Vintage or High End?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jazz5757, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. I've been thinning the herd quite a bit lately and would like to go with just 3 basses - a P, a J and a 5-string. My "keeper" in the P category is a oly white original '61 that I just love and my 5-string "keeper" is an F Bass Studio 5....which brings me to the j-bass issue.

    I have an opportunity to pick up a '66 j, all-original, candy-apple red with matching headstock - and yeah, it plays like butta' and has a smoking tone to boot. Of course, it's gonna cost me big time. To get it, I'd have to sell my 2 non-keepers: a Metro RV4 and a '58/'59 franken-p that I put together, AND add about $1500! But heck, for that kind of money I could get a used Fodera Emperor. I've resolved that 2005 is going to be a year of more learning than gassing for gear and the best way to achieve that is to have 3 basses that I will be very reluctant to part with. The '66 would be a dream bass, but so would the Fodera. Assuming you were in my shoes, what would be your call here?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Personally i would go with a modern bass. Something like a Fodera or some other boutique bass. You already have the vintage vibe with the P, go for a nice modern J tone. IMO.
  3. You should know what you want the bass for. My '65 Jazz does recording dates and a few shows here and there- but most of the live stuff is the G&L- I don't worry about it getting knocked around or stolen. Unless it's a player, it's pretty much irresponsible to bring cherry vintage gear to shows.

    So, if you love the bass and have a use for it that doesn't involve getting carted to bars every week- go for it.

    When I convince Scott Lentz to build me a Jazz I will sell my Thunderbird. ;)
  4. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    As much as i would love to say get the Fender im gonna say get the Fodera... for the simple reason thats its gonna serve you better and you will get more out of it.
  5. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I guess one of the questions revolves around what kind of tone you're looking for. If you want the kind of tone a Fodera will give you then go for it. If you want a Jazz sound then do that.

    Just because you want a vintage J sound does not mean you have to go with a 40 year old Jazz. My parts J (alder/rosewood/Nordstrand pups) sounds a lot like a friend's '65 CAR Jazz and that is his opinion, not mine. He should know; he's had that J since it was new. There are other options besides buying a vintage Jazz.
  6. Good point! Each bass should have something distinct to offer that the other does not.
  7. Everything I buy I gig with. I'm down to one weekend vesus every weekend. While I think I understand your viewpoint as to irresponsibility on bring cherry vintage gear to shows, I'm willing to accept that risk because I buy 'em to play - it's of no use to me simply hanging on the wall...
  8. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    Get the Jazz, it's a classic for a reason. Do you gig? If you want a gigging Jazz, get a Victor Bailey. It feels so broken in right out of the case and the woods and eq make it modern custom, yet it is still a classic shape.
  9. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I've never tried a vintage bass so i dont know what's so good about them, maybe it's the fact that they ar old? :rolleyes:

    I think you could get a modern just as good bass alot cheaper.
  10. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    How about a Low End Jazz? Or other high end & vintage style bass?

    I, for one, like the feel and playability and sound of modern instruments, but others (read: the guitarist) likes vintage stuff. Getting the best of both worlds?
  11. While I like the tone of both, your point is well-taken that I don't have to buy a 40 year-old jazz to get that tone. there are modern choices as well as the option of getting than older bass but getting one that's been modded/refinned, etc. which would bring down the price considerably.

    If I'm brutally honest with myself, I have to admit that part of the appeal of the '66 j is just to "possess" the damn thing, which as we all know is a very dangerous motivation... :rollno:
  12. Arguably my Sadowsky Metro does the jazz thing pretty well, and the vintage tone control softens up the sound nicely...

    Uh, I rationalizing this? :D
  13. How about just playing a bunch of MIAs till you find a keeper? It will save you some $$ and will sound like a jazz :)
  14. Man, I just hate that kind of logical thinking! I'll take it under advisement.... :D
  15. Don't get me wrong....I'd love a classic jazz too :)
  16. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Dangerous motivation is right. If nothing else, a vintage Fender can be a thief-magnet. Mike lull, Lakland (USA) and others make vintage-sounding Jazzes that would fill the bill. There was a USA Lakland that I played once but couldn't afford which...oh, never mind.

    Refinns/modded old Js are an option but I'd sure want to see/play it first as opposed to buying online unless I was sure of the seller's reputation and/or had a return guarantee. If the mods done to bass entailed swapping necks and bodies who knows how it turned out. Best to play before you pay but that is almost always a good idea unless a guarantee is operative.

    Putting together a parts bass is also an idea but you never really know how it's going to play/sound until you get it finished. Mine worked out well but that isn't always the case.

    One of our members, Nino, also puts out what are supposed to be VERY nice basses for a reasonable price. You might want to consider him as a source for a Jazz.
  17. Some very good points indeed. Admittedly, I have a vintage bias, but a good degree of that is probably emotional in nature...

    I've admired one of Nino's basses for many months - it's an Inca Silver jazz that's been calling out me - plus I've noticed that he give's you a full week to check it out - can't beat that! My one hesitancy there (please, no offense Nino), is that if I were to sell it down the line, I'd probably be limited to only TB buyers because the name is pretty much unheard of outside of here, though I hope for Nino that thee word is getting out!
  18. That bass is sweet! The vintage looking models he does look wonderful!
  19. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    This is just my opinion, but if Nino's Inca Silver J is calling you I say go for it. You've got the money-back guarantee if it's not for you. As far as losing money if you decide to sell it somewhere down the line, keep in mind that you'll lose money on almost ANY new bass when you decide to sell it and that includes the aforementioned Fodera. You'd probably lose a smaller amount of your investment selling one of Nino's basses than with a Fodera.

    Obviously you wouldn't lose money selling the Fender CAR J but that's another story. As far as the emotional issue about the CAR J is concerned, sometimes our emotions are not the best of guides.
  20. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Dangerous motivation? Possibly. I see nothing wrong with buying a bass for that reason, nothing wrong with it at all. The reason I say that is that there is only one person that a new bass NEEDS to bring a smile to..... YOU! If you ultimately decide that you want that bass more than any other, and that's the only reason you can come up with.... who cares? As long as you're happy.

    With that said, my preference would be to a more modern take on a jazz bass. Look into the Modulus VJ4. I've since become addicted to Modulus necks (although admittadely it is a very acquired taste). At any rate, good luck on your quest my friend!