Re: Question about Refinished Basses

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Posted by El Pájaro on January 10, 2001 at 17:21:34:

In Reply to: Question about Refinished Basses posted by Kenny on January 10, 2001 at 13:18:59:

: I am considering buying a vintage Fender Jazz Bass which is all original

: except it has been refinished. By being refinished, what has the Bass

: lost in terms of sound quality versus a vintage Jazz with the original

: finish? How has this affected things like sustain, intonation, and overall

: tone? Lastly, how has refinishing affected the resale or collector's value?

: Any insight from those who know vintage Jazz basses would be greatly

: appreciated...

: Thanks,

: kenny

Yo Kenny,

Don't mean to disencourage you (after all, if you found a great sounding instrument, go for it any day!), but a refinished vintage instrument does have some drawbacks.

First and obvious, there's the collector's value: vintage instrument collector's won't give a damn if the finish is worn, scratched or dented as long as it's the original finish; OTOH, no matter how well applied, sexy, funky or cool the new finish is, it's no longer the original, thus the instrument's value as a collector's item is lost somehow.

Second, although a lot more subtle, is the sound: vintage instruments sound the way they sound due to a combination of a number of factors. An important one (although often overlooked) is the finish wear. An instrument 35 years old sounds different partly beacuse of the 35 years of wood aging, and also because the wear in the finish allows the wood to "breathe" more, thus resonating in ways a new/refinished instrument (think "sealed wood") just can't.

That's just my $0.02 worth. As always, buena suerte and keep your bass up front in the mix,

El Pájaro.

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