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What is a realistic price for a used 74-78 Fender Jazz Bass in "player" condition?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Presto2112, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Hey guys,
    I've been saving my schillings and I'm debating whether to build a bass or save up a little more for a 75-78 jazz in playable shape, how much is a reasonable price in case I see one in a music store?
  2. Bass Fund

    Bass Fund Banned

    Nov 30, 2013
    Not sure, but if it's a '74 and not a '75, you might get the "last of the good one's" price jump.
  3. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    I would avoid music stores and look on TB, eBay and private listings. A music store may ask $3k or more for a '75 Jazz and you may be able to find a good, all original one for around $2k if you are patient.

    Vintage Jazz basses are more expensive than vintage P basses as well.

    Lastly, I would recommend trying to go older if possible. I have played many 1977/1978 Jazz basses and almost always they are heavy and poorly built. IMO, I would go with a 1972-1974 with a 4 bolt neck if you can find one in your price range. I wouldn't pay more than $1200-1400 for anything Fender made in '77/78. YMMV.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Both of my 78's are rock solid. Found my last one recently for $1200 all in.

    I've seen a few for around the same price since then. They should be over $2k so... great deal IMO.

    I've found I prefer the later 70's basses... they tend to hit hard.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I agree with Baird6869 about avoiding music stores. Their prices will be sky high, and the condition of the basses may be questionable. The exceptions are places like Elderley Music in Lansing, Michigan, a place whose staff is very knowledgeable. I'm sure Gruhn Guitars in Nashville is excellent too, but it is pretty expensive.

    Going online, talking to friends, and checking out the TB classifieds will probably deliver you a nice vintage Jazz at a much better price.
  6. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    my concern is that you'll have to drop an additional 400 to make it as playable as a new bass with a good setup if you get it at a store
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I just bought mine at a GC store after finding it online. I doubt Elderly, Gruhn or any store like that would've given it away like GC did. And GC's return policy (14 days on vintage) is tough to beat. I've seen a few since I bought mine.

    I wouldn't avoid anywhere I might find what I'm looking for.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    You should know that before you buy if in person. If online, make sure there's a sufficient approval period. Works for me.
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I have a 78 that is great. I've seen prices for 74 to 78 ranging from $1,200 to $2,400. I would say $1,600 to $1,800 would be a fair price. Maybe $2,000 if it's in very good condition.
  10. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Keep in mind you'll be competing with a market that cares less about playability than how it looks. Beware of basses in excellent cosmetic condition, there are a lot of great looking '70s J basses that are unplayable. If you buy sight unseen, you deserve whatever you get!

    Here you would be lucky to find a heavily modified/repaired/refinished bass for under 2 bills.
  11. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I've had a pile of 70's Fenders and still own 3 P's and 2 J's.
    (Also have a 1960 P; totally different animal).
    72-74 is the sweet spot of reasonable weight, consistent construction, and basses that can be played with NO modifications (for me).

    I do think that there is a considerable variance in feel, tone, neck shape, and to a lesser degree weight between these 3 years so I'm not a fan of buying without playing first.

    Pre 72' are also great and the majority of later 70's - early 80's basses were not to my liking so much so that I would rather have a Japanese Tokai, Fernandez, or ESP from the same time period.