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Vintage Old Fender - I don't get it.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by n1as, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. n1as

    n1as Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    I confess, I just don't get it...

    Why are the old Fenders worth so much? Their necks are not as well built as many of today's basses (single action truss rod, no other reinforcement), they exhibited neck dive (heavy tuners), cheap bridges, non-angled headstock required a string hold-down button, 3-bolt necks.

    Why would someone pay big money for an inferior instrument with damaged finished and half warn-out frets?

    Is there really nothing else that sounds as good? Nothing else have that old-school mojo?

    Yea, I just don't get it. Please enlighten me.

    Not trying to start "something", just trying to get some answers to Q's that have been nagging me.

    - Keith -
  2. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Besides the mojo factor, I'm not really sold on vintage fenders being better. I tried a 70s Fender Jazz and my Squier CV Jazz kicked its ass in the tone department really bad. It was very light for a 70s bass (lighter than my cv).
    Besides mojo, the older wood apparently adds to tone (don't buy it myself).
  3. russpurdy


    Apr 16, 2013
    I have tried to like vintage gear so much. Pedals, amps, and guitars. Vintage amps and effects unusually hate because they are so noisy (the ones I can afford at least). And I haven't played a vintage instrument that is head and boulders above new stuff. There have been some good ones but nothing yet that has been that amazing. Latest trial was a 1952 Martin acoustic that didn't sound or play any better than my early 2000 model. Seems to me a lot of pro players that start with vintage stuff end up moving to newer gear for live work. I doubt anyone would really be able to tell in a club, hall, or stadium context. Juan Alderete is one that comes to mind with his switch from vintage fenders over to a lot of laklands. I would challenge anyone to say his Darryl Jones jazz sounds any different than his vintage jazz when it's in the mix with the rest of the band through a PA. Personally, I think hearing that sensitive would be a curse haha.
  4. I remember looking at P-basses ten years ago, and thinking they looked cheap and shoddily made compared to my '77 Precision. When I see them now in shops the better-looking ones are those that try to look 'vintage' or 'reissue'.

    You could argue that an instrument that has simply survived 40-50 years must have something going for it. Would you rather have a new violin or a Stradivarius?
  5. IanAllison

    IanAllison Supporting Member

    May 27, 2006
    Oh geez . . .

    It's THE sound of electric bass guitar.

    Find one you like. Game over.
  6. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Use the search function.
  7. s4001


    Feb 2, 2009
    There are some true old P's and J's that have tone that you just can't get anywhere else. Having said that, starting in the 90's, the counterfeit market went into full swing. I would be leery of any vintage Fender or Gibson, personally.
  8. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Hate to be one of those "Use the search function" guys, buuutttt....

    Subject has been done to death. Always with an analogy of a classic '68 Camaro vs. a 2012 Camaro. New ones obviously a better machine, old one is just totally cooler.
    Gravedigger Dav likes this.
  9. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Imo the vast majority of big dollar spenders for vintage fenders dont even play bass or guitar. Is just something to spend money on for trophy display case.

    Fender had some hyrs in days gone by when QC was very good. Othertimes like the 70's imo where often all over the board for qc from great to horrid bad.I think a lot of the special vinatge prized pup sounds where accidents. Made by winder doing one diff then the rest while distracted or something. Weight of the bodys varied from quite heavy to very light even though supposed to be same wood type. There wasnt the consistency you have today with most brands imports. Some old vintage fenders where gems, some embarrsingly bad, most somewhere in between. But again I think most of the high dollar collector spending is folks who cant even play.
  10. IPA


    May 5, 2010
    I was in a historical society/museum once, and one of the displays was full of women's shoes from the 1800s.

    Someone in the tour group commented "wow, the women back then had such tiny feet!" due to the small shoes that were displayed.

    The historian went on to explain that they didn't, but rather, the only shoes to remain unworn and worthy of display were the tiny sizes that were made but never bought.

    Perhaps many of these vintage basses in 'closet classic' condition were world-class turds that were locked away in an under-the-bed dungeon for being unplayable or unremarkable?
    mistergoats and punchdrunk like this.
  11. Nobody

    Nobody Banned

    Jul 14, 2004
    Attention Fender cult members, there is no need to respond to this thread. I will answer for you.

    Shovel, wrecksE and Doug Parent like this.
  12. bassie12


    Aug 23, 2008
    I love my vintage Fenders. They feel and sound the way I think basses should. I've owned many "better" instruments from Ken Smith to Tobias, Tung, Lakland and on and on.... See my avatar. In my personal experience, the best basses for me to play are my vintage Precisions & Jazz bass. Try some, you might dig 'em. Or not. Whatever.

    Give me those flimsy bridges, heavy tuners, ratty old finishes and stable(the ones I own) primitive, neck designs.

    You don't have to like them at all. There's room for everyone. Play what you love. Life is too short to make excuses for what you make music with. Enjoy.

    I also own a Steinberger XL-2 and a new Gibson EB. So shoot me.:bag:

    P.S. I am by no means a collector. My instruments are gigged and used as part of my stable of recording instruments. If they don't WORK, they don't stay.
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  13. Simple answer is that practically anything that exists 30 years or longer and has any degree of cultural gravitas is a collectable. I can barely play bass, though I aspire to improve, but I collect vintage Precisions and love them for being iconic and to my eyes beautiful. I grew up noticing that 9/10s of the bands I liked, the bassists were playing Precisions. Plus, they sound like what a bass sounds like in my memory bank.

    The phenomenon of vintage anything has nothing to do with the current production equivalents. That's confusing reason with emotion, two entirely different parts of the brain not to mention the bass guitar market.
  14. tmdazed


    Sep 29, 2012
    Amen reverend testify

    cus we know fender had all the great ideas , like the three screws on the neck and all , so they did get it right

    :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno:
  15. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef Formerly "thebrian" Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    I think if you have to ask that question, you probably won't get it. And that's fine, there is no right or wrong, it's a matter of taste, that's all. I love my vintage Fenders and every one of them will give any newer model a good run for it's money, in tone and playability.. because it's apples and oranges comparing a new bass to an old one. Instruments aren't computers, they don't become obsolete. All the new technology in the world will never change the way my vintage Fenders sound, play, or feel. YMMV. I like new basses too BTW. I like any instrument that plays and sounds good. I don't let stigma make my mind up for me ever. I decide for myself, whether it's a $200 Squier (which can be awesome basses) or a $10K vintage bass.
    bluesdogblues likes this.
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i have an 84/85 squier and it's awesome, definitely better at the 60s rock and roll sound i want than the newer basses i've tried, unfortunately if you go new or old usa you've gotta spend the cash, for example, somebody bought my totally trashed and almost unplayable gibson grabber for 800 in new york, because it was hipster cool, that's probably about half what somebody would pay for a 75 fender in equally screwed up condition
  17. It may also be the case that you dig what you know. 70's era basses are much maligned, but that's what everyone had when I was living in the 70's. Many people who are in their 20's now may be telling the whippersnappers on TB in 2040 that Fender basses from the 2010's were the best they ever made. And the little #@%s will scoff at them.
  18. IPA


    May 5, 2010
    Talkbass 2040: "listen to the beautiful vintage tone of my 2012 VM Squier! You kids with your made in New North Korea basses don't know what true vintage Chinese tone is!"
  19. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner

    LOVE this! LOL!!!
  20. taurus1


    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    because they look cooler, play better, sound better, are more collectible and will only increase in value.
    hope that helps op.