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What were good years for Fender

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JaredBT, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. JaredBT

    JaredBT Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2012
    Hi there, Ive always wondered what years were good for Fender P & Jazz Basses. Both US, Mexican and Japanese. Can anyone offer any expertise?

  2. The standard TB response to this would be some variation of:

    "Play them before you buy them. Fenders are mass produced product and QC doesn't get all the bad ones. Every year will have lemons and players."
  3. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Expect an avalanche of opinions from people who've happily been playing Fenders for decades, and opinions from people who have very little experience with owning Fenders.

    Don't worry about a "good year", it's not that complicated. Good luck.
  4. Robus


    Aug 25, 2013
    Chicago Area
    The current ones seem pretty good. I've got four USA Fenders, an 89 Strat, late 90s Tele, 2011 J bass and 2013 P bass. All are good. The Tele and P are outstanding IMO.
  5. Smacky the Frog

    Smacky the Frog

    Nov 15, 2006
    For what it's worth, my 1982 Fender Japanese Precision '57 Reissue (?) is quite nice, outside of the damage caused to the neck by spending 20 years in a guy's attic.
  6. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    1951 - 1964
  7. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    The most consistently good years for Fender USA models are 2008-present IMHO.
  8. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I have never picked up a Fender Precision or Jazz bass that I couldn't make sound at least really good, regardless of vintage.

    Some took more effort than others...:D
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I have a 2002 MIA Precision that's quite nice along with my 2010 Precision V.

    If I had to get a P-Bass for whatever reason, I'd just look at new or very lightly used newer ones.

    Fender USA has been building nice ones these last many years.

  10. This... although I have played a few 2013's that I didnt really love.

    I have a 2008 Precision that is magnificent.
  11. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    All good years
  12. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    I also have an 08 that is spectacular!
  13. charismaticdog


    Aug 2, 2012
    The best and worst made P-basses I've ever had my hands on were both mid-70s models (still kicking myself for missing out on the first one a few months back). Good and bad from every era/plant.
  14. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    I think that the best years are right now. The AVRI line and the Custom Shop line are outstanding! (although expensive, in terms of the value of the USA dollar, they cost about the same as the pre-CBS did for their time)

    The MIM and CIJ (if they still have it) are very good!

    Can't beat the price on Squires.
  15. 2000-2001 MIM jazz V

    sounds and plays amazing.
  16. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Asking "what were the good years for Fender?" implies that most of the years were bad and a few were good.
    So... what were the bad years for Fender?
    Or is it easier to list the good years?
  17. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    Last half of the seventies and early eighties were tough years for Fender. I have a 78 pbass that has a big neck pocket gap and runs in the finish on the maple neck. It also is easy to play and is a really good sounding bass. Go figure.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I agree. The average quality of Fender in that time period was lower than before or after.

    There was a thread just yesterday talking about the first couple of years of Squier production being better than what was going out with the Fender label on it at the time. That would be 1982/83 or so.
  19. Dakotah


    Dec 21, 2011
    Port Richey,FL
    Have a 2000 MIM Jazz fretless that sounds really good.bought it used & refinished it
  20. levis76

    levis76 Seconds from getting ba...

    Apr 14, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    I recently picked up my first Fender, a well used black with rosewood and red tort guard '05 MIA P at a resale shop for a good price. I got it even after seeing it needed some work and having read here on TB that in the early 2000's Fender may have had some QC issues and this particular P bass reflects that they did in fact have some pretty serious issues.

    First issue, bridge was crooked. I mean crooked like I could see it with my naked eyes. Measuring only confirmed my suspicion. It was 1/4" closer on the G string side than the E string side. It was centered, just not straight. It was also mounted 1/2" too far back. The string thru holes were drilled crooked as a result as well. I had to remove it, fill the holes with some small dowel rods and glue and remount it properly. I left the string thru holes alone for now. I may fill them in later on if I ever decide to refin the body. A crooked ass bridge is not what I would have expected on an MIA. I have owned a lot of cheap basses in the past and I've never ever had an issue like this before.

    Second issue, which is not a repairable issue or a QC problem but more of a design flaw and it seems to be inherent to most if not all Fenders and their clones. The 6th fret is a huge dead spot. The note there does not ring. It doesn't buzz out, it just decays very rapidly. No sustain whatsoever. Anywhere else on the neck is great, nice clear ringing tone, even the 5th and 7th frets, but that 6th is just dead. Some say adding mass to the headstock can reduce this, others say it just moves the deadspot. I don't buy snake oil, so I just deal with it.

    Third and final issue, may or may not have been a factory screw up. The nut was sloppy as I've ever seen. Not just the slots, the location of it was off. It wasn't centered in the groove on the neck. It was sticking out on the E side and recessed on the G side, enough to where it was quite noticeable. I swapped it with a graphite nut. Again, that could have been done after it left the factory, there's no way to know for sure.

    2005 also has the infamous S1 switch, which is a useless option on a P bass.

    Having said all of that, now that I have the problems worked out of it, I love it. It's easily the best player I have ever owned. The tone is fantastic, full and fat without any mud. So don't let my experience spoil you from buying a Fender. As with any bass purchase, play before you buy if possible and examine it as closely as you can if possible.

    Good luck and remember, have fun. That is why we do this right?