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Need help deciding on a new (old) Fender

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fly-Tech Chuck, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Hey ya'll, I'm new to the forum, and could use some assistance in my decision making.
    Earlier this month I recorded bass tracks for a Christmas EP, twas a good time.
    I used three different basses for no particular reason, other than they were available to use, it was awesome hearing such dramatic differences between them. I used my Ernie Ball MM Stingray, a five or six year old Lakland, and a '77 (I'm pretty sure) Fender Precision.
    It was AMAZING how much better the Fender sounded than the other two, so much so that I've decided to look into purchasing a vintage Fender P-bass myself. So I need some opinions...
    What years should I look into? What have you used/do you use currently? I loved the sound of the '77 P-Bass I recorded with...are there P's made in any other years that any of you really love?
    Any input would be appreciated, thanks all!
  2. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    Early TV logo are probably the best buy these days , 69 to 74 . After that there were a lot of heavy ones but they were not consistent so play before you buy .
  3. Awesome, thanks for the input! If I may ask, what do you mean by "early TV logo?"
  4. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    It is completely about the individual bass not the year manufactured. Some basses sing and are just great, others may have problems. You must play a bunch and you will know which one.

    New Fenders are awesome. I would not pay a premium for an old one as new ones have better hardware and fit and finish.

    The reason you love a pbass is because it finds the perfect spot in the mix. By it self, it does not sound as zingy as a Stringray and not as articulate as Lakland, but in a mix, a Pbass is a superstar.

    I would look a new P bass, either American, Japanese or Mexican, play as many as you can, you will find a winner and no reason to pay for vintage....IMO.
  5. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Don't overlook the newest American Standards Fender is producing. The advantage here is that you have many to choose from, they will have everything: tags, case candy, and very fine cases, and, you can pick your color.

    This is posted with the understanding that it won't be 'classic' or 'vintage' but, they are tone rich and the play-a-bility and adjustability are modern-tech.

    Plus, they're affordable. FWIW
  6. svt1233


    Jan 15, 2012
    exactly this. With new gear you can easily dial in that "vintage" tone you are looking for without paying the vintage price tag.
  7. The mistake you made here was to not use a Musicman Bongo - sends vintage P basses scurrying to the vintage timber store!!

    The TV logo is on Fender basses between 1969 and 1976 - so called because it's in larger font so readable in television shots.

    Stingray basses can get well into Precision territory sonically, especially using flatwound strings (also through technique and EQ choices). After all, they were conceived by Leo Fender etc as an overdue upgrade of the Precision bass in 1976, albeit at Musicman rather than the Fender company at that time - all that said people do like the P bass - for me it makes one or two rather generic sounds. However a stunning player sounds stunning whatever bass they use, including a Precision or a Stingray etc.
  8. Thank all ya'll for your input. I absolutely agree that I'll need to play quite a few before I make a choice...I've had a P and a J in the past, bought both new, and I liked them, but then got the EBMM and really really liked it. So it's been a while since I even spent time with a Fender. And seeing yall's opinions about newer models, I'll absolutely try them out. Thanks again!
  9. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008
    2012 American Standard. No question.
  10. Couldn't agree more man. And thanks for clearing up the "TV logo" question for me.
  11. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    You should easily be able to find a 76-79 P on EBay for under $1400...if that's the kinda answer you were looking for. But I agree that the 70-75's are overall just a little bit cooler, and I've seen those for around that price range too. I'd roll the vintage dice in that price range over a brand new bass, personally.
  12. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    I know you were joking about the Bongo, but EBMM basses really do not sound like passive Fenders. Arguably the closest EBMM to get near Fender tone is the Big Al (I have one btw), and it does not sound or feel like a passive Fender. On the other hand, EBMM basses are are really great at what they do, and my Big Al is one of my favorite basses. btw, my 74 P bass weighs 9 pounds even and my favorite bass (82 Fullerton 57) only weighs 8.2 pounds -- all of my EBMM basses are heavier.
  13. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    A Sterling in series is the most P like sound I have gotten out of a MM, buts its not a P. You need this, a 71 P:

  14. Personally I would opt for a 2012 P Bass. That's me, I'm VERY wary about the vintage market.

    I know its not same thing, but I'd opt for a new Musicman, then get a 2012 P Bass as well. BOOM.
  15. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I had a 73' tele and 78' P bass. Both had an old school tone no other bass has had again that I have played. I have not heard that tone out of today's Fenders and yes I have played allot of them. To me that old Fender tone is in ..well older Fenders with pre CBS sounding the best.

    The only basses that are better IMO are early MIJ Squiers and I own 3 SQ's which are getting hard to find. They are lighter, built just as good or better than early 70's Fenders and have a nicer, slimer neck profile.

    I like them so much I sold off the 2 MIA Fenders to get them and all 3 ran me under $200.00 :hyper:
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    My 1974 P is light and sounds better than many of the pre-CBS P's I have played and is by far the best '70's P I have ever played. I basically got lucky and have a real "good one".

    I would argue that almost all 2008+ American Standards blow away almost any bass made in the '70's. These new Standards are almost all amazing sounding, playing and constructed. They are also generally lighter. A late 70's P can be in the 12-13lb range.

    Bottom line? If you want vintage, DON'T buy sight unseen and if you are patient, you might find a great one. Safe bet? Buy a new American Standard
  17. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Agreed. If you have the GAS for a vintage, it doesn't just go away when you buy a brand new bass- although the new Fenders are fantastic.

    I've been down that road and bought many newer basses, sold them, and eventually I ended up with my two vintage Fender P's. The vintage GAS will creep on you after a while like an itch in the middle of your back :)
  18. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008
    Agreed. The new American Standards are awesome. Sometimes "vintage" only means "old."
  19. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    If you keep a look out nice P basses come up from time to time, but buying one without playing it first can be a crapshoot (not that I haven't heard of buyers remorse from other brands, but 70s and 80s Fenders are known for it).
  20. Really appreciate all of yall's input, I'm gonna be doing some playing around, a little shopping, ect, and take all these opinions into consideration. I'll let you all know what gem I end up with! Thanks!

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