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Vintage vs. New

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Golden Boy, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. Just out of curiosity, who prefers vintage basses (for the sake of defining "vintage" we'll say pre-1980) to new basses? Whether some people just like the feel of older, dried wood and lacquer, and the generally "woodier" tone of older instruments, or whether the newer technology actually makes for a better bass.

    I dig the old stuff.

    My '65 Jazz is my main recording bass, and I occasionally play it out, but my main gig bass is my G&L L2000. It's tough as nails and it rocks and cuts through great.
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I dont mind the newer stuff although i want to eventually own one vintage bass. I was thinking maybe a Kramer aluminum necked bass, whether it be the Duke headless or a regular bass. That qould obviously be for the reason of the aluminum neck, and that they dont make them anymore. The sustain on those things are amazing, and although they are heavy and such, i would still like one eventually even though it isnt a priority right now.
  3. It's not just Fender.

    But it's a matter of supply and demand. There were only so many basses built in xx year. If you want one you have to pay for it. If 3000 people REALLY want one of 200 basses, someone will pay more than someone else to get it. Whether that's "hype" or market driven economics is irrelevant. Factor in a celebrity using a specific instrument, condition...

    But if you had your 'druthers, would it be an old bass or a new one?
  4. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA

    I really think it comes down to individual basses. I have a brand new Fender Jazz that is just as good as any bass I've played (including Vintage 60's Fenders, Sadowsky, Fodera, Elrick etc) there were identical Fender Jazz basses in the store where I bought mine that weren't impressive at all...

    there are amazing old Fenders and there old Fenders that are dogs. I used to own two Fodera VW Monarchs. Identical types of basses made in the same year. One was amazing, the other was only OK
  5. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    New for me... You can have the cobwebs and moths. :D
  6. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I would (and did) seek out a new one that "spoke to me" and sounded and felt great, for a number of reasons:

    1) having a warranty

    2) assurance that I know what I am getting. alot of Vintage instruments (some say even most of them) have been parted out, Pots replaced, pickups replaced, bodies swapped out etc

    3) price. $1100 new vs $4000 and up used? c'mon

    with Fender, whether its a Vintage piece or a new piece, you gotta play 'em before you buy them, its a roll of the dice as to quality but if you seek them and look for them there are great Fender basses still being made

    the one advantage I see to a Vintage bass is resale value
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Yea that is a good point. If i find a new bass that screams THIS IS FOR ME!!!!

    -ill buy it.
    I would have to try it out first of course. But theres where my problem comes in. I never have a lot of money, which is why i buy basses used. If i can i would like to buy them from a TBer or someone i know so i know im not going to get ripped off. Ive bought 3 of the 5 basses ive ever owned on ebay. 2 turned out to be fine, 1 was kinda..not great but it was my first bass anyway. Basicaly what im saying is that i would buy a bass off of ebay if it was a great deal, but if im not saving that much, why take the chance? The only bass ive ever bought brand spankin new from a website was my essex, and at that price i was willing to risk it. Ive never bought a really expensive bass ($1000+) and i probably wont for a few more years. If/when i eventually do, Im definitely going to try to find a bass here in the classifieds, or a used bass at a store that i can try first. I dont think ill ever buy a bass for list price from a shop, its just not something id see myself doing. You can get more for your money buying used, if you're careful.
  8. Aside from investment considerations, I could care less if the thing was made last month or decades ago when Leo sold the farm to CBS - the individual instrument and how it was maintained is the determining factor.

    I would still have my pre-CBS Precis as my primary bass if it weren't for a plane plane crash that broke it to smithereens.

    I've played other 70's Fender basses since then, and they sound/played like "doggy doo" compared to that pre-CBS. Yet, I've played showroom-new MiM Fender Precis loaners that sounded/played just great.

    Bottomline, I think the determining factor, like Rickenbacker, is the pride and continuous heritage of the manufacturer.
  9. For me its all about the sound and feel of any particular bass, it has nothing to do with the age. Would I LIKE to have a classic Fender or Rick that feels and sounds like a dream? Of course I would. Would I LIKE, just as much, to have a brand new Cirrus or Stingray that I think plays and sounds just as good? Again, of course i would.
  10. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    If your talking fender. old are to me, more consistant.
    New fender are just hit or miss.
  11. I love my 1977 Fender Precision, but my 1999 Alembic Orion and maybe a future custom Alembic will always be the ones I prefer. If there's a chance for me to buy a 'vintage' Alembic, who knows what will happen...

    ...not a very clear answer, isn't it?
  12. My dream bass that always makes my dribble even hearing its name is a '51 Fender Precision, in sunburst, pickup covers, all original, topped off with a maple finger board. But in the mean time, I'll save for a sting sig p-bass. I have and guess always will love Leo's designs as a 76 stingray would be a nice treat to wake up to. When I bought my MIM Jazz, the neck, fitted my hand like an old friend. I love playing it.
  13. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    When I bought my '75 RI, they also had an original 75 Jazz there. They were identical cosmetically (except for wear on the older one of course. They had both been set up buy the same guy, and I played them through the same amp. In fact, the original 75 was $100 cheaper than the RI. I honestly could not find any reason to like the original better than the RI. The RI smoked it in every aspect. In fact, the RI has smoked every bass I've ever player (including some much more high end boutique stuff). It all comes down to the bass. Vintage Fenders are no more consistant than the new ones, it's just that most of the really bad ones haven't lasted this long (but beware that some have).

    If I find that incredible vintage bass for the right price, hell yeah I'll but it. However my brand spankin new '75 RI is really doing it for me right now. And now I must post pictures of it again.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    mMMmmMmMmmmm baby
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Over half the basses I own are vintage basses. Some I bought new and are now more than 20 years old, others I bought used when they were already a few years old but not yet considered vintage. Only one cost me serious bucks, a 61 P-bass I got for $1500 3 years ago (cheap because it was stripped to natural). I'll admit I bought it on a whim (had the $$$ and figured it's the last one I would see so cheap) but it turned out to be a keeper.

    A bunch of them are cheapies: a Danelectro bought back in 1978 for $65, a Supro "Pocket Bass" (25" scale) and a Kalamazoo EB-0 style. None of these are useful as "general purpose" basses; they're just fun to use once in a while and they were all really cheap. My third P-bass only cost me $200 so it was another no-brainer to take a chance on it (it was maybe 10 years old when I bought it).

    I also own newer basses so I wouldn't say I'm a vintage nut, just a guy who owns some old basses and some that are not so old.
  15. i prefer newer basses myself...but that's just me...
  16. I like the older basses, just somethin' about the used old basses that make me go ooooooooo. Give me a worn beat up old bass anyday.

    I will say I have some newer basses that are very good and some sound better than the old ones. The new ones with transparent finishes that show off the wood, mmmmmmmmm.

    So in conclusion, I'm insane ! :help:
  17. Generally, it'll be the really clean ones are the bad ones. No one wants to play a dog (whether tonally or feel wise) so it just stays in it's case- staying beautiful.

    No one's mentioned the difference in nitrocellulose lacquer and polyurethane. That's the big difference there, that and weight. It seems, to me at least, that guitars/basses started getting heavier at the end of the 60's and started getting lighter in the late 90's.
  18. New for me! I've tried to be open minded about vintage stuff, but it's always a let down to me. If I want a vintage sound and feel, I'll buy a Sadowsky or a Lull that comes with a warrenty and updated features.
  19. Same here! I do dig vintage... but PreCBS = 4 string only

    I'll take this or this anyday!

    Vintage *LOOK* but Modern Playablilty and features
  20. Hey Speddling,

    What's with that slab body? If that were 4 strings with a rosewood fretboard and a managable neck... :D

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