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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Confessions of a vintage snob.

Next 20 Messages  

Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 6th, 2017 05:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've spent most of life looking down my nose at 70s Fender basses.

I've always considered them heavy, poorly made, terrible sounding, ugly with plastic spray, responsible for triggering the intense interest among players and collectors for Pre-CBS Fenders that exploded in the early 1980s.

All that changed yesterday.

I (gasp) bought a 76 P-bass. Pinching myself.

It's ash with a natural finish, B-width neck, completely original except for the volume pot, features the original gray-bottom pickups, available at a great price, a featherweight, a dreamy player with everything I need for the gig.

Feels great in my hands. The tension on the strings is perfect. The action is nice and low. What's not to like? Can't put it down.

Its been played and played. Lots of wear. Bar room reliced. So very very cool.

My perception of Fender in the 70s has been rocked. I see the light. I'm on a mission from God.


Contributing Member

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Oct 6th, 2017 06:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

A bass is either a good one or not, regardless of manufacturer or era.

Last night I played a big band gig with my $75 Squire Affinity P-bass. It sets up and intonates well, it handles well and is strung with D'Addario Chromes (flats). Played through a Ampeg PF-350 and an Avatar 2-10 cabinet. It killed. Beefy and very articulate. Although it's nothing to look at, sound-wise, there is nothing wrong with this bass.

I'll have to admit to being a reverse-snob. I love to bring out a well-playing inexpensive bass.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 6th, 2017 07:00 AM   Edit   Profile  





Oct 6th, 2017 09:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

I was given a 2005 Squier Jazz bass with Rosewood Fretboard and CAR body that once setup properly was one of the best basses I have ever played. Must of been China’s 1st year to make them and very evident they took a lot of pains in the build of this bass guitar. Had a nice tigar stripe maple neck. Low action, no buzz and easy to intonate. And it held tuning for at least 2 weeks



Do'in the 5 string thing!
Oct 6th, 2017 11:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

My hat is off to all of you vintage instrument folks. But frankly, I've never understood the appeal. I know it's got to be just me, but the few times I've been able to sit down and play a vintage bass I just didn't see/feel/hear enough difference to understand the hoopla and to pay the difference. Probably just not a big enough sample size. I don't seek out vintage interface opportunities. Maybe if I had played a bunch of them I'd feel differently.

I'll admit I'm not super picky on most things bass. That's probably why I have never gotten into modification of instruments. I generally either like them or I don't.

As they say, YMMV. I do love hearing and reading about everyone's vintage adventures, so please keep it coming!

Contributing Member

Show Low, Arizona

Bottom Sucker
Oct 6th, 2017 04:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

George, I've got a '77 pbass with the custom ordered jazz neck that says Precision on the headstock logo. This setup was a custom order only from the factory through a local dealer. I bought it about a a decade ago and I always had the same opinion as you about '70s instruments. But this one rocks! The neck never needs adjustment and the shape of the neck is a U. Very comfortable and weighs in at 9lbs which is light for this time period. Also the color is yellow with a black pickguard - and the serial number is on a sticker underneath the pickguard! There is always going to be the "one" hiding out there that you stumble upon that totally changes your old perspective.

(This message was last edited by cisco at 06:43 PM, Oct 6th, 2017)


Long Island City, NY

Oct 6th, 2017 07:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

My '76 P, which was the best present I ever got from a long-ago ex-girlfriend, also has a Jazz neck. That was what switched me to Fenders. To me, that's as good as any "vintage" bass.

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Oct 7th, 2017 12:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

A good one is a good one.

I played a documented Hendrix Strat in the 90s when it came through the high-end dealer I frequented at the time. It was...a Strat. For period ones, it wasn't awful, but it wasn't a light shining from Heaven Strat either.

I've played guitars and basses that are old that are glorious, same with new ones.

I dreamed of an old L-serial '64 neck-dated Mustang guitar for years after I had to sell it. I tried many other Mustangs, bought a few.

What got the dreams to stop were the same slab-bodied, dismal tuner, no real focus on fit and finish (other than playing features) Indonesian Squier one.

I haven't dreamed of that '64 since and it's been a few years.

If it's a good piece of lumber and fell together well, take it and run and don't let it go.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 7th, 2017 07:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Excellent stories and advice.

Two days now and still lovin' this 76. The serial is 705050. Even my nitwit brain can remember this. It's stamped on a neck plate with a big "F."

The neck plate sits inside one of those rubber cushion things to keep the metal separated from the wood underneath.

I've always thought this was a waste but it's original and I'm leaving it.

This bass is causing seismic shifts in my attitude about Fender vintage. Vintage to me is anything made before 1970. Others have different time frames. Never thought this would happen.

Fender: Never say never. LOL.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 09:24 AM, Oct 7th, 2017)



Bass is the place . . .
Oct 7th, 2017 06:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'll bet this "new old bass" of yours is older than your 1960s Fender basses were when you first decided what was "vintage" for you!




Oct 8th, 2017 07:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

I do think there are good '70s Fenders, but I think the reputation in general was earned.

I thought some have put the decline in quality really starting around 1974?

Nice score on that '76! I have also read a question that those '70s P's seems to be wired different than those in the past. I would be curious as to your thoughts on if that seems to be the case.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 8th, 2017 09:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

x81...not an expert on wiring over the years but clearly I've seen enough 50s, 60s and 70s harnesses to know this 76 has slightly more wiring than what I remember from the earlier years.

For example, there are two wires coming off the jack.

Don't want to comment any further on this because my bass does have a replacement volume pot and some extra work may have been done at that time by the technician doing the replacement.

Like I said earlier, this is really my first venture into Fender basses from the 70s so I'm learning as I go.

The neck on this bass is worth the price of the whole instrument. So comfortable, so easy to set-up for really low action.

My ears are still adjusting to the sound of the pickups. More midrange than I'm used to yet there's an edge to the tone which makes the pickups very workable in the mix.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 11:56 AM, Oct 8th, 2017)

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Oct 8th, 2017 09:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

Eventualy you get to the point where you know what you like. I played a Framus from 1965 to 1981. I eventually got to the point where I knew the Framus sucked but it's what I had and got the job at every audition.

I used to go into every music store I came across, though I didn't have the money to make a purchase. I'd play the high end boutiques the high end factory instruments and it occured to me that what made a bass great for me was not cheap but less costly than the high end stuff. In 1981 I found a Fender P-Special put it on a layaway program, paid it off in a month.

Never had attitude about what someone used, though I knew a guy that had 5 or 6 basses, I played a few of them and they all sucked, they were cheap, I thought that was lame, I'd rather have one good bass than all the junk ones he had.

The modern manufacturing process spits out really great cheap instruments from time to time. My Squire Affinity Bronco is one of these. I made some modifications to it, maybe too many but it's worthy. Their are guys out their that will judge me for playing that instrument, and I get a kick out of that. It was pointed out to me by one of the instructors at the Gainesville Guitar Center, his opinion was it was as good, mayber better, than any other bass in the store. He was correct it's a sweet bass.

(This message was last edited by hushnel at 12:00 PM, Oct 8th, 2017)


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 8th, 2017 10:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

One more piece of 76 news.

Had a 1960 tort guard lying around here for years looking for a home. Put it on the 76 last night.

The tort with the amber see-through finish on the ash body screams "hippie" bass.

All is right with the world.


Contributing Member

Chico CA

If you rest, you rust.
Oct 9th, 2017 12:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Post a pic if you get a chance George!


Long Island City, NY

Oct 11th, 2017 02:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

One point I'm confused about is this:

>>Two days now and still lovin' this 76. The serial is 705050.

That doesn't seem to be a '76 S/N.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 11th, 2017 04:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

Mine is 705050.

The Fender website I consulted, the one which is used to date Fender guitars and basses made in America, states clearly this serial number comes from the huge batch of numbers issued in the year 1976.

My number is stamped on a plate with a big "F." I understand that later in 1976 serials migrated to the headstocks of instruments.

What am I missing?


Fender serial numbers

(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 06:08 PM, Oct 11th, 2017)



Oct 11th, 2017 06:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

George, I thought that stuff started in 1977 and/or the logo changed. Any pics of the headstock available?


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 11th, 2017 06:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm working on getting some pics right now.

In the meantime, my headstock logo is the large "TV" decal stretching all the way across the length of the peghead. The logo features patent numbers below the word Fender. No serial number on the headstock.



Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Oct 11th, 2017 06:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm no expert on 70s Fenders, but I am confident in my understanding that 76 is the transition year for serial numbers, with instruments featuring serials on the neck plates, then serials moving to the headstock and becoming an element in the new decals introduced at the same time.


(This message was last edited by edmonstg at 08:50 PM, Oct 11th, 2017)

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Confessions of a vintage snob.

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