgrim likes this.
  12. MMiller28


    Apr 27, 2003
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    None of the basses I've had for 10+ years have more than a single ding, and most don't have that. My 1963 P isn't "road worn" (damaged) either.

    I take care of my instruments like they are valuable. Because they are. I don't beat up valuable things, I take care of them. My basses travel in hard cases, and I make sure I have a hard case to fit every bass I own.

    Road worn? I'll never own an instrument long enough and treat it badly enough for that to happen.

    I salute the OP - he's taking care of his basses. Hopefully they'll never be "road worn."
    gorneyg, eb0248, WheatPenny and 4 others like this.
  14. Polyurethane finishes will show surface scratches but they don't wear like nitrocellulose. So depending on what your bass is finished with will affect how it looks and ages over time.
    msiner and WheatPenny like this.
  15. Yep. They get bumped and dinged from time to time, especially if gigged, but should be well taken care of. I've got a few 60's basses that have original finishes, but still look and play great.
    SilGarzaJr likes this.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    If you take care of things, I've had a couple basses for over 30 years that looked pretty much new at the end of the time I owned them (donated them recently, long story). If you wrap a bass in sandpaper, put in in your trunk, and drive around all winter with it in there (with the the emergency shovel, a bunch of tools, and some ice melter salt), you can probably "road wear" a bass in one Illinois winter.

    Temperature extremes and physical abuse on thin nitro finishes are the real recipe for road worn - guys that leave their guitars in the band's gear truck, which sits outside all year (I know a couple) get some really fast wear.
    Grumry likes this.
  17. everything still looks pretty good. I usually buy used, so already as a little character. I don't understand people buying road worn or 'flea' basses. If I buy a new one, I want it to look new!
  18. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    49 years for my '68 Precision. Of course, only some of the wear on it is from me. It's older than I am.
    twinjet and SilGarzaJr like this.
  19. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    This is funny, because a '58 Fender Precision popped up and folks are skeptical that it's legitimate because it isn't road-worn!
    covermego likes this.
  20. about 2 years, depending on the quantity of summer gigs at beaches.
    beach sand seems to get everywhere.
    I don't really baby my bass gear at all. My bass is a tool, and it gets used. I am not careful about it. I hit it kinda hard sometimes. so yeah, after a couple years, I can get that roadworn look.
    However, if you are after that look, then I suggest a nonstop national tour with a punk band without a case.
    That will put some wear on there.

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