1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

NBD: 2003 Fender Highway 1 J Damaged in Transit

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WretchedExcess, Nov 3, 2013.


  1. Send it back for a refund

    45 vote(s)
    54.9%
  2. Keep it

    37 vote(s)
    45.1%
  1. WretchedExcess

    WretchedExcess

    Jul 29, 2013
    This is a story of a great deal that turned bad...

    Last week I scored a 2003 Fender Highway 1 Jazz Bass on the Bay. I paid less for it than I've ever seen an American bass sell for.

    The bass was pretty much a closet-queen. The previous owner still had the original gig bag and candy, and had left the guitar sitting in his closet for years. He'd never adjusted the action, which was still high like it came from the factory. The frets had no wear, and the finish was without any defects at all -- except for the backside, which had some minor reaction of the nitro finish with a guitar strap that had been left on the guitar while it was stored in the gig bag. It left a few marks when the strap was pulled off of the body.

    Discounting the reaction of the strap to the finish on the backside, the bass was flawless.

    Evidently, nobody else wanted it. Nobody bid against me, and I ended up getting it for the opening bid price of $450 + $35 shipping. Here are the original auction photos, because we all know that if you don't have photos, then it didn't really happen.

    hwy1-12_zpsb6c2e868.

    hwy1-01_zps06831269.

    hwy1-05_zpsbd7e4dd9.

    hwy1-02_zpsdebd4957.

    hwy1-06_zps2ab3f579.

    hwy1-07_zpsa7ba84b8.

    hwy1-09_zps034bb026.

    hwy1-10_zps0a61f06b.

    hwy1-11_zps0d3f2243.

    The seller took great care to package the guitar for safe transit. He shipped it inthe gig bag with foam padding in a large guitar box. He even added masonite boards to the front and back of the box to protect the guitar from a pucture injury. The one thing that he didn't do though, was to mark the box "This Side Up", so that it wouldn't be set down on the headstock. Upon opening the box, there was nothing between the top of the headstock and the outside world except the top of the gig bag and the cardboard box top. There was no added foam padding to protect the guitar from being dropped on-end, and it looks like that's exactly what the USPS did while they had it in transit.

    When I opened the box, the guitar was flawless, except for one problem -- the finish began to crack along the skunk stripe, from frets 4 to 8. Here are some photos that I took immediately after un-boxing the bass:

    hwy1-13_zpsfd4f0cee.

    hwy1-14_zpsdde8eb9f.

    hwy1-15_zps1b00d05a.

    Of course, the seller maintains that the bass didn't have the damage to the truss rod / skunk stripe that it had on arrival. In an effort to do right by me, he's offered a refund. I just need to get the guitar back to him. It's really bumming me out that he packed the guitar well enough to protect it against anything but a direct drop on the headstock, and that's exactly what happened while it was in transit.

    That's the story -- I scored a really nice USA Jazz bass at a killer price, and then the USPS destroyed it. My plan is to send the guitar back for a refund, but I thought I might as well ask fellow TB'ers for their opinions. Would any of you be inclined to keep it?

    edit: fixed some links to pictures
     
  2. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    For the price you paid, i think i would be inclined to keep it.

    You could always just sand the back of the neck down and refinish it.

    Either way, good luck!
     
  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I voted Keep it. I'll give you more than the refund for it if you decide you don't want it.
     
  4. worxforme

    worxforme Self Actualized Bad Speller

    Dec 10, 2009
    LAnsing MI
    I would sand it and play it.
     
  5. WretchedExcess

    WretchedExcess

    Jul 29, 2013
    The bass plays just fine right now. If the neck is stable enough that it's going to stay this way forever then I'd be inclined to keep it. But the thing that really bothers me is whether it may be unstable enough for the damage to the truss rod / skunk stripe to progress. I'm afraid that the neck might continue to come apart at the seam, at which point it'd need some serious repairs, and the bass wouldn't be a deal anymore.
     
  6. It's probably continue to crack. And then peal. So you need to do something.

    If it were me I'd do the Super Glue neck finish. Yes, as in over the counter super glue.

    Take off the strings, take the neck off and tape the sides of the fret board off. get a nice clean tape line where the fret board meets the neck.

    Sand the neck finish off. Be careful that you don't go crazy here. You don't want to change the shape by taking off to much wood. You just want to get the finish off.

    (Don't worry about the heal or the peg head. DO Make a nice smooth line behind the nut so it will look clean then tape this line off too.)

    You gotta work fast here be cause super glue sets up really fast. It'll take several tubes. Squeeze them out along the neck and spread it as even as you can with paper. It's not about perfection here. It ain't gotta look pretty here. it's about making sure the neck is covered.

    (Make sure NOT to get super glue on the parts of the neck that still have nitro. They don't and will make a big mess that will need to be cleaned up.)

    Once it's nice and dry (10-15 min is long enough) take some really fine steel wool and sand it smooth. You'll have the nicest playing neck you've ever seen.

    Side benefit is that super glue can be polished shiny, if you want, and not feel sticky.

    I first heard about this from Brad Paisley's old tech. And thought he was crazy until I felt one of his guitars that had it. It's amazing.
     
  7. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    I would send it back. From experience when you get a bass that already has a problem it tends to develop more over time.
     
  8. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Minnesota
    'This is a story of a great deal that turned bad...

    Last week I scored a 2003 Fender Highway 1 Jazz Bass on the Bay. I paid less for it than I've ever seen an American bass sell for.

    The bass was pretty much a closet-queen. The previous owner still had the original gig bag and candy, and had left the guitar sitting in his closet for years. He'd never adjusted the action, which was still high like it came from the factory. The frets had no wear, and the finish was without any defects at all -- except for the backside, which had some minor reaction of the nitro finish with a guitar strap that had been left on the guitar while it was stored in the gig bag. It left a few marks when the strap was pulled off of the body."

    Discounting the reaction of the strap to the finish on the backside, the bass was flawless.



    For starters, I am sorry to hear about your loss ...been there a few too many times and can empathize with what you are feeling ...

    .. with that said, I was eye-balling this bass as well .. was right down to pushing the button on it at one point, but contrary to your enthusiasm over its price, I saw a couple red flags ... again, just tossing out another point of view, not meaning to be rude or condescending, just mentioning a couple things that may not have crossed your mind ... there is nothing on your profile about you, so I dont know anything about your situation, but I have had several of these, and maybe been around them a bit more ...

    .. this being a 2003 Hwy 1, the components are MUCH different than those used on a Hwy ONE (you originally made a post on another thread that this was a 2006, which would have been a ONE, not a 1, and probably a much better buy than it actually was based on component value) .. the necks on these are in essence, the same as what was used on the MIM Standard necks at the time, with the headstock adjust truss rod ... I have had many, and a few have been a problem .. they are a fairly thin profile, and I have had a few that held excessive relief under tension for a long period of time, and they required washer shims to have enough turns to bring the neck back properly ... I didnt trust that this may have been in a closet for 10 years and in that kind of condition ... I actually have bought a MIM Standard Jazz, that came with a split in the truss rod area exactly like yours, so I have seen issues with these necks in a few areas ...

    ... you mentioned the strap had a reaction to the nitro finish .. this is not a nitro finish .. this is an acrylic lacquer, nitro was not introduced until 2006 and the Hwy Ones ... acrylic lacquer is a much more brittle surface, and less susceptible to reaction, so I wondered maybe something was 'ON' the bass in the closet, or perhaps it wasn't a closet, and temperature/humidity were an issue ?? .. not a major deal maybe, but could be a concern ...

    ... I actually wrote the guy after browsing his history, and asked if he had ever shipped a bass before, because it looked like he had not ... he said no, but it would be packed well and shipped USPS ... thats a red flag, because I will NOT ship a bass assembled via USPS ... especially without a good case, and this had a bag. To keep a long story short, they go neck and body seperate, each packed like going into battle before I use USPS ... been there, done that ...

    ... I also asked him how much playing the bass had prior to tucking it away for 10 years, he replied very little ... well if you notice, there is a string replaced ... in 40+ years around these 4 string things, I have never broken a roundwound string, and this bass had minimal use, with a string replaced, of a different variety even, and it didn't sound like he did it for tonal reasons .. something else happened here, maybe not a big deal, but something to consider ...

    and lastly, I did not bid, because not all MIA basses are created equal ... dont get me wrong, I actually like these early Hwy 1's, but I was buying them when they were new for $350-450 ('03-05) ... and, in the last couple years, I have purchased at least 3 or 4, and never paid over $450, usually with a hard case .... despite what you see happening on EBAY with these, this is NOT a $600 bass like what you see them selling for sometimes .. usually they can go in the $500 range, especially with a case, but the people you see paying more, are generally buying them because they are MIA and not understanding the differences ... again, they have some nice components, and are good little basses for what they are, but the Hwy ONE components are MUCH more valuable for those that really understand the differences ... again, not meaning to be rude or condescending, but dont think that this one slipped through the cracks, simply because nobody else bid on it ... IMHO, it was priced exactly where it should have been, about $100 over the price of a good used MIM Standard because of the alnico pick-ups, non routed body, and threaded saddle bridge ...

    Once again, just another viewpoint on the bass, its value, and somethings that you may want to consider in your evaluating its outcome in lieu of the damage ... hopefully you dont take all this wrong, and simply use it as a FWIW ... I never would have shared this had you not asked for opinions, I even considered doing this via PM, but figured it may be of benefit to someone else as well that is uncertain on some of the differences ... and of course, all of this is JMHO, nothing more, nothing less ... good luck with whatever you decide ... :)

    Edit to add: .. I forgot to mention, there was an '05 Hwy 1 P bass in my 'local' Craigslist earlier this month, that was priced at $450 as well, and I just checked, still hasnt sold ...
     
  9. Splods

    Splods

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Dude, if it was a damaged body I would send it back. A damaged finish is nothing in the long run.

    Just send him an email back explaining how he should pack guitars in the future if he does.

    Congrats on a sweet deal!
     
  10. WretchedExcess

    WretchedExcess

    Jul 29, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your input.

    The terms of the auction were that it would ship via UPS, and he ended up shipping it USPS. I wasn't happy about that. I understand that one string doesn't match the others. I can't explain that. As far as the finish imperfection on the backside goes, it's definitely strap-related. The strap that had reacted with the finish was included with the auction, and the minor marks on the body match up with the finish marks on the strap. The story adds up.

    The good news? I have adjusted the truss rod since the photos were taken, to take the excess relief out of the neck and lower the action on the bass so that it's no longer in the "factory high" configuration. Over a couple of days the truss rod ended up getting a total of about 180-degrees of rotation, and now the neck has only a little relief in it. The bridge has been lowered and the action is now at the point where it's on-par with the best Fenders I've ever owned. (I have multiple American basses from the 70s to the present and one Mexican Deluxe.)

    Over the past week I've been playing the hell out of this bass. The neck has been stable, and with the truss rod adjustment the finish cracks on the neck have not gotten any worse. The Alnico pickups sound absolutely fabulous -- they do give much better squonk than the Mexi jazz bass pickups.

    All things considered, this bass plays exceptionally well and it sounds like dynamite. It's definitely worth every penny of what I paid for it. The only doubt in my mind is that of the neck's stability over the long haul.

    It's really a question of whether the finish crack is just something that's impact-related, in which case it's not going to get any worse, or whether there's a crack in the seam along the skunk stripe that will continue to get worse due to the pressure of the truss rod on the walnut insert.
     
  11. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Minnesota
    outstanding .. glad you have been around the block a bit and know how to approach it ... with what you are saying, I would definitely keep it then .. I sanded down my neck that had the skunk stripe seam crack and just played it ... should you need to in the future, slip another neck on it of your liking
     
  12. purfektstranger

    purfektstranger

    Apr 10, 2003
    Canada
    I have had several basses shipped by USPS ..... One coming from California to Canada in the middle of winter....no problems whatsoever. If anything the seller screwed up by not putting anything between the headstock and the top of the box. I always triple bubble wrap the headstock, put it in a gig bag and make sure to stuff balled newspaper between the gig bag and the box to the point where the bass cannot move around. Of course I put up arrows on the box in hopes that nobody flips it around. As others have said its a finish crack. Providing the truss rod is stable, if the finish crack bugs you then sand it down slightly. Great looking bass.
     
  13. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    Perhaps a little apples/oranges...but I have a Fender skunk stripe neck on my Classic 70s Jazz. I sanded it down just a bit - just to knock the gloss off - and it's made a huge difference. I love that feel.
     
  14. BobKos

    BobKos

    Apr 13, 2007
    If you really like the bass, keep it. Chances are the crack won't be an issue. Maybe get a professional opinion from someone before you do anything with it. In a worst case, Warmoth sells FANTASTIC replacement necks that can be had reasonable or expensive depending on your tastes. There are other companies in the business of selling Fender replacement necks too. As long as you like the bass as a player for you, it's not that big of a deal. Maybe the seller is willing to do a partial refund to comp for the neck damage. I'm sure he knows he'll be out the damage claim because it wasn't packaged correctly. It may be worth it for him to hit you $75 or $100 to live with it. If I were the seller and I was in this deal, I would offer it to get it behind me. He's going to lose that much and more reshipping and reselling it as damaged.

    If you're buying it because it's a MIA Fender and you have to have resale value associated with it, send it back. You'll never be happy with it.
     
  15. BobKos

    BobKos

    Apr 13, 2007
    If I understand correctly, the pressure is applied to the main body of the neck - not the stripe. Also if I understand correctly, the stripe could technically be omitted and the neck will be fairly stable and the truss rod will operate correctly. I could be wrong, but it is worth looking into if this is a concern for you.
     
  16. Nice bass, good price, sounds like the issues are either trivial/easily rectified, or non-issues altogether. Don't fret it (except when playing…heh…), just keep it and enjoy!
     
  17. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I'm not so sure that finish crack is due to shipping damage. I think this is a fairly normal crack. Both my vintage Fenders and my Highway 1 have this.
     
  18. I would keep it. That is such a minor issue and an easy fix. If you like every thing else about the bass then you should hang on to it, especially for the price you paid for it.

    However, that white pickguard has to go! Everyone knows that 3TSB basses need either a tort or black guard! :D
     
  19. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    +1
     
  20. nicopiano

    nicopiano Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Levis, Quebec, Canada
    Good deal + great playing/sounding = keep it.

    Good deal + average or less playing/sounding = send it back
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.