Tried a Roadworn 50's I can't get it out of my head.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassmingo, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Bassmingo


    Nov 6, 2008
    So I had some time to kill a few weeks back and was passing a local store that I don't visit often so I decided to have a browse.

    I'm strolling around and I spot a Roadworn 50's P in sunburst. Now, I know TB always raves about this bass, but I'd never seen one in the flesh before so I pick it up for a quick noodle. I already own a MIM Standard P so I'm curious as to how it compares.

    Whoa, it's light. I like that. The neck feels nice. I like that too. The setup could be a little better, but I know I can tweak it to my liking. Oh wow, what radius is this? It feels lovely! And are those frets thinner than usual? This sunburst is tasty looking too. Damn this FITS me. What's the price?

    €1500. Ouch. That seems pricey, for a MIM. I put it back and go home. But I can't get it out of my head.

    So I go researching. Hmmm, Fender does a non-roadworn 50's P, and it's cheaper, by about 500 bucks. From what I can see the specs are identical apart from the roadworn finish and the lacquer.

    So now I just wanna offload a few in my collection that I'm not currently using just to buy this and the other bass I'm gassing over (MIM Jag in OLY).

    Has anyone compared the roadworn and the 50's side by side....could you get the neck to feel the same on the 50's with a little sanding or is it the same anyway?

    any roadworn/50's owners out there wanna chime in?
  2. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    i have had both at the same time. the lacquer classic 50s does not feel like the road worn. i dont even think they sound the same but i only had a sample of one each to go off of.
    ive sold the lacquer classic 50s. i still have the road worn. i like the road worn better.
    i switched the body of the road worn to a lacquer classic 50s and it did not sound the same as the original configuration. theres something special in the body wood of that particular road worn i have.
    road worn neck on left, lacquer classic 50s on right
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
    teh-slb likes this.
  3. Pandastylebass

    Pandastylebass The Moon Machine

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have owned both as well. They are both wonderful, I prefer the Road Worn mainly because of the pick up that was installed by the previous owner and the neck is perfect. The Classics 50's one I had before had a dead spot but it was not the end of the world. I did Scotch Brite the neck and body to get it to look and feel better. I have played another Classic recently that was much better feeling than the one I had
    NcGzNFc.jpg 3uS291W.jpg

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I have had a couple of each of these basses in the past, and I would agree that the roadworn feels different. They are similar(same neck shape/radius/frets, same pickup and hardware), but there is something about the nitro lacquer that really makes a difference. On the whole the RW is lighter weight, and they feel/respond a LOT closer to an old Fender. There is nothing wrong with the 50's Classic at all, but the RW is a bit of a different beast.
  5. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Like the Road Worn but the 1 3/4" nut, not so much.
  6. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    Anything but the Roadworn will never be enough. If it’s the one, it’s the one.
  7. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Chicago Illinois
    I own both RW and Classic 50s Lacquer.

    The necks feel different due to the rolled edges on the RW and the Lacquer on the 50s.

    Sound wise they are very similar, I didn’t like the stock pickups in either one so I decided to go different routs.

    After playing a few gigs with the stock pickups I swapped the Classic 50s out for GZRs and the RW got the AVRI 63s.

    My Classic 50s is light, like 8lbs 2oz, the RW is 8lbs 8oz.

    Like others have said, they are basically the same bass minus the broken in wear that is just fantastic, especially in the neck.

    I still own both but prefer the RW because of the neck, the AVRI 63s, and I don’t have to baby it as much while gigging.

    You really can’t go wrong with either one, as a matter of fact the Classic 50s I own was starting to break in very nicely. I can see if it were played at every gig for a few years that it would start to look like a RW eventually.
  8. NickFromNY

    NickFromNY Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    I own 2 Roadworn Pbass, 1 in Fiesta Red with a Fralin Standard Wound, and a sunburst with a Lollar overwould pickup (although I just picked up a standard wound Lollar that might find it's way into this bass). I love them both The feel is great and the wide neck suits my big hands well. They are kind of like budget Nash's, which is what drove me to them. They can be found for a reasonable price on the used market. I bought both of mine here on TB
    Kukulkan61 likes this.
  9. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    I’m on my second Roadworn P. (Should have never gotten rid of the first one.) My current one has DiMarzio P pickups. I sanded the finish off the back of the neck and applied a boiled linseed oil finish. It is strung with TI Jazz Flats, very low action. Fantastic! I used to own a ‘58 Precision and the Roadworn sounds, plays and feels just as good as the pre-CBS bass, at one tenth the price. Used Roadworns generally go for around 700-800 USD in the States. They are available new here in Germany but they run around 1200 Euro. (I buy mine from the States and have them shipped here via APO mail, with no customs charges.)

    Can’t compare it to the Classic 50s, as I’ve never played one.

    By the way, IMO the light weight of the Roadworns has less to do with the wood selection and more with the fact that the body thickness is 1 5/8” rather than 1 3/4”. The headstock is also 1/8” thinner front to back.
  10. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    I can't throw a comparison out there but I love my 2018 Roadworn, it's the lightest axe I own, I took a grey scotchbrite pad to the back of the neck and applied 6 coats of Tru-oil, it's nice. smooth and fast!! 20181107_075359.jpg 20181107_075423.jpg 20181107_075446.jpg
  11. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I own a RW Precision. It's the only Fender I own. It feels heavier than the Thunderbirds, but it's still not exactly heavy. It sounds great, it feels great. I thought the whole relic thing was silly. The P pretty much demanded that I take it home with me anyway, and I have come to really appreciate the fact that I don't mind when it gets banged. I got it about eight years ago, and it has a lot of playing time on it. The relic thing is real now. The finish is really thin on those. It starts worn looking and then gets really worn if you play it a lot. I played a 50s Precision, except the poly version at the same time as I bought the RW. The other one didn't have the same feel at all. I didn't plug it in because I didn't like it very much, so I can't say how it sounded. There may be a few dud RWs out there. Mine sure isn't, and it sounds like the one you tried isn't a dud either.

    If you were expecting anybody to try to talk you out of a Road Worn, you may have to look somewhere else.
  12. Th3 Fly

    Th3 Fly

    Jul 30, 2018
    I say grind it out, raise the extra 500$ and just get the roadworn. I have the roadworn and I've had the classic P bass. The roadworn always gets the gig. I'm probably not say this right but to get these basses to resemble a vintage instrument the body slabs are put in an oven to recreate decades of wear and abuse. The result is this baked in tone that really does it if vintage vibe is your thing. This is to say nothing of how comfortable these instruments are to wear, hold & play.
    Kukulkan61 likes this.
  13. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz i support licensing Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    I've owned a couple RoadWorns but am now playing 5s only so...

    They do have a different feel , in my limited experience with the classics. Also the road worn body is slightly thinner, or at least was when it first came out. It's been years for me. I think that accounts for the weight difference.

    This quote is about a Jazz Classic vs a Roadworn Jazz, but it's all I could find before I get back to work:ninja:.


Share This Page