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Jazz Bridge Cover

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JJBluegrasser, May 27, 2003.

  1. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    Oh man, is this a newbie question. I've been playing bass for better than 5 years, but I've never understood what the bridge cover on those sweet old basses is for. Is it just asthetic, or does it serve a function too? It looks great. I thought of putting one on my '98 Jazz Deluxe, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea. Especially if I don't even though what they are for!:)

  2. I think I'm right in saying original Jazz basses that had bridge covers fitted had mutes fitted to the strings under the bridge cover to stop any open strings ringing.

    This may have been only older Jazz basses, I'm not sure about recent reissues. But as for aesthetics only, they do look pretty damn cool ;)
  3. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    My Jaco production bass came with foam mute to put under the bridge cover (not attached but just an option if I wanted it) not sure about new MIA Jazz basses or whatever
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I was always told/assumed/read/whatever that they were first installed as additional shielding as well as a finishing touch (think of the cars produced in the 50's)

    They do limit your right hand (or left if playing lefty)... but I dig the look too :)


    do it if it won't get in your way. You could always use 2 sided tape to stick them on till you're sure you want it or not.
  5. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Well it was there to serve a couple of functions. It has been said that Fender used these for shielding for stage lights or other high power things that the basses would be near. And Leo Fender thought bassist would pluck with their thumb, so the front cover would also be a place to rest your palm.
    On the original '51 precision, a ground wire from the pickup attached to the cover, and even Bass Player mag said it sounds better when attached on the '51 vintage bass.

    The bridge cover on all Precisions had the foam mute attached to the underside, so that was it's function.

    When the Jazz came out in 1960, it had spring-loaded felt mutes attached to the body, then a couple years later, switched to typical foam-cover mounted mute. So the rear cover was also hiding all that clutter.

    I sure don't have any problems playing my Jazz with covers installed, and our style is along Faith No More type, and I play mostly finger as well as slap, and some pick.
  6. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    So, do the mutes that you're all talking about come with the bridge cover, or is that a seperate contraption?

  7. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    The mutes were strips of foam rubber glued under the bridge covers.
  8. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Except for the first couple of years where the mutes were screwed into the body between the bridge and bridge pickup. I think they realized it was cheaper to just glue the foam to the bottom of the cover.

    I've never compared the two methods side to side. I'm curious if there is much of a sound difference between mutes under and over the strings.

    I love my bridge and pickup covers on my Jazz Bass. I simply don't like the way naked Jazz Basses look, for the most part. If you are a big fan of playing near the bridge for that mid-filled Jaco tone, or anchor your thumb on the bridge pickup, you won't want to bother with a bridge cover. I tend to play near the neck, and don't care for playing near the bridge, so it never bothers me.
  9. geezer316


    Jan 26, 2003
    i could'nt of said it better myself, your answer is right on the money $$ bro.when the fender bass first came out they were in fact functional,many early bassists new to the electric bass used the covers to get as much "stand up bass sound" as possible,and they were much more attractive to the eye than the "mutes" down above the bridge. the bridge& pick-up covers and flatwound strings made the cross over easier for bass players who were a little hesitant to leave the comfort of their stand-up bass for the new electric bass that was taking over,and any addition that would make the p-bass sound more genuine was used to attarct even the most stubborn players because that "big bass " sound was all the music world new and here comes this little, easily transported bass guitar that now all bassists were gonna have to give in and learn if they were gonna to be able to compete against the other bass players who were already playing them(JAMMERSON,DUNN,etc.)My teacher has an early 70's mustang bass.it was his first bass that he ever had(i wish my first bass was an american fender:bawl: )that he uses coated strings,mutes AND covers,and man does that thing sound DEAD.i've never heard anything quite like it and for a short scale bass that thing rocks!for me flatwounds or compression wound's are enuff for me.i use them on my j-bass and they are a perfect compliment to the fender "GROWL":eek: .i am a big fan of the older type basses,THOSE NEW FANGLED 6,7, AND 8 STRINGERS ARE NOT FOR ME.;) gimme a p-bass with a nice set of flats and see ya' next year:bassist:

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