'66 dot/bound J tribute

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JIO, Aug 8, 2013.


  1. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Musing on spending more time with the '66 body - as you can observe it in the side-by-side pic of the 2 bodies, as much as they are both Fender Jazz basses they are very different. (in subtle ways) What it comes down to is that the '66 is still intimately related to the 1960 Jazz bass via tooling/machines and craftspeople. (only 6 years later) Over the years (51 to be exact) from '66, many things have changed at Fender. A Fender Jazz bass body today is an approximation of its 'ideal' 60's parent. Include it being made in different countries/factories, different workers/craftspeople, hand-worked to machine made, through different versions over the years, and now approximated as a "60's classic" J option. Just watching that late 50's home-movie George Fullerton shot of the Fender factory show the (amazing) hand-work of the skilled craftspeople of that time. With full automation - very little hand work is needed now even as it is incorporated. I mean, they used to cut out the bodies and slice the body bevel by hand using an industrial band-saw and sand the elbow bevel manually on a big disk sander. Everyone here at Luthiers Corner knows how personal this is - even when people imitate machines through repetition the result always has a human one-is-slightly-different-from-the-other 'signature'.

    So the round-over (rout) is deeper/rounder than the '66, and gives it a softer/'puffier' look in comparison. Adding to this is the most obvious difference which is thickness of the bodies. The MIM is close to 1-3/4" and the '66 is a tad over 1.5". My '66 P is about 1-5/8". Why Fender thickened the body over time is curious - I've heard the "Road Worn" J's are 1.5" which now makes sense as they are emulating a worn '60's J. I have a 2000 MII Squier J and it's 1.5" also - so it's all across the board. More subtly, the shape is different - the '66 curves add up to what I've always been drawn to looking at pictures of vintage J's. It's an overall 'look' that is hard to pin down exactly. It has a more defined look is about the only way I can frame it. The elbow bevel transition is smoother than on current J bodies. Whether the drop-off edge was sanded smoother when it was first refinished or if it was always that way - it has a very seamless transition there. Other details vary on Fender J's as in the CNC guides like on the MIM (neck pocket and under the pg) and whether it has the solo control cavity or the routed channel (cc to N pu), or a back-access no cc-plate style.

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  2. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I'm definitely not a Fender fanboy, but dude - that is gorgeous... :)
     
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  3. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    more end of the day sunlight pics -

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  4. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Still beautiful. What I'm really interested in though, is that gorgeous quartersawn oak fingerboard stuck inside that table leg... :D
     
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  5. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    Looks great. As far as I know those little triangles you mentioned in an earlier post that hold the grounding plate were factory. My 66 had the same things.
     
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  6. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I've always liked flamed oak furniture & paneling - basic white oak not so much as it was sooo commonly used on ugly "Americana" style kitchen cabinets etc. I've never seen oak used for instruments.
     
  7. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    :) Thanks! - well that answers that! I kinda' thought it looked too deliberate to be a DIY thing, unless of course the DIY refinish was done by a window maker! Think I can post them on eBay as "vintage '66 control cavity grounding plate triangles?" - only [email protected]! (plate sold separately) :greedy: (no.., I wouldn't do that but I see greedy sellers attempting such...)
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
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  8. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Repost of a pic from 2013 in my other place - I miss my north (artists) light! :crying: - neck by Dan Ransom/SF, finished by Pat Wilkins/SoCal. The neck has not moved since having it built/plek'd 4 years ago - LaBella 'Deep talkin' flats are the only strings I've had on it - the same strings are still on it today and they sound great!

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    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
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  9. Colonel Barnes

    Colonel Barnes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2008
    Northern CA
    Nice work! That sun on Saturday was hot hot hot and red through the smoke.
     
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  10. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Wow - a homie! Yes, the fog will be back to cool things down again soon! (one of the reasons I love it here) Hey if you are around on Fog Fest weekend I'm playing both Saturday and Sunday w/2 different bands at Winters Tavern and would love if you can come check us out! Sat 10PM - Bond Girl (fb link below), and Sunday (time TBA) with The Sean Conneries. (also on fb) Bond Girl has been around a while and TSC's are a newer spin-off.
     
  11. Colonel Barnes

    Colonel Barnes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2008
    Northern CA
    I know I have to be at work at 7:30 Sunday morning so going out late Saturday night might be a non starter. I do get your updates on FB so I'll make it one of these times . . .
     
    JIO likes this.
  12. It doesn't seem to be used in commercial instruments, but some of the DIY guys and gals here in the LC have used it. Mostly doing some work that diverges from the norm. I've got some older oak that I hope to try out at some point.

    The '66 looks great! Congrats on getting an original body for it!

    -Jake
     
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  13. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    So, since incorporating the (actual) '66 Jazz bass body, I further decided to play with the sonic dynamics as well. Since Oct 27th, 2013 (a bit over 4 years ago) I changed the electronic harness to an Santella Sound Elek-Trix push-pull series/parallel setup (which I very much like - they aren't made anymore...) and upgraded to a fine Spitfire tort pg, but other than that it was the same as when assembled. I originally installed LaBella flats on it (of which I am a fan of) and Fender Super 55 split-coil pu's. These are also not made anymore and I like them also... but.., after 4 years I wanted to experiment. Soon after completing this bass, it became my Bond Girl bass which I've rehearsed and played live with the band since then. On only a couple of gigs I used my sparkle-finish Glam P/J strung with rounds (NYXL's I think) and when I did I loved the way it sounded. I love the refined thump of the quiet Super 55's and flats - very Carol Kaye, which was my intent. So lately I did 3 things; I removed the finish off the back of the neck and coated it with a thin tung-oil coat to seal the bare wood. I replaced the pu's with Fender Pure Vintage '74 singles (discontinued - I'm starting to feel like it's a trend...) and finally, strung it with D'Addario EXL160BT medium gauge nickel rounds / 50-120. These are in the "Balanced Tension" category - which I like. Only some in their line offer this. It's subtle, but it does offer more consistence string to string. I've grown fond of D'Addario strings in general and these for what they bring to the mix. So I just strung them up earlier today but my first impressions are very good. Really good flats sound really different than really good rounds. Maybe that's obvious, but here's some observations related to the overlaps. Both sound really good - no debate. During our set I play lead bass on Experiment in Terror by Henry Mancini. It's a baritone on the original recording, but I play it with a tremolo pedal engaged. When I do, (with the flats) I turn the back pu up full, treble full and front pu off, which got me closer to the baritone 'tone'. But, when playing it with rounds - it really delivered that more twangy tremloed treble like in the original song. Very Twin Peaks. So flats, even if good flats - won't do that, where as rounds with the treble off and the front pu favored will still bring the bottom. Maybe not as plunky as flats, but unless you are recording - it can pretty much be delivered live. And not only delivered, but with extra delineation - a very focused tone which expresses the full range of overtones. So at the end of the day - a more versitle set-up. We'll see what it sounds like in the live mix but I think the answer will be very good.

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  14. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Took the J to rehearsal last night and the new pu/string configuration is a keeper. It had a whole new voice - one I hadn't heard from this bass before. Maybe needless to say, but strings and pu's are the front line in how a bass sounds - they make such a big difference, the biggest difference you can effect really. It's like the pu's/electronics are the quarterback, the strings are the receiver, and everything else about the bass is the team supporting them. And when wanted, being a Jazz bass and all.., it now growls. Split-coils and flats were growl suppressers. One can get flats to growl with singles, but a softer, muted version. Growl is not always a 'must' for a J, just like 'mwah' is not always a must with a fretless. Right hand technique of course enters in here and the tone knob and pu dialing are factors also. With the push-pull series/parallel (knob up), front pu favored with a bit of flavoring of the other two controls and playing near the neck I got a very nice double bass tone. The raised s/p knob (2nd V pot) works a bit like another tone pot raised giving a bit more definition full up. Down, it's just like any standard V-V-T Jazz. So depending on all of these factors, growl can be enhanced or suppressed.

    I've always liked having a tone knob, and at one point I had one of the 12 notched Tone-Styler pots on a bass. (it was cool) For me it's like using a pick - it's a way to simply and directly shape your tone when performing. Within one song I'll start finger-style and with my pick cupped in my right hand I'll switch to the sharper attack that a pick delivers (say, for the chorus) and then back again. I don't mess with the knobs within a song, but will adjust them (between songs) for the next song. My criteria is whatever I do in this regard, it has to make a real difference for the song. (or don't do it) That includes stream-lining what I place on stage. I incorporate pedals and use every one of them during a set, even if only for one or two songs. The only ones that stay on are my MXR bass d.i.+ (usually flat) and Boss CS-2 Compression Sustainer. I converted a Skill rip-saw box which keeps everything portable and fast for on-off stage efficiency - plug in the DC Brick, plug amp/bass cords in (sometimes a d.i.) and ready to rock.

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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  15. JIO

    JIO Connery... Sean Connery Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I'm happy. Switching the pu's from split-coils to singles and the strings from flats to rounds was a game-changer - I can't put this bass down. And I loved it before - not like the 'old way' wasn't working. More just a really nice change. It's like when your partner/girlfriend/wife dyes her hair, or eyebrows or wears something you've never seen before - you suddenly see her in a new light - the best even better! Like that - keeps life interesting right? In this case it also reinforces that a Jazz bass is a solid tool in any toolbox. (regardless of Fender or J bashers) I hate to ruffle the feathers of those who swear by this or that bass - but to me there are only a few varieties of electric bass and most of the rest are spin-offs. There is a Fender P & J, a Thunderbird (I & II), maybe an EB-O, and a Kubicki Ex-Factor. Ok, there is also a world of piezo, Alembic, Rics and Ibanez varieties (active and passive) and they all sound awesome. Luckily I find any bass that's set up correctly, doesn't neck dive, isn't too heavy, looks cool and sounds good to be all I need to deliver the low-end goods. I frankly don't claim this or that bass is superior over all other basses, even if I own awesome vintage, custom and stock basses. I have a MII D'Armond Starfire RI bass with a P pu and for $175 used in VGC - it's a great bass! I can do anything I can do on any bass I own on it live or recorded and it sounds great! (it sounds like a really good P-bass!) There is an umbrella formula for what makes a great bass - but it's a whole lot less involved than most people inflate it to be. More and more, I feel the sound that expresses a player is 80% them, and the bass and amp is the other 20%. It has to be a solid 20%, but it's the player that delivers the goods. Prove it to yourself - next jam session or rehearsal, use someone else's (cheap) bass. It happened to me one night - I ended up using a cheap Peavey P-clone for a jam session. After about 5 minutes into playing (or less) it didn't matter what bass I was playing. I was into the music and that was all that mattered. We all love our basses, me included - but just don't lose sight of what they are made for... :bassist:
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  16. nerkoids

    nerkoids

    Jan 3, 2014
    Montreal
    sigh...
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  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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