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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Some details on this 59 Beauty



Jul 5th, 2016 12:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

Stunning dark slab board, but The pencil date on the neck looks odd to me. I have collected a few late 50's pencil date photos.
Could it be that there was no pencil date on this bass.
Typical for a 59 bass?

The tolex case and gold guard combination. This is probably correct, but I believe these cases showed up very late in 1959. Did not the basses have tort guard by then?

The pickup cover should have been a bit more square. This cover looks like the reissue ones.

Just some thoughts.



Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jul 5th, 2016 06:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

This bass raises many questions from those of us who cherish these "transition" basses from 1959. Thanks for bringing this one to our attention.

Some review of the history or the context for these semi-rare basses is in order.

Historically, these are the very first of the Brazilian rosewood slab boards Fender began producing in 1959, while at the same time they represent the last of the gold guard basses manufactured until the appearance of the Fullerton AVRS gold guards in 1982-83.

Hence, with old parts Fender wants to use up, and new appointments which it wants to introduce, these 1959 gold guard/slabs transition us to a new era in the evolution of the Precision bass.

1959 is also an interesting year from another standpoint because Fender retailed three different models of the P-bass, beginning with a gold guard maple board; next, the "transition" model; finally, at the end of the year, the slab board with the first tort guards in the company's history.

There has always been considerable discussion among historians about where the dividing lines are between these models. Because Leo didn't keep the kinds of records that would make it easy to sort all this out, no one has ever been able to come up with a definitive timeline about when each model appeared and then disappeared.

Over the years, the following ROUGH timeline has been established through much observation on the part of many, many players and collectors:

Jan-April/May: gold guards with maple boards. Most of these basses have necks that are dated.

April/May-Sept/Oct: gold guards with slabs. These necks are not dated.

Sept/Oct-Dec: slabs with tort guards. These necks are generally not dated, although some December necks are dated. A few examples have the letters "OK" on the neck butts.

Cases: Most of the earliest 59s came with tweed cases. At some point in the spring the tweed was phased out in favor of a new case, a light chocolate brown tolex case with the middle latch inside the handle. These are known as knucklebuster cases and are rare.

The gold guard slab boards came with knucklebuster cases until the very end of the model's production, so some of the last of these basses are often seen in the second generation brown tolex cases, where the middle latch has been moved outside the handle, like the one seen with this bass.

The late 59s came with the second generation cases.

About the bass Arild has posted:

1. The date on the butt end of the neck does not look right or original. It appears to be a 1-59 and this is wrong for two reasons: First, Fender did not date the necks on "transition" basses and
second, Fender did not make this particular model in January of that year. According to the timeline I have posted above, these basses do not appear with the gold guard/slab features until the spring. The earliest "transition" bass I have ever seen is from April.

2. The covers with this bass are new and not original. Arild has already pointed this out.

3. These "transition" basses came with boomerang-shaped harness cavities which have distinct, straight-edged cuts for the walls of the cavity. In other words, the cuts are V-shaped. The cavity on the posted bass looks OK on the top side. On the bottom side the cut looks wrong and seems to be something reshaped by someone later on to be more rounded than is normal for these basses. In other words, it's been altered and not original.

3. The case for this bass should be a knucklebuster and not the one pictured. Knucklebuster cases have pumpkin orange interiors, not burnt orange like the one pictured in the ad.

The history of Fender is full of exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions. Never say never. Which means I could be wrong about some of the things I said about this bass.

Sorry for the long post...didn't know any other way to do this.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 07:44 PM, Jul 5th, 2016)

Danny Nader


You should have been there!
Jul 5th, 2016 03:56 PM   Edit   Profile  


Long post or not, it's good to see these replies again.

Once again, it's good to see you back. I'm sure you & Uncle will keep all of us honest! ;o)



Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jul 5th, 2016 05:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

Danny: Thanks. I can think of a lot of other Fender basses, all great ones for sure, that would have gotten far less from me. But, like a lot of players and collectors, I've always been especially interested in 1959 for the reasons in my post.

And let us not forget, 1959 is at the early dawn of the Jazz bass, not in full production quite yet but close.




Jul 5th, 2016 06:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the post George.
Love this information.



New York City

Jul 5th, 2016 07:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Great thread and thanks for all the info George, terrific post. I don't really have any direct interest in chasing after vintage, I love reading this stuff.



Fender power to the people!
Jul 5th, 2016 08:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

I wish I could claim to really know something about these.
What I did already know was that at some point the maple FB went away and RW started and sometime in 59 Leo decided the not to have anything written on the necks after someone wrote something inappropriate on one.
Just for discussions sake, I will suggest that the case might have been replaced by one that was nearly correct at somepoint or perhaps it got an early sample of what was in the pipeline.
As to the neck date, that does sound wrong. The only way I could imagine that happening is if they made a few RW board necks early in the year to see if they really could and if they really wanted to continue. If they did, they would still use up the maple FB necks in stock.
Just a wild guess.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jul 5th, 2016 09:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

I agree about the guessing. I do it all the time and I almost never speak in absolutes about vintage Fenders. I've learned the hard way that just when I think I have something figured out, something comes along that proves me wrong.


FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Some details on this 59 Beauty

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