New, MIA Fender Precision or older, 60's/70's P-bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mad Subwoofer, Sep 15, 2002.

  1. I am buying a Precision and am unsure whether or not I should go for a brand new American standard series with it's lovely rounded edges, graphite rods and fat, beefy tone (the ones I've tried anyway,) or perhaps an older "seasoned" model. Right now the only reason I can find is cosmetic; I like the older style tuning heads. I need a RW fingerboard, alder body, string thru, tortoise shell PG and I am defintely partial to those big metal PU covers.
    Any tips or suggestions...?
  2. The old P's I've seen on the walls for sale are really pricey. Somehow they strike me as being pricey, for pricey's sake.

    Fender has indeed improved things since those old models. Neck improvements are the graphite rods to reduce dead spots and increase stability. This is probably more important to the thinner J necks than the wider P neck.

    There is an argument in favor of older wood coming from old-growth trees. A helluva lot of trees have been cut down for firewood and slab basses since those old basses were built.

    There are arguments about the new Fender pickups being blah and dull. If it were me, I'd probably spring for a new P, providing I could audition it first. I would NOT buy an active P, deluxe, HRDP, etc. It seems the P/J combinations lose some of the traditional P tone.
  3. Hmmm...Those be some good points. I agree about the "pricey for pricey's sake" thing. What about some of those seventies P's? Cheaper possibly?
    I have tried quite a few of the Fender American Standard series and was pleasantly surprised at how fat they all sounded? The cheaper MIM basses didn't have this same tone so I'd say that the new guts aren't half bad at all; I especially liked the "Hot rod P-bass" I tried with the "new hot-vintage" PU's or something (sorry, can't remember the exact name.) The "Deluxe" models all sounded terrible to me.
    So, you think go for the new models, not an older one that I would "upgrade" with PU's. bridge, etc?
  4. THe 70's were not a good time for Fender, a lot of people like the J's, but P's didn't seem to fare to well. Heavy bodies, really incositent quality....

    Late 60's P's haven't *increased in value* like Jazzes have, so they are still reasonable.

    I say either get a new one, or a late 60's one.

    Actually, if y ou can find a late 60's refin, it might not be as much as you would think.
  5. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    some people like the sound of heavy ash. thats not necessarily a detracor to the 70's fender.
  6. Do yourself a favor and check out the American Vintage series 62 reissue It seems to me it will fit everything your looking for . At least it did for me!
  7. JimM


    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    My '98 MIA P is very lively and responsive,more sustain etc.than my '76 J.I can't imagine an old bass that I would like better than my new one,unless it had better pickups,I'd have to hear that.I have seen old basses with curled pickguards-yuck!
  8. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    It's possible that I may be biased-
    My '69 P-Bass w/ maple neck, refinished to natural alder, Bad-Ass bridge, Duncan Hot pups & the greatest neck to ever pass through the halls of Leo Fender has got the exact correct amount of MoJo,
    and sounds outrageous.
    Look around for a good (used late model 60's)
    P-Bass. I think you'll dig it; & when you play it, you'll KNOW:cool:
  9. I did try that one out and it did sound exceptional. Another player mentioned off-handedly too me that it seemed quite light and somehow more "delicate" as a result? My feeling was that a bass made of a heavier wood would do me better?
  10. Well, seems we're about evenly split on either a late sixties P or a new MIA jobbie. I'd add fatter bridge and possibly some suped up PU's; not sure I'd want to do that to a "classic" instrument unless it was already modified.
    Can any one tell me what I should expect to pay for a late sixties Precision?
  11. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    I don't know if my experience reflects the market-
    but I paid $450 for mine w/ the case.
    Now it only needed a new bridge to be playable, but I spent additional for new pups, pickguard, re-fretting, hardware, & most of all re-finish, all of which was cosmetic. The bass would have played
    great without that. Anyway, I say 'round about
    $800; maybe less could get you a nice axe-just keep looking, but it's better to play 'em first if you can of course.
    BTW...I bet it would sound great thru your Mesa:D
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If it's not modern, it's CRAP!
  13. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)


    My '69 P-Bass crap???

    I'm.... I'm.....
    What the h*** you talkin' bout???:D
  14. Jeez..I haven't found a late-sixties P for less than $1800? I don't mind a "beater"...for that much $$ I could just buy a brand new '62 re-issue.
  15. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Hmmm- $1800- well maybe I got a great deal then
    Look into Vintage Guitar Gallery on the web & see what you can find-good search engine to narrow down your criteria.
    I believe that I heard a mint late '60's P-Bass runs about 2 grand due to collectability (see other threads!), but if you want to do like I did, you can get a less than pristine model & restore it to your spec. Older basses not only have the vibe, it's the wood & the feel- Of course, some may not feel it & therefore make assinine statements!!:D
  16. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    If you "need" string thru then you have no choice but to get a new one. Only the first few years of the original 50s Precisions were string thru. I think they went to top load when they went to the split pickup in the 57 (?) model.
  17. String-through might pose additional problems by restricting the variety of strings. Also, the string-through option puts a severe kink at the saddles, which might not work with flats. YMMV.

    If I remember right, my RB5 couldn't accept TI Flats as string-through because there was a length issue. My MIM does not offer it, and I don't miss it anyway. The MIM uses more screws to mount its (cheap) bridge securely to the body for maximum sonic transfer.
  18. Well heck, you're right then. The string-thru models don't offer a "saddle mount" option as well, only through the body? Seems like new is the way to go really, with the graphite rods and all.
    BGavin; you posted something over at the 'Pit about Hot Rod PJ's losing "something" due to the blend pot and lower impedance values? You also state here that they don't cop the "true" P-vibe as well...What's that about? There is a nifty HR P-bass here in Victoria BC with a split P only, no J PU and I think I should be a-scooping it; $850 usd. Sure wouldn't mind one with both but you think that's not a good idea, tone-wise? A P+J setup with parallel/series switching perhaps.....??
    Thanks for all your input folks.
  19. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    My information is dated, but the "Deluxe" models have the option of string-thru or top mount. The "Standard" models like my Jazz V only offer string-thru. Stick with the excellent Fender strings and they'll accomodate the extra length no problem.
  20. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    Ive got a '78 MIA P and a '98 MIA P. The '98 is all stock, while the '78 has a Badass 2 and a '62 reissue pickup. Both have D'Addario Slowounds. Ive played both out on stage, and at practice, and (imo) the '98 is a better feeling and sounding Bass than the '78.