Vintage P-Bass Mutt or Magnificent?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassnkeys, May 31, 2020.

  1. Bassnkeys

    Bassnkeys I Can’t Complain; But Sometimes I Still Do Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    Friend is a guitarist who “forgot” about this bass in his closet until he moved (it literally is an Austin Powers time capsule). He was a Berklee student in the late 70’s and bought this from a fellow student. Here’s what I’ve tracked down with my own Fender knowledge and research (I did not disassemble bass to look at neck stamp or pot serial #’s):
    • Body appears to be from Fullerton, 1975 (according to plate serial number)
    • Neck appears to be 1969 Jazz neck that would have been paired to a matching black ‘69 Jazz bass.
    • Gold pickguard from who-knows-when — looks like original 50’s style. It has some scratches/gouges, especially where kid who put it on there tried to mess with truss rod.
    • Bridge is gold (which I’ve never seen from original Fender, unless I’m mistaken). Knobs on pickguard also gold (also, not Fender-esque) — guessing kid tried to match up metallic finishes.
    So, I’ve looked at values for ‘75 P-basses, but not sure where this might fall — given some non-original parts and non-P black headstock neck (which is cool for Fender — but when matched with like-color Jazz body — this looks a bit odd). I know many people like P-basses with Jazz necks.

    If it were mine, I’d likely put a period-correct maple neck on there, and keep everything else as is — and part out the J-neck).

    Fender experts — any thoughts on:
    • Accuracy of my assumptions? (e.g. gold bridge, knobs, etc.)
    • Value of bass, complete “as is”
    • Is value of bass more if parted out? — e.g. someone might want a hardly played ‘69 Jazz neck.
    Thanks for any insight/thoughts.

    BE370905-C11D-4089-96D3-153E786EE21C.jpeg 24A58CFA-7DC8-40EF-83B9-4F24DD2CC8F1.jpeg
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    imabuddha and Volker Kirstein like this.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Are you sure the knobs, pick guard and bridge are gold and not brass?
    Pdaddy1978 likes this.
  3. Bassnkeys

    Bassnkeys I Can’t Complain; But Sometimes I Still Do Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    Thanks — I’m calling it “gold” because of the 50’s-style gold anodized pickguard. Could very well be brass.
  4. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Without seeing it in person I don't know if I have an accurate take on what this bass would sell for as is, but based on the pics and your info I'd say maybe $1600 or less (more if it plays exceptionally well or if it has a '70's case). With the neck being what it is I'd expect that it would have considerably more value parted out. I like your idea of selling the neck, keeping the body and finding a maple P neck to go with it.

    Out of curiosity I would check the pot codes to see what date they show (if they are original). Just to be sure the neck is legit I would pop it off to check the date stamp and other markings. The black finished headstock would have been a rarity for '69. It's unfortunate the decal is missing the "Jazz Bass" and other script (which it would have had in '69, right?), but I don't know if that would greatly affect its value. The body is obviously less valuable, but as long as the finish is original it would still be desirable. I haven't kept up with current market prices, and sometimes there is a lot of variation. For sure parts like this aren't getting any easier to find. If you know a reputable vintage guitar dealer they might be able to give you a better idea.

    You didn't mention the pickups, but since the pole pieces look larger than the ones on the stock pickups I'd guess those are aftermarket. Same for the knobs, bridge and pickguard.

    I don't know if I've told you anything that is beyond what you already know, but it's always interesting to see pieces like this, and thanks for sharing it.
    erratick and David_70 like this.
  5. Bassnkeys

    Bassnkeys I Can’t Complain; But Sometimes I Still Do Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    Found this example, and others (not black) on Reverb that have just the Fender logo, but no “Jazz Bass.” Thanks for your thoughts — the pole pieces is an interesting angle I didn’t consider.

  6. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Yeah, that makes sense re. the headstock decal - thanks for that.
  7. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    Neck looks legit. You're gonna have to pull it though. Body looks legit mid 70's Natural. Pickups, bridge and knobs are non-Fender. That pickguard doesn't look like a lacquered 50's original, and they didn't offer them in the 60s or 70s, so I'm guessing it's an '82 or later Fender reissue one.
    David_70 likes this.
  8. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    if it works as a whole and is a tremendous toney player / keeper...1K tops
    redo the body finish / pg to compliment the cool neck and you got a winner
    David_70 likes this.
  9. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Life is short, buy the bass.

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I don't know the value but that neck has to be worth a bit.
    David_70 likes this.
  10. wagdog


    Mar 20, 2000
    Der Waffle Haus
    That’s my kind of player! Unfortunately, it’s probably worth far more as parts. I love that all the screws are flatheads. It’d be interesting to see where the thumb rest screw holes are under the guard.
    David_70 likes this.
  11. Bassnkeys

    Bassnkeys I Can’t Complain; But Sometimes I Still Do Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    Good point on flathead screws — missed that. Yes — ‘75 should be to left of pickups for thumb rest. It’s definitely got a lot of mutt stuff going on with it.
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    If it's straight keep it and play it. Looks really cool.
  13. Anthony Fury

    Anthony Fury Totally Wizzed Out

    Jan 20, 2009
    X2, neck is probably worth a mint on its own, HOWEVER the entire bass is intensely cool and has a story / history...even if a lot of it was inside a time capsule. Get a good setup on it and rock it!
    Bill Whitehurst and David_70 like this.
  14. if i were you, and if the neck is legit, then i would paint the body black (nitro) to match the headstock and add a jazz pickup to make it a pj. since the decal is gold-ish i would keep all the gold parts (pickguard, bridge etc) and i would choose a nice vintage sounding pj pickup set. finally since its a mid 70's body i would shield all the cavities and change all the pots and jacks if they're not working properly
    bobyoung53 and David_70 like this.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    That's what I think, too. Trying to get more money is going to require a lot of disassembly to verify date stamps and a positive ID on the pickup. Even then it's a stretch to go over 1K, too many mods. Looks like a killer player, though.
    FranF, David_70 and Bass V like this.
  16. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    the only things cool about it are the neck and it's a P bass. 1K is generous.
    David_70 likes this.
  17. I don't think very much of that is original - but it's cool as heck I'd say :)
  18. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    No need to spend a minute on ID-ing the pickup, with those monster magnet slugs, it's no Fender. ;-)
  19. The fender branded brass replacement hardware that I'm familiar was super "shiny " while the one on your example looks "brushed", so I dunno.
    The imput jack doesn't look original either.
    But it does look like a nice mid 70s P just the same.
    For me,...that neck would have to go. For what a late 60s J neck would fetch, you should have no problem finding a good maple P replacement.
    Even a period correct one.
    David_70 likes this.
  20. There is something almost organic about the gold PG on a natural finish.
    I have one on my natural alder P. :roflmao:
    The brass knobs fit right in. :thumbsup:
    I do see the attraction of a nice maple P neck.
    Still I'd have to give that vintage J neck a year or two test drive before moving on.

    Even before that, I'd pull it off or at least loosen it enough to read the neck heel.
    That should give you a better idea of the necks pedigree.
    It may be that the matching head stock and added waterslide or either hiding something or they are just a DIY 'upgrade'.
    While still short of being an expert, I do feel pretty confident in say that Fender would never stop at just Fender.
    I would expect it to say jazz bass and some patent dates.
    The neck may well be a Fender, but I don't think the decal is.
    David_70 likes this.