P-Bass or Jazz Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by scubahood427, Aug 9, 2000.


  1. scubahood427

    scubahood427

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2000
    I'm looking ionto buying a new bass, and ive been playing a bass that a borrowed from a friend(just to learn how to play) what are the differences between a p-bass and a jazz bass?
     
  2. ikickuintheballs

    ikickuintheballs

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2000
    Location:
    Freeport, NY, USA
    A P-bass only has a precision pickup and a jazz bass ans 2 j pickups.. hehe that's as far as my brain goes right now =) Hope I helped ya lil lol Later!

    -Willz
     
  3. DaveB

    DaveB

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2000
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario
    Well to take it a little further the P pickup is a split coil humbucker whereas the two J pickups are single coil. Tonally the P is a little darker and fatter with a bigger, heavier bottom.The J is a cleaner and somewhat thinner in tone. If you're a guitar player think of it as a low frequency version of the difference between a single coil Telecaster and a humbucker Les Paul.

    The necks are the other huge difference. The J has a much narrower/thinner neck compared to the somewhat chunky P neck. The difference is only about a quarter inch at the nut but it makes a huge difference in playability.The J isn't always better though. I have both and some lines I play are easier on the P because of the extra space between strings. So sometimes what you think you lose in playability on your fret hand you actually gain by more ease in the fingerpick hand. If you're a plectrum player then it makes no difference on your picking hand.

    The bodies are different too. The P is more "Strat-like" while the J is offset at the bottom.

    Which is better?.....toss a coin. I love 'em both.But if you're a new convert from guitar the Jazz will be a little easier to start with. After awhile it won't matter though.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2000
    Location:
    USA
    If you have the money go for a P/J p/u combination like a P-Bass Special. The sounds are different as the people before me have stated. Try them both & buy the one that feels right & sounds right to your ear. & have fun
     
    jd56hawk likes this.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. gmstudio99

    gmstudio99

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2000
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    DaveB summarized it pretty well...they're both excellent basses and you can't go wrong either way. (And, as you progress in the world of bassdom, you'll end up wanting one of each anyway! :))

    Try them both and see which one "feels" better to you. Pretty much all basses can be used for all styles, so don't let stylistic influences affect your decision.

    If they were peanut butter, the J would be creamy and the P would be chunky.

    Have fun!

    -GM
     
  7. throbbinnut

    throbbinnut

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Location:
    georgia....georgia........geor
    I was faced with this same dilemna and picked the Mexican Jazz. I love it.

    Chris
     
  8. blipndub

    blipndub Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2000
    Location:
    Olympia, Washington
    And of course to make things more interesting,the feel and tone of both P and J basses have changed a bit over the years. A vintage Jazz bass is quite different from the Mexican Standard Jazz and even the American Standard Jazz, they are different weights, use different pickup and have different necks and body contours. I think you will find the Jazz to have generally a thinner neck that a Precision.

    What I think is so wonderful about Fenders is that in many ways each instrument is unique allowing you to have a personal sound a style. As is often said, play as many as you can, old $2000 jazz basses and new $300 ones and everyone inbetween. It seems like used/vintage P-basses are a bit more affordable than then more popular jazz bass.

    I have an American Standard and a MIM Standard Jazz bass and love them both.
     
  9. nhaerdtner

    nhaerdtner

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2000
    You can also try a Hot Rod P-bass. It´s a P-bass with a thinner neck and an aditional J Pickup in the bridge position. Look for one in sunset orange. This looks really hot.
     
  10. DarkMazda

    DarkMazda

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2000
    Location:
    NJ
    It depends on what you want.. here are some things I personally know about the two

    P-Bass: Have a thicker neck (1 5/8" @nut I think), P-Style Pickups, where two pickups are together, which makes a more solid, one type of sound.

    J-Bass: Thinner Neck (1 1/2" @nut I think), J-Pickups, where its 2 Single Coil pickups thats spread like about 5" apart, there is also 2 extra knobs for each pickups so you could have a more variety type of sound, Jazz Bass has more Punchy sound and there are lots of variety in Sound

    the P-Bass special is cool cuz it has a Single coil and PBass Pickups so you could have a j or P style of sound :) I would go for the p-bass special or the hotrod p-bass. I personally like Soapbars alot better than J-Style since J-Style tends to hum when you change the volume on one of the pickups..

    I hope that helped you out. but #1 thing, try it out first. Some people actually like the solid 1 type of sound :)

    DM
     
  11. h0bbes73

    h0bbes73 Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    is learning the jazz bass and the precision bass exactly the same?
     
  12. spaz21387

    spaz21387

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Location:
    Portland oregon
    this thread is 11 years old... and a j bass can be used to play metal so why would it be any different you can play whatever you want on any bass.
     
  13. Batmensch

    Batmensch

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Location:
    Chester, Pa.,USA
    Basically, yes. The differences between the two are actually relatively subtle, and don't really affect learning. The differences only really come into play after you've been playing a good while, and you are fine-tuning your technique.
     
  14. Nick901

    Nick901 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Disclosures:
    GTA dealer for Acoustic USA
    I gave in and bought both. Which one I use depends on the sound I'm looking for ; what style/type of music I'm playing.
     
  15. bh2

    bh2

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    Me too... My P is fretted, my J is fretless. Love em both.
     
  16. bskts247

    bskts247

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    New Orleans
    i got a question for you guys. what are some different jazz basses. like i know fender jazz basses (and have one) but what else? i know sadowsky but any others?
     
  17. chuck3

    chuck3

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn & Rhinebeck NY
    ha ha - my Jazz is fretted, my (main) P is fretless, a '78. Love them both too.

    I also have a '51 reissue P. Didn't like the pickup, had this put in and it sounds great now:

    [​IMG]

    Back to the OP's question - to me the Jazz is both easier to play and more "musical," in the sense that all the overtones are clearly heard and there is less of a thump. The P has a chunkier neck and more of a thump, which is often what you want. Many many TBers love Ps and won't hear of a Jazz.

    And my '78 fretless P just does its own thing - people call it smooth, having an upright tone, etc. I don't think it has an upright tone but it sits very well in the mix for jazz. (Ironic how the names work, or don't.)
     
  18. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
  19. msb

    msb

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    A Jazz bass is more likely to fall over when you lean it against your amp .
     
  20. trunkshope6

    trunkshope6

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    Honestly in todays market,one can get both for very little coin
     
  21. GBassNorth

    GBassNorth

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    SoCal
    And just when you think you have all the Precision vs Jazz stuff figured out - Fender throws a wrench in the works with the new Blacktop series.
    So if you buy a Blacktop Jazz it doesn't have Jazz pickups at all, it has precision pickups - two sets no less. And if you buy the Blacktop Precision it doesn't have precision pickups at all, it has dual coil (I assume) humbuckers. About the only thing that seems to be holding true on the two basses is the body shape, even the neck widths change between the two on some models.
    So I guess the only blanket statement that can be made for Fender Jazz and P basses is the Jazz has an offset body and the P doesn't.
    BTW - anyone try one of the blacktops yet? I haven't seen one in a store to try yet but I have the blacktop strat and love it.
     

Share This Page