Schecter P Bass

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by Danilon, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. Danilon

    Danilon Member

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    Hi all, I'm new to the forum and as the subject suggests I'm hoping for some help finding information with regard to my Schecter Precision Bass. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out much elsewhere.

    I got the bass in 1997 and at that time it was already well used. I was at least the 3rd owner and would have guessed it about 10yrs old back then, but maybe it was just used extensively, so I can't be sure on that.

    There are no serial numbers that I could find anywhere, including when removing the neck or pickguard (although the latter was some years ago), and the neck plate is quite worn.

    The truss-rod is the old school type that requires the neck to be removed for access, and it's got 2 strap buttons (1 missing), which I'm told is bit of a Schecter thing.

    I've had it looked at by one of the better luthiers in my part of the world and he certainly felt it was all authentic, but didn't know much more.

    If you could give me some advice, I would appreciate it very much.

    Cheers
    Danny

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  2. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    Exactly what is it that you'd like to know about it?

    I'm not familiar with that model but it looks to be a pretty straightforward copy of a Fender PBass. Looks someting like this one which is a Schecter USA Custom Shop 1978 in mahogany.

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  3. Danilon

    Danilon Member

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    Thanks for the response and pic. That certainly does look similar apart from mine having a white pickguard and brass hardware.

    Based on wiki I thought Schecter first started making their own guitar in 1979 and then ceased 1987 after being sued over the Fender headstock design. So I assumed if the instrument is genuine, I can narrow it down to being between 1979 and 1987, but I was hoping to get it a bit more precise than that, if possible. Am I wrong about this info and date range? Also, I suppose I would like to know how likely it would be for a Schecter bass of that generation to have no serial number. Is there any reason to think that it's anything other than a old Schecter?

    It's been stashed away for a decade+ and I didn't know about Schecter when I first got it 20yrs ago (no Google, only AltaVista - fun fact), so I'm trying to figure out what exactly I've got myself here because from what I understand it could be potentially of value now or in the future. I've got no intention of selling it regardless of whether it's vintage or just old, but it would be nice to know more about it, since I have it.
     
  4. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    The hardware on the one in the photo appears to be brass too as well as the nut which was also a popular twist in the late 70s and early 80s. Schecter brass bridges were a popular after market mod for some guitars. I had one on one my Teles at one time. They were supposed to improve sustain. Same with the brass nuts. So I would assume most of their own builds from that era also used brass bridges and hardware. They were known for it.

    Apparently the company was founded in 1976 and began producing custom shop instruments in 1979 so the info on the photo may be in error or it may have been made in '78 but Schecter began marketing them through dealers in '79. Based on this info if it is a Custom Shop build it would be dated between '79-'83 and it's also possible it may have been a prototype model that pre-dated distribution and as a result had no serial number. Hard to say.

    Custom shop days, 1976–1983
    In 1976, David Schecter opened Schecter Guitar Research, a repair shop in Van Nuys, California.[1] The shop manufactured replacement guitar necks and bodies, complete pickup assemblies, bridges, pickguards, tuners, knobs, potentiometers, and other miscellaneous guitar parts. Contrary to popular belief, Schecter never supplied parts to Fender nor Gibson.[1] By the late 1970s Schecter offered more than 400 guitar parts, but did not offer any finished instruments.[1]

    In 1979, Schecter offered, for the first time, its own fully assembled electric guitars. These guitars were custom shop models based on Fender designs. They were considered to be very high quality and very expensive, and were sold only by twenty retailers across the United States.[1]

    Schecter guitars and parts have been used by, among others, Gary Holt, Pete Townshend, Jeff Loomis, Mark Knopfler, Ritchie Blackmore, Chris Poland, Synyster Gates, Richard Patrick, Jinxx, Jake Pitts, Tommy Victor, Dan Donegan, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, Robin Zander, Rodrigo Amarante, Shaun Morgan, and Nikki Sixx.[2]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schecter_Guitar_Research
     
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  5. The Eristic

    The Eristic Member

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    Are there "Schecter" stamps in any of the cavities, at least? It certainly looks legit. Would be pretty early, too, as the skunk stripe, exotic woods, blank neck plate, all the brass, etc are pre-Dallas hallmarks, though things are murky around the transition. Unfortunately, the basses have never been as collectible as the guitars, but are still great quality instruments with some value to those who know about them. Rather distinctive, too, with the unusually exotic woods (for the era) being applied to otherwise fairly straight-ahead Fender forms.
     
  6. HelloKittyHawk!

    HelloKittyHawk! Member

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    Those certainly appear to be Schecter parts. The wooden inlays are another "tell."
    There's no serial number because only the in-house-built Van Nuys Schecters received them (with an "S" prefix).
    This one is a parts-build, as are nearly all Van Nuys that you'll encounter; most were assembled by individuals who purchased the parts from Schecter, just as one would do from Warmoth, USACG, or Musikraft, today (except that Schecter sold every part that you'd need to assemble a complete instrument, not just bodies and necks).

    The pickup is, of course, not from Schecter, and -although Schecter did offer some plastic pickguards- I'm not sure about that one.
    The body appears to be mahogany, although I suppose it's possibly very plain koa, with an uncharacteristic uniformity of color. Probably mahogany, though.
    The neck is solid rosewood. Those dark stripes that run parallel to the skunk stripe are not original-issue, from Schecter.
    I wonder if they're graphite reinforcement rods, added after the fact, to stiffen and stabilize a wayward neck.

    There should be an impressed wood code and a serial number on the neck heel, in the neck pocket, and a woodburned Schecter logo in the pickup cavity and on the neck heel. I've seen early examples that lack the wood codes and the burned logos, but never all of those things.
    In the early days, though, I imagine that anything is possible.
    Fellow TGP member, Brad Hodges could elaborate, as he was part of the small Schecter crew, during that era.

    Regardless, cool bass!

    As The Eristic noted, they're not very sought after (or even recognized) in bass circles, but they're made from the best parts available, at that time.
     
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  7. Danilon

    Danilon Member

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    Hey, thanks heaps for the responses. That's pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. A bit of a background to explain the instruments history. Like I said, I have no interest in selling it, but it'd be nice to know some of these finer details, even if much of it cannot be categorically confirmed. Bit of mystery can be interesting. I play (and kinda collect) guitars, and this bass is a fine addition to the existing stack and I'm just happy that's it's back to life after nearly 2 decades of wasting away in storage.

    The pick-ups were a nightmare. Had to re-solder them and the connecting wire was as thin as a hair and 0.5cm long. Good fun, but eventually managed to get it right. That was a while back, so maybe I missed something under the pickguard, but I doubt it. And I'm afraid to move the pickguard now, lest I screw up the pups again. The pickguard certainly doesn't look flash, but I suppose I figured that's age related. Keep in mind when I pulled it out, the bass was literally green with mold, so that's the level of deterioration and disuse it endured. Luckily the natural finish made it reasonable easy to restore much of it. However, if there was a serial number on some external wood part, then I may have removed it by accident, although I dont think so. I did sand it back but only minimally. The neck was off just last week and there was nothing anywhere unfortunately.

    The stripes on the back of the neck I didn't even notice until now but all I can really say is that they are part of the neck. That is, they are not on the surface. The luthier who had a look at the bass thought the neck was in great condition and the truss rod has plenty of adjustment left in it. The frets however are very much worn and given no use for nearly 20yrs, I would imagine that its original owner played a fair bit.

    All of this really only came about when I asked for a quote to have the frets replaced and the guy suggested that I look into its history and value before doing modifications. I really don't like the idea of having an instrument that's not in good playing condition, but if it is a vintage instrument, I might keep it as is. Worst case I can always buy myself a Squier if I'm desperate for a more functional bass.

    Anywho, again guys, thanks so much for the info. It's appreciated. If anyone knows anything else, don't hold back, but I'm definitely happy enough with what I found out here already.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
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  8. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

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    If you open it up, you'll probably find Schecter stamps and a code on the body and neck. That will help confirm it as an original, as well as what the woods are.
     
  9. Danilon

    Danilon Member

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    Heya again!! I actually got people emailing me with suggestions and advice. Gotta say that's pretty freakin awesome.

    Now, due to popular demand, I bit the bullet and pulled the whole thing apart again.

    I went over in every detail and for the most I could not locate anything, except on the pots under the pickguard, and I would have to imagine that those are fairly generic.

    However!!!!!!!!! I saw a bit of a mark on the neck after taking it off. Figured it's just the grain of the wood initially, but on much closer inspection is says CTER, which I am going to take a wild guess and suggest might have been SCHE-CTER once upon a time. I could not locate anything more unfortunately, such as an actual serial, which would have been great. I've taken a few pics, just in case it has some form of meaning to some here.


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  10. Danilon

    Danilon Member

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    Actually, on further review the email I got was from Schecter because I asked them if they could help. Should really read things properly. They came back with the below, which is basically confirming much of what you guys already told me. But I thought I'd add it to the post anyway.


    From: Schecter Tech [mailto:tech@schecterguitars.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, 25 October 2017 9:34 AM
    Subject: RE: Schecter P Bass


    Hi Danny,

    Here is what our custom shop said:

    This looks like from Van Nuys era Schecter which is about 40 years old now.

    I cannot tell what material were used from the pictures, but if the customer can find any numbers on the neck pocket, or back of the neck, I might be able to find the name of materials being used.

    Most of hardware are Brass, include the nut, so most likely this is from van Nuys factory, or at least parts were from Van Nuys factory and put them together later one.

    Parts look all original but I cannot tell much about the pickup.

    The dot inlay seems to be Maple which is we used to do with exotic materials like on this one.

    I am guessing the side dot would be small brass on this one.

    If you can find any identifying number, they might be able to help more.


    Jake
     
  11. HelloKittyHawk!

    HelloKittyHawk! Member

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    Funny that Jake uses the pronoun "we," when referring to the original Schecter company, as they're several ownerships removed from Van Nuys, and have no connection to that company, other than being the latest owner of the name. It's a stretch, to say the least!

    The Schecter woodburn (or -in some cases- ink stamp) would've been in the pickup route, so that mounting foam could be covering it up.

    Nice restoration job on your bass - it looks great!
     
  12. Danilon

    Danilon Member

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    Thanks for the comment. I did try to get it looking as good as possible.

    And yeah, based on what you said and what I read elsewhere, it seems I will be taking the bass apart yet again to look under those mounting foam bits. Might even take the neck off again and see if there is anything else to be seen under a better light. If I find something more, I'll be back.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
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  13. Danilon

    Danilon Member

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    Yo... as before, youz are all spot-on with your advice. Thanks for the help.

    Pulled out the pickups (ruining the soldering, yay) and took off the foam. And there was a big burned/engraved Schecter symbol. Sadly, despite my best efforts, I could not find any serial numbers at all. But hey, at least I know now that the entire instrument is a complete Schecter (I was worried it might just be neck).

    Probably not much else to be said on this one. There are no places left to look, lol. I even checked under the bridge plate. In any event, pretty happy with it overall.

    But I do have 1 more question about the bass. As I mentioned before, currently the frets on it are badly worn. It's causing loads of buzz and really kills the joy of playing it. So, if it was yours, would you have it refretted?
     
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  14. The Eristic

    The Eristic Member

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    Without hesitation. There is no reason whatsoever to leave those old, dead frets on it. It was made to be played first and foremost, and as we're not talking about a '50s Gibson or Fender going into a display case for all eternity, a pro refret will actually *increase* the value.
     
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  15. Brad Hodges

    Brad Hodges Member

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    That's not a Schecter pick guard / pickups. It's not a dream machine P Bass.

    Schecter did not make many Dream Machine P-basses. They made them from 1979 only until around late 1980 or early 1981, then they stopped, Pat Wilkens would know for sure when. My guess is there were 20 to 40 total Dream Machine P bass ever made? My brother had one, he was the east region sales rep for Schecter.

    The fact that the neck is a printed logo, and the body is a burned logo, may help date it. The one and only branding iron was retired some time late 1980 to early 1981 (none of us remember <:) My guess is both neck and body were made and shipped out within months (either way) of the demise of the branding iron. Schecter necks were in such high demand it is unlikely it sat around very long before being used.

    My guess is it's a Schecter neck/body & bridge circa late 1980/early 1981 , purchased as parts and assembled, probably by one of the original 20 Schecter dealers.

    It's rare, any Schecter P Bass neck is rare. Bass neck runs were rare, the machine changeover / setup was very time consuming. Tom Anderson would know for sure, if he didn't make it, Paul Janowski did, and Tom supervised.

    I'll be seeing Tom soon, I'll ask him about it.
     
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  16. msteeln

    msteeln Member

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    where would their Fender P/J basses with the Schecter neck plate and body relief, Fender headstock/decals, land in their lineage and desirability factor? maybe not the classic 'dream bass' but it looks almost new, has a dull/flat white paint job, plays like a dream, rather light, and is only $350!
     
  17. Brad Hodges

    Brad Hodges Member

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    So just a Schecter Body? What about pickups?
     
  18. msteeln

    msteeln Member

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    no, a full bass, with BASSLINES if I'm remembering correctly, but it seems they never made these with faux Fender decals... might be re-necked
     
  19. HelloKittyHawk!

    HelloKittyHawk! Member

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    "Basslines" would be Seymour Duncans, then.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "body relief," though, as Schecter's body contours were identical to those of a Fender, at least in the Van Nuys and Dallas eras.

    If the neck plate says "Schecter" on it, it's from the Dallas era, or later.
    It could well be a parts bass -from virtually any manufacturer- held together by a Schecter neck plate (there are plenty of loose ones, floating around), or both the neck and body could be Schecter replacement parts, assembled by whomever painted it and added the decal.

    Did you buy it, or are you selling it?
     
  20. stedge

    stedge Supporting Member

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    Brad knows. Based on my limited experience and searches for my own VN guitar, this is a Schecter parts guitar. I have one of these Strat style, and it is a fabulous guitar. Not the collector thing that a “real” VN guitar is (ie put together at the original schecter shop), but the same parts put together somewhere else (excluding the non schecter stuff).

    End of day, a great guitar. Refret and play it!!!!!!!!

    Sorry for all that i likely repeated.
     

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