The 1962 Fender Jazz Control

Posted on by Jon Moody

1962 stacked volume tone controlsThe Fender Jazz Bass is one of the three most iconic bass types known in the musical world (with the other two being the mighty Precision Bass, and the Music Man Stingray). With that, there are a number of truly excellent replacement pickups to install in order to get your desired sound (with many of them found right here). But there’s one other tonal option Jazz Bass aficionados can do to get more control from their bass; install the original stacked vol/tone controls from 1960-1962.

Originally released in 1960 as the “Deluxe Model,” it was renamed the Jazz Bass as Fender felt that the narrow, more rounded neck would appeal to jazz musicians. With two single coil pickups, the original control plate had stacked volume/tone control knobs, one for each pickup. In 1961, the current control setup of volume-volume-tone was introduced, and in 1962 the stacked volume-tone configuration was taken out of production. So why try out this option, when it only lasted in production for about two years?

I was curious myself, and after having some “discretionary income” come in, decided to buy all the parts to wire up one and drop it into my Jazz Bass (one of the many things I love about the Jazz is the ability to easily swap out parts. But I digress). With $80 in parts and a PDF of the wiring diagram, I quickly soldered it together, and dropped it into the Jazz. I also figured that since I was going “old school” with this, what better pickups to drop in than the Antiquity for Jazz Bass set. What I heard made me a fan.

Unlike the current control configuration where the tone control is the master for both pickups, the stacked volume-tone setup allows you more tonal variety for each individual pickup. You can fine tune each pickups’ individual sound before blending them together. I found that I would tend to make the bridge pickup brighter than normal, which provided more focus to the darkness of the neck pickup. That characteristic of the Fender Jazz Bass is there, but just with some more tonal options under the hood.

1962 Fender Jazz Bass Wiring DiagramThe stacked volume/tone knob configuration from the Fender Jazz Bass from 1960-1962 is a great alternative to the the volume-volume-tone setup that we are all used to. The separate tone knobs help to affect the sound of each individual pickup, allowing you to fine tune your sound well before playing with the volume knobs to blend them together. For those that have the time to wire it up (click on the image to the left for a larger image), they’re in for a treat.

Written on January 3, 2014, by Jon Moody

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Comments (14)

  • Jon Moody 6 years ago

    I feel it is very important to clear something out. With the wiring presented on that diagram there is an interesting side-effect. When you turn a knob completely off then it acts as a master control, either if it is the volume or tone control. To all of our guitar playing friends, it is the same effect like in the case of a Les Paul type wiring scheme with the both pickups selected and then you turn a knob completely off.

    In order to avoid this you need to wire a pair of resistors between the two pots in order to isolate each circuit.

    • Jon Moody 6 years ago

      EJ, that’s very interesting. I’ve never had that problem, especially when using it with a PJ setup and completely turning down the Jazz pickup (essentially running just a P). I’ll have to look and see if I did anything different from the aforementioned schematic.

      • Jon Moody 6 years ago

        Hi Jon,
        Thanks for the article, I’m just using it as a part template for a job I’m working on, and I’ve noticed something that may explain the symptoms EJ Datsun is experiencing – forgive me if this is newbie mistake 101, but here goes:

        The ground from the neck pickup connects to the neck V/T pot. But from this pot, there is no connection to the ground circuit.

        In all other diagrams I’ve seen, they all connect the neck ground wire to a grounded point in the circuit.

        Is this a mistake? Or could you explain the rationale if it’s not?

        Thanks again –

        • Jon Moody 6 years ago

          My thought is that the diagram that I grabbed (since I did not make it myself) may have an error in it, as you have pointed out. One way to see if it works.

          • Jon Moody 6 years ago

            No worries, thanks for clearing it up – I’m new to this game, so was hoping I hadn’t misunderstood the fundamentals.

        • Jon Moody 6 years ago

          Maybe I am mistaking here but if the pots are connected to a metal plate doesn`t it connect both pots and jack and work as a ground circuit? (Then the schematics here is correct.)

  • Jon Moody 6 years ago

    Question, will it also fit on a 5 string Jazz? Or can a special one be ordered for that?

    • Jon Moody 6 years ago

      You could add this concentric control system to any Jazz, providing you have the right 2-hole control plate.

      • Jon Moody 6 years ago

        Can any 2 hole control plate (for the concentric knobs, ala ’62 style passive setup) fit onto a 5 string jazz bass, or does a slightly larger one need to be ordered?

        • Jon Moody 6 years ago

          Not having a 5 string or 4 string Jazz here in front of me, you would have to measure it and see if that is, indeed larger than a control plate on a 4 string. You might ask on our User Group Forum if anyone has tried this…my guess is that the 5 string’s plate is larger, so you might have to track one down.

          • Jon Moody 6 years ago

            Thanks, I just checked on 2 of mine and they’re roughly the same as each other so I think a standard would do.

  • Jon Moody 6 years ago

    Shouldn’t there be a ground wire to the bridge as well? I’ve just bought a 62′ control plate and two Seymour Duncan quarter pounder pickups, and I’m going to install them on my old Tokai Jazz Sound tomorrow. However, I can’t find anything, neither on the wiring diagram that followed the pickups, nor on your site about the ground to bridge wire. Should I just leave it, or solder it to the bridge pot, or the output? Tip or ring? Help!

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