Opinion on seventies Precision basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by streamer04, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. streamer04

    streamer04 Guest

    Dec 12, 2007

    I am currently considering to purchase (or not) a '75 Fender Precision bass. It's in a good condition (appearance), but haven't been able to test it so far. So I don't yet know any details of this particular bass.

    What are your experience in seventies Fender P-basses in general? Are there any/some major differencies comparing to 60's or 90's and today's MIA Precisions?

    Is there some quality difference between 1970-1975 and later 70's basses? What was the most used body wood in those days, and is there something to know about the differencies between alder, ash, and basswood?

    Currently I own two Warwicks, and I want to add a P-bass to my collection.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    I've owned a few '77s and a couple '78s. I loved them all...nice and heavy, so they had the tone to match. I think the bodies were pretty much all alder. I couldn't tell you the difference between the tones of the body woods though. For some weird reason, I am better at telling the difference between fingerboard woods:confused: Anyhow, if the bass is in good condition, I say go for it and good luck:bassist:
  3. Jimtoonz


    Aug 26, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Without respect to specific woods, weights, etc, I can say that you should approach the selection of a 70s P-bass just like any other instrument purchase - That is, buy one that speaks to you.

    Having owned a number of 70s Fenders, I can tell you that the quality of them varies pretty sharply. Do the normal due diligence checks and go with one that is solid and provides a sound that you like. While it's true that QC suffered under the CBS management, there were still some good basses coming from Fender in the 70s - you just have a much greater chance of getting a "dud" than you would in buying a "pre-CBS" piece. I think the "good ones and bad ones" statement applies to most any era, it's just that the ratio will be different.
  4. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    I have a '72 in natural. No idea what the body wood is (maybe someone can tell me?), but it's not overly heavy. Plays and sounds great. First time I plugged it in at the seller's house, I knew I had to have it. It sounds like the bass on all the great rock (and some funk!) records of the '70s.

    Of course, quality control was spotty during the '70s, and many things can happen in 30 years, so you've got to play each one. But I'm damned happy with mine.

  5. I think the chance of getting a dud are about the same nowdays as they were in the 70's, but today there's just a lot more of them around. I had a '75 Precision that was my first bass and it was made of ash, not alder. Of course it had the natural finish as well, so that's probably why. It was a very nice bass, never had any problems with it at all. But depending on what kind of treatment the bass has had over the years, it could be in really nice condition or falling apart. If it has been kept in the case for long periods of time, it'll obviously be in much better shape. But like all basses, it's best to try before you buy it. If you can't do that, try and buy from someone you trust.
  6. p_blk.jpg

    That would be ash.

    SKATE RAT Guest

    Aug 22, 2007
    i have a 75. it rules and is made of ash
  8. 75 Ps were made of ash
  9. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    I had a '74 P Bass that I bought brand new. It has a natural Ash body, maple neck and fingerboard (one piece with skunk stripe).

    It was a piece of garbage...the dead spots in the neck were awful. It had a bad fret that the dealer could never deal with. I was 15 when I got it and didn't know any better...plus I lived in a very small town and that was the only natural P Bass that was available in the area...and I HAD to have a natural P-Bass with a maple fingerboard (mine had a white pickguard).

    I eventually sold it in the '89 (although it remained pretty much unplayed from 1982 until 1989).

    I would not make any broad generalizations about '70s P Basses and strongly believe that you should try that particular instrument out in person or if it's being shipped to you get a reasonable return policy agreed to.
  10. xwreckx

    xwreckx Guest

    Sep 12, 2007
    wendell NC
    Yeah I recently bought a '76 pbass mine has the maple neck an its sort of a dark transparent purple. Has anyone seen a color like this on old fenders? But yeah I love mine. Compared to the americans of today I like it a lot more. It has more of a smooth played in feel compared to that stiff new bass feel. Also I've noticed a lot of the new fenders mij mim mia all seem to have a "sharp edge" feel up the neck while my '76 feels more rounded an smooth. But that could be from years of play
  11. xwreckx

    xwreckx Guest

    Sep 12, 2007
    wendell NC
    Oh.. An my has the badass bridge... If that's any info you might need
  12. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    thanks! :)
  13. ctbass


    Jun 21, 2005
    I have (had) the same in a '78. Before the advent of today's high end amps I "jacked it up" by changing the pickups to Barts and adding a J pup. Seemed like a good idea at the time. :rollno:

    Someone else said they were heavy...if you had one in your trailer during a tornado....your dwelling would be safe.
  14. jmccain


    Sep 14, 2007
    Many of them were/are very, very good. Some had neck problems (which many experienced luthiers can correct). I have a '73 that sounds so good, so perfect, that I always smile when I play that first note...

    Like any 30+ year old instrument, there is much you'll never know about how it was used or abused, and what the effect it had. Play it and evaluate, or make sure there's a reasonable return policy.
  15. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    My '78 p bass was old of the best basses I have ever owned.
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    I have a '74 P (brown with rosewood) and it is amazing.:bassist:

    Point it that these are basses that need to be played prior to buying.

    My bass weighs 7.5lbs and I have heard of mid '70's basses hitting 11 or 12lbs. Don't drop $1500-2500 without playing the bass and looking at the neck, frets and ensuring everything is original.

    I looked for my bass for over 2 years and tried dozens of '70's P basses that felt or sounded crappy.
  17. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The mid to late 70'a Fenders were predominantly made of ash. A few alder ones snuck through.

    The early 70's were about half and half between alder and ash depending what finish was being sprayed. The alder ones were typically much-much lighter.

    75-ish is generally good quality wise, but typically heavy weights. I wouldn't buy it without trying or if it's mail-order, then get somekind of trial period.
  18. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Inactive

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    I have a '68 alder, '72 ash, and '73 ash P basses. All were bought used many years ago. I also have a 1998 Amer Std P in ash and a 2003 HWY1 P in alder. All are comparatively light.

    They all sound like I expect a P bass to sound so I suspect you could find a more recent production bass that will sound and play about the same as a '70s for considerably less.
  19. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I have a '75 P in natural (ash), maple f/b, & black pickguard. I buy and sell basses fairly liberally, but I don't foresee ever selling this one. I absolutely love it. I'll play my various Jazz Basses for months. Then, every so often I'll pick up that '75 P and think, "Damn, I forgot how great this thing sounds!" Then I'll play the P for a month or so. I don't know how they stand up across the board, but fortunately, I found a keeper...
  20. whitespike


    Nov 28, 2007
    Austin, TX
    About 10 years ago I owned a 1972 sunburst with black pickgaurd FRETLESS P-bass. It was my first whack at fretless and I decided that sound was just not for me and sold it. Man I hate that! If I would have been smart I would have had my luthier fret that SOB. It sounded amazing, played amazing, and looked amazing.