Jump to content

P-bass; new or vintage?


PsyBean
 Share

Recommended Posts

So I’ve decided I probably need a p-bass in my life but do I go for new or vintage? If vintage, is there any truth to the horrors of the CBS years or is that a myth? Maybe the build quality of MIJ is the way to go or do I just get something brand new(ish)? In the depths of lockdown, getting about to try stuff is not really an option so I’m looking for opinions. Yes, I know there’s a ton of stuff on here already but it’s bewildering so at the risk of getting shot down in sunburst, thought I’d put the question out there again.

  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’d recommend getting a used US one. Depending on preference for neck size:

2008-12 - not too chunky (quite modern sounding pickups)

2013-16 - chunky (and has Custom Shop 62 pickups)

2017 onwards - these are based on the 1963 which is apparently the holy grail of P-Bass necks, and they are really nice, not too chunky (pickups quite modern sounding)

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Lozz196 said:

I’d recommend getting a used US one. Depending on preference for neck size:

2008-12 - not too chunky (quite modern sounding pickups)

2013-16 - chunky (and has Custom Shop 62 pickups)

2017 onwards - these are based on the 1963 which is apparently the holy grail of P-Bass necks, and they are really nice, not too chunky (pickups quite modern sounding)

 

 

What was it prior to 2008 Lozz? 
when did the high mass bridges come in? I remember liking the ones after the S1 stuff but before the high mass bridges

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, LukeFRC said:

What was it prior to 2008 Lozz? 
when did the high mass bridges come in? I remember liking the ones after the S1 stuff but before the high mass bridges

I think the S1 was up to 2006. The high mass bridges came in in 2008 and have been there ever since so a small gap between the two. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

P basses are relatively simple and some of the cheaper budget basses sound great. I have a MIM that had American PUs as standard but even they were rubbish. Put some Lindy Fralin replacements in it and it’s fabulous. My favourite feature is it has a B width neck. I find the C width a bit too big and the 50’s style necks are way too chunky for me. 
 

So, lots to look out for and worth reading reviews on here before buying of you can’t try.

Definitely don’t go vintage without trying. I’ve tried a ‘63, ‘67, and a ‘77 and only the ‘67 was any good (it was really good). It’s a minefield out there.

Edited by OliverBlackman
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, OliverBlackman said:

Definitely don’t go vintage without trying. I’ve tried a ‘63, ‘67, and a ‘77 and only the ‘67 was any good (it was really good). It’s a minefield out there.

Doing some more digging, it does sound like vintage US examples can be variable so would agree to try first. MIJ models seem to be more consistent (and cheaper) so this might be the way to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes you play a bass that defies all logic and just feels and sounds right, be it vintage or new. There’s no shortcut to the top - just get one you like the look of, used, and try it, then get another and compare, keep going and many years later when you’re living in a shipping container you’ll reach the final level. Then someone suggests flats and you start all over again. It’s fun, honest!

Side note - don’t limit yourself to Fender although definitely try some of those too!

  • Like 3
  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, PsyBean said:

Doing some more digging, it does sound like vintage US examples can be variable so would agree to try first. MIJ models seem to be more consistent (and cheaper) so this might be the way to go.

There’s what looks to be a nice one at Bassdirect at the moment. The MIJs do seem to have a consistency and the necks are very comfortable/playable.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends on budget of course- but rule of thumb is, newer basses will be 'better' and more reliable, older basses will have more mojo and collector value but be more at risk of issues and more likely to need expensive work doing. I've played some amazing 70's USA models, and also some absolute dogs- if you're buying blind I'd probably swerve that route for now. Best compromise for a bit of both at a lower price would be a 90's MiJ IMO, I've yet to lay hands on a bad one, and you can get some vintage-looking stuff with amazing build quality.

That said, if you can afford one(or find one used) the current American Vintage series is utterly incredible, closest thing possible to buying a '63 P off the shelf- true vintage spec but with modern quality control and production consistency. 

Or, on more of a budget, if you can find a late-2008 - early-2009 MiM (first of the black logo models) under £450 you're on to a winner, they punch well above their weight. Pickup upgrade and you're laughing.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not all Leo basses were great and not all CBS basses were bad. @Lozz196 is more of an expert than I’ll ever be, but a bass that feels right and doesn’t sound good can easily be fixed with a pickup up grade. I’d rather be buying an ok used bass and trying to make it better than searching for the perfect new bass. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't discount a JV Squier, either.  I've had two, both were excellent.  One - I still have it - is the best Precision bass I have handled.  I read that some aren't so good, mind, so there are never guarantees.

But I honestly think at any price point you can find a Precision type bass that looks, plays and sounds fantastic.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a good point Paul, in terms of cost a couple struck me as very good at the price such as Korean Squiers and the Fender Player range. If we move away from Fender the Vintage Tony Butler Precision is a cracking instrument.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 years ago I felt I needed a Jazz Bass in my life. I bought a secondhand standard Squier from Basschat,  for £95.

I liked it so much that I then went on to buy many more, both MIJ and USA.

I recommend that you don't spend silly money, when you don't even know if you will like the Precision sound and feel.

I would recommend you dip your toe in the water with a Classic Vibe, or something similar first. Then if you decide you like P basses you can flash the cash.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to throw in another option; for me it would be self-build bitsa every time.   You get a P bass with exactly the spec you want, save a bucketload of dosh if you source parts cannily, and have a lot of fun doing it.   

For inspiration see: 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

Just to throw in another option; for me it would be self-build bitsa every time.   You get a P bass with exactly the spec you want, save a bucketload of dosh if you source parts cannily, and have a lot of fun doing it.   

For inspiration see: 

 

Or even better - buy the bitsa @Beedster is selling 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But yes, if you know what you want in a Precision, then a bitsa self-build is the way to go, and often cheaper than buying a whole bass. The below is my keeper instrument, OK I've come close to selling a couple of times due to COVID cash flow issues, but having survived it remains my go to bass. It's like a Fender Custom Shop Tony Franklin Relic, although slightly more resonant than was my original TF (courtesy largely of a VERY good Warmoth neck with perfect ebony board and shallow depth 44mm nut which has made every bass on which it has been installed resonate for longer), Lollar PJ set, Kiogon harness, vintage Gotoh lollipop tuners (the aesthetics of which for some reason I really like), all for around the cost of a used MIM Precision.

As per some of the comments above, basses are a lottery, with bitsas you just keep playing the lottery, albeit with components as opposed to instruments, which is a lot cheaper. It's also far more diagnostic/scientific, because with each switch you're in effect conducting a controlled experiment along the lines "what difference does switching this for this actually make?'. You get there eventually, it's fun but you also, I believe, end up with a bass that you feel closer to as the result. 

 

image.thumb.png.cbf187a91494ba6e5fbd4a350cd3bac7.png

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...