So, does a P bass even sound like a P bass?
I'm sure I'm opening a can of worms here, but this has been bothering me.
Note: I own and love two P basses. They sound fine.
All the time we read about things that "sound like a P bass" to many of us. Then, of course, an actual P bass owner will chime in and say "IMPOSSIBLE! It CAN'T sound like a P bass because it is NOT a P bass. Only a P bass, or something made EXACTLY like a P bass can sound like a P bass."
Well, I'm confused.
Over the years, the P bass pickup changed.
The body materials changed.
The pots and caps changed.
The wiring changed.
The finish changed.
The bridge has changed.
The quality has been on a roller coaster.
Even the weight varies from bass to bass, and era to era.
Since '59, pretty much every build aspect of the P bass except the shape has changed.
Some use fingers flats and mutes. Some use rounds picks and no mutes.
So, for you purists out there, WHICH P bass "sounds like a P bass"? Because they don't ALL sound the same. They don't all feel the same. They don't all play the same. And, (did I mention) they don't all sound the same. Even "real" Fender P basses made right here in America sound different from bass to bass, era to era, player to player.
And am I the only one who thinks that a lot of basses are close enough? For instance, my Fender Roscoe Beck Signature V sounds a LOT like a P bass with the neck pickup soloed in single and the tone rolled back a little bit. But NOOOOOOOO there's NO WAY it can sound close enough to many. I'm telling you that in a nine piece horn band, it is close enough. It sound like a P bass. Single coil at the neck..... passive...... Fender style construction...... sounds like a P bass.
Short version: For those of you who think only a P bass sounds like a P bass, which P bass are you referring to?
Sure, this will start an argument. (What doesn't?) But that is not my intent. I actually LIKE different opinions and that's what I would like to see. There is no "right answer" (and particularly no WRONG one).
Just bounce some things off each other. Hopefully this will just be an interesting conversation.
In before the nonsense.
I love the op, it interests the objectivist, the firestarter, and the musician in me
This will be a good conversation if no one takes the time to roll their eyes and insist on the capital P
It could even be a valid view, the P's sovereignty, but it'd be cool to hear some insight that isnt .. Well.. That
I hear were your coming from.
Maybe this will help.
A few months ago I got a new 2013 AV 63 P-Bass.
I liked this bass a lot. It has that old school vibe.
So I took it to a friends house with my 1966-P-Bass.
He has a real 1958, 1959, and 1962 P-Basses.
All of these bass happen to have flatwound strings on them.
After playing all five basses through a 1966 Ampeg B15n.
We the four people in the room, came the conclusion that the
new 2013 bass sounded about 80%-90% as good as the 4 original basses. Wood age, pickup output, fingerboard wood.
And aging mojo had something to do with it. But after 45 years a P-Bass still sounds like a P-Bass.
To me, The 'tone rolled back a bit' is the piece that makes your argument valid. Nothing wide open sounds like a p bass wide open, except a p bass.
And most P basses wide open sound quite similiar. And P bass like. And more like themselves than other basses.
I'm in the close enough camp too. I have a reissue Ibanez Destroyer that sounds so much like a P bass its unreal.
I'm thinking split P pickup, tone and volume, bolt on neck, and four strings. Boom! P bass.
And yeah I do have an actual P bass.
To OP: sure, you have the idea and if that sounds like a pbass to you, or close enough, thats awesome! 1 less potential bass off the gas list regarding tonality ;)
But i do believe that pbasses (split singal coil) in general all have a sort of lowmid/midmid character, despite other variations. Not all pbasses will sound exact but they do have that signature tone (again, in general).
And i believe that other basses can also come close enough regarding tone.
Plus, pbasses just look so damn sexy!
And i suppose, in the spirit of contribution, or confusion maybe, whats the difference between some bandmate telling me my roscoe sounded like a P, and a 70s P with terrible FOH sound or playing
Or amps' differences, reel-to-reel, vinyl, computers. Flats? Bad sound guy?
Theres little objectivity to be had in music.. The only objectivity is the perception of the individUal, within themself, of the sounds, no?
Interesting points so far. Thanks for not throwing things.
I'll be the 900 pound gorilla in the room and say this: "If it's pre CBS it's a P bass...anything after is an attempt at a P bass."
Now... Does a 'traditionally' constructed non-fender bass (not neck thru etc etc) with a stock fender P pickup 'sound enough like a p', or is part of the perceived argument factoring in some kind of physical contribution (im a woods-are-different kind of guy, but i think its pretty subtle, or rather a single variable of a really large equation)
But is that even the sound that most p-hounds conjur up when they think of a p-bass?
my actual "pbass" i wasn't feeling, but i was feeling the grabber, and i'm currently feeling the sb-2 and the L2k, but this won't stop me from getting a babied 80s lawsuit pbass if i can swing it on the bay
My squier P special with jazz neck and non fender pickups sounds like a P ;)
I have to say that the proposition in the sentence quoted above is not true. Even my acoustic bass guitar can sound like a p bass when recorded. It's not solely about the bass... it's the strings, technique, gear and everything in between...
Yes, I do understand the question... My answer is my first sentence. :D
i have the P46 on my bass mentioned above! That pickup is the best pbass pickup ive ever heard!
Sounds like whose P-bass?
When I hear someone playing a P-bass with stock p'ups, round wounds, and low action with lots of fret buzz and clatter, it sounds nothing like my fretless P-bass, with quarter-pounders, strung with flats.
IT ALL DEPENDS on the PLAYER!!
James Jamerson & Mike Dirnt. Both P bass guys who sound completely different from one another.
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