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My new fretless bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thumbassalina, Nov 8, 2004.


  1. Thumbassalina

    Thumbassalina

    Nov 5, 2004
    I have just aquired a 1981 fretless precision - its soooo yummy, I sound like Jaco (kinda) only problem is that the output level is quite low and theres some damage to the fingerboard where its been strung with roundwound strings, they've taken a fair few chunks out of it. I was just wondering how people felt about how much you should alter an antique such as this. For example if I changed the pickups would this be considered an unforgivable sin? and can I get the fingerboard sanded without being immediatley dispatched to the sevneth layer of hell? Im kinda worried about compromising the original sound of the bass - what do you cats think?
     
  2. NV43345

    NV43345

    Apr 1, 2003
    Got any pic's you can post ? I would have Rick Turner look
    at it.
     
  3. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Basically, what's accepted is this...

    If it's something that significantly affects playability, like frets, fingerboard, neck warpage, then repair is highly desired. The bass has already lost value due to the damage, so it won't lose more if it's professionally done by a well respected luthier experienced with vintage guitars. Someone like that may be hard to find, but it's worth it, and necessary if you care about it's value.

    Other things like swapping the pickups out, changing tuners, adding a badass bridge really don't matter as long as you save the original parts and as long as you don't have to mod the instrument to install them such as drilling new holes, etc..

    Generally avoid doing anything with the finish on the body and neck unless something significantly threatens the structure or material integrity of the instrument.

    The bottom line is, fix it only if you really must, and if you must, make damn sure it's done right. Parts replacement should be considered a drop dead last resort, and even then, save the original parts no matter what their condition.

    ...IMHO... :)
     
  4. It's your instrument, paint it neon pink if it will make you happy.
     
  5. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I woulda' suggested that myself, except he seemed to be comming pretty specifically from the direction of preserving it's intrinsic value as a vintage axe, which I kinda' respect... it's (hopefully) still gonna' be around after he's gone, and he just wants to preserve it for what it is at this point, which is more than "just another bass". Kinda' cool, IMHO. :)

    Actually, my choice would be flourescent green with bright throbbing magenta dots... guaranteed to give everyone in the crowd a headache even before the hangover kicks in... ;)
     
  6. flea claypool

    flea claypool

    Jun 27, 2004
    Ireland
    I would pay to see that :hyper:
     
  7. Thumbassalina

    Thumbassalina

    Nov 5, 2004
    Hey!

    Thanks for the feedback, I know that fundamentally I can do what ever I like with it but I just wanted to check out if there was anything considered a cardinal sin, my problem is also that I live in the UK so if anyone can suggest some luthiers that would do the fingerboard some justice that would be musch appreciated! Also if I do end up changing the pickups would would you chaps suggest? or is there another way round the output level problem? I would never have dreamt of changing the finish on the actual body of the bass, cosmetics dont bother me, its all about the sound and the general playability,

    Thanks again,

    PS just for the record, I is a lady bass player (Carol Kaye rather than James Jamerson) x
     
  8. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Where in the UK? Your location is blank but if you could narrow it down to your nearest major city that would probably help.

    Wulf
     
  9. Thumbassalina

    Thumbassalina

    Nov 5, 2004
    I'm in Kent, nearest City - Canterbury x
     
  10. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    There might be someone nearer but you're not too far away from London to consider Martin Petersen at The Gallery in Camden Town. I think the number is 020 7267 5458 (although he needs to get his website checked - that number came off the Aguilar website via Google).

    Wulf
     
  11. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hmmm, Camden Town... he must live near the Cratchits then... ;)

    Sorry, Christmas coming up soon... :)
     
  12. :eyebrow:
    Hmmm, just exactly how would you do that throbbing effect? :D
    I'd like to see that.
     
  13. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I think magenta dots on a fluorescent green background would cause enough optical throbbing on their own without any encouragement!

    Wulf
     
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    WULF answered the question for me. :)

    Apparently, it's been a while since you've seen clashing fourescent colors bounded by each other. It can be amazingly effective at inducing pain... especially under bright show lights. Actually, the worst is lotsa' stripes... much more effective than dots. Much more border area, which is where it all happens. :)

    I know this not because I'm some sorta' weirdo sadist (ok, I'm a weirdo, but not a sadist), but instead because I used to play with a guitar player who thought it would be cool to do the Eddie VanHalen tape thing with fourescent tape on a flourescent painted strat copy. Let's just say he made bad color choices.

    Exactly. :)
     
  15. tekhna

    tekhna

    Nov 7, 2004
    Am I crazy for thinking a 1981 isn't really all that special or interesting? It seems like just another older fender to me. I suppose 1981 is vintage now, but damn, those period fenders aren't, and never should be collecters pieces.
     
  16. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Not crazy, just maybe a bit short-sighted. The 80's Fenders... especially the USA's and then maybe the Japanese ones, are just now really starting to become valuable. Just look at what's going on with the 70's basses... especially the J's, and holy cow, don't even get me started on the 60's basses. Why shouldn't the 80's and beyond USA & Japanese basses follow suit? IMHO, they undoubtedly will... especially the USA's (albeit not because they're better guitars than the Japs).

    I have to say I'm completely confused by your statement that the 80's Fenders aren't and never should be collector's pieces. Can't understand that one at all. :confused:

    I'd say, if you want to get into a Fender that is still pretty affordable by most, and will really start to appreciate as a vintage axe, the early 80's are it big time. I've got an '83 USA P, and fortunately, it's a fairly rare finish, so I've already nearly doubled my money in value. Not bad. Free bonus the thing plays and sounds completely awesome. I will be carefully caring for this bass, but I also won't store it. It's goin' to gigs with the R&B band I'm just getting into starting next week. :)

    ...IMHO...

    Racial slur deleted
     
  17. tekhna

    tekhna

    Nov 7, 2004

    Well just look at in the context of supply and demand. I would bet Fender produced hundreds of thousands more basses in the 1980s than the 1960s. I am glad your 80s Fender plays well, but my experience with Americam Fenders from about 1976-1991 is extremely negative. I can see Japanese prices go up, as they have for 2 reasons. Novelty and quality. But American 80s fenders? Just another Fender.
     
  18. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    You make a good point about quantity, but I don't think that completely devalues them to "just another Fender". Instead, I'd just say it will affect their appreciation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not equating the 76-9x's with the 60's and early 70's, just comparing them. Clearly there are factors which will alter they way they appreciate (such as quantity), but IMHO they certainly will over time.

    Not sure what your "extremely negative" experiences are, but I still think you're overgeneralizing and misjudging their potential value.

    IMHO, only the Mexican Fenders are "just another Fender", and the Squiers? I'll reserve comment on those.
     
  19. NV43345

    NV43345

    Apr 1, 2003
    I have been told my 1983 Fender Gold Jazz Bass is pretty rare.
    And worth alot.I do not know how much it is worth, but I will
    tell you,it plays & sounds really good.
     
  20. NV43345

    NV43345

    Apr 1, 2003
    I like the 70's also. Here is my 1978 Fretless P-Bass. I have no
    idea how much this is worth, but I would never sell it.So to
    me both my 83 and my 78 are worth there weight in Gold.