Allman Brothers Bassist w/Jazz Bass Using Hootenanny Button

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by OldFenderPlayer, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. I'm watching a 1973 video of the Allman Brothers Band, after the unfortunate death of Barry Oakley, with his replacement Lamar Williams, who is playing ... to no surprise ... an early-to-mid 1960s Jazz Bass, and it looks and sounds like he's using a pick. But the surprise is that he's using the bass's "hootenanny" button - that mysterious strap button mounted on the back of the head stock until the late 1960s. Considering how wide the strap is, I'm surprised he could mount it on the button.

    I have a gig tonight and the 1967 Precision Bass I'm using has a hootenany button. I've been playing bass for 44 years, and while I've always had an instrument with this button on it, I don't think I've ever used it. I may just bring an extra strap and use it for a song tonight. I'll silently dedicate the song to Lamar Willams, who died in 1983 from cancer.

    You can check out the video here:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  2. ShortyGetLow

    ShortyGetLow Inactive

    Aug 6, 2019
    I don’t know if I ever knew the headstock strap button had a name.

    Great clip!
    Winoman, SwitchGear, teh-slb and 4 others like this.
  3. You learn something new every day. To make certain that I bring a guitar strap that's long enough to use with the hootenanny button, I put one on my 1967 Precision Bass. I discovered that the '67's hootenany button is the same thing as the string guide that separates the G and D strings on the front of the head stock. While the hootenanny button and string guide are 22 millimeters wide, the strap buttons are 16 mm wide. But on my '65 Jazz Bass, the hootenanny button is a regular 16 mm strap button. The strap felt securely mounted on the '67's hootennany button, but felt like it was about to slip off of the '65's.
    MattZilla, SwitchGear and wesonbass like this.
  4. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Sounds like you need a Hootenanny Straplock for that ‘65 ;)

    Cool video, though the guitarist-to-drummer ratio was a little low there. Tough period for the band; Brothers & Sisters was a terrific album though. I definitely have some good memories driving southbound with Southbound a-blastin’...
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I remember when I started on bass, coming from acoustic guitar (many moons ago). It took a little time to get used to the different strap pivot.
    wesonbass likes this.
  6. wesonbass


    Nov 26, 2012
    Graniteville SC
    An old fender playing brother here. And ABB fan. I also never knew that it was called a "hootennany "button.
    I'll be joining you tonight in that dedication as I'm playing my 67 Coronado that my father bought for me when I was 10 years old. It's the bass in myavatar.
    Thanks so much bro for the cool post and video.

    Peace and peaches for all!
  7. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    Looks like a great way to fight neck dive.
  8. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    With such a long and thin neck, I’d be afraid it would effect the tuning and bow of the neck as you move around. You can easily pull the neck back or forth and see how it changes.
  9. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    Seems like using the strap button on the headstock would pull on the neck in an undesirable way. Maybe it's only purpose is a backup in case the strap button on the upper cutaway of the body suddenly comes loose and pops out.
  10. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Skip Battin from the Byrds used to wear his bass like that:
  11. Thanks for sharing the video. I'd never seen this one. I can't wait to watch it from start to finish, but after tonight's gig.
  12. teh-slb


    Sep 21, 2018
    This comment has nothing to do with the headstock strap button; I just wanted to say that, for my money, there's no person in the world that oozes more cool than the young Dickey Betts. I am forever in awe.
    mdogs, wesonbass, Justinian and 5 others like this.
  13. That drummer is on it like a mofo.
  14. He was a great bass player.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  15. I never knew it was called a "hootennany" button either, but I guess it's better than "third nipple" or something. Was this how Fender described it officially?

    Also, have we now listed the only two people to ever use a strap on a bass in this way?
    OldFenderPlayer likes this.
  16. SwitchGear


    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    Great post.

    Loves me CD some 70's Allman Brothers with Dickey Betts & Lamar on bass. Cant forget Chuck Leavell on piano
    wesonbass, dmt and OldFenderPlayer like this.
  17. Acoop


    Feb 21, 2012
    It was called that because that attaching the strap to the neck was the only way acoustic guitar players had to hold up the instrument while standing. Fender bass originally came with a strap. It was a long leather piece with a 5”x10” shoulder piece that the leather strap would feed through to make it adjustable. It came with my original 66 and I can’t remember where I lost it. And they could reach up to the headstock button.
  18. mikeoso

    mikeoso Acoustic Curmudgeon

    Feb 14, 2014
    eastern Iowa
    Hootenanny was a hokey media-cool name for a country/folky acoustic jam in the early 60s. Fender put that button on for the same reason the thumbrest used to be a tugbar...they expected players to be coming from acoustic guitars, and the headstock is where most acoustic guitar straps attached. So, the jazz and rock players saw the strap button up there and called it hootenanny because it looked like where Chet Atkins or Barry McGuire might wear it.

    It will stop neckdive, and it wont hurt your bass's neck. Main problem is that people who cant deal with anything unusual will think it looks dorky.

  19. Have a look at this video of Abba performing 'Dancing Queen' and from about 1:20 you'll see Rutger Gunnarson using the hootenanny button to good effect on his trusty jazz bass.

    As I understand it, the position of the button on the headstock was to enable the bass to be strapped on in a more upright fashion, thus approximating the position of the fingerboard on the string bass - a feature designed to make it easier for string-bass players to make the crossover. The more usual location on the front of the top horn was so that the bass could be strapped on by guitar players used to a traditional guitar-strap attachment.
    design, OldFenderPlayer and Winoman like this.
  20. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    Never knew that was a name for it?

    Never liked headstock buttons, seems like a good way to alter tuning at the worst possible time when moving
  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.

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