Vintage Jazz bass?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by narad, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys. So I'm not much of a bass player but I was sorting of scouting around for a vintage-style jazz bass to put brights on for more funk things. The Fender CS ones are often like $3.5k or so, but I notice actual vintage (say 70-74-ish) ones are often only $1-2k more. A lot of bassists I respect use jazz basses around this era (Joe Dart) and so it has me kind of into the idea of buying one -- does anyone know if this is a good idea or what to look for?

    Is there a modern builder I should be looking at too / FCS?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    The thing with the old basses is the really good ones are quickly snatched up by American and Japanese specialty shops. Typically, the stuff you find in the sub-$3k range either has hundreds of dollars of work needed or are mostly new parts on sub-optimal old necks and bodies. Unless you can play them in person, I'd pass.

    Look for two or three year old American Deluxe. You can still find plenty of them new, and there are plenty used. Probably the most accessible, great first world made Jazz Bass you can get your hands on well under $2k.

    If you want to hunt down more of a bargain you can find used Sadowsky Metro, Alleva-Coppollo and Mike Lull stuff for under $3k if you're willing to be flexible on specs, condition or color.
     
  3. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Do you think buying one from a specialty shop is a pretty safe bet (at the expense of having the price is up 10-20% over market?).

    I admit there's just something that seems super nice about those old rosewood boards and aged block inlays. Just does it for me :)
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    If it's a well established shop known for supplying vintage instruments, it should be relatively safe. But make sure it's not an "as is" deal or they don't verify the neck pocket dates and electronics. Even some of the better shops sell of a "mutant", an old parts bass, as an "as is".
     
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  5. TemjinStrife

    TemjinStrife Power Metal Cellist

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    Also, if you're looking for something to play, play it first. A bunch of the '70s Fenders can be tone-dead, boat-anchor planks. My own late-70s P is monstrously heavy, but at least happens to sound good.
     
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  6. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    just get any bass with a nice set of JJ pickups with a passive EQ and save yourself some cash.

    also you can go to Warmoth and build one with the specs/colors that you want.
     
  7. Screamingdaisy

    Screamingdaisy SS.org Regular

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    The '70s wasn't a good era for Fender. The only reason they're worth anything is because they're old.
     
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  8. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Some of the guitars were questionable, but the 70's Jazz Bass models were solid. In fact the pearl block/maple board models are some of the most sought after, probably just behind stack knobs.

    After around four decades, most issues have lead to either the bass being parted out, destroyed or fixed.

    The 70's get a lot of flack for being post CBS buyout, but by then most of the issues with CBS mismanagement had been taken care of, at least on the production floor. I'd argue that the early 80's were much worse as far as the quality and design of instruments at Fender.
     
  9. Bloody_Inferno

    Bloody_Inferno Silence is Violence

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    Check out the Jazz basses at Moon Guitars.

    My old Jazz bassist buddy had an old JJ4 and it sounded amazing.
     
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  10. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Yea I did get to check out a Moon 5-string at one point and it was pretty solid. Among the bass brands that pop up a lot in Japan shops, I think this is my favorite:

    [​IMG]

    Really wanted to nab that one...
     
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  11. Screamingdaisy

    Screamingdaisy SS.org Regular

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    Post CBS buyout wasn't until '83. The '70s was the heyday of CBS mis-management.
     
  12. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    That's what I said, it was after the buyout, which was in 1965. While management of the company itself was bad, by the early 70's the production side was back to making solid instruments again. They continued making good stuff until the late 70's and early 80's when they started penny pinching. That's what prompted the employees to buy back Fender.

    Not to mention, the basses came out relatively unscathed from that time period. It was the Strat and amps which really suffered under CBS.

    I'd say from about 68 to 77 were still really good instruments. From there it gets more hit or miss and by 79/80 they were going downhill fast. Didn't really get good again till 84/85. They coasted along from there until they became cool again in the early 90's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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