NBD: Vintage Frankenstein Precision (calling all gurus!)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by christopherogut, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Well, I walked into a local music shop this afternoon and stumbled across my latest impulse purchase:


    I'm not one to take much interest in heavily modified basses but it really piqued my interest... so I plugged it in and plucked a few notes. Wow. Felt great, sounded great, and was an absolute joy to play. I started looking it over and realized it was a complete mishmash of parts turned into a bass with a serious identity crisis but, whoa, what a great player. I walked out the door with it a half hour later having paid less for it than my monthly car payment, figuring the parts that I was able to identify and date were worth the price and, as we know, the cost of a good 'player' is easy to justify. Awesome. Let's look at some pictures first, then I've got some questions for the Fender gurus.

    I'm not too fond of the pickguard and bridge with Graph Tech saddles... or the EMGs for that matter.

    hmmm, somewhat translucent reddish thumb rest...

    Nice maple neck with some honest wear

    Half-decent CAR repainted headstock and vintage logo, graphite nut?

    Vintage 'F' neck plate, no serial, and black gasket...

    Some nice finish checking

    OK, here's where it gets fun! Vintage reverse tuners, a Fathead, and a Hipshot D-tuner, awesome.

    So, from what I know and what I can gather, the neck plate is late '70s to '80s, the thing's been repainted decently, the neck seems late '70s or '80s, the thumbrest is '70s, the pickguard is a newer replacement and probably not Fender, someone monkeyed with most of the hardware, and it sure is pretty to look at. It's drilled in the '57/'62 location for thumbrest instead of the '70s above-the-E location so I don't know what to make of the body. There's CAR paint down to the graphite nut and fretboard lacquer up to it so both had to be done after the nut was swapped out.

    I think I'm going to treat it to an anodized gold pickguard, some '57RI pickups and new electronics, and a chrome cover or two. And correct strap buttons. And a vintage-style bridge with threaded saddles.

    Now, if anyone can help me date or figure out this thing further based on these pictures I'd be extremely appreciative. I was extremely happy to pull it apart here at home and discover the "H Gastelum" stamp on the neck but unfortunately little else in the neck pocket area. Can anyone check out the electronics cavity route and help date this or confirm that the body is a USA also? How about the extra holes in the neck pocket?





    Thanks for reading and possibly helping to solve the puzzle!
  2. Nice! I'd call it a mutt(mixed Fender parts)but not a Frankenstein(ugly mods/really incongruous parts)but still, looks good
  3. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Nice find!
    Sorry I can't help, just have a question: what is the Gasket under the neck plate for??? Have seen them on occassion but never thought much about them.
  4. Lyske


    Mar 12, 2011
  5. I believe they were used to lessen the marking on the body made by tightening the neckplate screws.

    Thanks. I did a bit of reading about the name, too. I'm glad the stamp is still on the neck considering all the modifications... and good to know it means this is a USA neck!
  6. ... just upgraded with a loaded pickguard from a 2013 American Vintage '58 Precision...




    I absolutely LOVE the sound of these raised A-pole '58 pickups! Still trying to figure out what exactly the body is. I'm really wondering if the '70s translucent red thumbrest and pickup/control cavity routing are any indication that the body is of that era. Either way, what a great player. :bassist:
  7. Damn!! That gold 'guard REALLY compliments that color. Change the bridge yet? Keep the roundwounds on it !!
  8. Yep! That was yesterday evening's little project...


    When I took the bridge off, I was surprised to find this rout underneath. Some eBay snooping got me giddy because I saw a nearly-identical rout to this on 73-77 Precision bodies including the similar open rout between the pickup and control cavities (below is a '73 body on eBay for reference)... however, I also saw something very similar on a mid-2000s MIM body so I don't know what to think.



    Bueller? Bueller?
  9. I love me a nice piece of ash w/tanlines
  10. taurus1


    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    looking good, I like the changes, the tort didn't look bad either.
  11. Thanks. I played with the idea of getting a nice tortoiseshell pickguard but I've already got the same color scheme on my CS '59 Precision.

    Now I just need to swap in a regular nut and vintage-style strap buttons and I can stop futzing with it!
  12. awesomesawyer


    Aug 27, 2012
    whats that metal plate on the back of the headstock doing?
  13. It's a 'Fathead', a big brass piece meant to add sustain and help eliminate dead spots along the neck... they used to be made by Groove Tubes and I think they still offer the 'Fat Finger' for the same purpose.
  14. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Dude, that bass is completely rad! My 1976 Precision has the same route under the bridge as yours. Not as big as the one on the Ash bass pictured above. Congratulations on the awesome purchase and the great decision on pick guard and pickup upgrades.

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