Old basses and altering their value with mods

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheGeneral, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. I just bought a 1985 G&L SB-1 (p-style bass) that is all original, but has some wear and tear. The finish has some chips, cracks, scratches, etc and shows its age for a 19 year old bass. If I were to refinish the bass, what effect would this change have on the value of the bass? I know Fender intentionally beats up the new "vintage" basses to give them this look and charge quite a lot of money for it. I'll probably keep it as-is for the time being, but the question will linger.
    Here's a picture:
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You're in luck...an SB-1 is not a high demand bass so a refin has almost no effect on it's value :rolleyes:

    With vintage Fenders a refin can cause a loss in value of 1/3 to 1/2. This is good if you're buying, bad if you're selling.

    Pickup and hardware mods also affect the value but not as bad as a refin. After the finish, non-original pickups seems to have the biggest impact on value.

    It can get pretty stupid. I have an 80s US P that has non-original pickups and bridge (i.e. the mods that everyone seems to do as soon as they buy a bass) plus the headstock was refinned to match the body. I got it with the HSC for $200. If factory stock it would have been $500.

    FWIW, I have chosen not to refin worn basses that I've bought used. Finish wear is gonna happen anyway, why waste the $$$.
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Personally I wouldn't dream of modifying a 20 year old Leo Fender bass, but my reasons have more to do with preserving Mr. Fender's legacy as a bass builder than with monetary gains, "searching for my sound", or collector's values.
  4. jgsbass


    May 28, 2003
    Floral Park, NY
    Did you buy the bass as an investor or as a player? It shouldn't be a concern if its a bass you intend to play. If your investing in it as a commodity that will increase in value, don't touch it. Don't play it .Don't even look at it ( your stare may degrade the finish).If you play it at all, stop worrying about the value to you financially and worry about its value to you as an instrument. Personally, I play my basses. If they're worth something after I'm gone, cool. I won't reap the benefits, my family will. I have a 74 Jazz that I have had since 75. It was already stripped when I got it. I have never been afraid to modify it because I was concerned with it as a tool for making music.
  5. This bass will be a player just like the rest of my basses, but this one will be used mostly for teaching and for sessions that need the P bass sound. Another difference between this bass and my others is that I will not worry about leaving this bass in the car in extreme temperatures.
    The only mods I would make would be to upgrade hardware with newer/better ones or if I got a wild hair and wanted to change the finish.

    By the way, the bass sounds great on its own, but when I run it through my Sadowsky preamp, a whole new sound comes alive.