Resisting the Urge to Part Out a Vintage Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nate74, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. Nate74


    Mar 3, 2007
    I'm really struggling on this one...

    I have a few vintage basses that I've been trying to sell to get some cash together for a new upright. Maybe I picked the wrong time of year to try to sell them, but over the last few months, of the 3 I was hoping to sell, only one has sold.

    But here's my problem. As I cruise ebay and the other usual spots, it appears that even though my basses are all original (down to the solder joints), I could make more money taking them apart and selling the components individually. Like in the neighborhood of 20%-30% more.

    The collector in my cringes at the thought touching anything on these basses, but the realist in me sees that it would make more money to part them out. And they'd move more quickly too...

    Anybody else struggle with this? Or do I just say screw originality and make the money?
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  2. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Tough. No advice here - that is a personal decision, and one that you will have to live with. Loss of a vintage instrument alone can be tough. Can you add to it the knowledge that no one else will enjoy it either? Or would you find comfort in knowing that one instrument benefits many players?
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    If you can take a long term view on selling stuff, it seems a shame to break up a complete instrument. There Are whole eBay businesses (Stratosphere for example) that just buy new instruments and break them up for parts with really high prices. Whatever you decide, it's your business, but I hope you can keep them intact.
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, I'm ashamed to admit I actually fell for one of Stratosphere's scam auctions. What a ripoff. I do like the body (reverse jag) and will build something on it, but I got taken...
  5. capnjim


    Mar 13, 2008
    Thats the beauty of Fender basses. You can buy 10 different lots of vintage parts from the same year, put it together, and you have an original bass.
    If you part out one bass, you might be making several basses "original". I wouldn't worry about it at all.
    Merry X-mas!!!
  6. scourgeofgod


    Aug 17, 2006
    I wouldn't part it out, but it's your call.
  7. if youre talking about the 74 jazz youre selling here, thats top end price for a bass with questions. even if it was a no questions, all original bass, the condition is pretty rough for that price. however, you have extra screw holes in the neck and the body looks like it was oversprayed black on top of the original white finish.
    hdracer likes this.
  8. Nate74


    Mar 3, 2007
    Interesting input. I've wondered about the screw holes, but since the date code on the neck lines up, I figured the neck was maybe mounted to something else for a while. But I see your point. Regarding the finish, my black P from the same year had the same white primer stuff showing through. And with the solder joints all being original, if it was over sprayed, wouldn't it have been at the factory? But if you have questions, other might too so maybe it makes sense to part it out.
  9. I will only part out vintage basses with major issues and that's parts can help vintage basses obtain original needed parts, I just parted out a 78 p that had a shaved down neck that was cracked and filled with putty. I have a 78 and 72 p that are basically all original, I likely could part them for more but refuse to do so, it drives the value of others up and I want others in the future. Now if were taking about 1990s and up basses I will part them out all day.
  10. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL

    If you can be patient then you probably won't have problems selling in the future. But I think your current expectations are at least 500-600 too high (on a good day). There's a lot of hype associated with 70's Fenders these days.
  11. that doesnt really look like primer to my eye. it looks like a white finish with a yellowed top coat (same type of aging on the headstock) with a black overspray. you can also detach the leads at the pickups and pull the harness out that way without touching the solder joints on the pots. ive also never see finish peeling/flaking like that in the neck pocket on original 70's fenders. i have seen paint do that on refins. it could be factory original i guess, but at 2400 in that condition, id pass all day long.

    if you part it out and want top dollar for each part, you may end up waiting longer by the time each piece sells.
  12. Bob-I


    Sep 12, 2014
    That's a tough one. I'm a big fan of keeping things original in spite of the money, but I'm fortunate that I'm employed at a decent salary. I often wonder if my attitude would change if I needed the money to support my family.

    For example I have a 1964 Hammond A100 that I picked up at an estate sale for $100. I could easily part it out and make several thousand profit, but the organ as a whole is an amazing piece of engineering and a beautiful musical instrument. I just can't bring myself to sell off amps and tubes at the sacrifice of the beautiful tone this organ produces.
  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I wouldn't, but I also wouldn't judge someone that did. I just picked up a '68 tele bass where someone said the neck was more valuable than what I paid for the whole thing since the body has been routed to fit a P pickup. I'm going to keep it together anyway. If you don't need the money, I wouldn't do it.
  14. I'm all for modding something to make it your own if you're going to keep it and play the snawt out of it;
    and I'm all for keeping something bone stock if that's what works for you.

    Parting stuff out just to make a few extra bucks... I'm not for it – but I don't have any vintage basses for sale and if I did have any vintage basses, I'd probably just keep them and depending on the originality, maybe do some reversible mods.

    Good luck with your decision OP.
    squirefan likes this.
  15. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    I think it's sacreligious to part out a perfectly fine, all original vintage guitar. I sell lots of vintage basses and parts, but like A-Step-Towards, I only part them out if they are misfits with major issues. The ones with minor issues, I go the other way and restore those ones.

    That said I looked over your black '74 Jazz and I actually considered making you an offer on it, but there were a few things that made me pass for the price you were asking.. As narud mentioned, the extra holes in the neck devalue it. Most people would think what's the big deal over a few extra holes that you can't even see?.. But from a collector's standpoint, it's no longer in all original condition, so it's less desireable/valuable. Your Oly White '74 that sold went for more $$ because it didn't have any originality issues that I can rememeber. Also, usually 4 extra holes in the neck offset like that indicates that the neck was put on a different body - and I know from experience that when you try to put a '70s Jazz neck on a '70s P body, you usually end up with a gap of about 1/8"-3/16" between the end (butt) of the neck and the body/pickguard. So that tells me this neck was very likely put on a '70s P body at some point and they re-drilled the mounting holes on the neck to suck that gap up tight... which also tells me there's a better than not chance that this neck and body did not come together from the factory.

    The other issue I had was the neck pocket looks to have been routed after the fact. Often you'll see some "clean up" routing by the factory after the body was finished (to remove excess finish so the neck will fit better in the pocket), but I've never seen a pocket that has been routed like yours, where the bottom surface is actually uneven and routed deeper at the bottom of the pocket, and then shimmed with wood to make up for it. You can see they actually took a lot of wood out of there. An unfunctional "mod" like that devalues the bass much worse than a couple extra holes would, because this particular mod was done by someone who should never be allowed to hold tools or work on guitars. I'm guessing instead of doing a fret level of the upper frets, they decided to change the angle of the pocket instead = bad idea. And then when this neck and body got put together (later), someone made that shim to get the body back closer to how it should be so this neck would play well mounted to it.


    I don't mean to sound condescending, and I apologize if it comes across like that. But since you asked, I thought I'd tell you why I decided to pass on it. I didn't want to offend you by offering way less than what you're asking. If this were mine, I wouldn't feel bad about parting this out because it has already lost its pedigree as far as I'm concerned. As far as the black finish being sprayed over the white finish.. it could have been factory, but it's hard to say for sure. I don't think it matters much though with the neck pocket issue.
  16. Nate74


    Mar 3, 2007
    Interesting and valuable input. No, not coming across as condescending at all. From your comments you're clearly pretty knowledgeable and I always welcome a chance to learn a bit more on just about any topic. Although I now feel like I probably got taken when I bought it a dozen or so years ago since it was represented as 100% original to me by the seller. Good news is that it's probably paid for itself twice over as a gigging instrument. It also is a clear indicator that I'll be better off parting it out since the pickups and electronics will have value to somebody and I may keep the body since I think the wear on it is pretty cool. I appreciate everybody's opinions, even the ones I disagree with. ;)
  17. make the most money you can off of it. it doesn't really matter if whatever is original, except for a collector. if no collectors are buying then just make your money and move on with your life. for me it would be no question part it out and sell it. if it's not something i want to keep and actually play, and I'm selling it, you can bet for damn sure i'm going to make the most money I can off of it. it's unlikely it's even really all original anyways so who cares?
    Nate74 likes this.
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    If you can hold off until tax season starts in a month or so I think you will see more buyers with some cash in their pockets. I usually see more NBD's around this time (the holidays) and tax time. I also agree with some others about parting out basses I wouldn't unless there was serious damage to either the neck or body.
    Nate74 likes this.