NOTE: These are not our guitars; just saving the images for history and showcasing what's out there.

Monday, September 9, 2013

1959 Fender Precision Bass Vintage Pre-CBS Three Tone Sunburst

via this auction

"Purchased by the current owner in Detroit in 1966, the original owner (name unknown) verbally conveyed that this instrument was played by James Jamerson with drummer Earl Van Dyke during Motown 1964 recording sessions. Unfortunately, this is one story we can't authenticate, but what we know with absolute certainty was that this bass was played professionally from 1966-73 with the Bobby Hamilton Quartet in New York. This bass was used in performances opening for Freddy Hubbard, Alice Coltrane and Rahsaan Roland Kirk (and also played by Roland Kirk's bassist). Additionally, the owner sat in with Count Basie and Freddie Green and this bass was front and center in a performance at the Riverboat in the Empire State Building!

The maple neck boasts a thick slab rosewood fretboard, original frets and clay dot inlay. The profile is a very shallow C that has been lovingly played and lightly worn on the back down to the bare wood. The neck is very straight and plays effortlessly with a dynamic and touch sensitive response through the original black bobbin split coil pickup. The original frets have lots of life left, retaining their full, original height and showing only small spots of wear on the first few frets under the A and D strings. On the headstock, the stock tuning machines all turn smoothly and hold pitch well, with some light, stately wear on the buttons, but no bent shafts or any issues with the gears. The Fender logo is extremely clean and fully intact. The heel of the neck has no pencil date markings, which is typical for 1959, and the pot codes and serial number stamp on the neck plate also date to 1959.

We believe it is very likely that the body underwent a factory Fender refinish in the early 1960s due to a number of telling factors. The neck pocket has the "paint stick" markings, used to suspend the instrument when spraying nitro lacquer, and this process did not begin until late in 1962. Other factors include the "S" marking for Sunburst beneath the pickguard and the absence of a date in the pickup cavity (which may or may not have been written in 1959, just like the neck date). The body has the correct dowel holes on the back used for initially carving the body, and under a blacklight the finish has been verified to be of the same age as the instrument, with no touchups or overspray of any kind. Everything from the early "ashtray" pickup covers, pattern of the nitrate tortoise pickguard and perfect fit of the neck pocket lead us to believe with great confidence that the body is original to the bass and was likely sent back to the factory due to light cosmetic wear. All of the 1959 parts fit perfectly to this body. There is only one minor spot of wear in the pick path which appears to have not been filled in when the factory finish work was done, and this can be seen in photo #6, further backing up our reasoning for the work in the first place..."

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