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Unusual Fender Precision Bass - Cannot identify

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ranca666, May 10, 2006.

  1. ranca666


    May 10, 2006
    a few weeks ago, cleaning the basement of my uncle's house, i've found an old Fender Precision Bass. It is in really bad shape, and the serial number is pretty impossible to decifrate. I noticed a very strange feature.

    The tuning keys are not the classic "3 bumps" shape, but they are straight oval.

    It is a mistery to me, could somebody give me a hint to identify at least the year it was built?

    As soon as i can i will post some photo.


    Davide (Italy)
  2. zackattack

    zackattack Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2006
    San Francisco
    Dude, you could've just stumbled upon a very expensive intrument. If its got the oval tuners its probably pre cbs, get that thing set up and play!
  3. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    IIRC, oval tuners were early (circa '66) CBS
  4. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    Yep. They were a cost saving device, if I recall...

    And, if it's in crap condition, I wouldn't start planning your retirement yet. :D

    BTW- three bumps = cloverleaf
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Photos! Sounds like a sweet relic!
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Cool find! What color is the finish?
  7. mesmithnm


    Dec 10, 2005
    Layton, UT
    Yep, it's probably an early CBS bass - I have a P-bass (all original, except for the pots) with a neck dated '67 that has those "Close Encounter" (kind of looks like the alien's head, don't you think?) tuning keys instead of the "clover leaf" design. If it seems pratical, take the neck off and check for a date on the end of the neck hidden by the body and report back to us what you find. Congrats on your new find!

  8. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    yes....circa 1966. You can't get exact with just the machines. In the assembly line a worker would reach into bins for hardware parts. These bins had old parts mixed with new parts for "running production changes"...so, whatever they grabbed.

    The "Blue Book of Guitar" values would put this bass in mint condition with no alterations at $1250. In "good" condition it is valued at $625.
  9. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    and upwards to double that if you wanted to buy a 66 P from one of the bass retailers ;)
  10. yeah - i have a '68 with the oval tuners and the '66 style decal (likely assembled w/ earlier parts as previously suggested). i'm surprised at the blue book value quoted - everyone seems to be trying to get between 2-3K for '66-'68 fenders (often one's with refin's or replacement parts..). seems like if someone on tb put a '66 p-bass up for sale for $625 + there'd be a duel to the death to determine the winner! i've actaully seen fender necks from this era going for about that. what gives?
  11. michele


    Apr 2, 2004
    The guy lives (like myself) in Italy. A "good" '66 Precision could easily go for 4500 euros ($5700) here. For a "mint" one a kidney couldn't be enough.
  12. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    One look a eBay would show how wrong those values are.
  13. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx

    I've been offered about that for a 77 Pbass in almost mint condition.
  14. ranca666


    May 10, 2006
    Dudes, i got it back! My giutarist, who is a very talented giutar and violin maker, took it back to life! He replaced a couple of "rotten" wires, polished knobs, frets and pickups from rust and dirt, plugged it into my Marshall VBA400 and "Whoa!" it sounds GREAT!

    It has the smoothest sound I've ever heard! Unbelievable! Now i'm facing a dilemma: shall i keep it or sell it?

    Even if it sounds well it is in a very bad shape, half of the finish on the back of the body is gone, the pickguard is in scraps, and it has a couple of nasty scratches on the back of the neck. If i sell it i'm certain some shark will underpay me, but if i keep it i wouldn't play it too much, i'm sooo in love with my american deluxe p-bass!
  15. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Sounds like a 1966-P.
    As for price, I have a re-finished 1966.
    Al original except paint, re-finished by fender in 1985.
    My bass was appaised a $3000-$3500.
    If it was all original-around $6000.
  16. Note to self : Clean Uncle George's basement
  17. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    It's trash and possibly a hazard. Most people knowledgeable about Fenders know that the basses with oval tuners were complete crap. Send it to me an I'll make sure it's disposed of properly.
  18. michele


    Apr 2, 2004
    Davide, dimentica quello che ho scritto prima e vendilo a me!!!! (Davide, ignore what I've previously posted and sell it to me!!!!)
    I'll save on shipping! :D :D :D
  19. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Okay. A couple of points here...
    1. You said yourself - "It sounds GREAT!" Why in the world would you intentionally give that up? I can pretty much guarantee that sometime down the line you'll be kicking yourself in the head if you do.
    2. Missing finish = "relic". Some people do that to their instuments on purpose to make it look old and well-played. Some of the best players in the world have instruments that are beat to a bloody pulp from playing the crap out of them for many years. You've got real-world mojo happening there. Consider it "character".
    3. If the pickguard is totally shattered and unuseable, a replacement is not too hard to find.
    4. If the scratches in the neck affect the playability, then you might want to talk to a qualified luthier about options for repair. If the scratches just make it look old and beat up, refer to #2 above.
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    What he said. Keep it!

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