PJ Bass Advice....
Hey everybody. A few questions for you on PJ bass options. I've been saving (and saving, and saving)....almost ready for a new bass purchase. I am thinking a custom built PJ bass.
Question #1: I'm trying to decide between one of the following....thoughts?
1) FBass - I currently play a VF5 and am in LOVE (alder body, rosewood fingerboard). Amazing tone that fits in the mix like no other bass that I've owned (MTD535-24, 2012Fender P, EB Stingray, Lakland 44-94). Very playable. I absolutely love this bass.
2) Nordstrand - Never played one, but well respected on this site. Wondering how it will compare (build and tone) versus an F-Bass. It's probably 1 to 1.5K less than a FBass.
3) Mike Lull - Same as the Nordstrand although I don't know exactly what a PJ would cost. I'm thinking less than the FBass.
4) ???? Other ideas? Fender CS?
Question #2: Alder + Maple? Alder + Rosewood? Ash + Maple? Ash + Rosewood? I play mostly 60's, 70's, and 80's rock. No metal. No slap. As stated above, I really dig my alder body / rosewood fingerboard on my FBass (with J/J pickup setup). I hate to get the same combo but have been pleased. Wondering if someone can compare a tone (song/artist examples) to a wood combo.
Question #3: Passive or Active? FBass was recommending active to gain their flavor. Nordtrand recommended passive. I could go either way.....the classic P on passive is pretty darn sweet.
Thanks in advance for your input! Note that I'm playing through a Fender Superbassman 300 (all tube) and a Fender 610 NEO. Unbelievable rig for me...exactly the tone I've been searching for. The phat vintage tone is what I'm liking....your advice / direction based on my style and what sounds good to me is greatly appreciated.
1) Maybe have a look at Sadowsky too. And a Samdberg VM (it's a P + a humbucker)
2) You might hear a slight difference from wood, but imo not a whole lot. Not enough that you'll be able to tell the difference from different basses on YouTube. Just get whatever you think looks better.
3) Why not get active, that has a bypass for the preamp? Best of both world that way. Although from the types of music you've mentioned, a passive may be enough for you.
I haven't played an FBass or Nordstrand, but I have played a Lull PJ and used to own a Sadowsky Metro J. The Lull and the Sadowsky were both super nice.
But, for the PJ position on my team, unless I was just going to flip it to make some money, I wouldn't take any of those over a G&L SB-2.
Get a Tony Franklin fretted, or fretless and replace the neck. I have a TF fretless and I put an AVRI '74 Jazz neck, rosewood board on and BA II. It's a killer bass. A lot cheaper than what you are considering.
I would only use a noise-reducing J pickup with the P pickup in order to do just that: keep the noise down.
Since the OP is considering a custom bass, here's mine:
Another builder you might want to consider is Pat Wilkins. He builds basses in a variety of price ranges and materials, including 'vintage' basses with period correct woods that are from the 50's and 60's and in some cases even older.
One thing that a lot of people may not know is that, in addition to his World Famous finishes and guitar building skills, Pat also winds his own pickups. I am fortunate to own one of his chambered PJ5's (NAMM 2013) with ancient wood and the Wilkins pickups in it, and that thing resonates like no other bass I've played. The wood in the neck is ~75 years old. It is so comfortable that it just becomes part of me when I play it. It steadily worked it's way to my #1 player and cemented that place when I put Sadowsky flats on it.
I usually like my P's and PJ's passive, but this one came with the Aguilar OBP-3 in it. I was days from giving in to my opld prejudices and having it re-wired passive, but I decided to give it some time and rehearsals before doing so. With those flats, I have ended up really liking it and it's gonna stay active.
I have a P5 with one of Pat's pickups that is straight passive and it also sounds great. The pre in the PJ does not seem to color the tone and the bass still has a great vintage tone when flat, but can also be dialed in to be snappy.
How about one of the new Carvin PB basses? You can add a J pickup to it and there are many custom options available. It will probably cost a lot less than the others you are looking at and Carvin quality is excellent!
Interesting thoughts/suggestions in each post. Thanks to all.
As for listening to the sound recordings of various bass wood combinations, I find that there's quite a difference between hearing the bass by itself (like most of the utube stuff) versus in a band setting. In my dream world, the bass reviews would be solo and with a band!
I would second the Sadowsky recommendation. There is a Metro-line version with either a P body or a J body, but I think the NYC version offers advantages, such as optional smaller neck radius, choice of fingerboard wood, pickup and finish options, etc.
This is mine:
2006 Sadowsky V4 NYC P/J
STYLE: Vintage 4-string (downsized Jazz bass body)
FINISH: Transparent Dark Cherry
BODY: AAAA Quilted Maple on (chambered) Alder
HEADSTOCK: Vintage tint
FINGERBOARD: Brazilian Rosewood, 9" Radius, 21 frets
PICKGUARD: Parchment (yes!)
PICKUPS: Sadowsky Humcancelling P/J, with VTC.
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