Multi-talented. Multi-genre. Meldal-Johnsen.
From playing bass for Nine Inch Nails to producing M83 records, JMJ defies boundaries: just like his new signature bass.
Faithfully modeled after his beloved ’66 model, the Justin Meldal-Johnsen Road Worn® Mustang® Bass features a short-scale maple neck, a custom-spec pickup and a host of other touches designed to help you push your own boundaries.
A major part of the sound, look and appeal of this bass is its custom-spec single-coil Mustang Bass pickup, voiced as closely to his vintage original as possible.
This instrument features a Road Worn finish, granting it a cool, aged look and feel—like it has more than a few playing miles on it.
This classic short scale makes it easier to comfortably reach the lower frets while maintaining Fender's punchy bass sound. The 9.5”-radius fingerboard offers enough arc to provide a natural fret-hand feel.
BOLD IN THE STUDIO AND ON THE STAGE
The name Justin Meldal-Johnsen might not be well-known among casual fans, but if you’ve listened to modern music, you’ve probably heard his work.
Justin has carved out quite a career in the industry. He has not only handled bass duties for Beck, Air and Nine Inch Nails, he has also performed on a multitude of albums as well as many film and television scores. In more recent years, Justin has focused his production talents toward making albums with M83, Paramore, Wolf Alice, Young The Giant, Jimmy Eat World, Tegan and Sara, and many others.
Needless to say, Justin is a heavy hitter when it comes to playing and recording some very memorable modern music over the past two decades.
“Early on in my music career, I found that my favorite thing to do was work as a team toward a unified goal, and this applies to playing, producing, writing, mixing, music directing, whatever,” he said. “Thankfully, I’ve been able to wear all these various hats over time, and they’re really just different sides of the same coin, and they all blur into each other. For example, I find that when I’m in bass-player mode, that inevitably informs and expands how I might approach producing my next project. So, I’m always working to have a balance of those different roles as part of my creative life.”
“When working on an album project, I’m trying to get to the point that we all walk out of the room every day with a deep satisfaction about the music, as well as a sense of clarity about the greater mission behind it. And, as simple and idealistic as this might sound: if I can make some very creative people happy in this way, and myself as well, I get a tremendous sense of achievement.”
That’s just part of the reason why Fender teamed up with Meldal-Johnsen to create the limited-edition JMJ Road Worn Mustang Bass.
Based on his own 1966 Daphne Blue Mustang Bass, Meldal-Johnsen was originally inspired to pick up the traditionally short-scale instrument from artists like Trevor Bolder (David Bowie), Colin Moulding (XTC), Holger Czukay (Can) and Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads).
“It seems to always come back to Tina for me, really,” Justin said. “She hits with such an effective ‘simplicity-in-groove’ that no one else has ever done quite like her. I’m sort of mystified by the origins of her style, because her angular, funky approach feels so utterly fresh, even today, and always perfectly suited for the song. So of course, she’s been a massive influence on me creatively, and her tone is incredible.”
While Justin also cites the likes of Paul Simonon of The Clash, Andy Rourke of the Smiths, Graham Lewis of Wire, Sting, Jerry Jemmott, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Herbie Flowers, Joe Osborn, Carol Kaye, and the late, great James Jamerson – all Precision or Jazz players – as influences, his Mustang Bass has been a guiding light for some years now.
“I attribute that to getting years of feedback from artists, engineers and producers I’ve worked with both live and in studio, and just from what I perceive with my own ears,” he said. “Universally, there tends to be this realization that the Mustang has this uncanny ability to be present and fit beautifully with other instruments.
“In modern album productions and live sound that can get quite dense, it becomes even more evident how well it can cut through.”
With its personally spec’d split-coil pickup, 30” scale and 9.5”-radius fingerboard with rolled edges, Meldal-Johnsen believes his new signature Mustang Bass will be a key addition to any collection no matter the playing level.
“This transcends a student instrument,” he said. “If you’re just starting out, it’s certainly a great choice because of the comfortable feel and shorter scale. “But beyond that, I feel that bassists at any skill or career level can hold on to this bass forever, and it will always be able to fill an important role for them.”
“I like to think that a bass like this gives someone an option beyond the standards. It has a different sound and has a different feel. What it comes down to is that when you first pick this thing up, I think you’re going to find that it’s really conductive to just ripping on and having a lot of fun with, and that it sounds super cool.”
Modeled after his vintage Daphne Blue instrument, the Justin Meldal-Johnsen Road Worn Mustang Bass is an inspiring instrument with unique aesthetic and sound. Designed for comfort and speed, this bass’ stage-ready style shows the marks of an instrument that has earned its stripes out on the road. Check out the unique tone and amazing feel of the Justin Meldal-Johnsen Road Worn Mustang Bass.