Introducing the JAXT4 Signature Bass, and Jeff Ament Approves this Message

by John Reynolds , Jessica Letkemann , Kathy Davis on December 1, 2011

Do you want to play bass like Jeff Ament? You might need a ton of practice and an education in the great bass-masters of rock, but pretty soon you’ll be able to buy Jeff Ament’s “JAXT4″ signature bass, a collaboration with Jeff and local Seattle guitar-maker Mike Lull.

At $5500 you might question the pricetag, but consider it’s a hand-made guitar, not something mass-produced that you can buy at a big-box store. Jeff has been working with Jeff and Stone Gossard since their Mother Love Bone days. Many famous guitarists have their own line of custom-made guitars with large manufacturers, but few use local tradesmen. For example, Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon have exclusively used guitars made by a local guitar-maker in their native Vermont for over twenty years.

Enough of what we have to say, let’s see what Jeff has to say:

Jeff Ament Endorsement for JAXT4

Jeff Ament Endorsement for JAXT4

From the press release:

Seattle, WA- November 30, 2011– Longtime Northwest guitar and bass builder, Mike Lull, has collaborated with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament to create the “JAXT4” signature Jeff Ament electric bass. This handmade instrument will be available starting in January and marks the first time any member of the 20-year-old iconic musical group has put their name on an instrument. “The only bass that plays like a modern handmade machine and sounds like the best vintage Fender or Gibson in the shop,” said Jeff Ament. “I’m honored to put my name next to Mike’s on this beast. 4 strings!” (Ament’s quote in his own handwriting is included as an attachment).

Capitalizing on a 25-year relationship, Lull and Ament worked together closely to create the signature model bass. The bass features a 20% oversized body, but thinner body thickness than standard Mike Lull T4 models, along with a reverse headstock. Jeff Ament personally chose all custom colors, finish, and wood configurations. The JAXT4 comes with a metal (select models only) pickguard engraved with an Ament designed T-bass logo, Jeff’s signature on the headstock along with a special Mike Lull logo designed by Jeff to be used only on his signature model. Included is a custom Ament hardshell case with a hand-stenciled logo on the exterior, along with a bag of assorted Ament custom guitar picks.

The JAXT4 is available in these four custom color and wood configuration choices:

  • Satin black polyester finish w/ chromed aluminum JA pickguard (mahogany body/mahogany neck/rosewood fingerboard)
  • Satin kerry-green polyester finish w/ solid white plastic JA pickguard (mahogany body/maple neck/maple fingerboard)
  • Gloss clear polyester finish w/ chromed aluminum JA pickguard (swamp ash body/maple neck/maple fingerboard)
  • Satin cardinal-red polyester finish w/ solid black plastic JA pickguard (mahogany body/mahogany neck/rosewood fingerboard)

The JAXT4 will be unveiled at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show the weekend of January 19-22, 2012 in Anaheim, California and be available for purchase thereafter.

“I’ve worked with Jeff for years, on repairs and building instruments for use in the studio and on the road,” says Lull. “His instinct when it comes to quality and craftsmanship match my own sensibilities and made it a joy to create the JAXT4 to add to our lineup.”

Mike Lull Guitar Works and Jeff Ament have chosen 826 Seattle, a local non-profit, as a beneficiary for on an online auction featuring two handpainted (by Ament) signature basses. Details on the auction will be announced soon, with all funds benefitting 826 Seattle.

Mike Lull has been fixing and building guitars and basses for 35 years. Lull’s first job at age 16 was repairing guitars for a local shop. He developed a following among area musicians and opened his own shop at 21. He began to build custom basses and guitars, his fretwork becoming legendary and his fine- tuning attracting artists across genres and locales. A local cover band bassist himself, he has built and repaired instruments for numerous Northwest legends including Heart, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Queensryche and national acts such as Bon Jovi, Randy Jackson, Bob Dylan and many, many more. To this day, Mike continues to hand build and test each and every bass and guitar that leaves his shop.

Mike Lull Guitar Works was formed in 1975 as a repair shop and as the demand for his high quality work grew, Mike began to custom build guitars and basses. He has a dedicated following of musicians around the country and world. The shop boasts a computer controlled fret leveling machine called a Plek. It levels frets to within .001 mm accuracy, resulting in a type of precision that creates ultimate playability. Mike Lull’s Plek machine does more fret dressings than any other Plek station in the country. Mike Lull Custom Guitars are distributed in 9 countries and all over the United States. Visit www.mikelull.com for more information.

The Jeff Ament “JAXT4″ bass available in January 2012.

Jeff Ament playing the JAXT4 Signature Bass

Jeff Ament playing the JAXT4 Signature Bass

John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.
Jessica Letkemann ( Twitter: @Letkemann )
TFT co-editor Jessica Letkemann is a New York based music journalist who is currently the managing editor of Billboard.com. She has been previously been on staff at Spin and Premiere magazines. Her first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 2, 1992.
Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.