Ernie Ball Music Man joins forces with Joe Dart for two all-new full- and short-scale bass models

Ernie Ball Music Man Joe Dart
(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

Ernie Ball Music Man has once again teamed up with Vulfpeck player and all-round funk king Joe Dart to expand the brand’s line of signature bass guitars with the new-for-2021 Joe Dart and Joe Dart Jr. models.

Building on from the original JD four-string model, the two recently revealed iterations arrive in the form of full- and short-scale offerings, both of which stay true to Dart’s affinity for streamlined design layouts.

While the larger model will be released as part of an Ernie Ball Music Man production line, the smaller sibling will be limited to a run of only 50 instruments worldwide.

Ernie Ball Music Man Joe Dart

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

The 34”-scale model shares its specs with its predecessor, and features a lightweight ash body, bolt-on oil- and wax-finished flame maple neck with 22 frets, and a Vintage Music Man top-loaded steel bridge plate with vintage nickel-plated steel saddles.

Other features found on the full-size offering include a sleek Black Velvet satin finish, dot inlays and Schaller BM tuning machines with tapered string posts.

By way of tone, the model comes equipped with a single passive bridge humbucker, which is controlled via a single RCA plastic volume control in a bid to offer up punchy, low-end funk-infused sounds.

Ernie Ball Music Man Joe Dart

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

As for the Joe Dart Jr., the seriously streamlined model features a 30” scale satin-finished maple neck with 22 frets, custom-contoured Olympic White-finished alder body, gold pickguard and the same Vintage Music Man bridge.

A passive neodymium pickup also appears, but without the aid of a volume control knob – or any knob, for that matter. Without any controls or equalization to "color the sound", the tone is instead manipulated entirely by individual technique and finesse.

The new release also marks the first time EBMM have collaborated with guitar case specialist Mono, with the pair teaming up to offer an M80 Vertigo Gig Bag alongside the Joe Dart Jr.

Speaking of the short-scale bass, Dart observed, “The first iteration of the Joe Dart bass we did bill as a single-speed instrument. In reality, it really had one too many features. Many customers came back to us and asked if there was a way to get rid of the problematic knob.”

Unlike the Joe Dart bass, the Joe Dart Jr. will be limited to 50 units worldwide, with a custom neck plate on each instrument featuring a unique line number. However, due to the ultra-limited nature of the axe, Ernie Ball has reported that it has already sold out.

Thankfully, the Ernie Ball Music Man Joe Dart is still available, and currently lists for $2,399.

Head over to Ernie Ball Music Man to find out more.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.