Vintage bass guitar mutes

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jumbo, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Jumbo


    Mar 5, 2005
    Hi all. I'm new to the group, and I really have been wondering some things as of late.

    Im extremely obsessed with 60s and 70s music, and live for the tones they got back then. I have a late 50s tube amp that I got just for my bass, and so I could record directly out of it. It has specific bass freq tubes, 7027a, and sound nice and vintage! It actually made my squier sound like a 70's jazz, and according to my math, thats about right where it should sit :)

    When I watch TV shows like "the brady bunch" and the "munsters", I always drool over the bass tones. Especially Bradies, when Bobby walks in the room or something, and the bassist does a little lick with some horns in the background. That bassist's tone is build around string muting, and I aim to get that sound.

    I saw this little rubber mute for $11, but I dont know what kind of mute produces what kind of muting sound. So this is why Im going to post this tune right here, of a song done in 1966 if you need a reference.'sDilemma.mp3

    The bass is panned to the right, and should be easy to detect. I pretty much nail that dudes bass tone with my 78 Jazz, or 73 Eb3, particularly when I run into the 1959 wurly tube amp. What I cant nail is that muting tone! I know flatwound strings are used probably, but just the muting itself- what kind of material device was popular for muting back then? Will the rubber mute even cut it?

    I tried to build a mute myself, with failing and uneven results. If anyone here can help me resolve this issue, I would be forever greatful. Thanks, best,

  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  3. Jumbo


    Mar 5, 2005
    hey thanks. cool link. Unfortunately, 103 bucks is what im paying for a 1966 22" pro lathed ride cymbal. NOT for a stinking mute! Wow, what a rip off. I know that every mute is specifically designed for each string etc etc, but really. A new set of neoprene hammertips only costs 50 bucks. ACTUALLY that gives me a damn good idea....(have some extra soft ones from my rhodes)

    thanks, keep this kind of stuff coming!

  4. genderblind

    genderblind Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2004
    On this topic, I suggest picking up an old Ovation Magnum, which has a lever-action mute that you can run on or off just by flicking the lever. Huge neck pickup too, tons 'o heavy warmth...
  5. marty1966


    Sep 24, 2004
    If you like a lot of '60's and '70's bass tones then whether you realise it not you've probably heard Carol Kaye play.

    She was a very predominant session player in those decades and played on many TV shows including The Brady Bunch and recorded for many artists such as The beach Boys amongst hundreds of others.

    If you visit her website you can post a message in the forum which she will personally answer regarding her muting technique:

    I think she spoke about it before in the forum....basically she tapes a peice of felt over the strings across the's a pic of Carol using here mute:
  6. superfly


    Aug 4, 2004
    Not to hijack this thread, but I've wondered what kind of string mute is best? Muting from the top of the string pushing down like a P bass with a foam strip under the bridge cover, or muting from the bottom pushing up like a jazz bass set of mutes?
    Sometimes I will stick a piece of foam weather stripping under the strings of my Mustang. But if I use too much upward pressure, it throws the tuning off kinda weird.
  7. aver


    Mar 7, 2005
    In the "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" DVD you can see Babbit using a sponge under the strings near the bridge. Try that out and see how you like the sound.
  8. Zog


    Sep 27, 2004
    I was watching a DVD called Fly Jefferson Airplane which had a lot of old performances. Jack Casady's muting techinique in White Rabbit was a total surprise. Right where the body joins the neck of his Jazz bass he had hung a little stuffed animal. It was resting over the strings and muting them. I've tried this with some of my dogs' toys, but they aren't happy about it... but it works.
  9. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL

    Return of the living thread!

    Just searching for some info on the original Mustang Bass mutes that came stock on the original ones back in the day and I stumbled onto this thread.

    The video referred to here is the most common "White Rabbit" lip-synched video. In the video they weren't actually playing, it was the studio version of the song, staged for a video as was common back in those days. I don't think Casady ever used any type of muting and also that the stuffed animal was just a joke... but I guess if it works... why not? :bassist: