Vintage Guitar and Bass forum

Help needed to identify jazz bass year?

Help needed to identify jazz bass year?
« on: January 20, 2010, 11:22:22 AM »
Hi folks  -  Iam new to this type of communicating, so please forgive if I make the odd gaff!
I live in Northern Ireland and know for sure this guitar has been in friends care from very early 70's and it most surely was not new then.
Unfortunately this person is now dead, primarily due to excessive drinking, but prior to this I recovered the guiter, which was in a truely awful state, from his coal shed.
Regretably I did not take pics at this stage,
Some time later I decided to try to restore, as best as I could, only using the minimum of new elements. This was a very daunting task as bits of the head were broken - most chrome has rusted away - and the body was battered and bruised almost beyond recognition!
Someway after I commenced the project I took some pics, and again when I finished the project.  Please give me your thoughts!!! How do I add pics to this thread??    Derek Halcrow

Help needed to identify jazz bass year?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 01:48:59 AM »
Hi Derek, I wonder if this is a lawsuit copy of a jazz bass from the 70s. Nothing looks right for a real fender to me. The inlays are wrong, the electronics are wrong, the body routs are wrong, the peg head decal is wrong. I know some Japanese companies were making copies of popular basses back in the 70's (Fender, Rickenbacker, etc) so this may be one of those. Others may chime in with their impressions. Either way, I am sure you had fun restoring it. Chris

Help needed to identify jazz bass year?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 08:25:17 PM »
Many thanks for your reply - you could be right. Certainly the pick-ups never seemed right for a Fender - I presume you mean the decals on the photo of the broken head - if that is the case then perhaps nothing is as it seems. The body certainly is a lovely piece of wood and so very heavy (?ash  ?swamp ash) Any wood experts out there??
Yes had good experience repairing although a bit disappointed if it is worthless.
Anyway - that's life.   Derek


  • ****
  • 456
    • View Profile
Help needed to identify jazz bass year?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 04:57:28 PM »
Not a Fender, and almost probably not Japanese.  This appears to be a Vietnamese or Philippine copy guitar from the early 70s or late 60s.  These were made for the sailor and GI market to offer cheap knock offs.  They were varied in quality, but certain ones were made more accurately.  It is hard to tell what the body wood is, as they used what they could get.  It could be ash. But oddly enough the necks almost always stay straight under tension on those things, so they weren't junk.  Not a great fake, but fun.

Help needed to identify jazz bass year?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 11:26:28 PM »
Thank you eb2 for a very interesting reply - my local town is Derry which had a large US Naval base - so your theory could fit in very well.
Amazing if true!


Recent posts on vintage guitar and bass

1961 Hofner Colorama IHofner Colorama was the name UK distributor Selmer gave to a series of solid and semi-solid guitars built by Hofner for distribution in the UK. The construction and specifications of the guitars varied over the period of production, but by 1961 it was a totally solid, double cutaway instrument, with a set neck, translucent cherry finish, six-in-a-row headstock, and Hofner Diamond logo pickups. Available as a single or dual pickup guitar, this sngle pickup version would have been sold in mainland Europe as the Hofner 161.
1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)Commodore was a brand applied to a series of guitars produced in Japan at the well-respected Matsumoku plant from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s - and sold primarily (perhaps exclusively?) in the United Kingdom. The models bearing the Commodore name were all guitars available from different distributors with different branding. Although there may have been some minor changes in appointments (specifically headstock branding) most had the same basic bodies, hardware and construction. Equivalent models to the Commodore N25 (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) include the Aria 5102T, Conrad 5102T(?), Electra 2221, Lyle 5102T, Ventura V-1001, Univox Coily - and most famously the Epiphone 5102T / Epiphone EA-250.
1960 Hofner Colorama IIThe Hofner Colorama was the name given by Selmer to a series of solid (and semi-solid) body Hofner guitars distributed in the United Kingdom between 1958 and 1965. The Colorama name actually applied to some quite different guitars over the period, but in 1960 it was a very light, semi-solid, set necked guitar with one (Colorama I) or two (Colorama II, as seen here) Toaster pickups. Although an entry-level guitar, it was very well-built, and a fine playing guitar; certainly a step up (at least in terms of craftsmanship) from many of the Colorama guitars that would follow, and a good deal of the guitars available in Britain circa 1960.
1971 Epiphone 1820 (ET-280) bassBy the end of the 1960s, a decision had been made to move Epiphone guitar production from the USA (at the Kalamazoo plant where Gibson guitars were made), to Matsumoto in Japan, creating a line of guitars and basses significantly less expensive than the USA-built models (actually less than half the price). The Matsumoku factory had been producing guitars for export for some time, but the 1820 bass (alongside a number of guitar models and the 5120 electric acoustic bass) were the first Epiphone models to be made there. These new Epiphones were based on existing Matsumoku guitars, sharing body shapes, and hardware, but the Epiphone line was somewhat upgraded, with inlaid logos and a 2x2 peghead configuration. Over the course of the 70s, the Japanese output improved dramatically, and in many ways these early 70s models are a low point for the brand. Having said this, there are a lot worse guitars out there, and as well as being historically important, the 1820 bass can certainly provide the goods when required.
1981 Gibson MarauderProduction of Bill Lawrence's Gibson Marauder began in 1974, with production peaking in 1978. But by 1980 the model was officially discontinued, though very small numbers slipped out as late as spring 1981. Over 7000 examples shipped between 1974 and 1979, and although no totals are available for 1980 and 1981, it is unlikely production reached three figures in either of these years. These final Marauders were all assembled at the Gibson Nashville plant, and had some nice features not available through the later years of production, such as a rosewood fretboard, and in this case, an opaque 'Devil Red' finish. It's a great looking and fine playing guitar!
1971 Pick Epiphone catalogWhen Epiphone production moved from Kalamazoo to the Matsumoku plant in Japan, a whole new range of electric, flattop and classic acoustic guitars was launched. Between late 1970 and 1972 the new models were launched and refined. This 'folder' catalog contains various inserts released over these years detailing four electric six-strings (ET-270, ET-275, ET-278, and thinline EA-250), three bass guitars (ET-280, ET-285, and thinline EA-260), three folk/steel acoustics, four jumbo flattop acoustics, two 12-string jumbos, four classic acoustics, and a banjo.
1981 Gibson Specials Pre-Owners Manual'Gibson Specials' was part of the June 1981 pre-owners manual series, but unlike the other folders contained a mish-mash of different guitars: limited editions, test marketing and close outs. "You will find the unusual, the brand-new, and the bargain within this folder". End of line 70s guitars like the Marauder, S-1, and L-6S Custom mixed in with brand new models the The V, The Explorer and the Flying V Bass.
It was the largest folder in the series, with 24 inserts, (19 guitars and 5 basses): Guitars: 335-S Standard, Melody Maker Double, Marauder, L-6S Custom, S-1, RD Artist, Firebird, Firebird II, Flying V, Flying V-II, The V, Explorer, Explorer II, The Explorer, The "SG" Standard, Les Paul Artist, Les Paul Artisan, ES-335 Heritage, ES-175/CC Basses: Grabber, G-3, L-9S, RD Artist Bass, Flying V Bass
1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bass Rose-Morris were selling Shaftesbury-branded Rickenbacker copy instruments from the late 1960s right through the 1970s. The 3263 bass was one of the first models, (alongside the 3261 six string and 3262 twelve string) available from late 1968 until about 1974. The earliest incarnation was a set neck bass, produced very briefly in Japan. But production quickly moved to Italy. This bolt-on neck example was built by Eko, in Recanati, using the same hardware and pickups as fitted to Eko, and Vox basses built around the same time. It's certainly a fine looking bass, and not a bad player either.
1961 Hohner Zambesi This very early, and pretty rare British-built guitar is branded Hohner London. Hohner were, of course, a German company, better known for their harmonicas and accordions, but they were keenly expanding into guitars at the birth of the 1960s. This model, along with the Hohner Amazon and (particularly) the Hohner Holborn, bear some similarity with Vox guitars of the same period; furniture manufacturer Stuart Darkins constructed bodies and necks for both brands, with Fenton Weill assembling them using their hardware and pickups. These guitars do have some hardware peculiarities, and they are not the most adjustable of instruments, but they actually play very nicely, being solidly built out of some very nice woods. Check out the video on this page.