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'69 P bass - strap button on headstock?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bben, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. bben


    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Here's a question for Fender buffs. In January 1970 when I bought my '69 Precision it had a strap button on the front of the headstock, near the tuners. I couldn't see any use for it and just took it off when I took the ashtrays and everything else off. I've never seen another Fender with a strap button there, so I assumed it was added by the previous owner. Any reason to think otherwise, i.e. is this something Fender might have done?
  2. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Are you sure it wasn't just a flat disk to run your strings under? Fender uses those to give your strings a bigger break against the nut, helping prevent the string from being pulled out while playing.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  3. That strap button was an ABSOLUTE stock item on Fenders for years. I've seen it (or the hole left behind) on many, many pre-70's Fenders. To tell which ones isn't something I remember(duh!)but it was there for sure.

    I bet Treena's old P has something like this.
    Ductapeman likes this.
  4. bben


    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Good thought, Gabu, but it wasn't a string retainer, it was an honest-to-goodness strap button.

    The follow on question, of course, is what was it there for? I have never seen anyone use a bass strap out to the headstock.
  5. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Fender used to put a strap button on the back of the headstock in order to play the bass in a more upright fasion. Sort of like a chapman stick.... I think they stopped using them sometime in the early 70s.
  6. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Oh, cool. I never knew that. So, the initial idear being that one would keep the bass angled nearly vertically... It didn't make sense before because I had been thinking that putting a strap on the head would create a lot of pressure on the neck joint.
  7. bben


    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Memory being the frail thing it is, the strap button must have been on the back, not the front like I originally said.

    I couldn't then, and still can't imagine now, using it. I had visions of the bass, once vertical, sliding down slowly as a song progressed, unable to stop the slow slide, until the tuners were touching one's shoulder and the body banging at the knees, the song clanging to a halt, the whole world staring in disbelief.

    And at the risk of repeating myself, I have never, as in not ever, seen anyone using the headstock strap button on a Fender.
  8. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    :D Exactly bben! Im picturing the strap coming off and the bass crashing to the floor! Well its obvious why they stopped using them! :p
  9. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma

    Through the 40's 50's and 60's is was common to be wearing guitars or basses strapped to the headstock. (like the guy above)
    If you look in past issues of Bass Player, you may find old pictures of guys wearing basses that way.

    I was pretty sure that Fender stopped putting on the headstock mounted strap by 1968.
  10. Yes, they were stock until about the late 60's.

    I will try to take a couple of pictures and show you mine. Both the Jazz and P basses have them.

    This is a 1966 Fender Jazz Bass, that belongs to....MadAnthony..it's identical to my 66 Jazz bass. You can also see the strap button is on the head stock.

    MA's 63 P bass

    You might check out the Vintage Fender sites for more info.


  11. Now don't quote me on this, but, (O'hell, quote me on it), up to about 66/67, before CBS screwed up Fender, Fender shipped their instruments with "STRAPS" (Da Da). ..... And the strap lock, as pictured on the back of the 60's bass headstock, was used for when the player would wear a tux., or (band matching)suit. ... Because, believe it or not, before punk came along, people would actually "dress up" to be on stage. The straps Fender sent out with their instrument were a long leather strap(kinky), that looped through a felt filled leather shoulder pad.(Adding to the comfort and fashion fit that todays modern musician needs for those grulling long nights under the lights). My first 66 P bass came with one in the case, though that was 30 years ago, and I don't know what happened to it. .... But, shorty after CBS took over Fender they stopped shipping out straps with the instruments, which soon meant, they didn't need to put the strop lock on the head stock. Which soon led to more corporate cut-backs, that lead Fender(CBS)into a 70's nose dive that saw the company near bankruptcy by the late 70's. ... But that a story for another day.

    ... Why did the bass player drive around town with a set of drum sticks on the dash of his car?
    So, he could park in the handicapped zone.
    Da D.
  12. [​IMG]
  13. bben


    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Yeah, that's the little sucker, Treena, in your pictures. My neck has a January '69 date on it, so they used them at least that long.

    Lots of guitar players (like Bill Turner) use headstock straps, especially with fat bodied electrics or acoustics. But bass players? So far I have been told of two 1) One of the Partridge family members 2) A Fender employee whose name I unfortunately disremember in a "Hawaaian-style band".

    That's two...
  14. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    I have it on my 82' MIJ Fender (squier series) Pbass.

    Probably because it's a 57 ri ?
    What do you think ?
  15. theaterbass29


    Nov 14, 2003
    Nashville, Tennesse
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Sadowsky, D.Markley, Spector
    Fender and most fenderphiles call this strap button a hootenanny. I dont know for sure that the idea was to play it vertically as much as it was there as an option for the player to put his/her strap wherever they felt the most comfortable. If you have ever noticed, most acoustic guitars are shipped from the factory without a strap button at the neck. This is because some players, more tradionally, will tie a string or leather strap around the headstock as they believe putting a screw in the neck tampers with the sound. I personally dont believe that is hurts the sound one way or another, but the hootenanny existed on Fender instruments from the earliest 50s basses, until the late 1960s, and then would be later discontinued. You can read more about the hootenanny in the Fender Bass Book, and Jim Miller's "How the Fender bass changed the world."
  16. antonspon


    Mar 27, 2013
    This still doesn't explain why Fender DIDN'T put a hootenanny on their guitars, just the basses?
  17. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    11 years. Is this a record?
  18. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    And to ask a gui**** question yet!

    Good God, man, let the dead rest with dignity! :scowl:
  19. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    How do they even find these threads??
  20. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Thanks for that. Now I can wipe the coffee off my monitor.
  21. 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.

    Feb 24, 2021

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