Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by neadams, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. neadams


    Nov 26, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    I have the opportunity to by a 1972 Fender Precision Bass for UNBELIEVABLE price.....but, it needs ALOT of work to get it back to the gem it once was.

    The frets are really worn down (it's almost a fretless), the bridge and the tuners are a bit rusted, and I don't think it has the original pickguard or pickups....but it has the original body, bridge, neck, and tuners.

    I know it would have to have a complete fret job. The body would need to probably be refinished too. It's natural wood color, but it looks like someone tried to clear coat it with something and did a crappy job.

    I thinking of picking it up and bringing it back to life. I know of a few VERY good luthiers that I know could do it. But I'm not sure if it would be worth it....

    Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences?
  2. temmrich


    Jan 29, 2012
    Columbus, Ohio
    well... if it's an unbelievable price despite what you have to do then it's a good deal. If it's an unbelievable price for a mint '72 p-bass, but it's appropriate for the work you have to do, then it's actually still worth it. But if it's an unbelievable price except for all the work you have to do, then it's not worth it.
    The problem here is there are too many undefined variables to actually gauge the value of the project. Define "UNBELIEVABLE" and you may get some useful feedback.
  3. neadams


    Nov 26, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    $500 'As Is' Hanging on the case or anything
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
  5. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    Depends what you are looking for I guess. Try to get prices for what you want to do to it.....before you take the plunge.
  6. neadams


    Nov 26, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    Yea, I thought I might get it refretted and the body refinished, but I like the look of the wear on the neck and hardware.
  7. hoshbrown41


    Jun 19, 2009
    Like everyone else said, it depends on how much all that work is gonna cost you.

    But $500 is pretty darn cheap for a 70s Fender
  8. I would buy it.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    If you can verify it's an actual 72 P bass that's a deal. Personally I wouldn't refinish it.
  10. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    If it can be verified as having a real neck and body and there are no routes under the pickguard, then buy it for 500.00 and refret it. I wouldn't refinish the body, either, as a previous poster said you also should not do.
  11. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Prob not. Among other things its a shot in the dar wether or not its one youd pick out of lot if you was shpping back then and trying a few.
  12. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I agree. Consider that around here a refret job is about $200-$250 so you have to add that to the price of the bass. That done and you get hardware working smooth (but trying to keep the look) and this bass will give a really great "roadworn" style bass at a decent price. That's what I'd go with once I confirmed date and made sure neck was not warped or anything that would effect the playability once refretted.
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    If you get it, post some pics and maybe JohnK_10 will help you out and let you know what should be done with it.

    Also, what makes you think the pickups are not original?

    You'll need to take it apart to verify that it's all from '72 or not.
  14. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    As one who has restored a Pre-CBS P-bass (1955), I must agree with those who say "don't refinish" IF it has the original finish. If it has been stripped or refinished, I'd say restore it. IMHO a great (nitro) refin + refret cost less that a new MIA P-bass.

    About my bass:

    I highly recommend RSguitarworks of Winchester, Kentucky. Pics would help...
  15. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Shops know what vintage Fenders are worth. There's a reason that thing is priced at $500. It's had a refin - a bad overspray is as damaging to the value as a refin. If natural is the original finish, I would seriously question whether it actually is a '72. The original pickups are gone, and it needs a refret. Add up the cost of bringing it back to decent shape, and you still are ahead of the game (again - assuming it actually is a '72), but in the end you'll have spent a lot of money and ended up with a non-original vintage instrument.

    It's a buyers market out there. Take the money you budgeted to spend on this thing, set it aside, and look for an unmolested, original '72. I guarantee you you'll be happier in the end.
  16. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Do you trust the neck stability? That'd be a big factor in making this decision, in addition to the the points smcd points out.

    It might be a gem, but there's simply no way to tell. The crux of this question to me is how do you KNOW it was once a gem? It could very well be one of the myriad early '70s Precisions that were at best mediocre.

  17. No. No. Anyway, I wouldn't.

    I saw a 1979 P Bass Deluxe (MIA) at Mom&Pop's not too long ago for $799. I could've gotten it for $700. It played perfectly, and it had the dings a 30 year old bass has, the tuners were dulled a little, but it played PERFECTLY.

    Sounds like that bass needs more put into it than a couple hundred bucks will get you.

    Good luck with your choice.
  18. neadams


    Nov 26, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    This pickups are white, not black


    Thanks for all the help and tips guys, this is exactly what advice and info I was looking for. I'll think i'll pass on it.

    - Nick
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