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Modified '62 RI Fender Jazz. Is this a good deal?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by zac2944, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I came across a 1983 Fender MIA 62' RI Jazz in a local music store. It is a creamy white color with a white pickguard and rosewood fingerboard. The store wanted $950 for it. If it was in brand new condition I might consider it, but this bass has been worked on.

    The bass shows its 23 years of wear and tare. It has well worn frets and the nitro finish is cracking and chipping (which I actually dig). The original bridge was replaced with a Badass II and the pickups are Dimarzio. There is also 2"x2" plate on the back of the body covering what used to be a battery route. Someone once converted it to an active, but it is now passive again.

    I like the tone and playability of the bass, but the price seems a bit high. Is this a fair price? Is this bass worth more because is an '83? I see later model '62 RI's going on the Bay for around $950, but they are usually in very good condition and all original. With all the mods is this bass even considered a reissue anymore?

    Please advise.
  2. Yes, it's worth more because it's an '83. Early Fullerton-made reissues are starting to shoot up in price. If the store has an in-house repair shop, I'd offer to pay the full price if they'll throw in a re-fret and a case.
  3. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Where are the new '62RI's made? Corona, CA? Are they really any better/worse?
  4. Not sure where in Cali the new ones are made, but word is the first few years were noticably better. The better/worse question probably comes down to each individual piece of wood, and how the player reacts to it. If the bass speaks to you, buy it and worry about the rest later.:bassist:
  5. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    God, I love TB.

    Thanks Sherif. People like you make buying new gear so easy.

    I played the bass again tonight. It is actually a 1989. They called it a "Mary Kay"? It has a see-through blond finish. Is it still a good deal if its an '89? $950 just seems like too much. I hate feeling like I'm getting ripped off.
  6. I'm pretty sure the Mary Kay finish was INCREDIBLY rare, like a special run custom color or something.
  7. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    That makes my decision even easier.
  8. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    Early U.S. Vintage Re-issues (meaning early eighties, which this one isn't) bring a slight premium price if they are in very good +, substantially unmodified condition. While a refret or an aftermarket bridge (which can be restored to original equipment) doesn't greatly alter the attraction for a vintage buff, the route for the battery compartment kicks a marginal bass over the edge. Extra routes destroy vintage appeal except in the most extreme cases, such as instruments that are very rare and very desirable otherwise.

    That bass sounds like a player, and you can pick them up for around $850-900 in excellent shape with the original hard shell case regularly. Don't believe that late eighties Fenders have any vintage or great collector appeal at this time. You should also consider that production of those instruments far outstripped pre-CBS numbers, and diminished rarity works against you. Worn frets? Funky finish? Extra routes?!?! $950?!?! More like $750, if you really like the bass as a player and the frets aren't that bad.

    Pick up a copy of Vintage Guitar Magazine. It is a great resource on the vintage market. Scan the ads, deduct about 10-15%, and always be very critical of condition and especially alterations.

    "Mary Kay" finish usually refers to old Strats in see-through blonde with gold hardware, although it has come to be used for other models in that trim. Somewhere during the dumbing down of America, many folks decided to forget about the gold hardware and use Mary Kay to refer to any blonde finish. Those old Strats are worth tens of thousands of dollars in the right condition!
  9. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    The bass actually does have gold hardware. I did some research and found out that this was a limited run only made in '89.

    I would feel alright paying $750 for the bass because it plays and sounds great, but $950 seems like too much.

    Thanks for your input Tombrien. Let's the kind of insight I was looking for.
  10. Don't go listening to me too closely...you'll go broke. ;)
    In light of the new info you provided us, I gotta agree with tombrien...while the fact that it's a limited edition instrument earns a few cool points (the last true MK I saw go up for sale was at DiPinto Guitars five years ago, and for less money in better shape, I think), any true collector value went up in smoke as soon as that former owner fired up the Dremel. If the finish is transparent white the bass likely has an ash body, I believe, which will give it a marginally different sound than the usual alder.
    The circa-'90, garden-variety RIs I've played weren't anything to write home about, and I've seen that model sit for months upon months tagged at $900.
    Again, it's your hands, ears and dollars at play here...even $750 isn't a screaming deal, but if you think it's worth that much, jump on it but insist on the shop throwing in a fret job. The narrow wire used on those basses doesn't leave much to work with after a crowning or two, I wouldn't think.
  11. I think the asking price is a bit much.

    I paid $AUD900 for my 62RI and it was in mint condition, and a lefty to boot.
  12. A local shop here was wanting $900 for a late 90's early 2000's MIA 62' RI with the OHSC, it had been sitting back in the warehouse for ages and one of the store workers ran across is, my buddy Wesley is buying it... its an awesome bass plays and sounds great. $950 for a bass that old... even if it was mint I would have a hard time buying that bass, its been modded heavily from the sound of it. Even if it has a leo quan direct fender replacement bridge, it lowers the value a lot if the body has defects or has had a router into the back for battery compartments. I wouldn't touch this bass sight unseen/unplayed for more than $600 with a case IMO.

    Buy hey... don't take my word for it get what you want get what you like, but it sounds like to me this is like an old car that someone decided to hot rod and failed and FUBARed it. :D I would proceed with caution, see if the store owner will let you go through the bass "take it apart", take the pickguard control cavity off and make sure everything is tidy... IMO its not worth the risk.
  13. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Thanks for your input guys. I think I'll keep looking unless the seller wants to lower his price.