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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Has "vintage" lost its appeal? (long winded intro)

Next 20 Messages  

Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jun 30th, 2016 01:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Currently, there's a 57 P-bass on EBay, fully original, with OHSC. A sweetie, fully collectible, a heart's desire. Its been there for months.

Same with Reverb, GBase, Southworth, at Gruhn's, other sites. Stuff just sitting there.

I'm also feeling it. In the past two years, selling vintage for me has been a slow grind, worst than I can ever remember. I have friends telling me the same.

So...what's going on?

Is the culture changing? Was vintage mostly a Baby Boomer fad destined to fade and die?

Are younger players buying vintage? Do they care?

Have reissues taken over and squeezed out the older gear?

What's your take?

(Note: My definition of vintage is 1950-1975. Yours may differ.)


Contributing Member


"bald to the bone"
Jun 30th, 2016 01:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'M the vintage part of my rig. That's enough.

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Jun 30th, 2016 03:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

Slowly but surely the output from the Custom Shop has notched itself up to a point where it's getting a touch difficult to argue the case for vintage as far as playability is concerned.
Rather than "in the likeness of",the custom stuff can,as we know,be spookily like the original instruments.
I saw a brand new Olympic White custom shop Jazz Bass,1960 light ageing and checking recently;I swear I thought at first glance that I was looking at my '60 Stack-Knob. The detail was very good. Things like the cut of the headstock in certain areas was SPOT ON. But for the shell guard,I was tempted!
So with such beauties available now,the justification for working vintage gear has become more difficult I guess.
Another very important thing that is occurring with the music in my opinion is that of late a good many highly talented outfits have emerged offerring their take on the old soul and R&B staples or at least have mysteriously captured the vibe, yet built into it a new vision of it all,if that makes sense.Many are using vintage re-issue/custom shop instruments,and it seems like the circle has come full around.
George knows I like these guys.


Music to my ears.

(This message was last edited by uncle stack-knob at 05:18 PM, Jun 30th, 2016)



The Plankster of Love
Jun 30th, 2016 07:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

Great to see you George, and of course a topic near to my heart. I concur with Uncle's take on this, plus I can't help but think that those of us around the "retirement" age are thinking twice before dropping large chunks of money into instruments. Gone are the days of finding stuff cheap (thanks to the internet mostly) so hoping to "invest" in instruments is strictly the domain of the wealthy.



The Plankster of Love
Jun 30th, 2016 07:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

Having said that... dig my latest "find" - a 1962 Danelectro shorthorn...fifteen frets, 30" scale...

Almost as cheap as the reissue ones too



Jun 30th, 2016 11:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

There are so many companies selling good new basses these days.
Many of them are Fender copies though.
Sadowsky, Nash, Sandberg, Lakland, Mike Lull.
And The top players are using them.
Thats probably one of the reasons.

Vintage are expensive.

My buddy purchased a sunburst 1961 Strat. from a dealer on Gbase.
Paid a whole lot of money. The guitar had some trussrod problems. He also had to refret, even though the seller said "got a lot of life left in them"

My buddy is back on Fender Custom Shop now,



Jul 1st, 2016 12:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

Here is another one!

so many

FDP Data Goon

When I sin

I sin real good
Jul 1st, 2016 12:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

The "vintage" you want isn't necessarily the vintage those with money in the "younger person" market wants.

Keep in mind today's 40-something grew up with cheap SF-era stuff and they've been buying the hell out of the blocks and binding era stuff.

Truly old stuff is a niche market, and there are more people wanting to sell than buy as the market ages out I suspect.

I'd expect a market correction downward in price at some point, half of the vintage stuff is absurd.

Danny Nader


You should have been there!
Jul 1st, 2016 07:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

" . . . the justification for working vintage gear has become more difficult I guess."

As Uncle states, I personally would think this is a big part of the reason. And price. Why put big dollars into a piece that might not leave the house.

Uncle's post sums it up pretty well.


Contributing Member

Northeast IL

Not very bright but does lack ambition
Jul 1st, 2016 07:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've yet to find a vintage instrument that plays as well as the typical first quality modern bass. Sometimes vintage is just old.



Fender power to the people!
Jul 1st, 2016 07:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

These days there are a lot of choices for getting vintage looks and tone, without paying vintage prices.
While there is always something about the real deal that you can't always explain, someone looking for a player can live without that undefined mojo and do just fine.

Since there are just only so many original vintage basses, I expect there will always be a market for them.
That market may be limited and maybe shrinking as us geezers pass on, but I don't think it will go away entirely.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 1st, 2016 08:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

If you were Fender how do you compete with after market sales, reproduce the stuff people are paying big bucks for, Make it better, cheaper and newer.

Back in the 70s some finance guy at Fender probably realized they were loosing sales to instruments they made in the 50s and 60s. Then they got off their laruals and started making better instruments, sales picked up but the after market stuff was still taking a bite out of the market.

It maybe that with the creation of the vintage line, though temporarily cutting into this re-sale market, it may spark more interest in the vintage stuff. At least the vintage lineup is keeping the original gear current, in a way.

(This message was last edited by hushnel at 10:08 AM, Jul 1st, 2016)

Contributing Member

Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Jul 1st, 2016 10:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

It's a baby-boomer fad that's dying...along with the baby boomer generation.


New York City

Jul 1st, 2016 10:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think the success of the "Road Worn" series and the fairly recent concept of "relic" work has had some impact.

These are not violins. Special resins and rare aged glues and other materials can't make all that much difference. Solid body electric guitars/basses have been and still are mostly a matter of the technology and precise accurate workmanship. With the right materials and a bit of effort and care it's possible to build an electric guitar/bass just like "they used to."

I'd love to have an early serial number P bass but for what I'd have to pay, it would probably never leave the house. It's gonna be more of a trophy and that's not a practical thing at least for my wallet.

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Jul 2nd, 2016 12:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

Here's another take on it:
The custom shop stuff costs enough to ensure (mostly) that people take care of it.
Stands to reason that a lot of it will survive on.
Now,how desirable/interesting will that stuff be when it is thirty and more years old?
Will it have developed some kind of vintage mojo of its' own,will the light relic done when new,have blended with the bumps and dings and oxidation and checking and all that stuff that will ocurr down the years anyway?


Contributing Member


Jul 2nd, 2016 06:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

If I suddenly came into disposable income I'd love a birth year x, or beyond. But ultimately I think I'd pass because a) Making it playable would devalue it b) fraud and cookie cutter parting of guitars would have me doubting my purchase.

I think most of the vintage market is nostalgia driven. As the post baby boomers accumulate more mileage will they start spending stupid money to reconnect to all that was once good? Possibly, but I doubt to the extent we've seen thus far.

FDP Data Goon

When I sin

I sin real good
Jul 2nd, 2016 09:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

Gen X does not have the money of the boomers.

We did not make what Mom and Dad did.


Long Island City, NY

Jul 2nd, 2016 07:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

I own two vintage basses ('69 Gibson EB1 and '69 Fender Mustang), plus two that are on the cusp of what some define as vintage ('76 Rick 4001 and '76 P).

I have a few other newer instruments including a custom (Warmoth).

Last year I put together a Fender Jazz with a 2012 NOS MIM Fender Jazz body and an MIM '62 RI Jazz neck. I installed a Fender Vintage bridge and DiM Model J pickups. That one is by far my favorite player, though the '76 P is a close 2nd.

I was in a very highly regarded NYC vintage shop today and saw several early '60s J and P basses that were very beat up and several thousand $ each. I had absolutely no interest. I just could never justify such a purchase. And FWIW, I'd feel like I could never ride the subway with one if I did own it.

And not to go too off topic, I have no use for relics at all: All the dings and gouges on my instruments are mine (and I can remember when and how they happened). I prefer it that way.

(This message was last edited by dg27 at 09:50 PM, Jul 2nd, 2016)



Bass is the place . . .
Jul 4th, 2016 11:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm not so sure that vintage instruments have lost their appeal.

I think the very high end stuff ($10,000+) takes a bit of time to sell, but most of these pieces eventually seem to find a home.

Less expensive vintage (three to four figures) seems to sell pretty well, based on what I see at reverb.com.

Contributing Member


Jul 5th, 2016 08:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

I feel like it's mostly a generational shift in what is considered desireable. I have an acquaintance in his mid 20's who was totally worked up over his recent acquisition of a Tascam 4 track cassette recorder. His band mates prize lo-fi stuff like teiscos etc.

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Has "vintage" lost its appeal? (long winded intro)

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