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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / String tree oddity on 1966/67 Jazz

Contributing Member


Searching for L40278.
Sep 30th, 2016 06:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Has anyone seen this before? Seller claims it's original from the factory.

And it's a non-matched head...

Contributing Member


Sep 30th, 2016 06:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Definitely looks odd but I will wait for the "Big Guns" to weigh in.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Sep 30th, 2016 07:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I thought I had seen it all.

Now, maybe I HAVE seen it all.

I have never seen anything like this.

Fender was a company that made a very good living mass producing musical instruments, the same thing day in and day out, with an impressive uniformity of appointments which are predictable, functional, and at the same time pleasing to the eye no matter how many times you see them.

It also had/has a long history of going off the grid for musicians needing to go a different way, and this Jazz bass may be an example of this.

Whether it's original or not, I personally don't like the look of the contraption.

USK, what say you?


uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Oct 1st, 2016 07:12 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I would bet you anything you like that it is NOT original from the factory.
Take a look again.
The headstock lacks a standard string retainer on the face of the headstock,but it has the hootenany on the back of the stock.
It is very likely in my opinion that they simply FORGOT to install the retainer on the face of the headstock.Don't forget that by 1967 CBS had a good hold on things,and standards were showing signs of slipping.
If you look at the retainer in the pictures,it can be seen that it is made or fashioned from a piece of bone,most likely from a billet usually used for guitar saddles,top nuts and so on.
Furthermore,the shaping at the ends of the bone retainer bears little logic when compared to the location it is placed in.And also the screws are ordinary unplated flat headed slotted woodscrews.
My guess is that the neck never had a string retainer on it,as it was missed out in the manufacturing process for whatever reason,and at some point in its' later life the owner,or a subsequent owner, had this bone addition fitted by someone.It could even be a pre-existing retainer from a completely different make of instrument,non-Fender.
The body bears the impression ES which we have seen before,and is often accompanied by a stamp stating: "INSPECTED".
It is argued on here and other places that "ES" stands for either "entered special" (of which I am doubtful), or "ERIC SANDOVAL" who was an inspector at the factory........
Bear in mind that special orders were annotated with a corresponding special order number,in order to link the component/s with the customer order request.These special order numbers were commonly written in the neck-pocket,and then covered with a strip of masking tape so as to retain the number during the spraying process.
Typically a very special or distinct or show model would have an ink stamped word:"SPECIAL" on the neck heel and or in the body,maybe neckpocket,in conjunction with the special order number. A special order number might typically appear as something like: TL275 or the like;note the use of letters and numbers.If a certain odd colour,then occasionaly there would be a handwritten reference to that as well,such as:"Tahitian coral".
Do not confuse this with the use of a four figure group of NUMBERS stamped into the face of the body beneath the pickguard,and also on the underside of neckheels,denoting parts identification during a FACTORY requested refinish from a dealer or customer.
Also of note is the white shim in the neckpocket. Fender didn't do white shims. The early ones were grey and had an angular cut to them.
Then they started using the curved looking ones which were like this one in shape,including the hole that was produced in the stamping process.
They came in grey,red,and black.Each colour denoted a different thickness.This one in the pictures has been fashioned to look the right shape,but it's white,and it has its' thickness written on it at its' lower corner saying: "0.6"
Which as a best guess is millimetres..........
Original shims were made from smooth fibreboard,and were obtainable as a set from Fender as a spares item.

So,in my cynical old age,I say this is a '66 neck
on a '67 body,with the usual '66 pots that they used for ages and ages on everything up to 1970.
And it was inspected by Eric Sandoval.
There is the remotest possibility that the argument for special order stated by the seller could,just possibly, could,but highly unlikely,refer to the fact that there is an UNMATCHED HEADSTOCK,which would be somewhat unusual in 1967 on a Fiesta Red bass,hence a special request,and an older neck being dug out to satisfy the need. But I doubt it very much.More like it is the seller hyping things up.
The string retainer is an add on ex-factory at a later date by someone,because they never fitted a proper one in production.

Stack-Knob. (runs away and hides)

(This message was last edited by uncle stack-knob at 09:46 AM, Oct 1st, 2016)

Contributing Member


Searching for L40278.
Oct 1st, 2016 05:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Great stuff, USK.

Agreed about the ES stamp - you see it on so many instruments (sunburst and custom colours) from that year that it would appear unlikely they're all 'entered special'.

Curious that the seller didn't include a pic of the neck date. Could just be an oversight, of course.

Danny Nader


You should have been there!
Oct 1st, 2016 07:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


My first reaction was: NO! NO! NO! NO! And then you filled us all in on the rest of the details. So glad we agree. As to the shape & all that, it reminds me of the ones you see on cheaper instruments. Perhaps that's where the previous owner found inspiration?


Contributing Member


Oct 2nd, 2016 07:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just sticks out and looks weird on a Fender. I do not like it . A chrome tree would look better ( but wouldn't even do that on a vintage bass. Btw: Stack o need to hide 😉. I love your insights but glad you exhibit a certain amount of humbleness. It's refreshing but not required


New York City

Oct 2nd, 2016 08:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I probably should know the answer to this but how important is the retainer anyway? As a lefty I have a couple of righty basses that I converted/flipped to play lefty. So the strings are reversed and the E and A strings go under the retainer. Haven't been any issues that I'm aware of.

Concerning tha bass in question:
I don't doubt that the thing was added on. Looks like it was fashioned out of a plastic nut.

Are you guys saying that you think this bass actually went out of the factory with the retainer missing and nobody caught it? I don't see how that's possible but I guess as per George, never say never.

If so, the scenario I would imagine is that the missing retainer was noticed on arrival to the customer or shop and then some kind of deal was stuck to have the modification in lieu of returning the bass.

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Oct 2nd, 2016 08:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Things went out of the factory door that beggar belief.
More during the C.B.S. period I would say.
A real howler that came across my bench was a 1971 Jazz Bass in sunburst,blocks and binding,just as you would expect for the year,but on inspection it could be seen straight off that the side marker dots set into the binding were all misplaced by one fret position,throughout the necks length.
The owner had acquired the bass from the original owner who was offerred it at a reduced price by a Fender rep. who was visiting the store at the time.The store didn't have one in stock,so the salesman suggested offerring his "demo" sales model with the aforementioned manufacturing fault.



Oct 5th, 2016 10:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Body color without the headstock is a UK thing, no? I recall many times they would Hank Marvin stuff over there as part of the distribution chain.

"Hank Marvin" being a verb, indicating spraying Fiesta Red to sell Fenders easier to UK enthusiasts, even though the standard custom color scheme would have included a headstock at Fullerton at that time.

(This message was last edited by eb2jim at 12:56 AM, Oct 6th, 2016)

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Oct 6th, 2016 04:56 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well, that old myth about guitars getting sprayed over here by the importers (Selmer) at that time is exactly that,a myth. The expression "Selmer re-fin" gets bandied about by dealers in order to pass off more recent refinishes.
You see,Selmer,although they had their modest production building in Holborn,London,had NO SPRAY FACILITY.This is easily seen when you take yourself off to the Hofner vintage site,in which a couple of original Selmer employees who worked in the place describe their experiences,and as how the guitars were looked after by one or two people,in a small area.In fact,on that site they even have a hand-drawn floorplan of the place.No spray facility.Any one off requests or repair needs for finish work were farmed out if large enough. One English dealer in particular,and he knows who he is,spread this story far and wide,it even reached Clay Harrolds site vintage HQ. There are still matched and unmatched refins floating around the U.K. under the banner of "Selmer refin". No such thing exists.
The whole thing has caused a lot of bad feeling down the years.


(This message was last edited by uncle stack-knob at 06:58 AM, Oct 6th, 2016)



Fender power to the people!
Oct 6th, 2016 08:55 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The body finish looks just a bit too good to be original.
If it was refinished, that would explain the headstock not matching.
Better to not paint the headstock, than to mess up the original decal.
I can believe that it somehow escaped the factory without the string tree.
The add on looks very functional
very hideous.
Didn't block and binding necks come after '66.



Who is E. Sandoval?
Oct 8th, 2016 01:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Me, my ownself, I wonder why there's no picture of the end of the neck where the date is stamped. You know, by the truss rod nut. Or is there a pic somewhere and i missed it?

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / String tree oddity on 1966/67 Jazz

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