Which P bass should I buy right now? Vintage '62, '63 or Original 60's?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JnKlm, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Fender Precision Bass American Vintage '62

  2. Fender Precision Bass American Vintage '63

  3. Fender Precision Bass American Original 60's

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. JnKlm


    Jul 24, 2019
    Dear friends,

    I am torn between three possibilities.
    Today I would like to decide whether to buy a

    a) Fender Precision Bass American Vintage '62 (used)
    a) Fender Precision Bass American Vintage '63 (mint)
    b) Fender Precision Bass American Original 60's (new)

    I found all of them on-line, so, unfortunately, I cannot try any of them personally.
    Prices are more or less the same - all quite good.
    All I know is that I like the color on the Original 60's the best (lake placid blue).
    However, somehow I think the Vintage '62 or '63 will be better.

    Is that a superstition?
    All I am after is tone, and I think the '63 sounded best in videos.
    Please, help me decide!
  2. Goat of Ball St

    Goat of Ball St

    Jul 26, 2016
    I mean honestly on tone, you can always swap pickups on any of them. I don't recall which pickups come in which model if they're at all different. The only difference of the top of my head worth nothing is the fretboard radius. The AVRI's are both 7.25 and the Original is 9.5. If the radius doesn't matter to you and colour on Original appeals the most I'd go for that, you can always swap out electronics. I personally like the AVRI's more though being a fan of the vintage radius but the jump between the two is barely noticable.
    Jim Carr and JnKlm like this.
  3. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    Feature-wise, the previous poster has already pointed out the difference in fretboard radius; also
    there is a difference slab- vs. laminated board.
    Some of the 62 ad all of the 63 have very thin nitro lacquer. Other 62s have thick poly
    over nitro (or the other way round). I don't know about the 60s on this.

    I have played 62s and 63s, and could live with any of them. I chose the 63 because of the
    JnKlm likes this.
  4. JnKlm


    Jul 24, 2019
    Thanks to all of you for the insights and votes!
    Please, keep them coming.

    So, would you say that, tonally, the AVRI '62, AVRI '63 and AO '60s are more or less the same?
    Or does anyone else have the experience preferring one over the other two?
  5. 999Brent

    999Brent Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    The 63 has a very thin nitro coating if you like a worn bass then cool, the paint wears off pretty easily, but it would be my favourite tone wise.
    JnKlm likes this.
  6. I'd get the '63
    JnKlm likes this.
  7. scyzoryk


    Jan 12, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    I have the '63. Was close to selling it about three times because I didn't love the neck, but played it live recently and my bandmates told me "YOU CANT SELL THAT BASS!" I realize I could put the same pickups in another P bass that I'd find more comfortable, but I sucked it up, practiced a ton with the bass, and now it's grown on me and it's not going anywhere. Plus, the colours (mine's sonic blue) are gorgeous.
    Jinobass1, JnKlm and Iofflight like this.
  8. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Which has the poly under coat below the nitro, the 62 avri or the 63 avri? Both?
    Here's an extra 'h': h
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  9. russellh86


    Oct 11, 2014
    I currently have two ‘62s, an AO 60’s, and I’ve owned two different ‘63s. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the three.

    For my money and playing style the ‘62s are by far my favorite of the three. The neck is thin front to back, 7.25” radius, and a 1.75” nut are just perfect for me. The output of their pickups is borderline excessive too, I’ve had active basses with less oomph.

    The ‘63 and ‘60 are remarkably similar sound wise and frankly both are stellar in that regard. I didn’t care for the chunky neck when combined with a 7.25” radius in the ‘63 though. The 9.5” radius on the ‘60 makes that chunky neck more playable for me. That being said, I’d trade my LPB ‘60s P for a black, or even better, a fiesta red ‘62 in a heartbeat.
    chiplexic and JnKlm like this.
  10. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    If it was a single video comparing the basses which held the audio production variables fixed, you could probably trust your impression of those particular individual instruments.

    However, as you said "videos" (plural), need I suggest that differences between video sound production can be profound?

    Don't forget the difference strings make. If you are considering purchasing something new from a shop, keep in mind that fresh Fender nickel plated round wound strings are pretty zingy, and in the past Fender has used the .045-.100 ML weight in the factory, and at other times the .045-.105 M weight sets.

    Have you investigated which pickups are on each bass you are considering? Are they all stock? IIRC, the '62 has a pickup that is no longer available from Fender, but still sought after, for what that is worth, lol.

    This may help, if you have not seen it already: AVRI 63 vs 62 P Bass

    Full disclosure, I sought out a 62 AVRI because of the neck. It is the closest thing I have found to an actual vintage early 60's P-bass, of which I have played quite a few. One in particular stood out, and the '62 has that same neck. Very wide. Very thin.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
    JnKlm likes this.
  11. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    That would be the 62RI

    The 63RI will have the newer thin skin nitro finish so it purposely wears like the old ones.

    I just got a 58RI which was out at the same time as the 63, and I gotta say these are better recreations: the body edges are very rounded like originals. And on the 58 they use a paper-in-oil tone cap like the originals. Also the fret dot markers are done correctly too, and chrome covers have the correct bend profile.
    Jim Carr and russellh86 like this.
  12. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Very interesting. I wonder how the poly under coat on the 62 would affect the wear? I don't doubt it does, as R&S guitarworks said they would have to refinish a 62 before doing any relic work on the finish.

    I'm certain the 62 nitro will wear, it just seems that it will look different from the 63 and other thinner finishes. I'm wondering what that will actually look like.

    I have a 64 AVRI Jazz, and wow, is that nitro ever thin and soft! I presume that is the finish that was found on the 63 and 59. Am I right about that?
    JnKlm likes this.
  13. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I've had several 62RI Jazzes over the years including an old Fullerton era one. All had relatively thick finishes compared to the more current recreations. The old Fullerton had tons of beautiful checking and yellowed from age. The FMIC ones which would have the poly undercoats I couldn't get the finishes to check even when I would purposely during the winter try to by leaving them in the freezing garage and moving them into the warm house over and over again.
    JnKlm likes this.
  14. Heavy Blue

    Heavy Blue

    Nov 11, 2017
    Prairie Canada
    You can tell it wasn’t a Gibson. I took my 2010 Lester out ONCE during the winter in the 6 years I had it and the finish cracked insanely.:eek:

    Why anyone would want that to happen is beyond me.:meh:
    mikeswals likes this.
  15. BigLoopDuke


    Jan 2, 2007
    DSM, IA
    Another vote on the 63. Such an incredible sounding P.
    russellh86 likes this.
  16. JnKlm


    Jul 24, 2019
    Thanks to all of you!
    I think it is going to be the 63.
    It even seems the best deal-wise.

    Thank you once again for the informative reading.
    russellh86 and PJ Muzikmansky like this.
  17. Jinobass1


    Oct 30, 2013
    Best Tone in order:

    1)AVRI ‘ 63


    3)AVRI ‘62

    Due to da pickups!

    Hands Down ‘63 has the best tone, Thanx to the thin finish(sounds dryer)& Pure Vintage ‘63 Pick ups (Best Pickups Fender Made in our present time) and
    chunky neck = the thicker the neck :Mo’ Tone !!!
    compared to 62 pickups and thin neck….
    AO sound great chunky neck too but…….
    9.5 Radius….
    I just love Da Correct Period Radius 7’25 in my hands.feels like my all original May ‘63 vintage axe…
    Round Laminated VS Slab (Can’t differentiate the tone…)

    ‘62 would be great if you swap the pickups to the true vintage ‘63…..but the sunburst finish looks better on ‘63 Compared to

    ‘62 & 60’s AO…..

    Unless you have ‘62 Custom Color (Olympic White,Candy Apple Red,Lake Placid Blue…)

    Then Just change pickups ,You can thank me later!

    AO got the amazing colors Too!

    Good luck !!!

    I’m looking to buy ‘63 AVRI in Faded Sonic Blue and Seminole Red …..don’t want to bring the real deal to big tours and letting roadies handle them ,So been using AVRI ‘63 except Tour Final DVD’s (Blu-Ray)And Photo shoots! Good luck finding the right one that fits your Heart,Hands&your precious Ears!
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
  18. All_Thumbs


    Dec 6, 2016
    I prefer baseball bat necks. I have large hands, and yardstick thin necks are more difficult for me to play. So 7.25” would be my preference.
    Jinobass1 likes this.
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