PJ Mod to MIM Jazz - Should I do it?

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Okieactor, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    I like the idea of the Fender P/J (or Precision Bass Special) basses. To have the neck that you like to play (whichever that may be) and then the ability to use either a p-bass pickup, the jazz bass bridge pickup, or a combination.

    I currently have a mim jazz bass. I am contemplating:
    A: just upgrading pickups, new pickguard, straplocks, maybe a better bridge, etc--minor stuff; or
    B: routing it to take a p-bass pickup in the mid position and putting in a warmoth pickguard (they make a jazz bass pickguard with a p-bass route).

    So it would be kind of different from the ones fender makes. It would be all jazz, except for the middle pickup.

    Anybody done this or have thoughts on whether it's a good idea. Reasons would be that it'd be fun to do the mod, it'd make my bass kind of unique, I want to have a p-bass kind of sound as an option (closer to it anyway), and it saves me having another bass in a small apartment, which I share.

    Thoughts?
     

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  2. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    I know I said it'd make it kind of unique, but apparently people do it, here's a pic I found with Google.
     

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  3. marshman

    marshman Friend of Leo's

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    I guess the thing you need to decide is just how badly you want/need P-bass tone. Personally, I am not a huge J-tone fan, so my Jazz sits unplayed most of the time and my P goes to the gigs (where it sits in backup of my Rick, but that's another story). If you're sure you want P-bass tones, ask around and see if anyone makes a P-bass sounding pickup in a J bass shape...most modern manufacturers can make P90s shaped like humbuckers and humbuckers shaped like single coils, so that might be a more cost-effective route.

    Eons ago I modded J bass and moved the 'neck' pickup up to where the 24th fret would fall...fattened the tone up a little, but it's definitely still a Jazz.

    So, long story short, a P/J bass is a very practical and popular piece of kit. Good luck.
     
  4. Immo

    Immo Tele-Holic

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    Personally I wouldn't do it, considering how many times I've heard about horrible balance issues between pickups (unless I'd have a stacked/split coiled jazz bass pickup for bridge). But that's me ;)
    Do a research on that matter before routing your JB.
     
  5. erratick

    erratick Tele-Holic

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    You have two different questions in my mind:

    1) You want a PJ bass with Jazz bass neck. Do you want to buy it?
    2) Do you want to mod your existing bass?

    Basically for me the dividing line is do you enjoy moding? I'm of the opinion that a P/J body and swapping the neck is easier. But if you like the routing and doing a little electronics work to swap pickups and get the matched set you want, it could be more fun to mod.

    I'm in the same boat right now. I went and played the MIM PJ special- the one at my local guitar center theoretically has a Geddy jazz neck, PJ with noiseless matched pickups. The one I played was terrible- the setup was terrible- high action, curved neck. The neck didn't feel as slim as the Geddy I have. It did on the other hand sound AMAZING in spite of the setup.

    While I was there I picked up an Affinity PJ- and it played well (closer to properly setup) and the pickups weren't terrible. However that Affinity PJ and the VM PJ come with a P neck.

    So what I'd like to do is get a PJ body, and a VM 77 neck put them together, shave the neck down, maybe swap the pickups. And then I'll have a squier I spent a boatload of time and probably money on but it will be a PJ with jazz neck that is awesome. And I'll probably have spent more time modding than playing. So maybe I'll just go back to playing.
     
  6. 4mal

    4mal Friend of Leo's

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    I like the Pj more that the standard P or J. The balance thing is an interesting issue. Truly it depends on how you view the bass as a whole. My thinking has evolved to accept that the pickups are not going to be in balance and that the J pickup is not really meant to stand alone but rather it is an additional tone shaper as it does affect the sound of the P.

    Overall when I take my Pj Reverend out for a spin, I EQ for the split P alone. Adding some J into the mix scoops that a bit and overall kinda mellows the low mids. I find that a useful approach. For me it is the difference between the tones I want on say Pride 'n Joy where the full tilt punchy P Bass works under the guitar and say a blues ballad like Old Love where you are filling up the lows with 1/2 and whole notes. I do back off the tone a tad when rolling in the J for Old Love when I have the PJ out. As I think on it l use a 5 on that tune mostly but you get the idea...

    If you pull the pickguard on your bass I believe you will find that the neck route will already accommodate a split P. Overall customization, my approach would be stock bridge, a good PJ set and good strings. Play that for a while. The bridge is good enough unless you are going for Chris Squire, Geddy, Entwhistle like piano bass in which case a Mim J is probably not the place to start... Pickup wise there are many good choices. I prefer Pete Biltoft's stuff. For bluesy a split P using Alnico III and a slight overwind plus his J pickup wound as a side by side humbucker is a really sweet sounding setup.
     
  7. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It gives you more flexibility from one bass than you'd have with just a JBass or just a PBass. You'll get a little more punch and crispness in the mids and high mids from the JBass pickup if that's what you're looking for. If you do it here are a couple of suggestions for you.

    1) Use a Bill Lawrence P/J pickups set. Not only are they the best pickups I've ever played but the JBass pickup is noiseless so you won't need to worry about 60 cycle hum especially when the volume between the two is imbalanced as I suspect it often will be.

    2) I would either wire separate volume and tone pots for each pickup or do as Bill Lawrence suggests in his wiring scheme for a P/J set and use a master volume with a blend pot. In the second case the PBass pickup will be on all of the time and the blend pot is used to add the JBass into the mix. Personally I prefer going the other route since each pickup tends to prefer a different value tone cap and it gives you more overall tonal control but it's up to you since doing four controls requires adding a pot and possibly a different control plate. The other option here for separate controls for each pickup would be to use stacked concentric pots for volume and tone.

    If you haven't done so already you might stop by GC or another place and try a P/J Bass out to see if that's what you're after. Good luck with the project if you decide to do it.
     
  8. ThreePlyGuy

    ThreePlyGuy Friend of Leo's

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    People do it indeed, why not purchase another bass? You will be doing that sooner or later. :p
     

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  9. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    I think the two last responses are closest to where I will probably go. Who knows though. The bass is new to me, so I need to change some things anyway. Just did new strings (never realized how dirty they were until I saw the color difference when I switched them). Sounds better now too. And need straplocks regardless. I may think about it a while and, yes, try out a PJ at a store while I think. Additional opinions still appreciated.
     
  10. Peltogyne

    Peltogyne Tele-Afflicted

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    I have Bartolini split coils in my MIM J Bass and the neck pickup soloed sounds like a P Bass. I feel the split coil is closer to the P bass pickups than the single coil Jazz is but who really knows :)

    There's an old thread on TalkBass where someone posted a clip of a jazz with the neck soloed and a P bass and all the tone experts couldn't tell the difference.

    I'd say do it if it sounds like fun, if you change your mind and put it back to a jazz no one will hear the extra routes under the pickguard if you don't tell them about it.
     
  11. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I agree. I'm working on a friend's Fender Prodigy Bass which has P&J pickups. He's having me take out the electronics and wire it passive. I don't have the tone cap wired yet, but I like the feel of the J neck and the combination of the pickups. And like some one said, I dial in the P pickup and blend in the J to taste. I find the J pickup is kind of noisy. Does anyone else have that problem with a P/J combo?
     
  12. erratick

    erratick Tele-Holic

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    Noisy J is a common complaint in passive P/J setups.

    I have Lace pickups in my P/J Plus, so they are all quiet and Fender uses noiseless in their higher end P/J so that they don't have the problem.

    The issue is a P is basically a humbucking setup. The single J usually makes it hum. Two Js turned to the same volume humbuck, but a single traditional J does not.

    So you can balance pickups, run series or parallel switches, noiseless pickups, lace or other pickups that kind of humbuck, active pickups, but at certain settings a P/J combo will possibly hum. Sometimes it is bad grounding/sheilding and sometimes it is just not a humbucking circuit.
     
  13. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    Five times yes.

    But to be honest, showing me a picture of 5 really awesome looking basses like that and saying "why not get another one?" is a very effective form of hypnosis :D
     
  14. 4mal

    4mal Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, well it's a single coil so... You get some noise... Which is why I like the form of a humbucker in a J format. still sounds like a J but less noise side by side. The Vintage Vibes (Pete Biltoft's company) are a smidge lower output and they are a bit throaty.... Kinda leaning towards the split P voice a bit. A bit of low mids extra ? Hard to be sure... But they are quiet, very quiet.
     
  15. Anchoret

    Anchoret Friend of Leo's

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    Wouldn't do it. No way.
     
  16. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Fabulous Made in USA PJ style Peavey Foundation bass for sale on Ebay right now. The white one. Just a killer bass. Why cut up the nice MIM.
     
  17. sledgehammer347

    sledgehammer347 TDPRI Member

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    If your dead set on the pj swap do it. I would look for a p bass on CL they pop up every once in a while. Just my $.02 .
     
  18. dlb1001

    dlb1001 Tele-Meister

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    From checking the Vintage Vibe, he offers a PJ set...might be the way to go, if you decide to mod your existing bass. Saves the headache of trying to get a balanced output.
    Or, just find a used Reggie Hamilton bass on Ebay.
     
  19. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

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    Easiest route is to stick a Dimarzio Model J in the neck spot. This is wound like a P pickup, and whilst it won't sound the same it will sound close.

    If that won't do, you need to route the body to take a P pickup. To get a P pickup in the right place on a J-bass, you need to shave wood very close to the edge of the pickguard. Dangerous! The Fender Blacktop Jazz bass (which has dual P pickups) and the Mark Hoppus Jazz bass get round this problem by moving the pickup closer to the neck... but then it won't sound as much like a P bass! Warmoth will make you a Jazz bass pickguard with a P pickup route... but it is very thin near the edge of the pickup route.

    Fender did make this;

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

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    I'm going to do it to my MIM J-bass. Why not? Life's too short. I'm having a custom pickguard made up and plan to carefully route the pickup cavity to accept P pickups.
     
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