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June 16, 2010

The Tym Jazzmaster guitar, bass thingy .......

I've been wanting to make "this" guitar for years. In fact ever since I saw Local H live twice in the 90's and was blown away with the sound their lead singer/guitarist/bass player Scott Lucas made. His idea was, them being a 2 piece (before 2 pieces were cool) was to play guitar AND bass together, on one guitar. It wasn't until I started my new band, Midget Pillion recently that after some teething "problems" ended up being a 3 piece with 2 guitars and drums that the opportunity arose to do it.
The idea is simple..... kind of. You put a pick up under the "E" string and send that to a separate output jack. This goes through an octave pedal, through your bass pedals and into a bass amp. The rest of the guitar is standard and goes through your guitar pedals and into a guitar amp. This allows you to play the root note on the E string, which sounds like a bass as well as playing the rest of the guitar as normal. Simple.
I've had this old Jazzmaster body lying around the workshop for years just waiting for the opportunity to live again. It had been refinished and stripped several times. It was in good condition considering and is a great piece of ash.

I fitted a Mustang bass pick up under the E string in the neck pick up cavity. This goes to a volume pot and out the first output jack. This gets sent through an EH Micro POG and then through my Big Bottom and onto a Tym Toecutter and BigMudd, then to the bass amp.
The Tele deluxe humbucker is wired to the 3 way toggle in conjunction with the P bass pick up in the neck pick up cavity. This pick up just picks up the D,G,B and E strings and gives a "trebbly" thin sound that's ideal for "shoegazing" style drones. The Tele HB is LOUD and works well with the Jazzmaster platform (ask Lee Ranaldo) These pick ups go to the other volume pot and then out the second output jack. These get sent through a standard guitar pedal set up and into a guitar amp.
I've also anchored the E string from the vibrato (or tremolo as Leo would call it) so I can use the vibrato on guitar but keep the bass note intact giving the effect of 2 separate instruments.
The neck is an old neck that has been mistreated but is thin and straight, two things I LIKE in a neck. It has re-issue F tuners and a great piece of rosewood.
This does mean I have to take 2 amps with me, but I was running stereo amps on guitar anyway so 2 Tym 2x12's (one bass, one guitar) isn't too much work. I've been using a '72 Orange 120 as a bass amp and my Tym Supertone 40 as the guitar amp and it works a treat.
I will update any tricks I come up with in the future but this set up is proving to be quite good, once I've mastered the playing technique better. Until then, I'll just keep turning the fuzz pedals up, and up, and up ..........


  1. This demands a soundclip! Let's hear this thingy do it's thing....

  2. Sorry guys. I have no way of doing sound samples. Next time my band plays and someone records it, I'll put a link up ?

  3. Cool idea, I love to see how other people are approaching the 'no bassist' issue - it's great that people are getting so creative with filling up the sonic space left by having no bassist! I have been thinking about this kind of thing for a while - I play in a 2-piece (www.lechatnoir.org.uk), but currently I just tri-amp into two guitar amps and one bass amp, through a POG and Bass Big Muff. It's pretty fat, but I'd love to try the stereo output thing with a bass pickup added.

  4. Superb idea! I might try it as well as I have all the "components" in my parts bin.
    I wonder why you didn't use the Jazzmasters original "rythem circuit" (aka upper horn controls) for the bass pu and wiring it directly to the No.1 jack, so you would have two seperate controls.
    Though, I like you no nonsense aproach with just two volume controls as well.
    Best design I've seen in a while!

  5. That thing is mega fresh, Tim. great work!
    I'm also looking forward to hearing it..

  6. Thanks guys,
    I didn't use the rhythm circuit 'cause I always knock them when I strum. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible while getting the desired result. I never touch the volumes anyway. I set my pedal board up to switch the bass or guitar signal on and off at several points so I can use loops etc and turn that signal off with a footswitch. I'll post my board if anyone's interested ?

  7. Teddy and I had the same idea... and strangely enough, my name is Ted as well... I started out playing a bass through an EH Micro POG, octave up through a guitar amp with some distortion. The sound was thick and mean. Since I'm a guitar player, I reversed the set-up. I put my Strat through the Micro POG. The guitar signal hits a Knockout pedal and a Graphic Fuzz pedal to a guitar amp. The "Bass" signal goes through a Soul Preacher Compressor/Sustainer and an EQ pedal to limit some of the high end, then to the bass amp. Each line has a signa pad pedal, so when playing "bass" parts, I can cut some of the guitar volume, and vice-versa. A little tweaking on you volume settings and you can get an awesome full-range sound. Note- picking sounds a bit better than chords, but the effect still comes off nicely!

  8. Post your pedal board!