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Emperor’s New Clothes?

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54 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Those definitions regard furniture, not instruments.

Although, the collectible description covers the JV Squier question.

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9 hours ago, hooky_lowdown said:

The scarcity and rarity of the original fender basses will always command a premium price. They may go up or down slightly, but they will only ever increase in value. This is until in a couple or so decades time when or if some other brand is seen as a classic and becomes desirable and rare, then things may change. But until then, original fender 50s, 60s and early 70s guitars and basses will only go up in price. 

Unlike the art market where prices for famous paintings can fluctuate wildly, which is primarily based on authenticity, instruments can be dated far easier thus hold there commodity better.

I’m not sure that’s entirely true. There will be a ceiling price for these and while the market is hot at the moment, it’s highly volatile.

Fender basses aren’t particularly rare (if you have the cash, you could find pretty much anything you wanted on the market) but collecting older instruments is fashionable, hence the rapid rise. 

Again, we’re knot talking about handcrafted artisan products here. These instruments don’t sound much better than modern versions, it’s nostalgia and that’s seductive to those who remember the 50s - 70s but preposterous to those who didn’t.

Take Wals as an example. Expensive in the 80s, cheap as chips on the 90s and 00s, now commanding quite frankly ludicrous sums. Anyone paying £6k for a Wal and imagining it’ll maintain and increase its value is possibly a little deluded.

My point is, if you’ve got the cash and you want to spend it, do so. Just don’t imagine it’ll increase in value forever. Oh, and if you use it you’ll have to deal with worn down frets, dodgy pots, weak pickups and scratchy jack sockets. make any changes and kiss goodbye to your 100% originality!

Personally, my 60s fenders stay in their cases. I should probably sell them, but they have intrinsic value to me.
 

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34 minutes ago, Burns-bass said:

I’m not sure that’s entirely true. There will be a ceiling price for these and while the market is hot at the moment, it’s highly volatile.

Fender basses aren’t particularly rare (if you have the cash, you could find pretty much anything you wanted on the market) but collecting older instruments is fashionable, hence the rapid rise. 

Again, we’re knot talking about handcrafted artisan products here. These instruments don’t sound much better than modern versions, it’s nostalgia and that’s seductive to those who remember the 50s - 70s but preposterous to those who didn’t.

Take Wals as an example. Expensive in the 80s, cheap as chips on the 90s and 00s, now commanding quite frankly ludicrous sums. Anyone paying £6k for a Wal and imagining it’ll maintain and increase its value is possibly a little deluded.

My point is, if you’ve got the cash and you want to spend it, do so. Just don’t imagine it’ll increase in value forever. Oh, and if you use it you’ll have to deal with worn down frets, dodgy pots, weak pickups and scratchy jack sockets. make any changes and kiss goodbye to your 100% originality!

Personally, my 60s fenders stay in their cases. I should probably sell them, but they have intrinsic value to me.
 

My point is they will increase forever, why? Because of inflation. The cost of everything increases over time, nothing is exempt.

Are they are worth the money, that is entirely down to the buyer. As I said earlier in this topic, originality, rarity and desirability all play a factor.

I disagree that 50s and 60s fenders aren't rare. Many were butchered in the 70s and 80s, parts replaced, finishes striped, pickups added, these things devalue some if not most that were made, therefore original ones are more scarce and escalate the value.

Worn down frets etc won't devalue, in fact a professional refret will only add value.

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6 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:Worn down frets etc won't devalue, in fact a professional refret will only add value.

I have heard that Japan is a big market for Vintage instruments but are sticklers for authenticity- everything is expected to be original.. pots, wiring, scratch plate ... not sure if fretts are exempt or not though.

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6 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

I have heard that Japan is a big market for Vintage instruments but are sticklers for authenticity- everything is expected to be original.. pots, wiring, scratch plate ... not sure if fretts are exempt or not though.

Would a rare old Mercedes, totally original, which had new (top quality) tyre's devalue it? Absolutely not, same thing applies to frets on a stringed instrument. The only time a refret may devalue it is if it was absolutely mint, and a collectors piece, but then, the frets on that bass would unlikely be used, therefore wouldn't need replacing!

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Would a rare old Mercedes, totally original, which had new (top quality) tyre's devalue it? Absolutely not, same thing applies to frets on a stringed instrument. The only time a refret may devalue it is if it was absolutely mint, and a collectors piece, but then, the frets on that bass would unlikely be used, therefore wouldn't need replacing!

I would say the same with wiring.. I would want that replaced on a 50’s car. I’m with you I think it’s ludicrous but It’s what I have heard.. frets may be exempt I don’t know, but pots, jack, wiring are definitely expected to be original.

Edited by tegs07

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2 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

I would say the same with wiring.. I would want that replaced on a 50’s car. I’m with you I think it’s ludicrous but It’s what I have heard.. frets may be exempt I don’t know, but pots, jack, wiring are definitely expected to be original.

Totally agree. 👍

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I had an MG car once, it was acceptable to replace old with new provided it looked like the OE part and the OE part was beyond repair; it was generally advised to keep the OE part just in case - maybe we should apply that logic here 

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1 hour ago, tegs07 said:

I would say the same with wiring.. I would want that replaced on a 50’s car. I’m with you I think it’s ludicrous but It’s what I have heard.. frets may be exempt I don’t know, but pots, jack, wiring are definitely expected to be original.

As time goes by, it is inevitable that the proportion of vintage instruments with replaced electrical components and frets will increase and that those changes will become more acceptable, as the stock of completely original instruments decreases. There are few Italian vintage violins that have not been substantially repaired, re-necked, fingeboarded, refinished etc. The inevitable repairs are completely acceptable and do not seem to significantly deter buyers. It seems logical to me to anticipate the market for vintage guitars/basses will follow, but who has a crystal ball. Maybe electric guitars/basses will completely fall out of favour. Authentic original instruments have been trading at premium prices since the early 1980s, so the market is well established.

On another subject,  it does seem a shame to denigrate the choices of others, or assume the motivation of others in making their choices as unsavoury. We are all just bass players making our choices, enjoying our instruments. I'm pleased for anyone, anytime they acquire a bass they enjoy. For me, the very best basses I have played have been vintage.

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I’m not knocking anyone’s choice. Personally I love vintage instruments and am not too bothered about original components, purists that pay top dollar for these instruments are though. I would rather they were used as intended and suffer a little wear but if someone else wants to hang them on a wall in all their original glory that’s their choice.

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On the subject of ancient violins.  ALL those being played have been modified eg with steeper neck angles, bigger bass bars etc to get more power out of them.  An unmodified Stradivarius would be considered unplayable by modern standards.   The only exceptions are a few mint examples in museums that are never played, those are literally priceless, but not exactly "gigged".

On which basis .. if you think your 1955  precision sounds good, just think how much better it would be with modern pickups and an active EQ 🙂

NB: there are only 244 Strad violins known about with maybe another 356 still around but "lost".  pre CBS Fender basses are common as muck by comparison.

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Like some of the other Basschatters of more senior years, I can remember when a lot of what is nowadays vintage gear was new,  and/or  not particularly desirable on the second hand market. So much of what folks are paying for is romantic ideas rather than any tangible advantage vintage basses have over their modern counterparts.  I love old Fender basses as much as anybody, but in terms of sound and playability a decent level recent USA Fender is just as good or better. I have owned several  1970s P Basses- I used them in the 1980s because they were cheap- and none of them were as good as my 2010 American Standard P Bass I bought new. The same with Jazz Basses.

I would rather spend money on a new boutique USA Lakland or Lull  or new Fender CS than a mid to late 70s Fender that I could have picked up for £200 back in the late 1980s. To me basses are tools that I like to work properly. The vast majority of vintage basses are like vintage cars, or great to look at and have a go on but a bit of a pain in the derrière to own and maintain.         As for "hifi" basses such as JD or Wal ect, I cannot think of anything else that could possibly make me feel so old as the idea that such basses are now considered vintage.This was never meant to happen! It's like people talking about vintage space travel.These basses epitomised everything that was modern in an age when modernity was the ideal. If you want such a bass then do the appropriate thing and buy a new one, preferably from the Bass Center at Wapping when it was upstairs, and pay about £700- 800 quid for it. Make sure you are sporting a mullet and a questionable outfit from Top Man  for the authentic experience.

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3 minutes ago, NickA said:

On the subject of ancient violins.  ALL those being played have been modified eg with steeper neck angles, bigger bass bars etc to get more power out of them.  An unmodified Stradivarius would be considered unplayable by modern standards.   The only exceptions are a few mint examples in museums that are never played, those are literally priceless, but not exactly "gigged".

On which basis .. if you think your 1955  precision sounds good, just think how much better it would be with modern pickups and an active EQ 🙂

NB: there are only 244 Strad violins known about with maybe another 356 still around but "lost".  pre CBS Fender basses are common as muck by comparison.

Those Strads are overrated, just like classical music in general . Nevermind fancy violins , if Stradivarius had been as clever as folks make out he would have invented an amp. Even cheap modern  violins that they lend to schoolchildren  to try learn on are loud enough nowadays to drive you crazy if you put them in the right hands, which they usually do...

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I read that last post with intrigue.

Is an instrument that creates sound by passing a piece of metal through a magnetic field ever going to be technologically advanced?

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31 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

I read that last post with intrigue.

Is an instrument that creates sound by passing a piece of metal through a magnetic field ever going to be technologically advanced?

No, but it's going to be loud.😄

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Just now, Misdee said:

No, but it's going to be loud.😄

Not without an amp!

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30 minutes ago, Misdee said:

Nevermind fancy violins , if Stradivarius had been as clever as folks make out he would have invented an amp. Even cheap modern violins that they lend to schoolchildren to try learn on are loud enough nowadays to drive you crazy if you put them in the right hands.

When it first arrived, what made the violin more useful than similar instruments was that it could play simple dance music at an audible volume: its point is to be loud. Mr Strad came at a more Ken Smith-like stage of its evolution, a long time after the violin's Leo Fender had done his job.

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I seem to remember that a few years ago PRS were marketing a batch of guitars ( an extremely limited quantity, of course) made from wood from the forest where , according to local legend, Stradivarius harvested the timber for his creations. If that doesn't guarantee you a truly magical instrument I don't know what will.

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2 minutes ago, Misdee said:

I seem to remember that a few years ago PRS were marketing a batch of guitars ( an extremely limited quantity, of course) made from wood from the forest where , according to local legend, Stradivarius harvested the timber for his creations. If that doesn't guarantee you a truly magical instrument I don't know what will.

I call BS. All of the strad violins were built from wood harvested from my ickle English garden in bloom.

 

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1 hour ago, Misdee said:

Those Strads are overrated

Apparently so.  In blind tests, modern violins often come out best. Though "best" is relative as all violins sound rather nasty to me.... though some of the music is pretty good ( for those of us that DO like a bit of classical )

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50 minutes ago, NickA said:

Apparently so.  In blind tests, modern violins often come out best. Though "best" is relative as all violins sound rather nasty to me.... though some of the music is pretty good ( for those of us that DO like a bit of classical )

"The renowned German violin virtuoso, Christian Tetzlaff, had this to say in an article from the New York Times (April 28, 2000) written by Anthony Tommasini:

Last year, Mr. Tetzlaff did something that will either horrify or inspire other violinists: he traded in the Stradivarius he had on loan, valued at $2 million, for a new violin built by Peter Greiner, a German maker his own age, which cost him about $17,000. What possessed him?

“The new violin is really terrific, with a full beautiful sound that is still able to fight the orchestras,” he said. “The Strad I had couldn’t.” Unlike many violinists, Mr. Tetzlaff believes that some of the qualities of the renowned instruments made by Stradivari and Guarneri are mythological.

“There are big differences between Strads, as big as between the colors red and blue,” he said. “There are many Strads that are not really that good-sounding.” But when violinists touch them, he explained, charmed by the mystique, they see the disadvantages as characteristics for which they must simply learn to compensate. “But I have an instrument that I feel has no disadvantages,” he said. “When I first tried it out in Toronto, I told nobody about it. Everyone assumed it was my Strad.”

Young violinists, who have been programmed to believe that the only fine violins are old, rare and Italian, should take heart. “There is no doubt about the quality of a good number of incredible Strads,” he said. “But what’s strange is that many people look for Italian instruments of doubtful quality in the range of one or two hundred thousand dollars, which is a lot of money and very little value.”"

(I remembered this from long ago because CT is my favourite violinist, and a very well-rounded musician - he doesn't just play the big romantic concertos)

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Posted (edited)

I've owned a 1970 Fender Precision for the last 27 years. It's a working, gigging instrument that looks its age but has been well cared for.

Does it play nicely, feel good and look cool? Yes it does, and I love it.

Would I go out of my way to buy another one? Not really, given the cost nowadays.

It is very good, and it's a vintage bass, but I wouldn't say it's automatically good just because it's a vintage bass, or that other, newer, basses aren't equally good in their own way.

Edited by bassbiscuits

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Musical instruments must be one of the only "technologies" out there that have people genuinely trying to argue that we've got worse at building over the years. 

What logical reason would tell anyone that an instrument made in a factory in the sixties (or even by a "master craftsman") would be any better than any high end modern bass, built with the benefit of an additional 70+ years of understanding? 

Vintage instruments are cool as anything. They have mojo. I get it. Some of them are really very good indeed. But if you don't really care about history, mojo, or collectibility then the price tag is unjustifiable. The value comes from rarity, not from intrinsic quality.  

 

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