62' Precision Bass- restore or leave it as is?

Patton

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Among all of the musical equipment my brother and I got when our dad died a couple years ago was this old Precision Bass. My dad loved to tell the story of how it got to be in the shape it currently is. Apparently, the bass player in the band he had in the late 60's or early 70's had it and it was originally sunburst. The bass player was kind of goofy (insert joke here) and decided one day to strip off the finish and repaint it. For some reason, he also scrubbed the decal on the headstock off! My dad remembered the guy scrubbing the old finish off in a laundry tub and then rattle canned the white on. A little while later my dad bought it off of him.

Back in the early 80's when I was trying to decide if I wanted to be the bass player in the band my brother and I had I borrowed it for a few weeks to try out. It played great and so it inspired me to buy a Squier Jazz Bass (it's what I could afford). I hadn't seen this bass since back then until a couple years ago when it came home with me. Here's a few pics of what I found:

IMG_1047.jpg IMG_1048.jpg 100_1665.JPG 100_1662.JPG 100_1668.JPG 100_1663.JPG

The neck is dated to what looks like NOV62, the serial number is accurate to that date, and it appears (except the finish) to be all original parts. The case is not an original Fender but an old decent one that my dad always had it in. There is a short somewhere I haven't tracked down yet so it just hums.

I probably will have an equipment purge years from now and I'm torn as to whether to just leave it as-is or get the body professionally refinished and have a correct era decal put on the headstock? I personally would be certain to advertise it as restored. It's not all original but it is all there. I'm just not certain my best approach.

Thoughts? Idea's? Anybody have a similar situation?
 

noname_dragon

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I agree... put it back together and maybe have a luthier set it up and make any fix or adjustment and polish the frets. Don't worry about the decal. That's a treasure in your family, not to mention a badass bass!
Or go all the way and have it refinished nice.
 

Sea Devil

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The finish looks OK to me. You would not lose one penny of monetary value if you had it refinished a second time, but it might be best to leave it as is for sentimental reasons. Fender will give you a decal if an authorized dealer authenticates it, so I would certainly do that.
 

63telemaster

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Too many of these old refins are being refinned again for no better reason than fashion imo. The guitar has history and character from a time long since gone and that goes directly back to your dad.

Get the hum/output sorted by having the original parts refurbed by someone who knows what they're doing, have it set up to make sure it plays well and leave the rest as is.
 

Harley Wycliff

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If you decide to make any further changes to it, make sure you document the process at every possible step with pics, pics, and more pics. That's because you'll face lots of challenges from potential buyers over that PB's authenticity. To start with, see if you can photograph even the slightest traces of the headstock's original decal. Better yet, a hi-res video of the headstock, panning down to the stamp on the neck heel, to prove any collection of neck pics you take is in fact of the same neck. The stamp on the heel is encouraging WRT authenticity, however.

No strings on the instrument? Has it been stored that way? If so, I hope whoever removed the strings also relaxed the truss rod. Look down the neck to see if it has a back-bow, or you can use a long straightedge if you don't trust your eyes. Back-bows can be non-trivial to fix correctly, i.e. in a manner that avoids high spots / ski jumps.

If I were going to clean up the electronics but preserve originality, I'd make sure you have continuity among the foil shield, the back of the pots, and the bridge. Disassemble the bridge and clean up the saddles and screws to get rid of any (high-resistance) corrosion. Same with the bare wire under the bridge. Once you put strings on it, and assuming they're *not* tapewounds, make sure you have continuity between the 4 tuning pegs and the output jack nut.

If I were NOT going to preserve originality, I'd get rid of that POS ceramic disc capacitor and replace it with a non-ceramic one with a much tighter tolerance. Those ceramic disc capacitors' values can vary all over the place, even the new ones. I'm talking about 25-50% either side of spec. Not many people know this, but a major factor in how different Fender basses can sound from each other with the same tone control settings (same model of course) is that one single component.

No opinion here on keeping it in its still (mostly) original condition or doing what you want with it. I can see (and I do respect) both viewpoints.

EDIT: Wanted to add: Get pics of the neck cavity, too, on the slight chance the paint job didn't totally cover any stamps there.
 

Timbresmith1

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Among all of the musical equipment my brother and I got when our dad died a couple years ago was this old Precision Bass. My dad loved to tell the story of how it got to be in the shape it currently is. Apparently, the bass player in the band he had in the late 60's or early 70's had it and it was originally sunburst. The bass player was kind of goofy (insert joke here) and decided one day to strip off the finish and repaint it. For some reason, he also scrubbed the decal on the headstock off! My dad remembered the guy scrubbing the old finish off in a laundry tub and then rattle canned the white on. A little while later my dad bought it off of him.

Back in the early 80's when I was trying to decide if I wanted to be the bass player in the band my brother and I had I borrowed it for a few weeks to try out. It played great and so it inspired me to buy a Squier Jazz Bass (it's what I could afford). I hadn't seen this bass since back then until a couple years ago when it came home with me. Here's a few pics of what I found:

View attachment 1033064 View attachment 1033065 View attachment 1033066 View attachment 1033067 View attachment 1033068 View attachment 1033069

The neck is dated to what looks like NOV62, the serial number is accurate to that date, and it appears (except the finish) to be all original parts. The case is not an original Fender but an old decent one that my dad always had it in. There is a short somewhere I haven't tracked down yet so it just hums.

I probably will have an equipment purge years from now and I'm torn as to whether to just leave it as-is or get the body professionally refinished and have a correct era decal put on the headstock? I personally would be certain to advertise it as restored. It's not all original but it is all there. I'm just not certain my best approach.

Thoughts? Idea's? Anybody have a similar situation?
Restore. As close to original as possible using your original parts.
 

Timbresmith1

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Oct 1, 2010
Posts
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Location
Central TX
Among all of the musical equipment my brother and I got when our dad died a couple years ago was this old Precision Bass. My dad loved to tell the story of how it got to be in the shape it currently is. Apparently, the bass player in the band he had in the late 60's or early 70's had it and it was originally sunburst. The bass player was kind of goofy (insert joke here) and decided one day to strip off the finish and repaint it. For some reason, he also scrubbed the decal on the headstock off! My dad remembered the guy scrubbing the old finish off in a laundry tub and then rattle canned the white on. A little while later my dad bought it off of him.

Back in the early 80's when I was trying to decide if I wanted to be the bass player in the band my brother and I had I borrowed it for a few weeks to try out. It played great and so it inspired me to buy a Squier Jazz Bass (it's what I could afford). I hadn't seen this bass since back then until a couple years ago when it came home with me. Here's a few pics of what I found:

View attachment 1033064 View attachment 1033065 View attachment 1033066 View attachment 1033067 View attachment 1033068 View attachment 1033069

The neck is dated to what looks like NOV62, the serial number is accurate to that date, and it appears (except the finish) to be all original parts. The case is not an original Fender but an old decent one that my dad always had it in. There is a short somewhere I haven't tracked down yet so it just hums.

I probably will have an equipment purge years from now and I'm torn as to whether to just leave it as-is or get the body professionally refinished and have a correct era decal put on the headstock? I personally would be certain to advertise it as restored. It's not all original but it is all there. I'm just not certain my best approach.

Thoughts? Idea's? Anybody have a similar situation?
Hard to tell what the paint looks like, but if it’s decent, have a pro re-shoot the headstock face and put a decal on (OVER the lacquer!)
 

RetiredUnit1

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As long as it sounds good, to increase the collectors value, DOCUMENT THE STORY with pictures of the deed or at least pics of those responsible. Have a bit of background on each of the members of the band, if possible a recording, and everyone smiling at the camera, etc. The more info you can pack into it the better.

History is always more valuable when documented! Someday that guitar may be 300 years old. The story will be lost if you don't do this.

And what ever you do DON'T change it a bit. That is part of the history.
 

Lowspeid

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Personally, I’d take it to a tech and have them fix whatever short you might have going on, do a proper set-up, and put the correct logo on the headstock. I LOVE the refin on that guitar, and wouldn’t change it.
 

Telekarster

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FWIW you can always "restore it" but will you get your investment out of it? Probably not = it's already a refin so another refin wouldn't really help things much IMO. It is as your Dad knew it so perhaps there's some sentimental reasons for keeping it as-is too? Part of its history. If it were mine I'd have it authenticated so Fender can send you a replacement decal, take it to a luthier who can put it on and likewise do a set up, and call it good. A quality refin will cost considerable $ and IMO little would be gained. Nice bass man, and a nice inheritance your Father left you!

Also FWIW - About 1985 I helped a buddy strip his 59 P bass cause he hated the burst finish, and wanted it Canary yellow!!! LOL!!! :eek: He got it for free though, so... ;) He bought the cheapest rattle can C yellow he could find. I think it came from K-mart :cool:
 

drmordo

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What’s the GOAL of restoring it? It’s unlikely that you’d get your money back out of it. A quality professional restoration wouldn’t be cheap.

I’d order a period correct headstock decal, put it on myself and call it a day.

These are my thoughts exactly.

That said, you can't make it less valuable with a refin, so if you really want it to be a nice guitar again, go for it. I do appreciate the desire to restore a vintage guitar that has been messed with.
 

Patton

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Michigan
Great input here, thanks everybody!

I was 85% leaning towards leaving it alone and just making it playable (I do have those skills). The skills I don't have involve refinishing and adding the correct (although restored) headstock logo. I'm gonna make it a player.

And to answer Harley Wycliff (BTW I ended up with my dad's 1980 Harley as well) it was strung up with flats from at least the early 70's (the strings he took off back then are in the pack in the pic. The dude never threw ANYTHING away!!).

The next owner years down the road can decide if they want to resto it more. I'm cool knowing what it is and getting it playable.
 




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