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Will the value of early-1980s Fender basses ever increase?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Crackle, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Crackle


    Nov 3, 2007
    Plano, TX
    The basses Fender built in the early 80s have either turned vintage or will soon (1984 is over 25 this year). Will these basses ever see a significant increase in value, as we have seen with the 70s instruments? I have a 1983 Fender Fullerton Standard Precision Bass in 10/10 condition and a 1980 Fender Precision Special in 8.5/10 condition. Both are American-made. Are these due to become investments in the future?

    Thx for any input . . . this has been on my mind recently and could make for an interesting discussion.
  2. Probably. Will they increase as much as the 70's? No, just like the 70's didn't increase as much as the 60's as they aren't as rare.

  3. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    "Vintage" doesn't mean just old: it implies that something is more valuable because it is no longer made. For most of the early '80s Fenders, that is not the case. An analogy would be the early '80s Chevrolets: ugly, poor handling, rust-prone, and poorly made. Sure, they're 25 years old, which is good only in the sense that most of them are off the road.
    Frenchy-Lefty and MobileHolmes like this.
  4. Crackle


    Nov 3, 2007
    Plano, TX
    Those are both good points. I don't know how many of the standard Precision Bass were produced during that era but specifically in 1983 they were coming with single-ply white pickguards and white pickups. The neck profile is a bit odd (very wide but thin front to back) but the bass seems to have a top-notch build quality, tone, and plays effectively regardless of the neck profile.

    It would be interesting to know how many of these there are, as the production ran no more than one or two years. Most of the ones I've seen are black, off-white, or sienna sunburst.
  5. Dave Vader

    Dave Vader

    May 18, 2009
    Devon Uk
    If anyone had suggested back in 1990 that a '79 fender would be worth more than a new one, they would have been loaughed at, as the CBS 70s fenders were rubbish, 3-bolt necks, poor QC and general lack of quality control saw to that.
    However, look what happened to them. 80s fenders are mostly worse than the 70s ones, but I fully expect them to go right up. One piece of advice to investor types, the Japanese ones were better made, and are better instruments, they should go up more than the USA ones accordingly.
    IMHO, YMMV, etc. etc. etc.
    btw. I have played a few 70s fenders I loved, but didn't buy them back in the day when they were cheap, and resent paying the price for them now.
  6. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I for one, am sick of the idea that has been spread around by certain individuals and companies that vintage=25 years old or more. It's a completely arbitrary number that means nothing.

    Frankly, the vintage market is insane. Fender instruments in the 1970s were generally disliked - they were poorly made, lots of corners were cut to save costs, and were extremely heavy. Now they are becoming valuable simply because they're old. 1980s Fenders weren't very good either, but I assume that they will start going up in value as well... once they approach the "magical" 25 years mark.

    I can understand something well made and desirable becoming more valuable as time goes on, but for an inferior product? Yeesh.
    bobyoung53 and MobileHolmes like this.
  7. The answer is Yes - but not until we effectively run out of other sources of Firewood :bag: :D
  8. Crackle


    Nov 3, 2007
    Plano, TX
    I'm not suggesting that 'vintage' makes anything better but I think there is a mojo factor that for some reason plays a role. Ridiculous, I know. I have a 1977 Precision Bass that is seriously lacking in QC, specifically in the neck pocket.

    One reason I'm curious is that Fender was supposedly trying to turn things around by 1980. That is when they started integrating active electronics and came out with the Special series, Elite I, Elite II, hired Dan Smith to bring QC back up to par (1983 was specifically known as the Dan Smith era), etc. I can't find any faults with the 1983 Precision Bass and the 1980 seems very well built with an awesome neck (active electronics I could do without).
  9. Stampy


    Jun 30, 2008
    They will increase in value slightly as the years go by. But I think just as lowsound said that they will not be much as the 70's and not as much as the 60's.
  10. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Of course they will increase in value.

    Nobody's ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence of the buying public.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  11. Crackle


    Nov 3, 2007
    Plano, TX
    Based on that I should do very well, lol. =)
  12. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    This is true, which is why I debate whether or not the 80's instruments were worse than the 70's, at least the early 80's stuff. The early active Precision Specials and Elites were quite ambitious for their time and are far and away better made, higher quality instruments than the 70's stuff. Many appointments were proprietary to those instruments, such as Walnut woods, active electronics, the higher mass Schaller thumb screw bridges, Schaller ultra lite tuners, straplocks, etc.
  13. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    I personally believe they won`t increase too much.

    In the early 80`s Fender wasn`t a good company. They were sometimes using parts from 1978 till 1982/3. There are many hybrids Jazz basses from that era and dating them is sometimes difficult. Quality was less than average.

    Production moved to Japan and their quality ended up being better than their American counterparts. Only in 1989 Fender started producing good basses again. American Std was reintroduced with the 22fret Jazz bass (known today as "Boner" or "longhorn").
  14. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    A huge part of what drives the vintage market is nostalgia, and the heros that inspired the players who want to be just like them. Obviously plenty of heros played 60's Fenders, and there are quite a large mount of heros played 70's Fenders as well.
    Who the heck was inspiring players with 80's Fenders??? Yeah, not really many.
  15. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002

    Good observation.
    Brands like Carl Thompson or Wal came to my mind when I read that.
    MobileHolmes likes this.
  16. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    Actualy the early eightys Fenders were better built IMO, than their 70's predicessors. They were actually trying to get their act together at the end of the CBS era.

    They already have gone up in value. Try and find a used late Fullerton era Fender for less than one cost new. The P and J bass were around $450 ish in the early 80's. Try and find one for that. ;)

    Are they the best Fenders ever built .... nope, but they aren't the worst either. I'd take an 82/83 Fender over a lot of mid to late 70's ones. (required IMO)
  17. Crackle


    Nov 3, 2007
    Plano, TX
    Steve Harris appears with an 82 Fender Precision occasionally. It's a cherry woodstain finish with the obligatory chrome pickguard. It's still rare to see him with this bass but there are plenty of photos of it on his Myspace page. Steve clarified that this is an 82 in old interviews, as well as equipment lists.
  18. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    A friend of mine had/has an '82P that was great. It was lightweight, thin-necked for a P, had snap and tone that floored me. He was also a huge Steve Harris fan. I always grouped '80's era Fenders as bottom barrel, but this P was something special.
  19. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Of course the 82-84 reissues took off once the collectors found out what they were. But the standard issue instruments have not reacted the same at all.

    I have two early 80's basses a P and J.
  20. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Incorrect. Vintage means old.

    A Vintage guitar is an old guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors. Many experts and professional musicians agree that the quality of craftsmanship, first and foremost, attribute to the allure of vintage guitars.

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