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Vintage Japan or SX?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by heb9_28, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. heb9_28


    Jul 1, 2009
    Ok, so I'm looking for a P bass on a budget. I want something with *THUMP* and I'm thinkin' P with flats (or possibly a semi-hollow w/ flats?). I own and have owned Sx basses and think they're great. However I'm intrigued by the vintage Japanese copies. Hondo, Aria, Westone, etc. I know with some diligence I could find a vintage P copy for reasonably close to an SX.

    So, obviously some vintage Japan is better (and more expensive) than others. Is it worth trying to find a solid vintage Japanese bass or going with a SX which could save a little chedda, sill be good, but not be quite as cool?
  2. Nomadskills


    Dec 27, 2010
    To me it really depends on you, your finanical situation, and your goals. I've never played an SX (but know those that do love them) but some vintage basses have the ability to go up in value. It really depends on what "Japanese" basses you're looking at as some are much better then others... Long story short, I would get the best bass you can buy so you can concentrate on other things (gear, practice, ect...).
  3. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Vintage Japan. I had an vintage Aria jazz copy that was as good in both sound and build as any Fender MIA. Paid $125.00 for it.
  4. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    How about a vintage Japan Squier P-Bass or Bullet Bass. I have a '80's bullet with a '70's Fender pickup that has about much balls than any bass I've ever played.
  5. Dan B

    Dan B

    Oct 19, 2008
    Amherst, MA
    I would say go with vintage Japanese. In my opinion, I find them far more interesting than SX basses; don't get me wrong, SXes are quite good but there's something a bit special about vintage Matsumoku basses.
  6. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales
    "Vintage" Japanese. Not even a close comparison. Japan from about '77 to '86 are better then US at that time.
  7. wolfmancharlie


    Nov 28, 2009
    Vintage Japanese Basses by a long shot. Grab a Westone Thunder 1 on ebay for around 300. One of the best p-basses i have ever played. Still have her and a few others from Matsomuko.They are going no where.
  8. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    The vintage Japan instrument will be of higher quality, and probably play better, but the stock P pickup in an SX sounds pretty darn nice, and with the same set of strings you'd probably be hard pressed to tell the difference sonically.
  9. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
    The Ibanez "lawsuit" era instruments were outstanding. I've owned several of their Gibson clones (SG, Explorer, Flying v) made in the '74 - '78 period and they got damned close to those grail tones we were all after. I never owned any of their Fender-style stuff but have played enough to know they deliver as well.

    If you can, go for the vintage MIJ over the SX. As most others have said, much better quality, rarer, and a lot of them are already gonna have some real mojo.
  10. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Yep the MIJ Squier line proved that.
  11. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    MIJ is great. Squier or Fender if possible. On your budget, try to buy a japanese squier. Might cost you 200-350.
  12. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    MIJ over SX.
    I've been a really big fan of Greco and Aria. Even some Hondo/FAME series trump Fenders of the same time period.
  13. You have to be very critical here. I've seen Hondos and Westones that were pure crap. Dont buy anything without being able to play it.
  14. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    You can pick some old japanese Yamaha with a P pickup for around $250-300. I see a lot of them in the classifieds here.
  15. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Regarding Aria, Is there any thing specific to look for besides MIJ. Best years, Features etc....
  16. lsabina


    Sep 3, 2008
    Vintage Japan. I have three Squier by Fender Bullet basses (SQ series) and they're great. Prices on them have really jumped over the last couple of years. If you can find one for around $300, grab it.
  17. heb9_28


    Jul 1, 2009

    There are a lot of Aria's out there. Some look great, others not so much. Any helpful info?