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What is Pre-CBS????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FearandLoathing, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. I hear alot of talk about Pre CBS Fenders what does this mean???
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Fenders which were made before CBS bought Leo Fender's business, which was in... I can't seem to remember, 1965? 1966?
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The sale to CBS was in late 1964, unless you're anal pre-CBS means anything made prior to 1965.

    Many people consider the CBS made stuff to be inferior though obviously things did not go down the toilet overnight and some things were unchanged (like Champs) even in the CBS era. By 1969 or so, things had definitely started a decline in quality that lasted through the 1970s. The company did start getting back on track in the early 80s when they started making vintage reissues.

    CBS sold the company to the current owners in 1985.

    Pre-CBS means a big jump in price in the vintage market, especially with Jazz Basses which is why dating basses has become so obsessive. The difference between July 1964 and July 1965 can mean $100 or more in the value of two otherwise identical basses :rolleyes:
  4. Speaking of Pre-CBS, I just saw an ad in the new (March) issue of Bass PLayer magazine (page 5) by Fender claiming that their '57 and '62 Precision American vintage series sound just like the originals. Has anyone heard these yet? And, do these differ from the reissue models?

    A friend of mine had a Precision made in January 1965, and I still remember how unbelievably good this bass sounded. It's still the bass I judge all others by. Sadly, I've lost touch with this guy. C'est la vie.

    Mike J.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I think you left off a zero. The difference between a '64 and '65 is likely to be more like a $1,000, or more.

  6. OK I wondered about the 100$ figure myself thought it was more like 1000$.

    But from the other stuff he just said I would think someone would be foolish to pay that extra 1000$ considering that the two basses are only a year apart. I doubt that CBS had affected the production quality in only 12 months after the deal. I would suspect that it took at least 2-3 years before production costs cutting and bad quality control affected the majority of production. Given that fact, I would think that a 65-early 67 Fender is probably just as good as the pre CBS ones; And for the 1000$ less probably the best deal for someone looking for a vintage "player".
    I understand how the collectibles market drives prices but for a musician looking for that perfect Vintage J sound I would think the best deals would be found in Basses made in the very first years of CBS.
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Perhaps. You are correct that the collectable market is certainly helping to drive up the cost of the pre-CBS Fenders.

    Although I am not familiar with the timeline, I do know that in the first few years after CBS bought Fender, there were some fairly significant changes. It was not only an issue of quality control, but there were some real changes in the methods of production and the actual raw materials used. So, there are real and significant differences in the instruments.

    I have read a few claims that many of the 65s are desirable as they were mostly assembled from parts built in the pre-CBS era and during the transition. But I wouldn't stake my life on that claim.

    There is absolutely no doubt that there are some really sweet late sixties Fenders out there, but I believe they are unlike the pre-CBS models. And of course, the price reflects as much.

  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Yes, I did...oops!

    One example of an almost immediate change in J basses is the neck binding and block inlays. The J suffered many more changes during the CBS era than the P-bass; the much-reviled 3-bolt neck and bullet truss rod were never used on Precisions.
  9. I'm aware of the pre-CBS thing, but what mystifies me is why and how some instruments from the early to late '70s--that is, the depths of CBSism--are now being pushed as "vintage" instruments, albeit not at the stratospheric price points of the pre-CBS stuff or even the early CBS stuff. These are instruments that at the time, and for years thereafter, were widely castigated as dogs. (Though of course there had to be exceptions.)

    So did they magically turn into good instruments, or is the view always rosier in the rearview mirror?
  10. “Vintage” can mean anything. In the collector market in general the term “antique” is supposed to mean it is over a 100 years old and “vintage” is over 20 years. But both terms are used as marketing tools to sell just about any piece of &^%$ that the market will support.
    Wanna buy a VINTAGE, AMC Pacer or a Gremlin?
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I don't think they turned into good instruments. Of course, there are some nice 70s Fenders out there, and it seems sort of logical that the nicer ones would be the ones to survive 25 years. But vintage is cool these days. So, any seller is jumping on that bandwagon to up the price. And sadly, there are plenty of uninformed buyers out there.

    I actually saw a G&L labeled as "vintage" on an auction not to long ago. The company wasn't even founded until 1980!!! Another classified ad I saw was advertising a "vintage" MIJ jazz bass. Vintage as in 1983. :rolleyes:

    No wonder my wife loves me so much. I am way vintage. :eek:
  12. I like my "vintage" AMC Pacer !!

  13. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    My old music teacher, has this theory:
    "the older an instrument the beter it will sound, because it has been vibrating longer. If you take a 100 year old violin that has been played with correct intonation, it will sound amazing, and the notes will jump out of it. If you take a 100 year old violin that wasnt ever played right, it will sound bad, if it is played properly"

    My best friend took this and added to it. this is all theory and in logic, it works. My best friend plays banjo, and there is some lure about pre-war WWII gibsons that are amazing.(a pre-war banjo can fetch up to 60 thousand dollars if its the right model) number 1 they were made by one of two guys (before gibson changed over to cost effective assembly line building) 2 the wood is mostly dried out. water is a good vibration damper. 3 they have been vibrating longer. I can agree with the whole more played the better sound, probably less over tones, and more fundamentals in the pitch of each note. since basses and other fretted instruments are almost allways played with proper intonation that could explain why old instruments sound better. I imagine that wood has a good "memory" concerning vibration waves. remember this is all a theory.
  14. Could be, but I'm a bit skeptical. The drying out part makes sense to me, but I'm less sure about the vibration part. That could be true too, though.

    I'm least convinced by the good vs bad intonation thing, especially as regards guitars and basses. In fact, to be completely correct, guitars and basses are almost NEVER played with proper intonation, because fretting compromises and equal temperament mean that no fretted instrument is ever completely in tune all over the neck. If your friend's theory were accurate in this respect, then a guitar ought to sound worse the more it's played.
  15. I think that since there are only a finite number of real Pre-CBS instruments out there, the next best thing (supposedly) would be an early 70s instrument, then a late 70s, and so on. Chas is right about some uninformed buyers. I bought a 1975 P-bass brand new in 1976; it was horrible! But, I have played many good Fenders from the 70s, so it's just a matter of checking out each individual bass from any period, but, especially the 70s and 80s. I think it probably had a lot to due with which production run it was from too. Y'know; don't buy a car assembled on a Monday?

    Mike J.
  16. On the plus side of the whole CBS buy out, if CBS hadn’t bought Fender and screwed up the guitars and basses there probably wouldn’t be as many quality alternatives today.
  17. Truer words were never spoken! Necessity is the mother of invention. ;)

    Now if the father would just pay child support! :D

    Mike J.

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