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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Octave Doctor, Aug 2, 2003.
So what makes your 60s, 70s 80s or 90s precision better than my 2003 American standard - Huh?!
What makes your '03 MIA standard better than my '03 MIA standard.
Mine has a purple, glittery finish!
The only thing that is common to all Precision vintages is they are all different
I own three (one 60s, two early 80s), all of them are different in feel and sound although they are all immediately recognizable as Precisions.
One is great for "modern" roundwound string bass tones (although thicker than a J would be), one is good for traditional rock use with flats or rounds and the other is very smooth and sweet with rounds, nice for blues or recording work.
The three vary quite a bit in weight; the neck of the 60s P is thinner/faster than the other two.
Are any better than yours? Possibly not for you. I like them all and although I will noodle on newer ones at stores, none call out "buy me"...yet
Wood ages, gets lighter
finish changes with age
Any good bass will sound better with age.
To elaborate on Mojo's good comments -
- pre-1965 Fender pickups used larger diameter magnets and were sand casted. Also vintage Fender magnets are Alnico and not Ceramic. Older magnets lose some of their power. The less power the magnets have, the better the strings can vibrate. Powerful magnets can pull the strings towards the pickup, damping the vibrations. So there needs to be a balance, because you don't want too strong or too weak magnets.
- They had handwound pickups. They often sound better. The scatter-winding pattern and tension at which the wire was wound was apparently ideal on pre-1965 Fender pickups. The handwinding tonal difference may be due to a lack of distributed capacitance when scatter-wound.
- The insulation of the windings on the old Fender pickups have different chemical composition than Fender's newer wire. Even though the gauge of the actual wire is the same, the thickness and composition of the insulation is different. This changes the total size of the wound windings. This in turn changes the inductance and capacitance of the pickup, and hence the tone. Fender used Formvar insulation till about March 1964. Then they switched to Plain Enamel insulation.
- They used nitrocellulose finishes instead of today's poly.
These lacquer finishers were very thin, acquired tiny cracks through time that allowed the wood and tone to "breath" on a good piece of wood.
- The wood on old Fenders is typically "old growth wood" not "tree farm" wood. The better growth rings/grain affect tone.
Then again, so many pre-CBS Fenders for sale now sound inferior to the new stuff. The "good ones" are rare, IMO & IME.