Fender Jazz

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RETSAMPALS, Jan 13, 2001.



    Sep 10, 2000
    i'm just wondering on the fender jazz for example the vintage reissue or the marcus miller what is that pickup cover for?
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    All Fenders used to have the 'ashtrays', a mute over the bridge(and bridge pickup as well on the Jazz) and a cover over the pickup.

    Sometime in the 1970's they made this an option instead of standard equipment and then phased them out altogether a few years later, except on reissues of older models.

    Marcus Miller left the middle position cover on although he did remove the bridge cover/mute.

    It kind of became his trademark and so the Marcus Miller has it, and the vintage reissues have it because all Fenders came with them back then, although at that point I don't think that they were installed, if you wanted them on the bass you did it yourself.


    Sep 10, 2000
    but what is the point of it??
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    One obvious thing was, it kept you from touching the pickup;)

    When I first taught myself to slap (back in the 50's) I had trouble keeping my hand in the right position to bounce off the strings without muting them. The neck pickup cover kept me from doing that. I even put the same type Fender cover on non-Fender basses I got later, like my Hagstrom Swede. I eventually didn't need it so I stopped using it.

    Marcus apparently did the same thing except he kept his on.

    The bridge pickup cover just got in the way of playing close to the bridge. It did make a good ashtray, though.
  5. I believe the pickup cover was originally installed for extra shielding. In the '50's, there were a lot of stray radio waves buzzing about that would get picked up if things weren't well shielded.

    The bridge cover was where the string mute was attached.
  6. Oh yes, if you look at the stock Broadcasters (or Telecasters) from the early '50's, you'll notice the neck pickup has a metal cover over the coil itself, while the whole bridge and and bridge pickup were covered by a rather large cover. Again, for added shielding.


    Sep 10, 2000
    ok thanks all...i'll keep that in mind....
    but also....is an American Fender with all the graphite re-inforced neck and string through body stuff worth that much money?
    like vs. an MIM or a Japanese Miller signature?

  8. If you are considering a US Fender, consider this...

    Personally, since the US Fenders are now MORE money than a G&L SB-2, I have no hesitations whatsoever in recommending the G&L. The SB-2 is basically a handmade Fender for less money than the mass produced MIA Fender. The SB-2 has an excellent "Jazz Bass" tone, and with the P pickup soloed, it's the finest P bass tone I've ever had. The only thing it won't do is the "Jaco" tone - bridge pickup soloed. The bridge pickup on the SB-2 seems extra bright, but that compensates very well for the fact that the other pickup is a P. The result is that with both pickups on, you get a very convincing Jazz Bass tone (both pickup Jazz tone), while producing a very fine P Bass tone with only the P selected. IMO the SB-2 is the only P/J configured bass that actually sounds like an authentic Jazz Bass.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is what most people want a Jazz bass for - it's certainly the sound I listen for when trying this type of bass and is why I bought the Fender RB5 as this does it very well. I can get this on other basses than Fenders, but find it's the sound I use most of all. I only use both pickups together for slap. This is the fingerstyle sound I really like and funnily enough I find I can get closer to the "Jaco" sound with my Tobias Classic 5. 2 or 3 local players use these for the same thing (fretted and fretless) and I was amazed that the Tobias actually sounds more like this than any current Fender - although the RB5 comes closest.

  10. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    You weren't even FOUR years old and you were teaching yourself how to slap? No wonder your MP3s sound so good. I give up.

    ;) :D
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Good spot lump - yeah we're not that different in age and I was still playing with a pick until the 80s! I guess this is what slowed my development. There's a warning for all you pick players!! If only I'd started slapping in my pre-teens ;)

    Actually I can't remember when I first "slapped". I think that I picked up on the "pop" pretty quickly and it's fairly easy to hear how this is done and put it in your playing. So like mostly finger style, then throw in the occasional sharp "pop" - easy!

    It's a lot harder to get the whole slap/pop thing to fit into a song unless it was written this way and it certainly didn't fit in with most of the bands I played in. Mark King made us all sit up and take notice in the UK in the 80s though!


    Sep 10, 2000
    is it true that on the 75-80 models the bridge pickup is closer to the bridge which adds better slap tone?
  13. yes, the late 70's jazz's did have the bridge pup like a 1/2 inch closer to the bridge. It does make sense that it would give a "better" slap tone, but my favorite sound from a jazz is the neck pup soloed with the tone knob at one
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    It's a silly habit I picked up from David Letterman, who likes to talk about the old days when he had a radio show, in the 40's. I figure that, if people are going to call 44 old, let's make me even older.

    I remember the first song I slapped, it was "Dance to the Music". Saw Larry Graham do it on Ed Sullivan, then saw it again years later after I started playing.

    I did have to teach myself how to slap (and play in general) and the neck pickup cover really helped. I grew up in the country, there were two other bass players in Easton MD, the nearest "big" town. One guy, an older gentleman, tuned his bass to an open E major chord (EBEAb)and set his tone so muddy it wasn't possible to really tell what he was playing, the other guy made a point of telling me I'd never be as good as he was (or wasn't) when I first started. If he saw me at anything he was playing on, he would turn his back to me, onstage, so I couldn't see what he was doing;)

    That's the main reason I try to offer advice and answer questions here. If I had this resource back in the 50's (okay...70's) who knows, I may have made a go at a musical career. Things happen for a reason I guess:D
  15. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    And it's certainly appreciated. It's nice to have guys like yourself on the board, who can smoke 90% of the guys on the radio, freely sharing their advice and their sounds. I certainly couldn't have made the advances in my playing over the last coupla of years - rising from "suck" all the way up to "mediocre" - without the benefit of stealing ideas/sounds from folks like you (and numerous others I don't want to mention because I don't want to leave anyone out).

    And when I can play at half your level but get rich and famous because of my attitude and cool tats, I'll try to remember you all in my liner notes...:D
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    Thanks, lump. Glad it helps.
  17. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    One thing we should remember is that the Precision bass was originally conceived to be played with the thumb, Brian Wilson style. In this period, the thumbrest thing was there, but somewere below the G string. You were supposed to rest your fingers on the "finger rest" and your hand would then naturally fall in a position to pluck with your thumb. The pickup cover was put there to prevent your palm from touching the strings, a "palm-rest". When two-finger pizzicato became a standard technique, the pickup cover lost its usefulness and even got in the way. The bridge pickup cover was removed because it looked weird without the matching pickup cover. Also, it made changing strings more difficult.

    Do I get extra credit?

    Will C.:cool:
  18. AHAAAAAA!!
    FINALLY! Now I know what that malplaced thumbrest are for, I have always wondered why it was placed on the opposite side of the bass.

    Thankyouthankyouthankyou! :)
  19. Talking about possible and impossible sounds from a Jazz bass:

    the best faked upright sound I take from my Jazz comes from the bridge pick-up [not the neck pick-up] with tone off plucking on the fingerboard.

    Anyone else do the same?
  20. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Yeah - I do, except I keep some of the treble up. It's a nice sound and feel, but plucking there is a little weak in the "attack" part of the note. Lately I've been trying to pluck a little lower - just below the heel of the fingerboard of my fretless Jazz - to get a better initial attack. Of course, when I want the fusion/Jaco type of sound, the plucking happens right over the bridge pickup.

    - Mike