Vintage basses: Could it Be?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rob S, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. Rob S

    Rob S Guest

    Sep 30, 2012
    Westlake Village, CA
    As some of you know, I have been an active collector of Fender Precision basses over the past couple of years. I fell in love with '60s basses and then in 2014 I felt I had learned enough to start in on '50s P basses.

    I recently acquired a grail bass: a '58 sunburst in near mint condition and was just playing it until a few minutes ago.

    I wonder, and it's a spiritual question, but could the combined musical knowledge and skill of all the bassists who owned and played a bass for decades, be ingrained and embedded in these old basses? I ask because, when I am playing these 1950's basses, I play so much better both technically and rhythmically than I usually play. There is just so much inspiration and soul in the wood of these magical instruments.

    All I know is that these basses are not only iconic objects, but also hallowed musical machines.
    bluesdogblues, JIO and bassbully like this.
  2. Well, I don't know about embedded knowledge and skill, but I often wonder about various pieces of vintage music gear that I own. I wonder who all played it, how far it traveled, what kind of stages it was on.

    I've done all I can to add some cool history to what I own. No matter the value, every instrument I own is a "player".
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  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    You would be surprized also how well you played with a reliced fake I've seen it first hand people gushing about how incredible an instrument played and sounded only to find out its a MIM reliced fake.:)
    buldog5151bass likes this.
  4. Hamish MacCleod

    Hamish MacCleod Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2014
    South America
    Ah....! Yes, the Mojo you have discovered, young Skywalker. Seriously, whether real, psychological, spiritual, or whatever I believe certain instruments can put us into a different place. It doesn't matter if its real or not, it only matters if it makes you play better. Rock it.
  5. BazzTard

    BazzTard Inactive

    you KNOW the drill.....

    pics or it didn't happen!

    show us that bass please!
    Double E likes this.
  6. +1 for "Real or Not, run with it."

    It's all in your head, and if it inspires you to play better, so be it – that's all that matters.

  7. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Just wood, metal and plastic. Really cool wood, metal and plastic but that's it.
    D.M.N. likes this.
  8. 7dollarbologna


    Apr 22, 2014
    Downtown Albuquerque
    Desert Eccentric
    I believe a player's vibe is instilled in the wood - sounds kinda hippy-dippy, but I've heard this over the years from all kinds of people from all different backgrounds
    JIO, moody and Fxpmusic like this.
  9. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Well, lots of people believe Stradivarius violins are somehow "infused" with the collective experience of generations of players, or that the musical vibrations actually transform the wood. Those are really nice, romantic ideas that probably aren't factual. An old bass is certainly "infused" with old skin oil, dead skin cells, spilled beer, rust, and tobacco smoke, which we collectively refer to as "Mojo", but its still just a hunk of wood with some wires strung on it.There is a gritty honesty in any well used old tool that I love, and it sounds like your 58 is that kind of relic. If it inspires you to play, the actual facts of the matter are moot.
    LouieV2 and friendlybass like this.
  10. I'm not sure what happens to the wood density over time, but wood and varnish (not so much paint) does fuse and mellow over time, allowing more resonance through. I was almost in a similar place with a 1971 Precision fretless, but it all went wrong with Rip-Off-Britain Customs and another instrument being destroyed by the stupid oafs at UPS.

    So as far as mojo goes, I'll have to stick with my tried and trusted 1979 Ioah Luca Cello, my 1974 Ron Prentice Double Bass and my 1948 Thomas Penny Violin.

    I'd still like a 69 Jazz or Precision, though - year of my birth.
  11. Right_Butterscotch64


    Oct 18, 2012
    But you also have to remember, those instruments were brand spanking new at one point. If age has changed the way those instruments sound, they must sound nothing like they did when originally created.
  12. I'm of the view that over time bad guitars and basses tend to get "weeded out" and since it's the good ones that stick around, and are well played in and feel good in the hands, we romanticize them a wee bit. But so long as you're motivated to play better that's alright!
    lfmn16, spaz21387 and 7dollarbologna like this.
  13. dincz


    Sep 25, 2010
    Czech Republic
    If it works for you, I guess it doesn't matter if it's only in your head. I suggest you also try sleeping next to a pile of old books.
  14. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Add some Feng Shui and try focusing the energy by building a properly oriented pyramid with a healing crystal at its apex as well. Wooooo-ooooooo. :) But hey, if it makes you happy, whatever works for ya. :D (That is, if you think it works, it does.)
  15. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    there is probably something along the lines of it being a great playing and sounding instrument that inspires and/or makes you play better. Does it embody some kind of fairy tale magic ? well thats debatable, its probably just you.
    bholder likes this.
  16. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    i've heard violinists talk about this.

    sam zygmuntowicz, one of the finest violin makers in the world right now, said about it "i've been around scientists enough to not belive this. but i've also been around violins and violinists enough to know its true."

    there is something to an instrument that's really been played in and played well. but, in my oppinion... a solid body instrument will take way longer for that break in to happen. they just don't resonante the way a hollow body, or better yet a bowed instrument, would. the stradivari violins in question have always been played, and played well in most cases. they're also 300 years old. so theres that.

    when it comes to a ~60 year old solid body bass, i'd have to say there can't be any significant effect of previous players.
  17. Rob S

    Rob S Guest

    Sep 30, 2012
    Westlake Village, CA
    Thanks for the replies guys. Someone asked about pics. I have an Instagram account for my basses and music. My username is: Papichuloonbass

    Even if you're not on Instagram, you can see the pics because it's a public account. Just Google it.
  18. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    There is certainly truth to the fact that an instrument that is played often and kept in tune and properly adjusted and set up will stay adjusted and set up better than a bass that has just had a drastic two turn adjustment to the truss rod.
    So yeah, an instrument that was loved and played daily will almost certainly have a much better feel than one that sat in an un heated basement for 30 years.
    There is also a reason someone before you loved that instrument and played it so much. Maybe it was a special instrument to begin with.
    Lastly, some people (myself included) prefer worn frets
  19. Mtnman


    Jun 5, 2012
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Yeah, but what if the previous owner(s) sucked???
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  20. Rob S

    Rob S Guest

    Sep 30, 2012
    Westlake Village, CA
    LOL. Hadn't thought of that :-0
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