P Bass and J Bass tone.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by amusicalperson, Feb 2, 2014.


  1. amusicalperson

    amusicalperson

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Location:
    Kaplan, Louisiana
    Already, let me explain my situation and see if I'm the only one that is confused by this. So they say P Bass was designed with the fundamental tone in mind so that the P Bass would be mellow and sit well in the mix, and the J Bass was designed with more focus on the overtones so that it would be more present in the mix. Here is the problem I have, I find the P Bass have a nastier, raunchier tone that J Basses. I find J Basses have a smoother tone that sits better in the mix. Can someone explain? Or am I the only one who notices this?
  2. KingRazor

    KingRazor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon USA
    IMO the P bass "sits" in the mix quite nicely, and feel the Jazz bass can get lost in the mix more easily.

    I believe P basses originally had flats, which are definitely more "mellow" than rounds.
  3. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Both J pickups on full sits in the mix much smoother than any P pickup. The P pickup tends to go "boing" and/or bark.

    Now the neck pickup of the J alone doesn't sound much different than the P imo....
  4. soulman969

    soulman969

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Location:
    Colorado
    It just depends on the band, the material and the style you play in. If there's a lot of mids a Jazz tends to blend in more and get lost a little more easily so I've always had to tweak more high end into the EQ and play a little louder than I'd like. It sounds a bit thin on stage but out in the room it fits.

    A PBass has most of it's thrust in the low mids and it's pretty easy to get "under" the guitars and keys if they're consuming a lot of space in the mids. Unless you play an awful lot in high register a big old thumping PBass can pretty much cut through anything.
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  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    Get a loud enough amp and neither will get lost "in the mix" many bassists feel that if every note isn't blaring in conjunction with the rest of the band they are getting "lost in the mix" the bass is felt by the audience in a way guitars can't match I've had many bassists come up to me after a show and tell me they didn't "sit in the mix" well and I tell them I felt every note.
  7. cnltb

    cnltb

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    These days there's no need for either bass to get lost in the mix.
    My personal preference is for the P tone.
    That of most Js tends to get annoying to me after a little while.
  8. BJMtz

    BJMtz

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Location:
    South Dakota
    The one thing that always has confused me is that J basses are said to have a more versatile, wider range of tones compared to a P. Most of what I read says Ps are designed to get you that bassy boom while Js have that growl. Ps have been used from James Jamerson to Sting to Matt Freeman. And all those tones vary greatly in my opinion. I bought a P because I felt that would be the best fit for my 90s alt/rock cover band and it has been able to replicate close enough tones for Sublime, Weezer, Green Day, RHCP, STP, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Smashing Pumpkins....many more. Lots of P players in there yes, but also many that are not. Would a J work that well? I have my doubts, especially since I switch a lot between fingers and pick. I also didn't want to be seen playing a J on stage with a pick;)
  9. faulknersj

    faulknersj Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale Az
    .....especially because you switch a lot between fingers and a pick...and don't want to be seen on stage playing a J with a pick...HUH?
  10. BJMtz

    BJMtz

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Location:
    South Dakota
    As ignorant as that comment is, yep that's how I feel
  11. MrTaff

    MrTaff

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    There's some truth to the statement though, I can't help feeling the same.
  12. Salamenster

    Salamenster

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Location:
    European Mainland
    Noel Redding has been doing it since the early Hendrix days... John Paul Jones in Zeppelin...
  13. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    There so many variables to this equation, that you can't just say it's one way or the other. A P-Bass setup "old school" with flats and string mutes will sound completely different than a P-Bass with un-muted round wound strings. The original concept of the P-Bass was to emulate the sound of an acoustic double-bass which blends very nicely in any mix. Compare that to the sound Steve Harris gets on his P-Bass and it's worlds apart. If you had both a P-Bass & J-Bass set up the same (same strings, amp, etc.) they would definitely sound different, but deciding which mixes better is totally subjective. So much depends on the style of music, recording techniques, and the engineer that you could make them both sound right, if you know what you're doing.
  14. TN WOODMAN

    TN WOODMAN

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Location:
    Smyrna, Tennessee.
    I heard if you play a j with a pick you get banished from Talk Bass.
  15. oboylebass

    oboylebass

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Location:
    AMERICA
    It all depends on:
    the amp
    the type of music
    P.A. (or lack thereof)
    volume of other instruments
    size of venue
    the player
  16. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    "mix" obviously depends on who else is playing.

    Is there lots of space in the mix and your band needs it filled? Or is most of the spectrum already taken by two 7-string guitarist and a keyboarder with restless left hand syndrome?
  17. Salamenster

    Salamenster

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Location:
    European Mainland
    Come at me, bro :p
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    The P-bass excells at low mids ... The low E is about 40hz and the low A is about 55hz. The bass knob on older bass amps is 60hz, and sometimes 50hz. modern preamps go down to 40hz. Low mids give you the octave above the low E and low A. Recording Engineers find those frequencies easy to deal with in the studio. So the octave above the Fundamentsl is what the p-bass excels at.

    The p-bass is a series humbucker which will distort sooner than the parallel humbucking of the j-bass. The jazz will give you more high end and low end and it can give you true single coil tone as well.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This might sound crazy, but play what you want. I prefer Precisions most of the time, but I do like the sound of a good Jazz Bass now and then. Don't have one because they usually weigh too much for my shoulder to take, but I have a handful of PJ's I'll use when I want that sound (and don't start with the "PJ's don't sound like a J" crap, people...it's freaking close enough).
  20. Mushroo

    Mushroo

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Once you realize "they" are wrong and the quoted statement is completely false, then you can proceed to play your basses with the technique of your choice and decide what sounds best using your ears. :)
  21. cv115505

    cv115505 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    My standard practice is to always have 1 P and 1 J in rotation... I typically use the P more live and the J more in the studio, but that is strictly a law of averages... your playing style and the type of music you play dictate which is better. That being said, I find that most people who do not like the P have never played them in a mix. They've only tried them in the stores, so they don't get a full scope of their capabilities.

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