Looking for Bass #2… should I get a Vintage P?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dwagner, Nov 24, 2021 at 3:37 PM.

  1. dwagner

    dwagner Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    North Dakota, USA
    Question for you all - I have a Nash PB57 that kicks butt. I use it for everything, and keep rounds on it all the time for that aggressive overdrive tone.

    I really want another P bass for some flat wound action so I have a bass for each vibe.

    I kind of either want a vintage P (pre-1980) or I guess something that isn’t vintage. I am having trouble deciding though. Does anyone have any input? I know there are pros and cons to each but hearing your own experiences would be helpful.

    I really love the story, vibe, and character a vintage instrument could have. I could just get a new Am Pro II from Fender, but that just doesn’t seem that inspiring.

    My budget is around 2.5k max.
    bluesguy62 and sethlow3 like this.
  2. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Let me say right at the start, that I really don't like telling other people how to spend their money. So, if your heart is set on a "Vintage" P-Bass; that $2.5K won't break the bank; or result in starving kids and/or a really pissed off Significant Other? You're a grownup person; please yourself... All I'll say about it is; buying one of these things can be... no, it is... like walking through a minefield. If you don't know exactly what to look for, that perfect, all original Vintage P-Bass - won't be - and your bank account will be badly wounded. If you're willing to settle for a decent vintage player? One with aftermarket parts, obvious wear/refinished, etc.? They're easier to come by - and considerably less expensive. Again, it's up to you...
    Personally? I have a "vintage" Fender P-Bass; a left handed '78, with an optional-at-the-time "A" contour neck (basically, a fast, slim Jazz Bass neck w/o the block inlays). I bought it from it's original owner in 1988. At the time, it wasn't considered "Vintage" (the lefty '58 P-Bass he wanted to buy was, though). It was just a 10 y/o bass; and what I paid him for it, was more out of friendship than what it was probably worth at the time. Now? It's a "Vintage", all original lefty '78 P-Bass. I have no idea what it's worth - now. To me, it's worth what I paid for it. It's just my first bass; my only Fender; and... to play? Kind of a boat anchor, actually. Here's my point - finally; if I wanted a P-Bass, would I buy this one? Well... probably not. That "A contour" neck is very tempting... but a Jazz Bass neck on a new-ish P-Bass would make me just as happy. At my age now, it's 11 lb. weight (pretty normal for the time) would be a real turn off, though. So...even though I could spend whatever it cost for a perfect, pristine "Vintage" P-Bass - and not miss the money (much)? I'd probably look for something else. Personally, although I own a bunch of them, "vintage" is for wine, not bass guitars...
    Bottom line? Please yourself. If you really want a "Vintage" Fender? Be very careful; it's really easy to get burned. Otherwise? Lots of options out there; and, for what you have to spend? Lots of really nice basses to choose from...:cool:
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021 at 6:34 PM
    aus_bass, BobKos, Justinian and 10 others like this.
  3. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    If story, vibe, and character of an instrument are things that are important to you and you think you can sense those things in a vintage instrument then you know what you should do. I don’t think those things are real or matter. Different strokes for different folks.
  4. Whale


    Apr 12, 2008
    Portland, OR
    I can understand a desire for “vintage” bass if your goal is to get something collectible or if you’re after a killer bass that is older. But as we all know, older or vintage does not always equate to amazing.

    If I were to get a “vintage” P Bass I think that I’d go with an AVRI (or Vintage Reissue)… preferably one of the 83 thru 85 models that were the last to come from the Fender Fullerton factory. They are not only excellent basses, but are quickly appreciating in value and are already quite collectible.

    The 70’s and early 80’s basses are hit or miss. Since most purchases are made online you could easily end up with a dog. The Fullerton basses, however, were built using the same tooling and jigs that Fender used in the early days. Plus, many of those who went on to create the original Fender Custom Shop were tasked to build the Vintage Reissue models. It’s rare to hear of a bad review when it comes to the first Fender reissues, so you’re chances of getting a very decent bass are above average.

    Of course, it is your money and your decision to make. I wish you the best with whatever you purchase.
  5. Bass4ThePublic

    Bass4ThePublic Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    Kansas City
    2.5k in todays market will maybe get you a crappy boat anchor P bass. If you want a vintage P bass that’s worth having, you might want to start at $3k.
    Admiral Akbar and dwagner like this.
  6. Swerve


    Nov 22, 2002
    A vintage MIJ P copy could be another route to go. You’d get a great playing vintage bass and still have most of that 2.5k budget left over.
    Methaneman and dwagner like this.
  7. JLY

    JLY Supporting Member Supporting Member

    As mentioned before, 70’s P basses are so hit and miss. And I did not care for them when they were new in the 70’s ( showing my age)

    For that money, I would go for a used Moollon, Lakland or Lull, or another Nash

    just my opinion

    good luck!!
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Be very careful getting a mid/late 70s Fender. Quality control was at its most inconsistent, and ash models tend to be 11+ pound boat anchors. IMO, either save up for 60s, or get a newer one. consider the classified here.
    Admiral Akbar and dwagner like this.
  9. dwagner

    dwagner Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    North Dakota, USA
    I should mention, for what it’s worth — I am a lefty. So different options for sure.
  10. DavidBassista


    May 21, 2014
    Dude, you literally have another thread with nearly identical discussion going on addressing the merits of getting a left handed 70s P bass.
    RichSnyder likes this.
  11. dwagner

    dwagner Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    North Dakota, USA
    Lol, a specific P bass, and whether it was a good deal or not. This is more of an abstract discussion of vintage vs new, ya dig? :)
  12. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    want a vintage P?
    Get your self a Lakland P
    aus_bass likes this.
  13. jimmydean


    Mar 14, 2009
    Take your time and look around , fate has a way of dropping the thing you really wanted in your lap after you spent good money on something that you now will regret .
    Justinian and StevieMac like this.
  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Unless you have a hankerin' for a bass made the year you flunked gym in High School, I'd suggest a recently made bass. There was a point (in the 70's) where "Pre-CBS" (aka vintage basses back then) were better than new instruments (70's Fenders weren't so good), but today, the best deals as far as musical instruments are new or recently made stuff. "Vintage" today is more about nostalgia/cool factor than it is about good instruments, and the ones that are somewhat affordable are often boat anchors.
    kentiki, jd56hawk, Tanner5382 and 2 others like this.
  15. WarwickE36


    Oct 28, 2010
    Literally just spit out my drink laughing. (slow clap)
  16. dusterdan70

    dusterdan70 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2014
    So Cal
    Swerve and Bill Whitehurst like this.
  17. Philip McAdam

    Philip McAdam Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2021
    Gabriola Island, BC.
    I have an admitted vested interest in this, having said that, this,
    For Sale/Trade - 1978 Fender USA "P" Bass
    dwagner likes this.
  18. TideSwing


    Oct 31, 2014
    Las Vegas
    Another Nash or a vintage if you can try it.
    Mike Marshall and dwagner like this.
  19. dwagner

    dwagner Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    North Dakota, USA
    Philip McAdam likes this.
  20. Hey, I'm not one to talk someone out of owning a good vintage P. :laugh:
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