51 P vs 57 P (reissues) - Blind Test

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by EmaTheMirror, May 10, 2020.

  1. Sample A

    33 vote(s)
  2. Sample B

    24 vote(s)
  1. I was thinking about opening a thread in the pickups section, but in the end I think here is better, as we are in fact talking about two different instruments which happen to bear the same name. Plus, I think this section gets more views, rofl :roflmao:

    BaSsically, I played the exact same things on a single-coil 51p reissue (slab body - maple neck) and a split-coil 57p reissue (maple neck)

    Both instruments have had their pickup changed. I'm not going to disclose any further details on that as it might influence or create a placebo effect. They are both scatter-wound, BTW

    Both instruments mount the same roundwound Elixirs - though one has them a bit more played in than the other

    Both were played using the same plugin as virtual amp, kept as flat as possible (same settings) yet retaining a simulation of "instrument being heard through an amp" rather than a bone dry sample. Both have been normalised to level possible output unbalances

    Nothing inspiring or artistic on purpose: with both instruments I played open strings with a pick, first long notes with a softer attack, then hard-plucking pedal notes. For fingers, there's a slow C major scale (soft touch) and a simple riff (heavy finger plucking, digging in)



    They do sound different. Is it clear to anyone which is which? Can you post your guess?
    Do they sound like you expect each one to sound in terms of cliches or timbrical features?

    What is your favourite one? Answers on the poll for that...

    I have to say (as it's usually the case) the difference is more prominent while playing than listening back to recordings, but they do have their own flavour...

    ... I wanted to then comment a bit on each, but first I was wondering if it's damn easy for everyone to spot their tonal DNA :bassist:
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
    LetItGrowTone likes this.
  2. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    I'll play. I think sample B is the single-coil 51p because I think I can hear the split coil in sample A. Now that I've said that, I am probably wrong. :)
  3. :bassist:


    What do you mean by "I can hear the split coil"?

    (I'm not saying you're right or wrong, anyway, for now... :bassist:)
  4. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    I think the same thing A is the 57 and B is the 51.
    Bassdirty and bobyoung53 like this.
  5. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    I think I perceive a difference in tone across the string. Sample B just sounds more consistent an even to me (not by very much though.)
  6. Ross McLochness

    Ross McLochness Living Room Bassist Extraordinaire Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Eden Prairie, MN
    My gut is that A is the 51, but I’ll now read the rest of this thread to find out.
  7. Ross McLochness

    Ross McLochness Living Room Bassist Extraordinaire Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Eden Prairie, MN
    By the way I said A is the 51 as it seemed like B had a bit more treble. My understanding is that the pre-split coil (pre-57 pickup) is a bit darker.

    By the way, both sounded pretty sweet to me :)
    JZQuantum likes this.
  8. It's also interesting to see the preferences from the poll... It'd be nice to know why one prefers a sample over the other, in hindsight

    The next blind test is gonna feature the opening of Continuum by Pastorius with the harmonics :roflmao::roflmao::roflmao:

    (inside joke from a 51p owner...)
  9. Before reading any responses I thought the 51 was B. It seems a little brighter but could be the newer strings on that one making me think that.

    Precisions are my favorite basses and I have 2 51 style (one with an original single coil and the other with a Fralin Split ‘51) 2 split coil and 5 split coil p/j s. I love em all. To me they are more similar than different.
    kodiakblair and bobyoung53 like this.
  10. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    Sample B sounded more open to me but the strings sounded newer, they both sounded best to me when pounded fingerstyle. Sample A sounded more like a traditional P to me, it sounded a little more middy to me. If I had to choose between the two basses based on those little clips, I'd have to take sample B, and if I had to guess I would guess B was the 51.
    The newer strings may have colored my perception too.
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
    Rabidhamster and TN WOODMAN like this.
  11. Hard to say what the favorite is when it's not in a mix with other instruments competing with it. They are close enough that in a live band, I'm not sure how much difference it would make for the audience.
  12. I'm with @Laklandfan .

    An audience will neither notice nor care :D
    Bassdirty, TrustRod, Dynacord and 2 others like this.
  13. Ross McLochness

    Ross McLochness Living Room Bassist Extraordinaire Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Eden Prairie, MN
    Who cares about the audience?!? This is my living room bassist OCD that needs to be validated.....ha ha ha
  14. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014

    I dont know if I have a preference, but I do think sample B is the 51 - listening on a cell phone speaker.
    TN WOODMAN and bobyoung53 like this.
  15. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    I thought the same and I was listening on good headphones. The new strings threw me a little though.
    TN WOODMAN and Rabidhamster like this.
  16. TheGreatSealof

    TheGreatSealof Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2010
    Deptford, NJ
    Sample A was beefier. Sample B was much brighter. I could use both in different situations.
    Bassdirty, TN WOODMAN and Iofflight like this.
  17. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    That is what made me guess that A was the split coil and that B was the 51.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  18. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    A sounds fatter like a split coil.
    B a bit purer with swell but thinner.
    A 57
    B 51
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  19. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    I preferred B with the hard attack and A with the softer finger style.

    I like variety.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  20. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I think A is the 51, but it’s hard to tell with a cell phone speaker
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
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