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Why Does The P-Bass Sustain The Way It Does?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Misterwogan, Feb 5, 2013.


  1. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    I've been having a bit of a play this evening with some of my favourite songs form the early 80s. One of which was "Who's Cryin Now" by Journey - so lot's of long notes.

    I started off with my Gibson SG, then moved over to the Stingray HS, then the Jazz and finally the P.

    Now the first three did a fine job, but somehow I knew I had kept the best till last.

    The sustain on the P is in a different league to the others entirely. Syrupy sweet and sticky with all of those tones that the others just can't manage.

    It is the lightest (by a whisker) of the four basses, the most unsophisticated mechanically and electronically and yet the sound it delivers is absolutely unique.

    Why is this?
     
  2. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    I was hoping for some profound technical insights...
     
  3. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Are you sure that's a P bass on that song? It never sounded like one to me.
     
  4. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

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    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    No it's not - it's a Stingray on the original played by Ross Valory. But that's not my point.

    This was not a "how-to-get-journey-tone" post.
     
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  6. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    My BB5000 sustains way longer than my P-bass. :D

    Sounds better, too. :eek:
     
  7. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

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    Feb 25, 2005
    Location:
    west coast
    I doubt very seriously that song was recorded w/ a P. I think he was using something fancy like an Aria Pro II. Of course, I also heard a rumor that some of their bass studio work was hired-out to a "ringer" so it could be anything. Some of those tracks are difficult to isolate because of the chorusing effect/piano unison.
     
  8. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

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    No one - is suggesting that it was.
     
  9. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

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    Feb 25, 2005
    Location:
    west coast
    And, yea, my P-basses aren't heavy sustainers compared to some of my other basses.
     
  10. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life. Supporting Member

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    It should have something to do with the placement of the pickup. However, you must have a "control" of some sort,(i.e. all basses strung with the exact same strings) for this to become a right proper experiment.
     
  11. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

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    It's not an experiment - it's an experience!
     
  12. woolysock

    woolysock

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Canada
    "the P is in a different league to the others entirely. Syrupy sweet and sticky with all of those tones"

    That's because of the pup design and its placement in particular. Newer strings help too ;-)
     
  13. TexasTodd

    TexasTodd

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Its part o the mojo, Because they're awesome :)
     
  14. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Even on the crappiest basses Ive ever played, sustain is never an issue. When do you ever need to stretch a note that long? I could make a bass from garbage can and a broomstick and it would have enough sustain, unless your music requires you to let notes ring out for 60 seconds at a time.
     
  15. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

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    Seattle / Tacoma
    Oh okay. It's just the sum of the parts on your particular bass then, not all P's are that way. I have two Precisions, and my others (including my preEB Musicmans) sustain longer than them.
     
  16. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

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    Ah, time for a hearing test...
     
  17. EagleMoon

    EagleMoon

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    Wexford, PA
    Seems like in a perfect world that a single pickup bass would sustain better than a bass with more than one pickup...due to less magnetic pull on the string.
     
  18. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life. Supporting Member

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    It is now.
     
  19. Misterwogan

    Misterwogan

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    That's interesting. It's just a standard american P 2011, but I put 62 original pickups in it. The dynamics are amazing, just the slightest touch and it kicks off and keeps going.
     
  20. JimB52

    JimB52 User Gold Supporting Member

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    May 24, 2007
    Location:
    East Coast
    I've noticed very different tonal qualities from my AVS '57 RI Precision and Lakland Bob Glaub P Bass as compared to my other Fender Precisions, and I think that difference is due to the 1 3/4" nut width. Bigger nuts = longer sustain?

    Probably not much help, but at least somewhat on topic.

    .
     
  21. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

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    Location:
    west coast
    I will say, some of those Journey "power ballads" do have a lot more hang-time on the bass notes than is typical. I realize this isn't a thread about "how to get Journey tone", but cranking the volume a plucking/picking a bit lighter is helpful in terms of getting a more even sustain. That's typically how I like to get that low gain, direct into the board, heavily compressed sound without running a compressor live.
     

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