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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Help my ID this '1977' P bass


United Kingdom

Oct 5th, 2016 02:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

**pictures in the link at the end**

I've been after an old P bass for a while now and I've recently come across one being sold as a 1977. The asking price is generally reasonable for a 70's P at £1289 however, having been to the shop, spoken to the guys and played it, some things have flagged up so I'm trying to find out some more information on the actual value.

Here's what I know so far -

*The bass is an absolute pleasure to play. The neck is smooth and quick and frets are in good condition. Tone is very warm with typical old P bass charm though pickups are NOT original. Felt like a very good match for me. I know most will say this is the most important thing and I tend to agree, I just want to get a better idea of the sale being fair (as i got a slightly cloudy vibe off the sellers). I also know it's been up for sale online for at least a few months now.

*The seller is claiming the finish is "Mocha" however this finish looks darker than most I've seen and isn't exactly walnut. Possibly a refin?
He claims the body has been inspected by a luthier to confirm it's authenticity and says he's 90% sure it's original (whatever that means). The body does seem quite worn, especially on the backside, lots of scratches.

*The bass is very light compared to other P basses I've played. Possibly even lighter than my 2001 American Standard Jazz.

*I've had a look under the scratchplate and the holes for the thumb-rest have been drilled under the G string (Could this potentially mean it's an earlier 70's body?) No holes in the scratchplate so I'm guessing it's not original.

*Unfortunately I do not recall seeing any clear stamps or markings in the neck pocket. I've asked seller for a picture and will update when it arrives.

*The pickups most certainly aren't original, though one shop worker told me they were, the other quickly corrected that these are 80's DiMarzios. As stated above, they still sound great.

*I immediately noticed the tone knob wasn't working. One seller told me it is but is very subtle (BS), though when I asked the in store "technician" to open her up, he told me he'd unwired the tone pot as it was crackling and needed replacement. When I asked for a picture of the pots and for them to tell me what the serial numbers on them were, they replied saying "250KA is the value of the pot, you dont find serial numbers in pots". Eventually he found them. The pictures are in the link above.

* The serial number and stamps on the neck confirm the 1977 manufacture. There is no visible date on the heel, pictures of the other stamps are in the link.

As stated, I did have a 'click' with the instrument but I'd like to know exactly what I'm getting. The bass is being sold without any of the original parts, and apparently with no hard case. Considering that tone pot may need replacement and the question of the body's authenticity, £1289 is starting to sound quite steep, am I right?

Any help is appreciated as always.


(This message was last edited by ishaieig at 07:45 AM, Oct 5th, 2016)



Fender power to the people!
Oct 5th, 2016 07:57 AM   Edit   Profile  

Your link takes me to a blank page.
It sounds like it may well be a '77.
The light weight is a plus.
Pots don't have serial numbers, but they do have date codes. Often the pot dates are a little before the production date.
Mocha seems to be more of a general term than an exact color. It depends on how much stain was used and how well the wood absorbed it.
Having a non original pickup would decrease the colector value.
Having a DeMarzio will add some punch and might be good thing for many people.
I expect USK to be along shortly with a better analysis and a clearer veiw of UK pricing.
To me, it sounds a little steep.
I'd at least want to see the date codes on the pots, get the tone pot replaced or at least cleaned, if that will get it working and have them include a hard case, even if it is generic.

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member

united kingdom

Oct 5th, 2016 10:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Too much money.Too much all day long.
Stop and consider what you are buying/getting for £1289.Ask yourself if you could turn around and get that money back if you decided to part with it after a short while?
It looks to be a '77 but it has had parts changed and some don't work so well (tone pot).
Does the truss rod work without any question or doubt?
Are the frets original or is it refretted?
If it is refretted,is the work to a good standard?
On balance,I would recommend walking away from it.

There is an old saying:
"A thing that is bought or sold has no value unless it contains that which cannot be bought or sold. Look for the priceless ingredient.The priceless ingredient of every product in the marketplace is the honour and integrity of he who sells it. Consider his name well before you buy".



Long Island City, NY

Oct 5th, 2016 03:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

My take on it is that you'd be spending $1600 on something that's questionable in terms of pedigree. You'd never get that much back.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 5th, 2016 05:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Complicated situation here. Determine how much you want this bass and then decide what you would be willing to pay for it. Offer that. It does carry some value...the neck for example is worth some money...but it's basically a "player" and nothing more.

Mid-70s pickups and harnesses are available on Reverb or eBay and so that part of your bass could be restored. The original finish seems gone forever. Nothing destroys value like missing paint and there's no way to bring it back.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 07:20 PM, Oct 5th, 2016)

Steve Boisen


Oct 5th, 2016 09:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

Looks like a refin to me. Walnut, which many people mistakenly call "Mocha", is typically lighter and more translucent. The finish around the bridge cover holes also doesn't look right to me.

A '77 body would not have holes drilled for a finger rest below the G string. By that year they were always* installed as a thumb rest above the E string and the pickguard and body would have the holes there if they were original.

- Steve

* As much as anyone can say "always" when referring to Fender.

(This message was last edited by Steve Boisen at 11:34 PM, Oct 5th, 2016)



Oct 5th, 2016 10:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

My two cents worth - the pickguard is not original. This came with a black guard but with the thumb rest. No thumb rest, no holes for one, plus no holes for pup cover. Pots look ok. Body is presumably ok. That poop mocha looks like it could be legit, or refin, It is not too dark or light - it should look brown. Some age worse. Came with covers. As far as that being a Dimarzio set, I don't know. Most dopey kids put them in back in the early 80s and late 70s. Those almost always had those allen screw poles, but these look like normal magnet slugs. So, DiMarzio did those later on, but it is hard to tell. I think they have a grindy overtone sound, so if you don't hear that, or don't care, see if you can haggle them down. Or walk. Late 70's P Basses are around. Keep in mind you like it, and the pound sterling is not correcting itself like it certainly will in a year or so, so timing is everything.


Oct 5th, 2016 11:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's a refin. The hue is way too dark for a 70s "Walnut", and the neck pocket has no paint stick mark. In fact you can see where the mark was before it was painted over with a brownish stain.

A '77 body should have E-string side thumb-rest holes.

'77-'79 are in general the years of the heaviest ash bodies.

This could still be a Fender body, but that's a refinished parts bass - not necessarily a negative thing, but it should have been reflected in the price.

FWIW, the color is nicer (IMHO) than Fender's "Walnut" of that era, and a light weight body (possibly an aftermarket to replace a body routed for a BadAss bridge and J pickup? So many 70's P's had them) is better than most '77 boat anchors and probably resonates better. So you may have paid a little too much, but ended up with a keeper.

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Help my ID this '1977' P bass

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