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Vintage Instrument Owners.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ErikP.Bass, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    I am mainly interested in thoughts from Fender P owners but am opening this up to all vintage owners. Name five features of your vintage instrument that really make it stand out and that can't be found in a modern manufactured instrument.

    Vintage Fenders, both P and J, really got me thinking about this. Especially considering the $$$ they fetch. Not sure if I would consider "mojo" or investment value a feature but if you do by all means include it.
  2. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    My P bass is worth 5 times what I paid for it 35 years ago. That's when they called it a "used" bass.
    Does is sound different or play better than a "new" bass. I don't think so. Is it made better? No. ... But when I tell people that I have a 1964 P Bass, their eyes light and they start humming a few bars of My Girl.
  3. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    I have a few. I'll just mention my 76 Jazz bass, which sounds different (better to my ears), than any other Jazz I've played. That's the only "feature" that I care about.
  4. yeah, my '69 Gibson EB-0 just sounds better than any new Gibson.
  5. RobertPaulson


    Dec 11, 2008
    Des Moines
    Value (which generally appreciates), and Mojo. I personally think it's pretty tough to argue they are any better than more modern instruments - this coming from a guy who has several vintage guitars/basses.
  6. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Tough to answer, and I certainly can't come up with 5 reasons. From a purely objective stance, my '79 fretless P has no dead spots, no scratchy pots, isn't heavy, and has good balance. Subjectively, it is a beautiful instrument. It is easily 8/10 and people are amazed it's over 30 years old. All of the above attributes could describe a 2 year old bass, so no, it isn't better than a modern P. I've had it for 9 years, and it has tripled in value.
  7. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Humm.... for me looks although they did make a Squier copy... its sexy. Tone massive mudbucker....... mmmmmuddddd. Finish a nice light poly that the ash grain is plain to see and wore very nice. A beefy rolled edge neck that's pure heaven but huge. Micro tilt but i haven't used it..some hate it...oh well. Its a 73 Telecaster all original.
  8. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    I've a 62 Jazz but I've modded the hell out of it so it's probably a 'new' instrument electronically.

    Feels fab and old to play though.
  9. Hamerguy


    Mar 29, 2008
    I don't think that any vintage bass has any features that modern basses don't have AND that players like. The only reason I'd prefer a 60's P over an Elite II P (which I'd call vintage) or an '02 American Deluxe P or a '01 Hot Rodded P is the resale value. Is the 1978 Gibson RD Artist I have considered a vintage instrument? I did buy it because I like all maple basses w/ebony board and it also looks cool to me. Hardware and electronics are good on this one. I bought because this bass is not in production right now. Talking about P's and J's, well, there might be tonal differences, considering pickups and tonewoods. But I'd take a reissue bass over the original. A '59 P sounds like a P, a '64 J sounds like a J, a '77 P sounds like a P, and '83 AV '62 P sounds like what? A P, right. So does a 1999 one or the recent ones.
  10. Pbassguy


    Feb 13, 2010
    Cant name five but I will say that my 71 S/B P fills me with a sense of something that is bigger than the bass....

    For me the 70's is where if you like "modern pop/rock" started. I love it and my nicely worn in old P bass kinda places me there everytime I pick it up.

    I dont think it sounds any better than a new bass, though it does have a very thick tone, but the worn neck and wear all over the guitar just feels so right.... I love it.
  11. I don’t think I can name five features on my 73 PBass that isn’t found on any modern PBass regardless who made it. One item I can think of would be a solid bridge like a Gotoh 201 or Badass which many folks like but I prefer the stock bridge on the P. I do think a solid bridge on a Jazz Bass is nice if you plan to slap and dig in. Also if you want active many modern PBasses now have it but if not you just buy an external preamp like a Sadowsky, Fordera or <insert preamp name here>…

    The deal is I have owned my 73 PBass nearly 30 years; it has been played so much that it simply fits like a broken-in ball glove or pair of shoes. If you can get a good used PBass for a good price and it feels right get it, but I would not have a problem buying any quality modern manufactured instrument because it will over time with use and proper maintenance fit like a broken-in ball glove or pair of shoes.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I have a 1963 P. The answer to your question is: There are NONE.

    Every feature of a "vintage instrument" can be found on new ones, other than old wood...and if you build a bass with old wood, that difference is gone too. Not only are there not five features, there isn't a single one.

    There IS aesthetics. People like old stuff, and they pay stupid money for it today. IMO the old ones don't sound significantly different than new ones.

    Tuners are tuners. Strings are strings, bridges are bridges. Pickups are pickups. Paint is paint.

    My 2000 MIM Jazz sounds every bit as good as my '63 P. It sounds like a J whereas the P sounds like a P...but neither is better. if I didn't have the old P, I sure wouldn't spend the money to buy one.
  13. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    My 8 lb '69 Jazz bass. I love old alder body Fenders because they are consistantly light. The '72 P I recently sold was 7.6 lbs. And two other Jazzes, a '72 and a '73, I recently had stored here for a friend were also light 8 lbs and 8.5 lbs. Both of those were killer players.

    The neck is rounder and more comfortable than anything new.

    The body wood is sooooo resonant and bloomy sounding. You slap a string and it vibrates so loudly acoustically and transmits through you. To me this translates in the studio because it always sounds a little 'bigger' than a newer Jazz I've used during the same session.
    (both the 72 and 73 Jazzes mentioned above were also the same big-bloomy resonant sounding)
    Everything new sounds so tightly-narrow focused.

    I like the colouration of the sunburst paint job, and the print of the tort pickguard, it all pops out better looking than a modern finish/pickguard.

    Well, all I could come up with is four things. :meh:
  14. bhunt1

    bhunt1 Vintage Lefty Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Older than dirt ;)
    I have an '81 G&L L1000 (vintage I think?). It's passive only and it has a massive sound - that's rare these days. It's simple and it sounds great - maybe that's one of the attactions of vintage instruments?
  15. MTMTEX


    Apr 30, 2008
    austin tx.
  16. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    My '72P (around 8lbs) just has such a warm, full tone across all strings and up and down the board. I play it in a three piece and it really fills a ton of sonic space i.e. it rounds out the overall sound of the band a bit better than other basses I've owned or own. There's no knocking the newer P's. I think they can do the bright/modern thing better than mine, but that's not what I'm after in my band.

    My '65J is just plain awesome-o. Again, I think some of the new ones are really good. I just have a close bond with mine. Playing it makes my hands happy.:)
  17. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    I like mine mostly because we've spent so much time together over 35 years. We've grown accustomed to each other. I also like that, although I've packed on some weight, she's still a svelte 8.5 lbs. :D
  18. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    I like mine (76 P) because it was my first bass. Other than that I really have no desire to play it simply because IMO the modern basses are of much better quality and they sound better.
  19. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Can't come up with any real factual "features" that distinguishes my vintage stuff I own and have owned from their modern counterparts.

    In most measurable ways, the new Precisions, with their graphite reinforced necks, great finishes, and dang good fretwork are decidedly superior instruments.

    However, why would you choose to take a weekend drive in your 1950's Ford F-100 pickup if you had an air-conditioned climate controlled 2010 Ford Expedition in your driveway?

    ...Because the old truck invokes thoughts and memories and feels and smells and emotions that you don't get with the new truck, and music is based in feelings and emotions.

    It's just good for the soul.
  20. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Thanks for all the feedback/opinions. This is great. I agree that it is hard to place what it is about some instruments that make them special. It is nice to read what people think about theirs.

    I have found, as one might expect, that there are good and bad apples in every bunch....to use a cliche. Some vintage basses I played really blew me away while others carrying the similar prices did not. I think that some things I like about vintage instruments I've played are: even and balanced acoustic tone, vintage frets, deeper than usual body carve.

    I am not a vintage owner however and as I am sure you have noticed all the things I named could be found or reproduced on a modern/custom instrument. Keep the thoughts coming there has to be something there just difficult to describe or quantify.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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