NBD - 1967-68 Fender Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by control voltage, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    Hi everyone,

    A bass turned up on craigslist that seemed too good a deal to pass up. I thought you all might like to see it, and maybe some of you can answer some questions I have about it.

    It was listed as a 1968 Jazz Bass. It seems to have been made before the several changes that occurred in 1968, though. The stamp on the neck heel is 7DEC67A, it has the older-style decal on the headstock, the tuners are the older oval-shaped style, and the neck has a nitro finish. The serial number is 219xxx, which puts it in the '67-'68 ballpark, I gather.

    The original frets are still there, though they've been leveled, and are very low. Despite this, the bass plays nicely.

    I'm not sure what to make of the body, though. There is finish in the neck pocket, so it shows no markings. Does this indicate that it's been refinished? Also, the finish shows signs of having softened at some point: there is a stippled texture on much of the back of the body, and there is some fluff from the lining of the case stuck to the finish on the lower bout. Is that something that would happen with a factory finish?

    The pickguard is 1-ply, and there is a gap of about 1/8" between its edge and the heel of the neck. It looks like it might be a homemade job. Comparing it to photos of similar basses, I can see that some of the screws are in different places. I haven't removed the pickguard yet, but I will.

    The neck pickup has been replaced (previous owner says he has the original around somewhere, and will mail it to me if he finds it. He might actually do it; he seems like a solid dude).

    The tone knob looks cleaner than the volume knobs; I'm not sure if it's a replacement, or maybe just didn't get handled as much?

    Let's see, I've mixed a few questions in there. Maybe it would be helpful to list them:

    Has the body been refinished?

    Is there anything I should look for to determine whether the body is also from 1967-68?

    Do the pots and wiring look original, apart from that blue-and-purple ground wire?

    Two of the bushings for the tuners aren't pressed all the way in. If they've backed out, is there danger of cracking the headstock if I use wood blocks and a c-clamp to press them back into place?

    If anybody has any other comments or insights, I'd be very happy to hear them. back and front.jpg DSC02991.JPG DSC02993.JPG DSC02996.JPG DSC02998.JPG DSC03001.JPG DSC03002.JPG DSC03003.JPG DSC03004.JPG DSC03010.JPG
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    shupe13, Bruxist, jonnyfez and 3 others like this.
  2. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    I just realized that I didn't post photos of the neck pocket. These are a little blurry, but I hope they help. The only holes I see are the four for the neck bolts, but if it's refinished, maybe the paint stick holes were filled beforehand?

    I'd appreciate any help in determining whether this body is original.

    Thanks! DSC02987.JPG DSC02988.JPG DSC02989.JPG
     
  3. dannew02

    dannew02 Friend of Leo's

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    That’s one-a them fake Chinese ones. I’ll take it off yer hands for 5$
    Seriously, that bass is cool, no matter what it actually is. I’m interested to see what everyone comes up with here...
    I painted a couple guitars, and they did the same texture thing as yours if I laid them on something before the finish totally cured, so I’m gonna vote for “homemade refinish”. Not that it makes your bass any less cool.
     
  4. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    When I took the pickguard off, I was hoping to find other screw holes where a real Fender would have them. They weren't there, and the neck pickup pocket was routed out a little bit extra, as if someone had had a Precision Bass-style pickup there in the past. Maybe someone wanted a P/J configuration, found a non-Fender body that had it, and switched the parts over. It's hard to say, and there are other possibilities.

    I was disappointed, but had a feeling that the body wasn't original when I bought it. Still, that only turns it from an incredible deal to an OK one, and it's a good player. If it were an all-original '68, I might be too worried to take it out in public, anyway.
     
  5. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    While looking at the bass in better light, I noticed dimples where the screws for the bridge-cover/ashtray would have attached. I wondered if I had overlooked similar dimples under the pickguard, so I removed it again. There were dimples where the screws for the original pickguard (the replacement pickguard has some screws in different places) would have been, too! Well, there was one place where I looked for a dimple, but couldn't see it. Still, it now seems likely to me that the body IS the original one, after all. The screw holes that would have been left after someone put in a Precision-style pickup and aftermarket pickguard appear to have been filled, and the body refinished, albeit imperfectly.

    If I read the pots right, the volume ones are from 1967, probably original, and the tone is from 1976 (it reads, "1377626 70-028"). So, maybe the modifications were made in the mid-1970s.

    I feel foolish for overlooking the dimples before, but I'm glad that there are some signs pointing to the body being original. I wish the refinisher hadn't finished the neck pocket. Maybe the finish could be removed in there, and any marks revealed, but I think I'll leave it alone.

    Once again, if anyone has any insights or suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Put on some new strings and play the crap out of it! Congrats!
     
    slauson slim likes this.
  7. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Since it has already been refinished anyway, it wouldn't hurt it's value to have it done again by someone competent. Regardless, it is a nice bass. Enjoy it.
     
  8. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    I'm considering having the body refinished. Anyone know if I'm right in thinking that it would have been either black or sunburst originally, with a tortoiseshell pickguard? I think I read somewhere that those were the only standard colors, with white being available as a "custom color".

    I know that "custom color" examples often had matching headstocks, but did some have plain/natural headstocks? If I were to have it done in, say, LPB, but it doesn't have a matching headstock, would that be "incorrect"? I wouldn't have the headstock or neck refinished, to be clear. I like it the way it is.

    Sunburst would be pretty nice...
     
  9. Taildragger

    Taildragger Tele-Meister

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    "I'm considering having the body refinished. Anyone know if I'm right in thinking that it would have been either black or sunburst originally, with a tortoiseshell pickguard? I think I read somewhere that those were the only standard colors, with white being available as a 'custom color'."

    I'd strip it and see if the wood grain is decent in the areas in which the SB would be translecent. I think they sometimes covered less-attractive/imperfect grain patterns with opaque finishes.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  10. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, yes, I would definitely want to see how the wood looked before deciding on a sunburst finish. Also, I'd like to see the filled screw-holes, and maybe even any markings in the neck pocket, or under the pickups.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  11. shupe13

    shupe13 Tele-Holic

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    Congrats! Cool old bass!!
     
  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Very cool!
     
  13. control voltage

    control voltage TDPRI Member

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    Thanks!

    The idea of refinishing the body is growing on me, but there's no hurry. I've been playing it a lot, and enjoying it.
     
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