Thursday, June 2, 2011

1982 Fender JV Precision Bass


This 1982 JV Fender has become my new #1 bass, usurping my 1983 black JV Precision Bass.

Perhaps I had better explain the whole JV thing. JV stands for “Japanese Vintage”, and was the serial number prefix for these instruments. This was the first series of guitars that were built for Fender in Japanese factories, and they were produced between 1982 and 1984.

These instruments were constructed at the Fuji Gen-Gakki factory in Matsumoto, Japan. This was the same factory that was building Ibanez and Greco guitars.

The JV-series instruments have become very collectible, and were built using the original blueprints to be authentic replicas of pre-CBS Fender models. They got the full treatment, including vintage-style tuners and cloth covered harnesses, as well as the original body contours and neck radii.

Our subject bass today is a non-export JV Precision Bass, model PB57-95. You can decipher the model number pretty easily: PB = Precision Bass, 57 = 1957 reissue, 95 = 95,000YEN (original price). There was also a cheaper model, the PB-57-70 (70,000YEN) , which I have a couple examples of. I imported it from Japan a while back, and it was original meant for the Japanese market.

The PB57-95 has a few improvements over the PB57-70. These include US pickups and pots, as well as the anodized pickguard. You have to get something for 25,000YEN.

This bass is finished in 2-tone sunburst with a maple fretboard. put the US made Fenders of the time to shame, and therefore were not imported to the United States. I brought this example back from Japan on one of my business trips.

The finish is original, and it shows a lot of wear, especially some buckle scars on the back. But, it is a true relic, showing 29 years of honest wear, and not some guy’s contrived idea of what a “relic” should look like.

It has the original electronics, and I must say, I love the cloth-covered wiring.

The neck is very nice. The vintage-style reverse tuners work fine, none are bent and they do not bind. The frets are good, with some wear, but there are still years of life left in the frets. The neck is true, and the truss rod works freely. There were some marks on the back of the neck, but my tech sanded them down, and it feels great. At the same time he replaced the truss rod nut, as it was kind of chewed up.

I think the bass is unmodified, with the exception of the knobs. These basses usually came with cheesy looking knobs, and these look a step nicer.

The serial number is JV04085, with a neck date of 6/22/82. This is only two months after the beginning of JV production. It is fairly light, coming in at around 8 pounds, 11 ounces, according to my scale.

It plays very well, and my guitar tech with La Bella Jamerson flats and it sounds killer.

When plucking the open strings with the bass unplugged the tone is rich and there is a strong resonance. Playing unplugged there is no buzz at all, even though the action is low. The strings are big (.011 to .052) so they require a little more strength to play, but they are still very comfortable.

Plugged the bass in tone is relatively bright, because these are relatively new strings , but they will darken up as time goes on and provide the thumpy tone of the 1960s that everybody and their brother is looking for.

I might be selling the black 1983 JV Precision Bass, so drop me a line if you are interested. It is a peach too!



  1. Question:
    How do I tell if it's a PB57-70 or a PB57-95?
    Should there be a stamp or sticker somewhere?
    Dirk (Berlin, Germany)

  2. Hi - I have played American Standard P Basses for years and always loved them, but got ahold of a JV model, admittedly a lower priced model at PB - 55, but it is just lovely and has a fantastic Braziian Rosewood Fretboard - was this standard for even the lower priced models? Thanks for the great post! Ashi Moto on Vashon Island

  3. Hi Rex. You sold the bass? This one is now on a Belgium second hand online store.