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Fender ashtrays on basses - just fashion or useful?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 2meterbassman, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Hi everybody,

    I see a lot of Fender basses (j and p-bass) with those chrome ashtrays over the bridge and the other metal thing over the neck pu.
    Also a lot of players in here buy that stuff to install it on their basses.

    Well, I remember the old times in the 70s and 80s when the first thing almost every bass player did, was to rip that stuff off the bass, to play the bass, to have enough space for fingerstyle playing or slapping.

    And today, al lot of players have that imho crap on their basses.
    Hey guys, it was made for the old style of bass playing, resting the forearm on the ashtrays, the fingers on that finger rest beneath the strings - to play with the thumb (or a pick), Bill Wyman style.

    I wonder why you all buy that crap?
    Ok, it looks nice - but imho it's not useful for modern playing.

    Or is it only G.A.S, the lust in bass modding?

  2. echoSE7EN


    Jul 1, 2010
    Balto., MD
    I've never used the ashtray, but have installed the chrome pup "covers" on both J and P basses. I like to rest my wrist on the chrome when slapping/popping (Marcus Miller said the same at a Master Class I attended a few years ago). It's a comfort thing for me. Plus, I'm never using my fingers directly over the neck pup, or the P's pup; so it doesn't hamper my playing.
  3. Joe 1956

    Joe 1956 Banned

    Nov 23, 2012

    "crap" "crap"

    Troll thread.
  4. All that "crap" sure makes em look mighty purdy though!
  5. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012
    As you said, when playing with a pick, it can be a nice place to rest one's arm.
  6. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Any Fender sporting a vintage bridge owned by me has an ash tray on it now. Of those few times that I play with a pick, I rest my hand on the bridge. Basically, I got tired of bleeding all over my bass. Once I installed ash trays, never cut my hand again.

    Yes, I know it's weird but it works for me.

    I guess I could file the height adjustment screws. Can't bring myself to tape them.

    I have to be the only guy that bleeds playing a Kentucky Headhunters song. It's ALWAYS the Headhunters. :D
  7. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Why do people waste their energy writing that crap?
  8. Why do people like you don't use their brain for an answer instead of offending others?
  9. Unpolite answer.
  10. So - interesting answers.

    For pick and/or pick players, it makes sense, for resting the hand/forearm, or to protect your hand from damages from the bridge screws, if you pick at the bridge area.

    When I played bass in the 80s I used a pick, too.
    Today I play fingerstyle or slapping, and I like to use the whole area between neck and bridge for playing, to have different sounds/attacks.
    That's why all that chrome stuff is crap to me (but it looks nice).

    It seems there are more pick players around as I thought.

    Thx 4 your answers, guys.

  11. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    So, I don't wish to start an argument here, but you can call "crap" things that a lot of other people obviously like, without being unpolite.

    However, it is unpolite to not give you a straight answer.

    Next time use your brain to write, before using derogative terms.
  12. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    It adds to the feel of an instrument for me, not in terms of playability, but reminding me of what bass I'm playing. Sure you can play 60's surf rock and doo wop covers on any bass, but having a daphne blue P-bass with all the chrome pickup covers just puts you in that mindset when you have the bass in your hands.

    Not to mention the ashtray is QUITE useful if you like your foam mute over the strings and don't feel like holding it down while you attempt to play close to the neck :smug:
  13. mndean


    Mar 20, 2009
    I use the pup cover and rest my last two fingers on it for playing fingerstyle. I stick it on with double side foam tape so I can take it off quickly if I want. The bridge ashtray I kept as a place to put some muting foam, but since I got a G&L, I can't do that anymore.
  14. In the day, you put foam rubber in the "ash tray" to get a nice dull thud. James Jamerson amoung others used it with great effect. Gibson put a mute on their EB3s.
  15. Well I know what you mean - from the 60s onwards people removed them because they get in the way of playing quite a bit - try playing over the bridge pick up on a Jazz with the cover on - not possible - and that's how Jaco and a number of people got their sound. That said, the basses look very nice with them fitted.

    I'm very much on the fence with these - you could argue that having the covers on is akin to people who bought new cars in the 60s and left the plastic protective covers on the seats - not very practical!!

    However the fashion these days is for vintage looking basses with vintage, sometimes lo fi sound. Funny how trends change - people were striving for 40 yrs from the late 60s to get better and better fidelity in music reproduction, and for the last few years we seem to have gone backwards, now accepting low fi heavily compressed output no one would have put up with 30 odd years ago.

    So I guess the covers are just part of the trend for many people (including musicians) to be backward rather than forward looking these days - extraordinary when rock and roll started off as a forward looking, progressive thing, barrier breaking etc.

    However if I buy a Fender, it will probably keep its ash trays!! But I'd say current fashion outweighs any idea of usefulness.
  16. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan

    You can't come right off the bat calling something "crap" like that. It's an impolite way to pose a question, so why expect polite answers?

    I have an ashtray on my P bass bridge. Why? Well, I think it looks damn cool. It only covers the bridge itself, unlike the J bass bridge covers, which extend to the bridge pickup. Because it's shorter than the J ones, it doesn't hinder playing by the bridge at all.

    Also, I keep a piece of foam under there to mute the strings and I think the ashtray is a nice way to hide the foam, as it originally did. I think the foam looks a bit ugly when exposed.

    Lastly, it's good to rest the side of my palm on when I want to play with my thumb. The thumb sounds good on a lot of songs, like 'Just My Imagination' by The Temptations.

    "Crap" with a few practical uses, you see.
  17. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Useful for detecting fender conspiracies.
  18. Joe 1956

    Joe 1956 Banned

    Nov 23, 2012
    Impolite thread.
  19. Joe 1956

    Joe 1956 Banned

    Nov 23, 2012
    Seems I've read a couple of posts where they've said the covers have helped with issues of hum?

    Fashionable and useful too. Here's the first on my wish list:

  20. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    ^ A thing of beauty. I've always wanted something similar but with no pickguard and pearl blocks on the maple neck.

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