Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by keithconn, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. Silly question:

    Whats the difference(other than coolness) between going to the store and buying a new P-bass and finding a vintage P-bass? It would seem that a new one would be a better investment for playing, no?

    I am attracted to the old ones just because they look cool, especally the yellowing of them, the tarnished tuners, etc ... but other than that?

    Thanks ...
  2. blamkin


    Nov 28, 2001
    Broomfield, Co
    ... a question that I'd also be interested in a reponse to. I've been deciding between a (real) old PBass, say 62 or 63, for around $2K, or buying one of those re-issue basses, for the same price.

    I'd never have considered the re-issue one, but a guitar buddy bought a re-issue strat, and the tone is really the same as the tone on his real vintage strat. Plus the instrument's new...

  3. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000

    There are slight differences in construction through the years. You may or may not consider these desirable. Older P's have had more time for the wood to age, which will open up the sound. It seems that the older ones have more stable necks because the necks have had many years to settle in as well.

    I could go on, but just play something that makes you happy...the new P's being put out by Fender are excellent instruments and will serve you well, but if you need or want an older one then just go for it! Try to play a bunch first and just wait for the one that you can't put down.
  4. when I bought my Rickenbacker 4001 I had to choose between a relative new one and one made in the seventies, I choose the older one not only because of the sound but the thought of playing on something that is that old and still looks and plays that good just gave the bass some extra charisma and a different feeling (sorry I don't really know how to describe it in English), I think it's just the same with the P-basses or any other (vintage) bass model.
  5. I am asking this because my teacher has a P-bass from the seventies and it sounds and looks amazing! Its all gross looking, but sounds amazing. I guess its a real find if you can get one that looks good and still sounds good.

    I'm thinking of tucking some money under my pillow and waiting to come across the vintage that would make me happy ...
  6. By 'gross' I mean good ... you know ... all yellow and worn away!:cool:
  7. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Older Fenders do sound different from todays models because they are made differently. The specifications, parts, and materials from early Fenders are different from today. The newer basses incorporate such things as graphite bars in the neck, different and more durable finishes, contured bodies and other creature comforts. All of these things affect the sound.
    Basses do change with time, and that is dependant upon several factors, such as how much the bass has been played, how and where it has been kept, etc. Just because an instument is old or vintage doesn't make it good or bad. You should take in to account your own needs and/or preferences.
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    There are a bunch of differences between old and new Fenders. Many have been mentioned.

    When you say old, the next question is logically "how old?"

    Fenders built before 1963 are sometimes called "real" Fenders because that is when the company was sold to CBS Records by Leo Fender. In the few years to follow, Fender altered many of their manufacturing methods in order to accomodate the larger volume demands and cost constrictions.

    So anything dubbed "pre-CBS" is very much different because it was indeed build differently and of different materials. You should note that these basses are rare and VERY expensive on the players/collectors market. Several thousand dollars is the norm.

    That doesn't mean post-CBS Fenders are not very good basses. I have played many, many late sixties, early seventies Fenders that were super sweet to play and listen to.

    Later seventies models are a little more hit and miss, but again, there are many sweethearts out there.

    As a rule, the older the Fender, the more you will pay.

    Everyone seems to have their own opinion as to why the older ones sound better. Most of the reasons offered, like construction, materials, electronic design, etc are all legitimate IMHO. However, I firmly believe the greatest contributor is time itself.

    Wood that has been subject to decades of vibration and aging/drying has a ring to it that new wood just doesn't have. I have a Gibson acoustic gu*tar (For some reason you can't say guitar on this site :))that I bought new about 12 years ago. Every year the thing sounds better and better. I fully expect it to sound even better in another 12 years.

    A side consideration is value. If you get a chance to pick up a well-maintained original vintage instrument. It is highly likely that it will always be valued in the open market at the price you paid or more. I don't recommend this a decision maker, but I think about a lot of things before dropping $2,000-3000.

    Anyway, good luck and no matter what you decide, make sure it fits YOU before buying.

  9. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Actually, it was 1965 when CBS bought Fender.
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    You are correct. I'd like to chalk it up as a typo, but in truth, it was a cerebrally flatulent moment.