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'60-'62 Jazz Bass string mute question....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bobalu, Jan 24, 2012.


  1. bobalu

    bobalu

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    When these felt string mutes were installed, were they always in the "mute" position (ie: always engaged)? Or were they adjustable like the early Stingray and Rickenbacker versions where you could adust them down when not in use? Can't really tell from the pictures I've been searching through but they just look like a flat spring metal with a felt block on the end, always engaged with the string. I'm guessing that you had to install them for string muting,and then remove them altogether if you didn't want the muting effect? (PIA or what!) The threads I've found here really don't say anything to answer my question.

    Anyone know for sure?
     
  2. bobalu

    bobalu

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    bump. Anyone?
     
  3. LouieV2

    LouieV2

    Jan 9, 2011
    Boston, MA
    from what I can tell, the mutes for the old jazz basses were a part of the bridge cover (ashtray, as some call them) that permanently muted the strings, as long as the cover was on. Many players who played fender j's back in the day used to remove the foam mute from the bottom of the ashtray or just leave the ashtray off altogether.
     
  4. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    he's talking about the early type that were mounted to the body (not to the chrome cover) with the white felt mutes. the mutes were deeply v shaped so if you screwed the leaf springs down, they wouldn't mute the strings and you could adjust them to mute at varying degrees, just like on the vintage stingrays with the rubber mutes.
     
  5. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Um no, they were not adjustable on the Jazz Bass. The screw is on the bottom part of the spring. So if you don't want muting you have to remove them from the bass.
    The Mustang Bass screws were adjustable since the screws were in the top part of the spring like a StingRay.
     
  6. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    oops. that's right. what was i thinking? i used to just bend them down, or take it off completely on the '61 that i had years ago.
     
  7. bobalu

    bobalu

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    O.k., thanks! No wonder everyone either removed them right away or never installed them at all. Too bad.
     
  8. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    here's a couple of pics of the early mute:

    DSC02482.

    DSC02470.

    11092009174536.
     
    ELynx likes this.
  9. stacker

    stacker Banned

    Feb 24, 2010
    scotland
    Yes, but wasn't there a foam mute stuck on the underside of the rear ashtray? It had a zig-zag cut in it so that the G & D were downard muted more than the A & E.
     
  10. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Yes. You're describing the second generation muting system that replaced the individual felt mutes described above.

    For the OP:
    Video of Gil Yaron's J, with first-gen felt mutes.
     
  11. bobalu

    bobalu

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    John, thank-you for posting those pictures. They're awesome for clearly showing the mutes installed. Willicious, thanks for the link, I think the mutes sound great, much better than foam IMO.

    You guy's rock.
     
  12. Hey John,
    What model jazz bass is that? It looks too shiny and nice to be an original. The reason I ask is because I own one of the '60 custom shop reissues fender made last year, and to much of my dismay, the mutes where not included:spit:
    Did you install them yourself?
     
  13. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    that's not one of mine. it's one that Guy Yaron built.
     
  14. stacker

    stacker Banned

    Feb 24, 2010
    scotland
    So, you reckon that the first generation of stackpot Jazzes, say from '60-'61, only had the mutes on the body and not the top as well? I'm not sure that's correct cos the reissue mute kits - of which I have two - came with the upper mute as well.

    Here's a stock pic. [​IMG]
     
  15. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Your mute kit provides both first and second generation string muting options, as the reissue J isn't specific to one year alone, so Fender let's you decide just how many holes you want to drill into your beautiful nitro finish to achieve a mute effect. Leo never intended for both systems to be used simultaneously¬óthe effect would likely give way too much thud. :D
     
  16. stacker

    stacker Banned

    Feb 24, 2010
    scotland
    Well, I guess that makes sense. Thx for clarifying.
     
  17. Its strange that Leo bothered to redesign the mutes only do ditch them after a year!

    If you think about it when the J first came out the P had already been there 10 years and always had a simple foam mute under the bridge cover!

    Why did he do this whole new mute that was a lot more complicated o manufacture and still didn't offer more tweaking or work better than the foam!

    Pretty un Leo IMO
     
  18. The 2nd gen mutes were likely a result of negative feedback on the 1st gen. Most players removed them. So a less obtrusive method was used. When it became obvious players were removing the 2nd gen as well, sometimes dumping the bridge cover completely, they may have said "screw it".

    IMO, the mutes were better suited to the P than the J. They killed the extended highs that the innovative J pickups offered. It didn't take long for players in the 60's to figure that out.
     
  19. Chris Palmer

    Chris Palmer

    Aug 9, 2017
    I recently fitted a set of the sprung felt mutes to a Road Worn Jazz that I converted into a stack-knob. The felts needed to be cut down in length to avoid too much muting, but even so I found that they caused the bass to play increasing sharp as I moved up the neck on all four strings so I removed them again. Interestingly, this also happens when muting from above the strings! It seems that both upward and downward pressure causes the sharpness. I think that limiting the pressure and very careful placement of the foam (or the chammy leather that I am using) can overcome this.
     

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