The Bass Fender Forgot How To Make

This drop dead near mint very original 1964 P Bass only came in to have a poorly crafted  nut replacement from the past replaced, a top to bottom going over, and a setup.
Here the nut blank has been cut and fitted to the neck, and the new strings in place.


The string locations are found, and the grooves are roughed into place.


The string grooves are now at proper zero fret height, for a straight neck, when the strings are tuned to proper pitch with respect to A-440.

Note - how deep the grooves seem to be cut.  Zero fret height is the same exact height as the first fret in front of the nut.


The nut has been properly shaped, all the sharp edges have been broken, and the nut finely finished.

Now that the main reason for its visit has been taken care of, I'd like to tell you about a MAJOR problem this bass was giving me before I had gotten this far. 

You see, everytime I had put this bass on the workbench, it would start talking to me, and would flash me back to another time.  A time when I knew nothing about electric basses.  A time in 1962, when I had to make a choice of what bass to buy.

It was between three basses I had to choose from.  A Fender Jazz Bass, a Gibson EB-3, or a Rick.  Each would talk to me in their own way.  It was a VIBE thing.  You could SEE it, you could FEEL it, and you could HEAR it.  Before, it was plugged into an amp.  That VOICE would speak right from the instrument.

I went through this for weeks at the music store, before that Jazz Bass jumped into my hands.  Yes, that is exactly how it happened.

Here I am with that bass, a few years later.  That VIBE thing, is still going on in these pictures. 

I guess it's kind a like a car thing, or a women thing that is going on here.  You know how it is when time marches on, and things change.  Then, one day you go to a Class Reunion, or a Car Show, you see your old flame, it hits you all over again, and you are wondering why!

Well, every time I put that P-Bass on the workbench to start the nut replacement, it would start talking to me.  Just like my Jazz Bass did in 1962.  Talk about flashbacks to another time.

This is not the first time this has happened to me.  I've had this happen with a few instruments that came into the shop before. 


Here is another example of that very same thing happening.  It's that same VIBE you can SEE, FEEL, and HEAR all over again.   And, as before, I'm wondering why.

What, is going on here with this.  For six days, I could not start work on this P-Bass.  I always wound up sitting with it, looking at it, feeling it, playing it, and listening to it of hours at a time.  And, it's not even plugged into an amp.

Then, one morning dawn when the birds started their song, it started to come upon me, what was going on here.  It was the sunlight coming in the window, that gave me the first clue to what the LOOK was all about.

It wasn't long before I fell upon what the FEEL was all about, and what made its VOICE so special.

Now, I know what creates that magical VIBE from the Fenders of the past, that is NOT in any of those current Fender recreations of the past you see in the stores today.

Below, you are going to find pictures where, if you know what you are really looking at, they are illustrations of what really creates that VIBE thing, for the PLAYER in touch with the Fenders from the past.

However, be aware, it's way deeper than just looks.  Yet, the answer is before you, in these pictures.

Fender can thank its bean counters, choice of materials, mass production methods, their lost art in engineering, and their corporate mindset for this lost VIBE, that was once so common to every Fender instrument of the past.

Fender once made the *Stradivarius* of electric guitars and basses.  Now, they just make electric guitars and basses through modern high tech mass production methods.

Note - I've done nothing to this bass, from this point on.  All the following pictures show exactly how this bass walked in here.  I cleaned or polished nothing, till the final picture.  This bass had not been played in more than 35 years.

It is, as it was.

Now, behold a *Stradivarius* of Fender basses.























I know that some of you may SEE the VIBE, this bass has.  I just wish you could FEEL and HEAR it to truly know the existance of its magic. 

Depending on the Fender bass you own, I may be able to put some of that old time Fender VIBE into it for you.  Your only problem is the materials your instrument is made out of, for it to be a practical thought.

Rich............I have often read and reread your article on the 64 precision.   Tonight I am acquiring a Sept 64 Jazz bass that hasn't been touched in 40 years.  I hope to Hear See and Feel  the   "Vibe"...........Wish you were on the West coast because then I'd bring it to you to check out.  Thanks again for a great article..Jonathan Bassil

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