Hidden gems? Do they still exist?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by feet, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    Way back when, I picked up a 70s aria jazz bass copy. And it's the best. (Sounds exactly like the 50s jbass with flats in the reverb comparison video).

    And now that I have a vague pbass curiosity, I started looking around at mij 70s lawsuit basses and it looks like the secret is out. Like, way out.

    So my question: are there still any unappreciated gems out there? Guess I'm more curious than anything, but I suppose it's hard to keep things cheap in this day and age. I don't exactly mean pretty good or bang for the buck, but actual awesome basses.
     
  2. Maggot

    Maggot Supporting Member

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    Yes. First, you can still find gems from the golden era of Japan. You just have to look a bit longer. The earlier basses and the more faithful copies are harder to find. Ibanez Blazer and Roadstar series are still cheap. There are still MIJ Fernandes basses for cheap, especially the ones with the post-lawsuit headstocks. Old Yamahas are all over the map in terms of price.

    With the exception of some late 70s Arias, Ibanez Musicians, really nice neck-through Yamaha BBs and the like, and some really nice Fender copies, where prices have really gone up, there doesn't really seem to be that much consensus on the price of 70s-80s Japanese stuff. A lot of people are asking a lot of money for em, but I don't know if they get it. I got a nice 83 Roadstar II for $300 at a guitar store, and it had been on the wall for a while. The 85-88 models are even cheaper. There were a zillion Ibanez made, especially in the 80s, and that seems to be keeping prices down.

    If you like the aesthetic, Westone basses (same Matsumuko factory as Aria II) are dirt cheap and fun.

    You can get something like this Westone for 200-300 all day long. If you want something that looks more like a P-Bass, they're out there, but the ones with the vintage looks and the Fendery headstocks are the ones that are creeping up in price. If Fendery looks are important to you, the Squier Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified series have had a lot of different models over the years. Most, but not all, of them are pretty nice.

    [​IMG]

    Last but not least, I think you should get a Fresher Personal Bass because they have the best name in the biz. I'm not even going into 90s Korean Basses, Guilds, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  3. shakey_slim

    shakey_slim Member

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    80s and 90s era Carvins
     
  4. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    Outside of an early 80s Ibanez Blazer 700 or 800 or mid 80s Roadstar 630, 80s Peavey is the gem. Not hidden gems, but still very affordable for a USA made instrument.
    Look to the 2nd generation Fury as it's a split-coil P, but has a 1.5" nut like a J. An 80s Fury sells for around $300ish, a 90s for about $200ish.
    The 80s version has this headstock logo and the pickguard cut is straight in the area between the PU and bridge. These often have Schaller machines and a very good sounding pickup.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    So there is still a wealth of weird off brands to look for, then. I am sort of after the more classic aesthetic (and sound, of course).

    But I found an older ibanez p/j cheapo in my brothers closest, so I'll give that a spin. Not exactly my thing, but I remember it being solid back in the gigging days.

    But that peavey doesn't look bad. And though I liked the look of the 60s classic vibes ( the blue one), they can't be found anymore. and I'm also just assuming that these older mij ones have to be better than a modern squier, right?
     
  6. s2y

    s2y Member

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    Right before downsizing, Peavey's USA bass line was perhaps the best it had ever been with the Millennium, Cirrus, G basses, B Quad, TL, Dyna, etc. You can often find them pretty cheap online.
     
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  7. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    I don't feel that all 70s and older MIJ is better than a recent era Squier Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe. High end MIJ was good in the 70s, but Japan really got their legs and started making their best stuff (across all lines and prices) in the early 80s and had really slammed it home by the mid 80s.
     
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  8. zekmoe

    zekmoe Member

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    If you don't need to move them much, or care about weight, the previous gen Mesa, TC Electronic, GK and other amps can be had for a song. I saw amps that sold for $2400 sitting for the last year for $699. I bet you could get some for $400. Used heavy high power amps, outside of an SVT or the like, have had their day. You can argue about better tone, but the last 4-5 bands I saw all had those ultralite setups.
     
  9. Guavadude

    Guavadude Member

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    Yamaha BB1000 is a great pbass with an ebony neck. Neck width seems to be in between a Jazz and vintage pbass. Really well built.
     
  10. GibbyMartin

    GibbyMartin Member

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    I have found deals, but with the internet and all and the ease of looking up the value of things, it's harder and harder to find those "deals of a lifetime", but it's still not impossible. I picked up a '76 P Bass that was all original aside from the pickup and a Badass II bridge for $250, and the guy even threw in a crate amp, which I sold a few days later for $60 and the bridge (which I replaced with an original bridge) for $80!

    I think the USA Peavy Fury basses are a great value. They pop up used here and there, and simply because of the Peavey name they are still very affordable. Although they aren't from the 70's, MIM Fender Precisions can still be founding the $350 range, which IMO are still a bargain for a great instrument and so are Yamaha BB basses and Squier Classic Vibes.

    I really don't subscribe to the mantra that everything old or "vintage" is automatically better. My '76 P was an amazing bass, but to be honest there are awesome basses being made today that are just as good, if not better, and obviously those that are worse. My point being, I don't lump together basses from one era or decade and say they're all good/all bad, and instead judge each instrument individually and based on it's own merits. I've played new Squier Classic Vibes basses that were amazing, and older, vintage Fenders that are junk, and vice versa. I actually bought a 2008 American Standard Precision the other day that is a MONSTER, and my main bass is a 2017 Mexican made Classic 50's Lacquer Precision. Both are as good or better than my '76 P, so I capitalized on the fact that now 70's Fender basses are all the rage (when previously you couldn't give them away).

    I think they key here is to not be desperate to buy and not really needing anything right now, but to keep your eyes open and constantly be looking and have cash in hand and maybe even be willing to drive a little so you can jump on a deal when it presents itself. I've had this approach and have scored some great deals on amazing instruments. I've lived in three major cities over the last many years (San Diego, Denver, San Francisco) and found people in those cities are less willing to drive, say an hour outside of the city to buy a used guitar or bass, so I've capitalized on that and had no problem traveling for a good deal in the past. These days though I'm happy with what I have, so not really on the search anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  11. MoPho

    MoPho International Man of Leisure Silver Supporting Member

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  12. nodepression

    nodepression Member

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    Yes, MIA for the price of a Squire.

    There is one on the Lansing Michigan Craigslist right now for 250 bucks.
     

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