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Japanese Fender PB clone bass...


Japanese Fender PB clone bass...
« on: August 15, 2007, 11:05:42 AM »
Recently I came across a Fender PB clone, MIJ (neckplate is stamped). The owner claimed that is was an early '70. It is in a shiny condition. However, I can't find anything on the internet about the name Orfeo, related to guitars. Does anyone know anything?

The bass itself is really a good piece of work, from those Japanese people. I compared it in detail with a Fender PB USA from 1974. There are just tiny differences; the PG is a bit larger on the top of the body, the neck-hiel is a bit smaller, but the neck-pocket is on the other hand thicker, so in total it's the same again.
The neck is maple with a maple fretboard. It plays really silky. It's a A-type neck at the nuth; 1,5 inch. Very comfortable.

The PUPs sound good; just a bit too treble IMO compared to real USA's from that time (so I changed them with original one's from '75). There's lot's of sustain. The original pots are smaller and 500K instead of 250K.

The body however is made of PLY-wood instead of solid ash. I made some pic's of that. Does anyone know more about body constructions made of PLY-wood? What kind of wood is actually used? I know it is a cheap solution in those day's. It doesn't affect the sound too much IMO, though.
I read an article of someone who said that PLY-wood bodies are much more 'solid' when they enter obstructions.

The sunburst coulor is in perfect condition. The total weight is about 4 kilogram.

See the pic's:

Hombre Thijs... Tabasco!

Japanese Fender PB clone bass...
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2007, 05:54:14 PM »
Hi Thijs, my first post here & I might be able to help you ID your bass.

First of all, Orfeo will be an importer's brand name - the Japanese factories in the 70s exported under many, many different names, usually chosen by the purchasers in the countries they were exported to. Even Ibanez was only ever a brand name, not a factory!

Age-wise, it's quite difficult to tell, (although some serial numbers show the date of manufacture) but I'd be inclined to say late 70s. A couple of things make me think this: early Japanese basses (and guitars) tended not to feature a position marker on the 19th fret - they would stop at the 17th. Also, the nut and tuners are the correct P-bass type - early copies often had a Gibson-style nut, with either a chrome or white plastic truss rod cover. Tuners were more usually medium-sized, with closed backs & cast, square-ish keys.

The neck plate might give a clue as to which factory built it - if it features the "Made In Japan" text stamped on the lower part of the plate, these are commonly seen on guitars from the Fujigen Gakki factory, while if it's on the upper half, Rokkoman/Maya is a possibility. If the plate also reads "Steel Adjustable Neck", then this is often seen on guitars from Matsumoku. A 6-bolt plate is connected to the Moridaira factory.

None of this is "hard" evidence - there's very little record of the 70s Japanese guitar industry, and with so many factories (the ones I mentioned are the better-known ones - there were many others) producing basically identical instruments, it can get a bit confusing!

Anyhow, hope this helps, and if it doesn't, hopefully you at least found it interesting!



Japanese Fender PB clone bass...
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2007, 07:23:10 AM »
Hi Jon,

Thanks for the very interesting things you know about the J-basses!
Someone told me (on the Dutch bass forum) that this bass was at least from the second part of the '70 due to the position of the thumbrest, as Japanese manufactorys copied a 100%. The thumbrest (from FB's) moved from the G-string to the E-string about '74/'75. The also said it was a High-End Jap.
However, I made a picture of the neckplate itself. Could be a Rokkoman/Maya then...

Do you know anything about the type of wood that's been used?

I really must say, having seven basses (including original Fender PB '72, Gibsons LP Triumph '74, EB3 '74, Rick 4001 '78 ), that the sound of the (stock)Japanese PB doesn't sound as an underquality! That counts also for the great playabel slim neck.
Hombre Thijs... Tabasco!


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