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Is The Body Routing on Vintage Fenders Sloppy/Inconsistent?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Bass Clef, Jul 31, 2012.


  1. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    Hi, question for the experts here..
    I have a 1966 Jazz Bass that I believe is all original. The serial #, neck stamp, pots and pickups are all dated to 66. I believe the finish is original as all the solder joints look untouched and it has the paint stick shadow in the neck pocket. It also has a lot of finish checking and it looks original.

    However, the routing for the control cavity is pretty sloppy. The lines aren't straight (looks like the router gouged the sides a couple times and the lines are kinda wavy). It also has 2 levels of routing that don't match up so well. In other words, they did a shallow route halfway and then did a 2nd, deeper route to make the cavity the right depth. These 2 routes aren't flush in some spots so you can see the lower (2nd) route sticks out a little further than the upper route (maybe a 1/16" or less).

    The finish covers the inside of the cavities (very little bare wood showing) so the routing was definitely done before it was painted. And everything else about the body looks factory.

    I am away from home (and the bass) right now so I can't take pics at this time, but I hope my description makes sense. So my question is..

    Were body routes from the 60s known to be sloppy or inconsistent sometimes or do I have a fake '66 body with real vintage Fender everything else? I'm thinking the routing was all done by hand back then so it seems likely that some came out better than others, but I don't know. My guess would be that since the control plate covers the route anyways, that it still passed Fender's quality standards. Anyone? Thanks.
     
  2. Damian Coccio

    Damian Coccio Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2002
    USA
    Endorsing Artist: Fodera Guitars
    I just picked up a 73 jazz bass. The neck pocket is sloppy. I'm 99.9% convinced this the real thing. Maybe this is just an example of the change in quality from pre CBS.
     
    Ace Of Bass likes this.
  3. Damian Coccio

    Damian Coccio Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2002
    USA
    Endorsing Artist: Fodera Guitars
    Interesting info here:

    http://www.fenderforum.com/forum.html?db=&topic_number=763390

    A tight neck pocket isn't tight relative to string vibration unless it's a glued joint IMO.
     
    TMARK likes this.
  4. Lee H

    Lee H

    Nov 30, 2011
    Redding CA
    I used a 70s fender body for my frankenjazz, neck pocket was ugly.
     
  5. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    The neck pocket on the bass looks fine and the p/u cavities aren't bad either. It's just the control cavity on this one. I should add, I put the bass under a black light and the finish was that creamy florescent yellow color and kinda purple-ish in the worn areas. So it appears to be old nitro lacquer.
     
  6. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I think the 60's Fender bodies were done all with a pin router, so the clamps probably slipped sometimes, resulting in inconsistent routes.
     
  7. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    Mystery solved..
    So after talking with an expert and describing my bass, he emailed me pics of other original 60s Fender bodies that have the same kind of routing. He said it was actually done after the bodies were finished, most often on custom color bodies, especially metallics (and mine is LPB). Custom colors usually required more coats of paint (than a sunburst) and excess paint would sometimes build up in the p/u and control cavities and in the neck pocket. To ensure the neck and electronics would fit right, the excess paint (and usually a little wood too) would be shaved off with a router, by hand.

    I thought my routing was done before it was painted because my control cavity looked like there was overspray in the "extra" routed areas with very little bare wood. But it turns out it's just that the excess lacquer would get hot when they would be grinding it down and that would often stain some or all of the freshly cut wood.

    So yeah, if you have a vintage Fender (especially a custom color) and sloppy looking (or bare wood) routing on the body, it's pretty common apparently. And it does not mean it's fake/refinished/devalued. In fact, I'm told it's actually just another tell-tale sign it's original (along with a paint stick mark, original solder joints, etc..). I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ever wondered about this so I hope this helps someone in the future. And thanks for the replies.
     
  8. 1SHOT1HIT

    1SHOT1HIT

    Feb 17, 2012
    I'm very curious to see what you mean, can you post pics????
     
  9. air_leech

    air_leech

    Sep 1, 2000
    Israel
    I was gonna put the money on a worn out router bit but your explanation sounds within reason too.

    btw, it seems to be a Fender tradition to make the control cavity as shoddy looking as can be.
     
  10. tjoepatjoep

    tjoepatjoep

    Mar 29, 2010
    I'm sorry for digging up this thread, but this might apply for my '68 Jazz. It has a beautiful CAR finish and I always believed it to be a refin, ever since I bought the bass in 2011. Could some of you help me to tell whether or not the finish is original?

    D9A50773-E018-44DD-98DF-ABC6A3565EDD.
    7FE35879-86DA-45DB-A11F-7CB48CFD45A8.
    9B0C15CF-0098-45C6-98F5-2F8FE4E77A5A.
    DSC_0809.

    Oh, and has anybody seen the 'CAR Sales' before?
    DSC_0806.
     
    4snaar likes this.
  11. Brundlefly

    Brundlefly

    Apr 17, 2015
    I have a 1974 Strat and the routing was pretty sloppy. I have a 60s Road Worn Strat made in 08 that has a few routing goofs.

    I can't see them, so I don't care. It's all about the TONEZ! :bassist::hyper:
     
    Ace Of Bass and TMARK like this.
  12. -Asdfgh-

    -Asdfgh-

    Apr 13, 2010
    UK
    I had a 1980s Japanese Fender P. Neck pocket was not tight, but the bass was great in every other respect Had a similar age Japanese Squier - very good neck pocket.
     
  13. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I have a friend with a 100% legit 1969 Jazz bass with a neck pocket/neck heel fit that is so poor that you have to wonder how it even got out of the factory. Nothing lined up worth a plugged damn. And this bass is worth BIG dollars. Go fig'r.
     
  14. tjoepatjoep

    tjoepatjoep

    Mar 29, 2010
    But it's all about the control cavity, not the sloppy neck pocket...
     
  15. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Rough is rough.
     
  16. tjoepatjoep

    tjoepatjoep

    Mar 29, 2010
    It only doesn't answer my question....
     
  17. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Perhaps you should have started a unique thread about it. It is TB, y'know.

    Why do you suspect it is a re-fin?
     
  18. tjoepatjoep

    tjoepatjoep

    Mar 29, 2010
    I know, I thought about that, but this thread made me think the finish could be original.

    Long story short: I brought the bass to the local bass shop to help me out with the nut, but the bass seemed to have some other issues. The owner told me he had strong doubts about the finish. (There have been some retouchings and he doubted about the headstock, 'cause the sides seem to be shaved off just a little bit.)

    I never questioned his authority on bass, but after having read this thread and compared the heel of the body to other '68 Fenders, I strongly doubt the story about the non-original finish. I just want to sort out these questions about the words on the back of the neck and the control cavity issue...
     
  19. 4andnomore

    4andnomore

    Nov 14, 2008
    If by vintage you mean 70s, then yes, in my experience routing is all over the map.
     

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