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When did Fender's Precisions move to a black pickguard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Knobby, Sep 7, 2008.


  1. Knobby

    Knobby

    Feb 23, 2001
    Oregon
    I've done a variety of searches, I hope I don't get a beat-down for posing this question...

    Anyhow, I just picked up a 70's Fender with an early 70's Jazz neck on a Precision body. Trying to pinpoint what year the body might be.

    The pots have a plastic shaft (which makes me assume they are not original?), so they wouldn't be much help.

    I'm guessing from appearance alone, '78? (Makes me think of all those late 70's strats with that kind of burst and black pickguard.)

    What say you?

    [​IMG][/IMG]


    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  2. Bone

    Bone

    Oct 28, 2006
    By 75 black pickguards on Ps up until the american standard in 83 but (excluding the Precision Special which had white guards and 3 knobs)with thumbrest above the E string. Plastic shaft pots are correct and should be dated. Pickup will be inkstamped dated as well with the last 2 number being the year.
     
  3. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Precisions started their changeover in '73
    Jazzes started their changeover in '74

    The finger rest moved over too during those black pickguard changeovers.
     
  4. Knobby

    Knobby

    Feb 23, 2001
    Oregon
    fantastic info gents - thank you!
     
  5. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I just noticed something weird about that neck...
    Black binding with pearl markers. I've never seen that, does it look like it's ever had repair/replacement work done on either the binding or markers?

    I've seen white binding with black markers on a couple 72/73 necks.
     
  6. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    The neck is early '70's, I'd guess from the look. Is it 3 or 4 bolt?

    My '73 P had a black p-guard that was original. Could the neck & body be the same age?
     
  7. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    If the pots and neck aren't original, why assume that the pickguard is?
     
  8. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    In the photos, the finish looks less faded/discolored than many early '70s P-basses I've seen. Couldn't the body be significantly newer than '74?

    Also, when did Jazzes go back to 4-bolt? Was it '79?
     
  9. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Don't necessarily assume the pots aren't original. My '68 P has plastic-shaft pots. I love the look of the block neck on a P body.
     
  10. Knobby

    Knobby

    Feb 23, 2001
    Oregon

    From the wear on the pickguard, and the screw holes for the pickup cover, it sure looks original.


    Well, I popped the neck off, and a pickup out. Under the pickup was a Fender sticker 8-14-80. I guess that's mystery solved for the body date.

    As far as the neck date, it's really, really, really faded. You could pick out what looked like "Sep" and a "7."

    The other curiosity, which may lend itself to the question of why black binding with MOP squares, was a stamp on the back of the neck where it fits in the neck pocket which is green ink that says "Special" in all caps.

    NAMM, salesman demo, or something? Church Lady's bass? Hmmm...
     
  11. Knobby

    Knobby

    Feb 23, 2001
    Oregon

    They could indeed be original then. The code on the pot closest to the jack looked like AR1378020. (I think)

    Thanks, btw, I like the look too!
     
  12. GtenderG

    GtenderG

    Feb 29, 2008
    here is a pic of my 78 P. There are a few obvious mods but the PG is original.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Knobby

    Knobby

    Feb 23, 2001
    Oregon

    Four bolt.
     
  14. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    That sounds right, judging merely on the finish, and fits all the other details, like pickguard and pots.

    Special order?
    I think the neck is older than the bass, and could be a '67.
     
  15. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    ...or as new as a '73, prior to the 3-bolt switch. I recall that J's were still 3-bolt in '79, when I went shopping for one (didn't bite). Sounds like the switch back to 4-bolt must have been right after that.

    OP you have a nice hybrid!
     
  16. SneakyT

    SneakyT Commercial User

    Dec 5, 2005
    Austin
    ok your neck is a 73-74 and it came off a jazz that was most likely sold by a dealer in San Antonio. A shop there special ordered them with black binding and pearl inlays. It could also be a customer special order. Most of the SA ones I've seen had a sixties style logo on the headstock. No matter how you look at it very rare neck. From what I know the pots date '78 which would have been plastic shaft. My 78 tele bass has plastic shafts. I would bet that the body is a '78 as well. I have never seen a late 1980 bass with ashtray holes (though with fender you never know) so I bet the pickup is a replacement. Black guards on a p started showing up in 73-74 (74-75 on a jazz) but were standard in 75-79 on a sunburst p. In late 75 through 79 the guard would have the serial number on a sticker on the backside near the neck. If yours does that would surely date it. Hope that helps.

    One other note. The thumbrest is in the 74-79 position and is black in color not dark dark maroon. Assuming that it is original it would be 78-79.
     
  17. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The neck can't be 67, because 70 is when the maple fretboards came out. But MOP markers didn't come out in 70, they were first added to the catalog around 72. Either way it's an early 70's 4-bolt neck.
     
  18. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Also, by 1973 IIRC, the date stamping process had changed. I don't believe my 73 precision has the old fashioned month/year stamp you saw in the 60's.
     
  19. Knobby

    Knobby

    Feb 23, 2001
    Oregon


    Wow! You guys know your stuff! Thanks a bunch, to you and everyone on this thread!

    :bassist:
     
  20. andrew

    andrew Supporting Member

    May 20, 2000
    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Spector, Regenerate Guitar Works, Tech 21 NYC
    Have you taken the neck off? It could be a 3 bolt neck that's been added to a 4 bolt body. I had a '78 Jazz neck years ago that was a 3 bolt that'd been drilled to fit a 4 bolt body.
     

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