60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

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swalexbass
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60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by swalexbass » 30 Oct 2017, 12:29

Hi Ozbass,

I've never had the chance to play a proper US made 60's or 70's vintage Fender Jazzes. So for those of you have - do they really provide the sound quality that matches its astronomical price tag? Or are they just priced that high for the collectors only?

If anyone could highlight the differences between the newer Fender jazz vs the vintage ones, that would be great. Thanks! :popcorn:
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veebass
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by veebass » 30 Oct 2017, 14:04

I think the pricing of second hand goods is always difficult.
These basses have a utility and so they have a value as an instrument for use. That value is relatively easy to put a figure on. They also are desirable and can be valuable because of what they are. That is much harder to put a firm value on and it comes down to what the seller is prepared to take and the buyer is prepared to spend.
I have been lucky enough to play some lovely pre CBS Jazzes, CBS Jazzes and some more recent ones.
Do the old ones have a sound quality that matches the price? :shrug: I think that involves a couple of subjective assessments.
We (my son and I) have a number of vintage Fenders, including a '75 Jazz, which is quite different to 60s Jazzes and more "modern" ones. I am more a P Bass guy- so that is the only vintage Jazz we have. The price of 60s Jazzes has always pulled me up for a Jazz Bass.
The 75 Jazz is actually my son's and we have restored it to original.
It is the lightest jazz I have ever payed at 8 pounds neat without covers fitted. I think it is unusual in being that light.
In terms of feel, the 70s neck is different to earlier and later Jazz necks. It has a tight vintage radius but is slightly chunkier (thicker through the neck) that 60s Jazzes I have played.
Body contours are bigger and more rounded than current Jazzes I have looked at.
A few obvious differences are the bullet truss nut and the three bolt neck plate- neither of which have ever caused me an issue and both work just fine.
Another obvious difference is the bound and blocked neck.
This and my other CBS Fenders don't have the sloppy neck joints I read about- nice and tight.
The bridge pickup is closer to the bridge than in early and more recent Jazzes and it does make a difference. Soundwise, it is a very different sounding bass to other Jazzes I have played and I guess that is why we wanted one. They are snappier are very growly. I have a recent FSR Antigua Jazz which has the same pickup position as a real 70s Jazz and it is also snappier and growlier as well but not quite so much as the real '75. The FSR has the Roadworn Pickups in it, I understand. So I suppose the pickups are different to what is in the 75. I haven't played the recent USA 70s RI for comparison.

A way of answering your question from my perspective would be. It depends how big the price tag is. We were prepared to go a real 75 because it sounds different and it didn't cost what some guys are asking, even when you add in the vintage parts we have bought and installed.

Another difficulty in answering your question involves the plethora of modern Jazz bass models- some of which are as expensive or more so new than a reasonably priced "real" 70s Jazz.

:useless:

I can't remember whether I posted a pic of this when we finished it.


Image
Last edited by veebass on 30 Oct 2017, 14:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Classic5
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by Classic5 » 30 Oct 2017, 14:21

That's a nice lookin' jazz :cool:
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veebass
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by veebass » 30 Oct 2017, 14:23

Classic5 wrote:
30 Oct 2017, 14:21
That's a nice lookin' jazz :cool:
Thanks, it's light as well
It snarls and cuts like a knife. My son loves it.
Happiness is .......a Telebass and 500W.

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onehandclapping
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by onehandclapping » 30 Oct 2017, 15:41

I have 3 pre 65 jazz basses and a custom shop 64 relic jazz.My first original finish pre 65 jazz must have taken 20 years to find.Lots of post 65 J's were easier to come by and less expensive.The closest to what I like in a new jazz would be the custom shop 64.I have had heaps of late 60s and 70s j basses come through my hands but they are not for me.I once had a late 60s j,I bought brand new,before I left the shop I changed necks and put on a p bass 64 c neck,that was nice 😄
62 white jazz,slab board.
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narcdor
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by narcdor » 31 Oct 2017, 11:22

For everything but looks you can pay less for a custom build to be whatever you want with top shelf components. Even looks you can get, but I have a weird thing about fake wear which I'm not entirely comfortable with, if you want a bass that looks 50 years old get one, but that's just me. I actually have two vintage basses but only because the prices aren't stupid on vintage fender mustangs.

So that's a no vote from me.
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BOSS302BASS
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by BOSS302BASS » 11 Nov 2017, 23:37

I recently advertised a 66 J Bass. It cost me a lot of money. It cost me even more money after Malcolm and friends took their tax slice of it from me once I got it into the country. It is actually worth every penny I spent on it. It is the most beautiful sounding bass I have had for many years. The neck is divine, the nitro finish poops all over the poly neck finishes post 1968, and the pickups are everything you'd expect from something of this era. Better than my 69 J Bass I owned and did 1000 shows with between 1984 and 2000.
But it's something you have to touch, feel and hear through a good amp and at least two large speakers to appreciate (or an 8x10 SVT cab). Until you do, it's a commonly held belief that the prices on these things are bullshit and for collector jerks who can't play but have too much spare cash. (I'm not a collecter, I don't have too much spare cash, but I am a jerk) My 66 J has been refinished. That was the only reason I could afford it. Original paint adds three to seven thousand dollars to the price tag. Kind of like a repainted 65 Shelby mustang is only worth 100,000, but one with the original paint is worth 250,000.
Basses like my 66 J are going for US$5000+, yet no-one in this country wants to pay AU$5000 for it. They're selling for US$5000 or more, then our government takes a massive slice in the name of "tax", then shipping one in a case can be over $800 if the seller doesn't have a commercial shipping account - so a bass that you thought you could stretch to AU$7000 for has all of a sudden become a $9500+ proposition. Is it worth that? What price do you put on history, provenance, originality, the first run of anything? A reluctance of anyone - let alone Australians being prepared to pay current asking prices is unsurprising - not many of these instruments are around to try out, let alone buy, and Australians treat ebay and various other selling sites as some sort of lowball bidders' paradise. The amount of insulting lowball offers and smartarse comments from my countrymen re the value and validity of these vintage instruments astounds me.
And then you factor in the endless armchair critics who claim that pre-65's are somehow better made, or sound better than a pre-69, which sound better than a pre-73, which sound better than a pre-78...and on and on it goes. The reality is, it doesn't matter how sloppy the neck pocket is, if you know how to use a Phillips head screwdriver you can align the neck so the strings spread evenly across the fretboard. And if you know what intonation and a truss rod is, you can make the bass play comfortably. As long as that trussrod hasn't been stripped by a stoned hippy with a no knowledge of what he's actually doing - as far as 60's to 70's Fenders go, if they've still got their original bits and pieces and the neck isnt trashed, they can all be set up to sound and play beautifully. So many pre-1979 Fender basses play badly because their trussrods have been **** by previous owners or "guitar techs" - not because they were made poorly in the factory...and in the end, I'll take a pre-69 because it's all nitro and it's (usually) under 9 pounds.
And basses sound different as Fender bought up large stocks of cheaper, or more advanced pickup wire..."Formvar" became available in the early 60's, superseding (probably because it was offered to Fender at a cheaper price) the previous standard plain enamel wire. These two different coatings produce different tones - calling one bass better than another because of its wire is subjective at best - and reality is there was so much crossover with stock availability re pickup wire AS WELL as the fact that in many cases, some suppliers' formvar looked identical to other suppliers' plain enamel that the only way you could tell the difference would be to destroy the pickup in a lab getting the wire coating analyzed. And then there's the myriad of subtle but discernible tone changes made by the various types of capacitors...
Ultimately, pre-1970 Fender basses were usually sourced from lighter weight stocks of wood (percentage-wise, I've owned plenty of pre-70's that were pretty heavy, but for the most part, they usually come in under 8.5 lbs)And as long as someone hasn't added a massive lump of potmetal masquerading as a bridge upgrade to the bass, it'll sound sweet. If you want a bass to sound like it's made of potmetal, get a high mass bridge. Vintage pickups - particularly Fender P, J and T Bass pickups all sound beautiful all the way through to the late 70's, then the winding machines were cranked up to mass produce and tone got a little wayward.
And look at the eighties and beyond for Fender basses (and guitars for that matter) - do you like the look of an 83 Toyota or a 1967 mustang? Mass production and a lack of adherence to Fender's original production values had turned Fenders into Japanese mass-produced rubbish by the eighties. Crap pots, crap hardware, poly capacitors, cheap chrome, poor quality wood and heavy doses of polyester paint had turned Fenders into pale imitations of their former selves. But as they say in the classics - you can't stop progress. The best thing most eighties Fender basses are good for would be providing kindling for a barbecue. Overall - of course Fender regained some sort of dignity by re-opening in Fullerton and produced many fine "re-issues" from the sixties, but they were still not the same...and generally from heavier, less seasoned wood stocks.
In the end, in this country, as bass players we are **** over even harder by the music industry than almost any other instrument player, which consequently leaves us always counting every penny when we go to purchase our dream bass, or dream rig, but for me personally, I know that I'd rather blow that extra seven weeks' wages procuring that late 60's J, P or T Bass because i know it's gonna be worth every sweaty cent I've shelled out for it. Like veebass's 75 J pictured above, I bet any of us would say it sounds sweet as f**k, and probably just as sweet sounding as my 66 - the only difference I'm willing to bet would be the weight. As a bass player who long ago fell from the list of "working" musicians who make money off of original music in this country, I'm just glad I've managed to end up with a couple of post-65 but pre-1970 Fender basses because they not only sound lovely, they are under 9 pounds. As for the value - that's in the eye of the beholder, but since so many beholders have the really sweet old Fenders and Gibsons and Gretsches in bank vaults, the rest of us can fight over the others that come up for sale in the real world.

Now, how do I come up with $8000 for that 63 P Bass in my fave color?...

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veebass
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by veebass » 12 Nov 2017, 07:12

I hear you, brother.

Except......
BOSS302BASS wrote:
11 Nov 2017, 23:37

Like veebass's 75 J pictured above, I bet any of us would say it sounds sweet as f**k, and probably just as sweet sounding as my 66 - the only difference I'm willing to bet would be the weight. As a bass player who long ago fell from the list of "working" musicians who make money off of original music in this country, I'm just glad I've managed to end up with a couple of post-65 but pre-1970 Fender basses because they not only sound lovely, they are under 9 pounds. As for the value - that's in the eye of the beholder, but since so many beholders have the really sweet old Fenders and Gibsons and Gretsches in bank vaults, the rest of us can fight over the others that come up for sale in the real world.

Now, how do I come up with $8000 for that 63 P Bass in my fave color?...
That particular 75 J may be lighter than your lovely Jazz.

The 75 Jazz we have is a freak- it weighs 8 pounds without covers fitted. That was one of the reasons we bought it. We were so shocked at it's weight we made the guy completely pull it to pieces to check it's markings and that there were no huge routs under the guard. It is so light it is almost neck heavy. Lightest Jazz I have ever played and possibly the snarliest, now it has 75 pickups in it. The guys at the Brissy GTG before last saw it while it was being restored. I think it still had the passive EMGs in it then- it now has original 75 pickups and electronics in it.

I have been very lucky too, to be still gigging at 60 and to own some late 60s/ early 70s CBS Fenders, one pre CBS P Bass and a very early Fullerton. All great basses. I agree with you completely about the neck pocket nonsense some people talk, although mine are all really tight, except the 73 Tele which has about a mm gap. Makes no difference- neck has never moved in all the years I have owned it, even though it is three bolt and it also sustains for days. I shopped carefully, but might have paid "above the money" for the Teles when I thought the basses were worth it. The 69 was just one of those basses when I picked it up and the 73 has a personal story to it.

CBS weight - my 73 P is around 9 pounds. My Teles (69 and 73) are heavier around 10, but they are ash slabs. The 69 has a big solid neck too, that would add to the weigh a little. The Fullerton P is very light (close to 8 pounds without covers) as is the original 56.

Same crap goes on about Norlin era Gibsons, of which I have six or so. All really well made basses. Other guys here who have had them will say the same thing. No neck or truss problems, which I have had with 90s Fenders and Rickenbackers.. I have more recent basses as well. I would say on the evidence I have seen, Gibson's recent basses, of which I have five, are very well built too.

The market in Australia is really tough, as you say. So many tire kickers and know alls who know nothing. But that is not unique to Australia- spend some time on Talkbass.

I have no idea what I would get for my vintage basses, but I do know what I would be prepared to take.

Good luck with the hunt for your 63 P. There are a couple of old ones on eBay at present, but nothing that stands up and says "I am the one" to me.
Happiness is .......a Telebass and 500W.

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onehandclapping
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by onehandclapping » 14 Nov 2017, 07:38

I am 69 and used my 63 fiesta at a gig last week and the week before the 64 sburst the week before that,use it or lose it.Unfortunately with the basses I have I have had to pay top dollar.Got offered a nice 64p by a mate last week at a great price but really can’t be fxxxxx doing cites shite.Personally,and it is just me ,I am not a lover of bound j necks.
62 white jazz,slab board.
63 fiesta red jazz bass,matching h'stock
64 jazz sburst
Dale Fortune 1964 Rick 1999/4001s
60 cs journeyman jazz
Trace Elliot V4 x 2 all valve heads, 412L Schroeder cab,TC rh450,Schroeder 1212Lcab

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1965candyapplered
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Re: 60s and 70s Fender Jazz Basses

Post by 1965candyapplered » 03 Dec 2017, 01:16

They are better & they are worth it. They wont make you play or sound better, but they will make you want to. It doesn't just relate to guitars. The late 50's & early 60's was an incredible era for all things hand built including cars.
Gear: Fenders 62, 63, 65, Rickenbacker 4001 '75. Ampeg SVTCL AV & 410HLF Classic, 410HLF Heritage, Schroeder 1212L Classic

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