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What to do with my ancient Jazz Bass?

What to do with my ancient Jazz Bass?
« on: March 03, 2010, 01:23:32 PM »
Hi guys,
I'm new here, so forgive me if this is not the correct forum. I thought this would be the best place to ask these questions.
I have a mongrel bass which is a Fender Jazz body (I seem to remember being told it was a '64 body but seems to be 1966 by the s.n.) and a 1963 Fender Precision neck (date stamped 05OCT63C). It also came with a plastic Fender half-shell (beltguard) which needs a serious industrial cleaning.
I have gigged this bass professionally since the 1980s but over the last decade it has fallen into disrepair and I've been wanting to sort it out.
I have been given various opinions as to how much the guitar is worth, I'm wondering if the parts are worth more separately (as the neck and body don't belong together originally anyway).
At some point someone has done a less-than-convincing green spray job on it. If I were to strip this back to the wood/ respray, would I be lessening the value? I suspect yes. If not, I would be very tempted.
(Ideally, I would like to have the Jazz body dipped and resprayed, with a new tailpiece/ bridge, and get a replacement Jazz neck for it. It would also be nice to get a Precision body for the (re-fretted) neck at some time as well, but that can wait for now!)
The other (and probably financially more realistic) option would be to sell it and buy a new bass with the proceeds.
Any advice would be much appreciated. I'm not sure what the rules are regarding posting images but I have close-up pics of the beast so can post them if that's OK.
Many thanks to y'all in advance.


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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2010, 04:40:08 PM »
Hi, and welcome
sounds like an interesting bass. Pictures are more than welcome, please upload some!
As for value... well the market is always changing and shop advertised prices can be many magnitudes higher than private sale prices.... and what things actually sell for is another matter entirely.
Suffice to say, what you have is certainly valuable. In your position i'd try and swap the precision neck for a similar period jazz neck. It might not happen immediately, but with the wonders of the net, I bet it could be arranged in time.

Pics of J Bass/ P Neck (1)
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2010, 06:59:09 PM »
Hi Jules,
Thanks for prompt reply!
Here are some pics of the bass:

More pics:
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2010, 07:19:52 PM »
Couple of pics of the pickups:

P Bass neck
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2010, 07:23:15 PM »
One more of the neck:

J Bass 'Body Guard'
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2010, 07:34:00 PM »
This is the "Fender 'Body Guard' by Parker" (Pat. Appl.For):


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What to do with my ancient Jazz Bass?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 03:50:40 PM »
I think your suspicion that the bass is worth more as parts is entirely accurate.  Selling that as a put together bass will get you some money.  But whenever you part them out you get a bit more, as a guy who really needs a 63 P neck is not going to pay more just to have some Jazz parts he doesn't need.

Your P neck is looking good, as it has the original tuners and finish.  The chipped decal is actually more of a help for you, as it is fairly authentic.  It should get some good money on ebay.  Not as much as if you had sold it 2 to 3 years ago, but that is life.

The body is a beat bad refin.  A really bad refin.  Hopefully the neck plate matches the date codes on the pots (and they are original) and the pups may have a date written on the bottom unless they were swapped out.  It would get some interest on ebay, but with the bad refin in the neck pocket and bridge missing, I would say you have to take the rest of it apart to verify originality and include them with the body if you sell.  And throw the black strap locks away.

The body guard is a curiosity.  Lots of people pay ok money for them but nobody really loves them, and it isn't hard to find them in the box never used.  Keep it with the body, but keep in mind they don't belong original to any Fender Jazz.

OR, you could go to the trouble of refinishing the body, and buying parts that  are missing.  A lot of work, a lot of money, and you could easily pay for a good original 62 reissue Fender bass that would always hold its value.  And would play great.  I personally wouldn't bother.  Sticking a Jazz neck on it with a new finish just makes it a refinned non original Jazz, and an original bridge will set you back a lot of money.  Oddly enough, 66-early 68 Jazz necks with the old decal and binding/blocks have more demand than older necks now, so you would be in competition.  You could try a simillar route with the P neck, and find a loaded 62 reissue body on ebay for maybe around $500, but you will always have a real neck on a body that is not original, and that is not worth much more than just the neck.

Or you could try to work a good trade for the parts to end up with one or the other in some sense of being more what they should.  That could take years and someone will try to milk some money in the process.  

I'd sell it and get an older reissue Jazz and maybe have a little left over.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2010, 03:53:31 PM by eb2 »

What to do with my ancient Jazz Bass?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2010, 07:42:10 PM »
Hey eb2,
Thank you very much indeed for your sage and detailed reply.
I think I agree almost totally. I have the original bridge and cover for the body BTW. I'd like to keep the Jazz body and parts (even the nasty black strap locks :)) in order to get it back to playing / recording state. Probably keep the P neck tuners as well and try and find a nice Jazz neck for it, doesn't have to be vintage, just play nice. It's the sound of the pickups/ body I want to keep. The other parts (neck, body guard) can go on ebay.
And I've always fancied it in Lake Placid Blue :)
If I can't find a neck cheap enough though, I'll probably go with your advice of selling the separate parts and going with a reissue.
Thanks once again for taking the time to reply in such detail, and to everyone else who answered my question, this was a big help.


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Fender jazz bass
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2010, 09:08:29 PM »
Lake Placid Blue sounds good. Do you know what colour it was initially?
I see this guy is parting out a 1966 jazz bass. Might be worth watching to see what he gets for his parts, or maybe trying to do a trade? here's a link to the neck, see his other items for the rest.
I'd be very interested to see how your project develops if you do decide to do a restoration

What to do with my ancient Jazz Bass?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2010, 11:30:25 AM »
Hey Jules,
Sorry for delay in responding, have been offline for a while.
I'm afraid I have no idea what the original colour was. The bass was bought for me by one of my road crew in 1984 (I believe it came from Chandlers in London IIRC).
I wanted a Musicman Stingray but £350 wasn't gonna get me that, so this fitted the bill. In retrospect that was a bit of a steal :)
Thanks very much for the link, will take a look now. And I will post details of the restoration as it happens.
All the best.

What to do with my ancient Jazz Bass?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2010, 11:35:35 AM »
OK, that neck looked sweet! I missed the auction needless to say, but TBH there's no way I can afford that kind of cash (at the moment anyway) for this project, so I'll be looking for a less vintage neck I think. It's nice to know they come around though.
Maybe one day.......
Thanks again for the link Jules.


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