Fender P Bass Alternative?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Weberman, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Weberman


    Apr 8, 2014
    Nilbog, Ohio
    Firstly, let me apologize if this has been asked ad nauseum. I did search prior to posting. Being new, I don't know if I missed something. Also, I must admit that I am a guitarist and pianist who started playing bass out of necessity, so my terminology might be a little off.:bag:

    Now, my question:
    For recording purposes, I have been using a MIM Fender Jazz Bass, with DiMarzio UltraJazz pickups, mostly into a DI. However, the stuff I record is pretty diverse, so while the J sounds great in some mixes, it is lacking in others. In the fall, I rerecorded a troublesome bass track using a P/J, mostly with the P pup. In my opinion, it was perfect for the track. It had a certain presence, and grit that cut through the layers of distorted guitar on the track, without being too nasal. As such, I have decided to look into getting a P, or P/J bass. The problem is, I have had some issues with Fender stuff in the past, including neck pocket slop, and electronics gremlins. Even now, the J Bass has probably the most finicky neck I have ever experienced. My non-Fender guitars have been extremely stable, by comparison. Maybe it is the due to the flatsawn neck, as opposed to the quartersawn in my guitars.

    Considering my reservation, what else might I look at to get that P sound, with a max budget of $1500? So far, others have suggested looking into a G&L SB-2, Carvin PB4, or possibly a used Lakland, or Korean-era Skyline.

    Aesthetically, I am not really looking for anything fancy. I am mostly concerned with sound, playability, and quality construction. Also, having played on a Ric 4003, nothing with hard edges. That thing dug into my wrist like no other.

    Anyhow, sorry again if this is a redundant question. Thanks for any suggestions.

    ETA - if anyone has any suggestions for dealers to look at in the Cleveland, OH area, let me know. A lot of the old ones have closed shop.
  2. Timpala


    Nov 13, 2011
    There are several different P Bass copies out there. Some may be better and some may be worse. The electronics on any P Bass type bass are very easy to change. I would say try out several different basses and see which ones feel good to play. Then, put in the pickups that match the sound you are looking for. I personally have found recently that the Modern Player series Fender basses are made really well. They are also lower in price because they are made in China. If you are looking for good pickups for the P Bass, I have some ideas to consider. 1)1962 Original Fender Pickups 2)EMG Geezer Butler Pickups 3) DiMarzio Model P pickup 4)Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders 5) Lindy Fralin P bass pickups. I personally have the Fender Original 1962 pickups, but have heard great things about the new Geezer Butler EMG pickups.
  3. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Get a good used Lull or Lakland.
  4. BassDaddy77


    Feb 12, 2010
    NE Ohio
    Also maybe look at a G&L LB-100 for a classic Precision sound. G&L also makes the SB-1 which is like a P bass on steroids. It can be tamed, but with volume and tone wide open it is a snarling beast of a bass.
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  6. try out a jazz with a parallel/series switch (or mod your jazz) and see if that works for you.
  7. Rezdog

    Rezdog Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    T.Rez, Canada
    Greetings from the North,

    Before giving up on the real thing check out a new Fender American Standard Precision. They are usually well made and within your set budget.

  8. wild4oldcars


    Jan 22, 2012
    Garner, NC
    +1 even if you don't like it, it is reversible, and even if you don't reverse it, all the stock tones are still right there. I don't think many people hate tonal variety.
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I have a Lull P4 (precision). The sound is classic P, never had an issue with anything in a decade.
  10. Wallace320


    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    A veritable '60s P sound (alder body, passive AlNiCo splitcoil pickup and rosewood fingerboard) with a tad thinner five ply neck, stringthru bridge, additional ceramic blade bridge pickup:
    2/3 of your budget and you get both a live and studio keeper!

  11. Membo


    Oct 26, 2011
    +1 on the G&L LB-100, but you can look for a used SB-1 as well. Both are Leo's update on the P-bass.
  12. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    Fender American Standard P. And done.

    The G&L SB-2 can sound sort of Precision-like if you solo the bridge pup at 3/4 volume, but the true P sound in a G&L would be the LB-100, as mentioned. Lakland has its admirers yet I've had a couple of things that weren't perfect with those either.

    Dan Atkinson used to make nice basses. I hear that Bill Nash and Mike Lull (and others) still do. There is a Gamma in the Classifieds that was built from top grade parts by Joe Milstein. Looks like a price performer!! No affiliation with builder or seller.
  13. Absolutely. Go check out some 2012 or newer AmStd P's and I bet you find a keeper right quick.
  14. tomydacat

    tomydacat Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2009
    also look into Blusman Vintage basses.. and schecter Model T basses are awesome as well
  15. Darknut

    Darknut Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    If you want a Pbass get a real Pbass not a clone.
    with your budget you can get a good new Pbass or even better a semi old used one.

    All companies have the occasional bad guitar .... anything mass produced has this issue.
    I would think your finicky jazz neck is the exception not the rule .... I have had many fenders & none of them had finicky necks.
  16. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    It took me two tries to find the right American Standard, but now that I have I'm not really interested in anything else.
  17. lakefx

    lakefx Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    This would be my recommendation. G&L make great instruments. I love my SB-1 and with the volume turned down a touch it sounds just like a P-Bass.
  18. Weberman


    Apr 8, 2014
    Nilbog, Ohio
    Thanks for all of the info. I'll definitely keep an open mind on the real-deal Fenders, and look into re-wiring the PUPs. I'll have to peruse the FS forum, too.

    As an aside, is anyone familiar with any good dealers near the west-side of Cleveland, OH? A lot of the shops around here have closed recently, including what I believe is the last of the G&L dealers within a two-hour drive. The few smaller shops there are usually deal with budget and beginner's instruments. We have a Guitar Center, but I really hate going there, and having them try to sell me insurance for half an hour, on something I haven't even purchased yet.
  19. lakefx

    lakefx Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    I bought my first G&L from Heights Guitars at Cedar and Lee, but that was back in 1997. I don't know if they are still around or if they are remotely the same place, but I always had great service there.
  20. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    how about a peavey fury they are under 150 used and awesome basses
  21. Jarrett


    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    Carvin PB4 by a mile.