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When is a bass "vintage"?


thabottomend

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I recently realized that me and my Fender P have been together for 25 years (my wife and I make it 17 on the 21st of this month). I haven't had the neck off the guitar (or the wife) to check and see if there is a date stamped on it so I can get the exact age of the bass. This brings me to two questions.......

 

1. Will it affect the tone of the bass if I take the neck off next time I change strings? I don't remember ever taking the neck off before. I ran the serial number on the Fender website, so I know the bass was made between 1979 and 1981 (I bought it in '81).

 

2. At what point is a bass considered "vintage" or "antique", and is there a difference between these two designations?

 

And don't worry, I know better than to refer to my wife by either term......... :D

Do not be deceived by, nor take lightly, this particular bit of musicianship one simply describes as "bass". - Lowell George

 

"The music moves me, it just moves me ugly." William H. Macy in "Wild Hogs"

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Originally posted by thabottomend:

1. Will it affect the tone of the bass if I take the neck off next time I change strings?

Not as long as you remember to bolt the neck back on. ;) I wouldn't worry about it, there's guitarists that take their Fenders apart for travel, etc. and it doesn't seem to make any difference. I'd bet that bass would be the same.
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I've had my Jazz neck off recently and it went back on fine without needing any truss rod adjustment.

 

I would say that 60's is vintage in guitarspeak. But the 70's fenders are semi-collectable and by 2010, I would have thought they might be considered vintage. The 70's fenders were made on a greater scale and there were some quality issues and so IMHO it feels a little false to call 70's fenders vintage.

 

I've got a '76 P-bass, that I've had from new and whilst it's a one-trick bass, it does that job very well indeed.

 

Davo

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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Anytime you disassemble an instrument there is always the slight chance that something may go wrong. However; in this case, I think knowing the actual date on the neck is very important.

 

The 50's and 60's Fenders were for a long time collectable, Now they are more than collectable. When those basses became out of reach for most players, then they started paying higher prices for the 70's vintage. Someday the 2000 series may be collectable. The value of anything is what someone, somewhere, is willing to pay for it.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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I think that 'vintage' is indeed a sales term; my first good bass was a '69 P Bass. I don't even consider that one to be 'vintage' (though I don't have it anymore), since if the bass was a vintage bass and I was 17 when I bought it, that would make me 'vintage', too. And I'm not that old yet... :)

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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I think to be a vintage human, you have to write a book and smell like tobaco, or be some sort of shaman.

dcr hit it on the head. Vintage is just a word that makes more money. I would not consider anything in the 80's vinatage.

Alternative method for vintage. People who were teenagers in 1979 would be about 43 now and be at the point in life where they wanted to be young again. (this is stereo typing, I understand that and they are a useful tool) they now have some money because there kids are going away to college and they look for the instrument they longed for when they were young. Now they want it, and so do all the other old farts (sorry, I had to crack and age joke being 23 and all, although I'm already losing my hair :( ). I think it would be more like 50-60 Year old range. So you got a couple years.

We always think things were better the way the used to be. I think that is a horrable though process since its the only period of time we have no control over and or cant reach. Well, we could change our memories which does happen more often that we think, but you get what im saying.,

Ok, now I might jsut be rambling,

god luck, jonathan

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted by dnkritr:

I think to be a vintage human, you have to write a book and smell like tobaco, or be some sort of shaman.

Hey, I've written a bunch of articles, and I probably DO smell like tobacco.

 

But I don't FEEL vintage! :rolleyes:

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Originally posted by dnkritr:

I think to be a vintage human, you have to write a book and smell like tobaco, or be some sort of shaman.

And I am some sort of shaman... in certain inner circles anyway... but I am not vintage (just one year closer to it as of yesterday).
- Matt W.
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Hmm... I have written a bunch of published stuff... and, while I don't necessarily smell like tobacco, I often smell like smoke when I leave clubs.

 

I'm over 30... and I could be a shaman to some people.

 

Screw it. I'm vintage. Put me on e-bay for four times my actual value and see what happens.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by CMDN:

[QB] Hmm... I have written a bunch of published stuff... and, while I don't necessarily smell like tobacco, I often smell like smoke when I leave clubs.

 

OT reply, but....

The best thing to happen to New York State was when the "No Smoking in public" thing went into effect. I no longer have to leave my coat in the car on sub-zero evenings and leave the 'dry clean only' clothes at home. I can hit the blues jam session and not have my wife demand I shower before getting into bed.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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I think it's kinda silly to think that just because 50's and 60's Fenders are collectable and expensive, all Fenders will be collectable and expensive when they reach a certain age. Fender has manufactured about a gazillion instruments in the meantime, many of questionable quality. "Collectability" and price probably have something to do with quality and rarity. . .

 

Ed

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Vintage or antique? No idea. I am sure that Bumpcity and CMDN are on a much cooler level of existence, and that these adjectives are insufficient for them.

 

I'd be curious enough to take the neck off of your bass to see for sure. As to your wife, the blood obscures the numbers - try using the birth certificate.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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If an instrument that I bought new when I was 22 years old (my '71 Jazz) is considered vintage, what the heck am I?
Priceless?

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by Graham56:

It's 'old' when it's yours.

 

It's 'vintage' when you're trying to sell it.. :)

 

Cheers

 

Graham

That's like the old joke

 

It's a fiddle when you try to sell it to a dealer, It's a violin when you want to buy it back.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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Originally posted by Bruiser:

"Collectability" and price probably have something to do with quality and rarity. . .

 

Ed

I don't think "Collectability" really has anything to do with Quality. There is nothing of quality in a baseball card. Collectability occures when someone thinks there there will be an increasing demand for an item due to availabilitiy or increasing in value because of populatity. Fender has made a Zillion instruments, that is true but 40 years from now, they may make 100 zillion and the 2000 models will look very collectable. Who knows, I certainly don't.

:)

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Originally posted by Rocky3840:

Originally posted by Bruiser:

"Collectability" and price probably have something to do with quality and rarity. . .

 

Ed

I don't think "Collectability" really has anything to do with Quality. There is nothing of quality in a baseball card. Collectability occures when someone thinks there there will be an increasing demand for an item due to availabilitiy or increasing in value because of populatity. Fender has made a Zillion instruments, that is true but 40 years from now, they may make 100 zillion and the 2000 models will look very collectable. Who knows, I certainly don't.

:)

Rocky

Rocky,

 

Over the last 56 years, I've noticed that predictions of the future are notoriously unreliable. Otherwise, we'd be flying to the moon in our rocket cars for weekend jaunts by now. ;)

 

But coming back to the future value of "collectable" items, I think a good analogy for Fender is Ford: Leo Fender has been called the Henry Ford of guitars. He didn't really invent electric guitars, but he developed mass production techniques that made them affordable and therefore desirable to the masses.

 

Those early Ford models are highly collectable because they're pretty rare now. A Model T in any condition probably commands a good price, and one in "original" condition is nearly priceless. Sort of like a '54 P-Bass, I suppose. I can imagine that in the year 2046, original Model T's and '54 P-Basses will cost somewhere near the GNP of some of the smaller European nations.

 

Fords and Fenders from the year 2006? They might be considered collectable in 2046, and they might not. I suppose there are people who collect 40 year old Fords now from the vintage year of 1966, but I don't know any. I do know people who collect cars from that era that are somewhat more rare, though.

 

The owners of those 2006 Fenders, who have been holding onto them for 40 years waiting for the price to skyrocket, may be disappointed because the other 100 zillion owners are doing the same thing.

 

But I suppose you're right about "quality" not being a factor, because I don't consider Fenders from any era to be "quality" instruments, they always were designed to be cheap to manufacture. I was just thinking that at one time, only pre-CBS Fenders were considered desirable because their quality was supposedly better than the CBS era. Now anything of a certain age, either CBS or post-CBS, is considered "vintage" and therefore valuable. I think that if they were crap in 1970, they're just old crap now.

 

It just makes me think that I want to have basses that I like to play, and I'll leave it to the executors of my estate to decide whether or not they are vintage and collectable. :D

 

Ed

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Ed, you have made some good points. I can't afford the vey collectable models so I'll just have to be happy with my 1990 P Bass Plus. I can't sell it because nobody else wants it.

:cry:

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Originally posted by Rocky3840:

Ed, you have made some good points. I can't afford the vey collectable models so I'll just have to be happy with my 1990 P Bass Plus. I can't sell it because nobody else wants it.

:cry:

Rocky

Rocky,

 

If it makes you happy, nothing else matters.

 

Ed

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Originally posted by jeremy c:

If an instrument that I bought new when I was 22 years old (my '71 Jazz) is considered vintage, what the heck am I?

The same age as my Mom... :P

 

I guess I'm vintage though too... ;)

 

Cheers

Newf :D

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