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Testing my Fender knowledge on Craigslist...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 3toes, May 17, 2011.

  1. 3toes


    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    ♥_(VINTAGE)_1970 Fender P-Bass: __♥

    This guy claims to have a 1970 P-bass, [del]all original except for the pickups.[/del] Some idiot threw in some EMGs...

    First of all, the wood looks like Alder to me, not much of a pronounced grain to it. Didn't Fender reserve natural finishes for basses made of Ash? Also, red-tort was only included on sunburst finishes, wasn't it?

    I'm assuming the serial # is period correct, or he wouldn't have posted a picture of it. I don't have my handy reference guide to look it up here at work.

    Any able to confirm/deny/add to anything I've noticed?




  2. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    Looks to me like it was stripped and refinned.
  3. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    I thought the same thing
  4. Rebop


    Jul 9, 2008
    La Honda, CA
    Definite refin, however, I don't see the part in the ad where the seller said it was an original finish or that the bass was "all original except for the pickups."
  5. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    It looks like a bass that was originally a solid finish or 3TS and it was stripped and refinished in natural.
  6. Rebop


    Jul 9, 2008
    La Honda, CA
    Yeah, being alder it would have to be.
  7. 3toes


    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Touche. I'll concede that was a mistake on my part.

    But willful omission of pretty important details like that is tantamount... Imo.
  8. capnjim


    Mar 13, 2008
    If he bought it new, then he should still have the original pickup and know when the paint was stripped. If he doesn't know when it was stripped, he's lying about being the original owner, so who know what else? Maye the body is not even Fender?
    There's no way thats the original finish.
  9. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    The upper strap button appears to be in the correct location so initially the body appears correct however I would ask to see the neck pocket.
  10. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Seems legit to me. Definate refin and changed pickup. No way to tell what else unless you get some pics of the thing apart.

    Body looks right for a early 70's alder body. Notice the two plugs on the back from the nail holes.
  11. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    In general, an altered & refinished guitar will always sell at less than the original. There are "price books" that pawn shop owners get, etc. One place to start is looking is something like the "Blue Book of Guitar Values" or quality Fender history texts. They are out there and some are even scanned for download.
    There are SO many parts guitars out there that even serial numbers don't mean all that much. You have to have the thing in your hands and examine it. Pictures occasionally don't tell the whole story. Ethical folks will describe the bad /w the good and not avoid any issues. occasionally guys end up actually buying a neck and neck-plate....the rest is parts and collected items. The previous comments are on the money (IMO); the thing needs to be apart so you can see the neck pocket, neck stamps, etc.
  12. birdman14


    Feb 7, 2011
    If you read the add, he never claims to have bought it new. If he bought it in 1973, it would have been 3 years old. Someone could have stripped it. As for the pu's, he might or might not have them. People pay good money for original pups. He also never claims its the original finish, he just states that it has an natural finish. Most likely, as others has pointed out, it was a 3-tone sunburst that was stripped.
  13. capnjim


    Mar 13, 2008
    Your right birdman, it was a couple of years old when he got it. I suppose its possible someone stripped the finish off a 3 year old bass.
    Still, its not the awesome deal he thinks it is. They have been selling for less than that on TB.
  14. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    that bass looks to correct, genuine and authentic to me.
    with the exception of the replaced EMG pickup, it appears that someone just wiped the body off with acetone to remove the original sunburst, which would emulsify the burst, but leave the fullerplast sealer intact. it was a common thing to do in the early 70's.

    the only thing real that i'd be concerned about (besides the asking price) is if anyone did any routing to fit the 9V pickup. a 9V will fit in a stock p bass, but alot of people routed them for one under the guard anyway.

    if you were to restore it, to find a set of 1970 pots, cap and jack, and a 1970 pickup could get expensive, (as well as restoring its finish) so, IMO, the $2K price is very much on the high side.

    if you bought it as a player, and leave it as is, it may be worth $2K to you (not to me), but if you wanted to restore it, you'd end up having ALOT more into that it would be worth.
  15. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    hey john, any idea when exactly the nail hole moved from below the neck plate to closer to the bass horn? there was a 65 that someone was asking about a while back that someone thought was a 70's body because of a wavy edge near the router hump. i attributed it to over sanding because the nail hole was still under the neck plate so i thought it was still a 60's body.
  16. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    not worth it to me...stripped finish and no original PU's...save your 2k
  17. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    A couple of things to add....

    1. A good way to get an idea of vintage values is the Vintage Guitar Price Guide, put out by Vintage Guitar Magazine every year. They give a range of values you can expect dealers to charge at the local shop. Obviously, prices vary by condition and market (LA and NYC are more expensive than, say Boise). Plus, vintage dealer prices are generally higher than private sale. For a 1970 Precision in sunburst, the current VG Price Guide give a range of $2600-3400.

    2. Dealers as a rule discount prices by about 50% for a refin - no matter how cool (or uncool). That takes the range down to $1300-1700. Further discounts occur for non-original parts and routing/damage/modifications. Some people discount by the amount of money it would take to replace the original part. I've seen early 70s grey bottom pickups for about $200-400. Go with $200 (nice round number, and pretty reasonable) and the range is now down to $1100-1500.

    3. You can get one of the best refinishers in the US to shoot a body for about $400-500. Less if the refinisher is not as well known. I can personally recommend RS Guitar Works, they've done two guitars for me and they are just amazing.

    4. I think the case is not original. I don't think I've ever seen plush purple lining on anything but aftermarket cases. The case should be orange fur inside, I think. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong on this one....

    5. Johnk_10 is absolutely correct - you want to see under the guard to make sure there's been no routing for the battery. I have seen crafty people manage to fit them into the control cavity without modification but it's pretty rare. In addition, I'd also ask to see a pic of the bridge. When people dropped in EMG's, they often changed out the bridge for a Badass. Yes, it does have what looks to be a Fender cover (can't tell if it's original issue or later), but that doesn't mean the bridge is correct. Also, be aware that the first Badasses weren't always drop-in -- some had to be routed into the body to drop them down enough to get the action acceptable.

    On the downside, this bass is way too expensive. On the upside, I would think that anybody looking to spend $2000 on a bass would do enough homework to know that the price is too high - and in a month or two of no bites, the seller might come down to something more reasonable.
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    But the EMGs are an improvement over the stock p'ups. Wouldn't be my choice, but an improvement nonetheless.

    But $2000? Put down the bong, man.
  19. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i don't recall when it was relocated, but all the '65/'66's that i've seen were close to the centerline and not the horn.

    here's a pic of StuartV's '66 p bass body (that i sealed with fullerplast), before i shot it with nitro it that clearly shows the nail hole locations:

  20. relwof


    May 7, 2010
    Marietta, GA
    Looks like nobody wanted to give him $2k.... it's back on Craigslist, for $1500 this time. He does mention the finish being changed ("assume at one point it was Sunburst , but that was before I bought it"). Also says it has "Ridiculously rare & late issue "A width" (thin like a Jazz Bass", for whatever that's worth...

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