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tell me about vintage fenders ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by staindbass, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. staindbass


    Jun 9, 2008
    hi, i look on ebay at the bewildering selection of vintage fender basses. are certain years more collectable than others because there were less made that year? are some years known for their 'magic tone?' the last 3 top selling jazz basses were 1966. im aware condition plays a huge role in prices, its just odd to me to see a bass sell for 3 grand, and then someone else has a buy it now for the same year @ 14k. any general pointers are appreciated. johnny a.
  2. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    If your looking into an investment, PRE CBS fenders are the way to go. These are pre 1965. Supposedly these are higher quality than late 60s and 70s fenders, thus more collectable. I've owned pre CBS and post CBS fenders and they've all been very good. If you're looking for a tool my suggestion is to buy one that looks used, not abused. In all likelihood a good bass must have been a useful tool to someone than maybe a 30 year old lemon that looks mint and was hardly played. Certain finishes and features such as matching headstock are less common than others and command higher prices. Fender used the 3 bolt neck plate in the mid 70s which many agree wasn't the best idea and gave alignment problems. 4 bolt neck plate fenders are preferred over this. I owned both a 78 4 neck bolt fender and 3 bolt 77 and had no issues with either, but the consensus among players seems to be that 4 bolt neck plates were better. Good luck with the search...
  3. I have a 66 fender jazz, its a very good bass, plays really well, has a really nice thin neck.
    Does it have magic powers? no. does it sound a million times better than a modern jazz? no.
    It does have a different tone, blame it on the wood aging, on the pickup magnets loosing strengh, on mojo, i dont care!
    I does have a very distinctive old school thump compared to my 2008 USA jazz!
    Is it distinctive enough to be noticed on a big gig, blasting through a big PA after going through EQs and compressors? Probably not!
    It does record a lot better than my modern one in studio.

    Considering all that, is it worth 10 grand or whatever people pay for them (66 matching headstock oly white) i really dont think so!
    I bought mine pretty cheap a few years ago and i do enjoy knowing my bass is 20 years older than me.
  4. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Agreed. Pre CBS are the cream of the crop and everything after that is what it is. You have to know the market which is down now and if the item is modded from its original state. You also need to know about its real and not faked.
    The market is crazy and there are allot of buy it now prices on the net that are crazy inflated to get the impulse buyer who is stupid. I had a 73' Telecaster(mudbucker) that was worth about $2100-2300 fair market when it was up maybe a hair more a couple of years ago and worth maybe even less now. There were a few on the net in worse shape then mine this year with BIN prices of 4-5K...crazy!
  5. I own some pre and post.

    Unless you have a day dream of owning one at any cost.. I'd avoid it.

    I have newer stuff at about 1% of the cost that I don't care if it gets rained on, stolen, beaten up.. etc.

    I quit gigging my early Fenders when someone came up and goes .. "man that's a XYZ year with the original case (yes I was dumb enough to bring the case too)"

    Basses are poor investments (even if they are expensive)..

    I can understand someone would have a "dream" bass.. compared to my other stuff, 99% of the audience could care less... they see an upright or 7 string faster than they see an early Fender.
  6. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I also agree that the older basses do have a sound of there own. My 79 P bass sounds different than my 83 MIJ SQ Squier P bass. That SQ is built as well if not better than any MIA P bass I have ever seen or played and sounds awsome. The SQ has a tone more like todays P basses but the 79' has a vintage thump to it.

    Staindbass, are you looking for a vintage for recording? I know for stage a vintage Fender would'nt do it for the type of music you do IMO. I know you play active's and I think detuned or 5 stringers for your tone there.
  7. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    A lot of the prices you see are what people are asking for...doesn't necessarily mean that's what they're valued at or are actually selling for...especially in this market right now, it's a total buyer's market. Nows a great time to snatch a vintage piece for a good deal.

    Best bet to get an idea of the vintage market is search completed listings on Ebay to see what basses are actually selling for, although, this varies quite a bit too...

    I've seen vintage Fenders from the early 70's go from anywhere between $1600-3500, but it really depends on the overall condition, originality of the parts, and weight of the instrument also does a lot for the price. Usually heavy boat anchor will cost a lot less than an 8lb jazz bass.

    I'm more of a player/collector. I have a 1962 P refin with added Jazz PU. I also have a mostly original 1975 P w/ Jazz PU added. I look for vintage Fenders that have at LEAST original neck, body, and PU's. I really lucked out with my last two finds though. Patience is key.

    Also, vintage Fenders sound INCREDIBLE drop-tuned IMO. :smug:
  8. PDGood


    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    My old Precision sounds more "woody" than the newer ones, but I like the newer ones too. Wooden instruments just naturally mellow with time from the vibrations. I know a guitar builder that puts his new instruments in a closet with a small amp and uses a capo to make them feed back on certain notes. He then shuts the closet and lets them vibrate (feedback) for weeks. This is to give the wood the equivalent of playing hundreds of gigs. Interesting idea.
  9. LaklandBass


    Jan 26, 2005
    Id say that they are awesome basses but like others have said if youre looking to invest just get a mutual fund instead. If youre looking for an awesome jazz bass? Check out Sadowsky, Mike Lull.... etc. because they make some of the best jazz basses on the planet and they do it for far less most pre-cbs fenders.
  10. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Hmmmmmmmmmm, Do you think that works at all? The idea is interesting but IMO unfounded and wont change a thing. I do buy into the PU magnets losing or changing power and woods and finishes drying out but vibration...:meh:
  11. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    If you are buying on ebay chances are you will get a better deal through an auction than a buy-it-now. Most of the buy-it-nows are way over-priced. Many end up not selling at first, only to lower their asking price after a few tries.
  12. But a pre CBS instrument is completely different!
    I love my 66 jazz (almost pre CBS) but i really didnt like the sadowskys or lulls i played!
    In my opinnion they are a lot more HIFI sounding and feel more like a different interpretation of a modern fender!
    Nothing sounds like an old fender other than an old fender i think!
    The question ultimately is can you hear the difference? Not everybody can in my experience and secondly, is it worth it to YOU?
    I would never spend 15 grand on a Fodera, but i understand that someone might, on the other hand the same person might think im a nutter for spending 15 grand on an old beat up P Bass!

    In the end only you can tell if its a good price to you, something is only worth what someone is ready to pay for it!
  13. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Yep, yes they do!

    Just last night a TB'er pm'd me about the songs on my album inquiring about what basses were used, and he was suprised when my '69 Jazz Bass was used on about half the songs. Yes we're detuned to low C#, and the bass does not sound like an antique at all, even more since I recorded thru an Ampeg B15 reissue. It still sounds very modern, very growly. In the studio the bass is a monster, and best of all only weighs 8.0 lbs.
  14. staindbass


    Jun 9, 2008
    thanks for the replies ! good stuff too. mnairhead, i wouldent say they are poor investments, it all depends on the price at which its obtained. a beat up 72 would be a fine investment if found for $75 ect. i dont need an investment, and i could pay a stupid price no problem. i hope to find one that i can sell in 10 years and at least get what i paid for it. sounds easy, but its not. everyone thinks thier 3000$ bass is a 9,000$ bass on ebay lol. bassbully:, i was seeking one as a collectable, and to play around the house. maybe to record, but im so partial to a 5 string nowadays. baileyboy: i hear ya bro, i would definitly do an auction, no buy it now. pdgood: thats an interesting idea ! i could use a sine wave sweep from 20-3khz and hit every frequency :) lacklandbass: i would love to try a fodera/lull/sadowsky to see what all the hype is but i never see them in stores. carlos840: how much do you think those fodera will sell for in 40-50 years with a worn finish? i bet not as much as a fender by percentage. thanks for all the replies. johnny a
  15. Basses are a poor investment... (compared to other options)

    They can be "day traded" (buy at a steal and flipped the next day)

    Your post did not include a specific bass and/or pix -- this means we're forced to speak generalities.
  16. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    The only way a vintage bass/guitar can be a poor investment is if (a) the market drops out or (b) You dont get it for a good price for the piece. There are allot of high end vintage guitar dealers doing very well who know what, where, when and how to buy. Don't say guitars are a poor investment. At least its tangible unlike floating money in stocks etc where you might lose it or have it mishandled or managed.
    To the everyday guitar/bass player its not always a good investment but like Johnny A. said if you find one for the right price it can be.
  17. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i'd look at top secret estate sale auctions, then if you don't like the bass after you set it up, sell it on ebay to some rich person for an additional 2 or 3 grand and try again, my friend does this with vintage gretsch hollow body guitars and it's a nice little side gig when he doesn't have classes to teach or any art shows on his schedule
  18. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    how does one discover these "top secret" estate sales?
  19. I've done better with basses than the stock market in the last few years.
  20. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Without going into the for/against and investment arguments, very roughly, the value of vintage Fenders vary according to originality, age, condition, and rarity.

    Within these parameters there are so many variations and caveats that it's not really worth it to generalize, but for very general purposes, the older the bass within a given model the more it's worth, refins halve the value, the better the condition the higher the value, Js are worth more than Ps, which are both worth more than other Fender bass models, custom colours are worth more than S/B, and value decreases with each unoriginal part or irreversible mod, with some parts and mods reducing the value more than others.

    Provenance can add some value, more-so if there is some celebrity provenance.

    Respected and high profile dealers tend to get more for a given instrument, and asking prices mean very little, of course. Selling prices are harder to determine, but as above there are things you can look at.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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