P vs P/J bass?

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by oceanblue, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. oceanblue

    oceanblue Tele-Meister

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    Hey everyone, new to bass, in fact, shopping for my first. I though I was was looking for a P bass, but keep seeing P/J basses, and wondering, if having the additional bridge PU is worth it? Pluses and minuses? I read in various places how some say no, it's a waste, and others saying it's a real benefit, additional tones, etc. I'll be playing almost all rock/classic rock/pop/blues, maybe some country, very basic.
     
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  2. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic

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    On the surface, a simple question, but one that causes some to lose sleep over.

    I don't have a P bass, but I like its simplicity. It also has "the" sound most associate with bass.
    Then again a P bass with a J pickup at the bridge - greater range of sounds. Jazz basses can really growl nicely.

    Decisions, decisions. I would go for a P bass: simplicity, iconic sound.
     
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  3. Martinp

    Martinp Tele-Afflicted

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    Keep it simple, one pickup on a P-Bass, that way you'll need to get a Jazz Bass too
    You do need both kinds, you know.
     
  4. ZenGuitarist

    ZenGuitarist Tele-Holic

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    I have a couple of P/J basses but I don't play them a lot. I probably should play them more but I often can't be bothered to blend the P and J pickups to get the sound I want.

    For your first bass I would recommend keeping it simple and buy a P bass. Eventually you may want to add a J bass. My P bass is a Fender Precision and my J bass is a G&L JB2.

    The bass I actually play the most these days is a JMJ (Justin Meldal-Johnsen) Road Worn Mustang bass. Great sounding bass and the short scale works good for someone like me who primarily plays guitar.
     
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  5. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    I have a P/J, my wife has a P. My P/J was secondhand so it has some mods done.

    The first question to ask is whether you prefer a P or J bass sound? J has more mids and is perhaps more versatile, but many people (myself included) prefer the P sound as just the perfect classic bass sound.

    The second thing is, the J neck is thinner and therefore easier to play. This is why I bought a P/J. I only ever use the P pickup. But, my wife's bass still sounds better.
     
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  6. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Holic

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    I’m in search of my first bass as well and have decided to get a J Bass because I like the narrower string spacing on the thinner neck.

    I’m just playing at home for fun.
     
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  7. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Holic

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    Always found the P awkward, like my J better. PJ.... Hell, just get J.
     
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  8. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Squier jaguar with both. I really like it. Also a Rondo bass with both. Both is good.
     
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  9. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a P/J Squier and after using it for a couple years I decided I'm a P bass guy. In my head, it's just what a bass is supposed to sound like to me. Last year I built myself a parts bass with just a single P bass pickup (Tonerider) and it's all I need.

    Go and try them out. It's the only way you're gonna know what your ideal bass sounds like.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  10. Wyzsard

    Wyzsard Friend of Leo's

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  11. Bassman8

    Bassman8 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Long as this isn't a short scale bass matter (I hope it isn't) IMO a P Bass is a great way to start out because one pickup will show you how to work your plucking/picking hand to get different sounds and feel from your bass before you start adding another pickup, controls, etc. That said I love the PJ setup but I've never had a bass with a PJ setup that I didn't have to do work on to get the sounds I wanted. Once dialed in it can be outstanding but to come full circle I love the simplicity of the P Bass. I'd get the P and play around with pickup and string types and get a sound you like. Circumstances in the last year have me not having a P-Bass for the first time in decades. I love my other basses but really want to have a P again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  12. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    Choosing based on which one you like the feel of is probably a better approach.

    If a P bass feels better than a Jazz, its unlikely you'll regret only one pickup.

    It's worked fine for loads of bass players this far.
     
  13. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Its more about the neck than the pickup(s)
     
  14. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    +1 for go with the neck. The P/J configuration is tonally very flexible, but just a P will get you some real bass mileage too. My P/J is a MIM Fender. Long ago, I rewired it to use a Gibson style switch, single volume, single tone control and prefer it that way.

    There's a reason the Precision and Jazz basses are so widely used. They play very well and sound fantastic. Try both. Buy the one that fits your hand.
     
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  15. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Listen up Fender.... make one of these...:cool:

    a P/Tele Bass.....:D

    P-T Bass19.jpg
     
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  16. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I am a guitarist who plays bass. I’ve own an Am Special Jazz bass, Mustang PJ and my current Players P bass. The P bass is by far my favorite bass.
    I love the simplicity of a single pick up. I love the fat, round tones.
    I am not a real bassist so I couldn’t tell you the nuances of the additional pickup. However, I never saw the benefit of the additional pickup and, in fact, found it difficult to settle on a tone. It was almost confusing to me.
    I play classic rock, blues, folk rock and a little soul music. So much of that was made with a P bass.
    That’s my 2¢ but ymmv.
     
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  17. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Friend of Leo's

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    Make sure that you like the neck. I find that the thinner "jazz" neck fits my hand better than the fatter "precision" neck, but i like the p-bass sound, so a PJ bass is good for me.
     
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  18. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I would prefer a PJ to a P, personally.
    My basses both have J bass electronics.
    I find that P bass are too dark and “bassy” for my tastes.
    PJ electronics remedy this, somewhat.
    I also prefer the narrower nut width of Jazz, and most PJ necks.
     
  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's what I did ... I modded a P into a JPJ with a 5-way Strat wiring switch. Lots of fun.



    [​IMG]


    OP: Go over to Scotts Bass channel on youtube. One of his videos interviewed a pro session bass player who said, if you show up without a P on your bass, they send you home and call the next guy on the list. So make sure you at least have a P.

    Remember that a P pickup is a humbucker like you'll find on a Les Paul. A J style is just a single coil like a Strat or Tele and will have some noise issues.

    Btw, I have a Strat test mule guitar and I was testing a Jazzmaster neck pickup in it and for fun I put an old P-bass pickup in the bridge ... and I was surprised how bright and Telecasterish that pickup sounded. I expected a dark pickup tone. So I could see where Leo Fender went with G&L Z-style pickups.

    .
     
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  20. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    not surprised that the tele people prefer the original design haha

    having the extra j pickup isn't going to hurt anything... and will only add to your tonal options. if everything else is the same... especially if you're just starting out... get the extra option. that being said... i don't find the bridge pickup to be helpful at all, and only use a standard p bass
     
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