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Question: Fender P-Bass contour deviations

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by moishelichtfuss, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I just recently noticed that my two Fender Precision show a visible deviation in the way the contours/body shapings are cut. One of them seems to be much thicker (One is an S8 the other an S9 serial-number, which places them both in the late 70s; or the early 80s for the S9-one).

    I generally have no trouble with that. I was just wondering whether such deviations were 'normal'.

    Here they are. I don't know if you can see it that well. The reflections on the upper one should help.

  2. Bumpin' myself. :hyper:
  3. Last attempt without wanting to pry too much. No experience on body shapes? I've searched this site and the web without finding any info.
  4. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Perhaps attributable to the bad quality control standards of the late 70's at Fender? (I have a 78 that I love, but consistency in that period was probably the worst at Fender!)

    There is still a lot of hand-finishing on Fender production line instruments. Some sanding, shaping and contouring is going to deviate a bit. Neck pockets in the late 70's were some of the craziest deviations! Some really tight, some overly wide, some with too little heel plate, some with a heel plate that sticks out past the neck, etc...
  5. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    Interesting, fact-based topics don't always take hold on the internet. I suspect that, pre-CNC, contour cuts varied over time and by the person doing the cutting. I only have one older P bass, so I can't really comment intelligently. This is an interesting question. Hopefully som Fender historians will chime in on this.
  6. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I have some mid 70s Precisions that look more like the one on the bottom in the OP picture. My newer Precisions are more like the one on top. I haven't been able to find an explanation. It may be that the made a design change to make playing more comfortable.
  7. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Northeast Ohio
    In the early days...the contours were made simply by a guy holding the body and manually applying it to a stationary sanding machine. The only reason any two looked alike can be attributed to the skill and artistry of the worker.

    I have no idea when this process became automated but judging by your photo, there must have been some changes in the late 70's.
  8. Thanks for your answers.

    In fact the upper one is shaped quite like the '07 P-Bass I owned for a while. But I also like the chunkier one quite a lot.

    Now having two Fender basses from the late 70s also seems to support my theory that the rosewood layer on the necks was quite a bit thinner than e.g. in the present.

    I pondered this here, w/r/t questions whether my fretless neck had just been sanded too many times or was kind of thin to begin with (the fretted on of the two above is quite similarly 'thin'):

  9. slagbass


    Apr 5, 2005
    Sounds like a reasonable explanation. FWIW, I just took a look at my '77 P and it looks like it is in-between the two basses in the OP for body contour, but a little closer to the top one.