Vintage Fender bass body authentication

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by magnaton, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. magnaton


    Dec 12, 2013
    Hey there!

    I love buying vintage refins. I think they're unreasonably devalued for what you get.

    It's got me thinking though -- how can you tell if the refinished body is authentic? I'm thinking particularly on an early 60's Fender J or P, especially if there aren't hallmark signs in the neck pocket.

    Was mulling this over because there are a few of these for sale that have a "body only refin", and I'm wondering how these folks are able to judge authenticity unless they did it themselves?

  2. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    You simply can't. And that's the risk you are taking.

    There are sanity checks though - e.g. are the holes/routes correct (e.g. older Fender bodies had nail holes from the painting process).
    Also, some vintage bodies have characteristic shapes from routing at the time.

    In the end, it's difficult enough to identify a vintage body with original lacquer nowadays, with all the retro-models out there...
    magnaton likes this.
  3. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    The router hump and filled nail holes from finishing are the hallmarks of all legit vintage bodies
  4. magnaton


    Dec 12, 2013
    Oh interesting! Do you have some examples of those for me? This is the bass I was looking at (somewhat blindly)

    IMG_1836.JPG IMG_1928.jpg
  5. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    Ask for picture with pickups removed. If they didn't overspray the cavities there is sometimes a date written.
  6. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    magnaton likes this.
  7. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I wanna say 62 was the last year Fender wrote dates in the pickup cavities.

    But yeah, putting on a solid color covers up any of the factory tell tale manufacturing details. The pan head screws on the control plate look bubblier like they're replacements.
    If this was an original body, clearly the tug bar screw holes were filled in, while the bridge ashtray cover screws weren't?
    And if so, whoever refinished it didn't appear to leave any router hump.
    magnaton likes this.
  8. 62 would have had the tug bar under the G.
    Probably a newer PG.
    Check for signs of holes under it.
    Many refins sand out the router humps.
    Sure, it just looks like an imperfection.
    OK, it is, but one that aids in authinticating
    an older body.
    A lot of people don't know it was suppose to be there
    so they sand off a detail that might have gotten them
    a lot more money if it had been left.

    I completely agree about the bang for the buck on refins.
    I got a great deal on my clear finished '66.
    From the specks left under the aluminum PG sheild I
    found it was once once LPB.
    Sometime in the 70s Bubba sanded off about 3-4K
    and made it affordable for me later. :smug: :D :laugh:
    RobTheRiot and magnaton like this.
  9. magnaton


    Dec 12, 2013
    Ha! Awesome! Do you have a pic? Love me some early Fenders
  10. elgranluis

    elgranluis Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    The router hump has been present in several reissues/squiers. The nail holes, in my experience, are not filled. but, they are there nevertheless.

    I think in the end it[s a matter of experience-if youve owned plenty a vintage fenders you can tell one. Of course, that alone wont keep you from getting fooled by an elaborate fake.
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