78 P bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wyleeboxer, May 3, 2005.

  1. I have a stock 1978 P bass ( Light weight ash boody, maple neck & fret board) given to me by a freind who plays in a signed band ( I won the bass in a bet!). He said he never really liked the way this bass sounded, he has about 20 old P and Jazz basses. Ive changed the Pick-up's with the vintage Fender P's, but I admit the bass still has a very transparent sound and just doesnt cut through when I play in my band (rock). Is this just typical with P basses? I have other basses G&L, Schector, Fender jazz. But my question is, can some P basses just sound bad or should I explore possible problems with this bass? Ive heard the electronis in the late 70's are not very good, should I change them out?
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Nope. Late 70's basses were very inconsistent in quality and tone. My '78 Precision weighs about twelve pounds (boat anchor) but sounds phenominal to me!
  3. You mean there are few bad tone late 70,s P basses or just different?
  4. Get yourself a decent outboard pre-amp...like an Aggie or a Sadowsky...great investment no matter WHAT you decide to do...

    Try the P-bass through that, if it still doesn't cut it...sell it (the bass...not the pre-amp)
  5. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    What in hell bet did you make to win a P-bass?

    ...I need more gullible friends....
  6. Im a Patriots fan he's a Broncos' fan (die hards). We bet every year the teams play each other. I used to loose all time ( Helmets, Jerseys), but now things have changed and the bets got bigger. Hence the P bass.
  7. Thanks for the outboard pre-amp suggestion! I think I need to get another (good sounding) P bass and A/B the two. Maybe the scooped mid sounding P bass just isnt my thing?
  8. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Have you tried messing with EQ at the amp? A P-bass needs less mid cut than many other basses. Try running your amp flat or with just a little bass boost.

    Could be a bum bass. Could be bad strings. Could be you need to adjust the pickup height or action. Make sure the neck bolts are tight.

    I love my '78.
  9. Thanks for the setup info! Ive tried everything as far as set up goes. However I always thought that my P bass needed a boost in the mids to cut through, let me try a bit of scoop EQ adj. Last night I was A/B my P bass with other basses and noticed that the E-string has a real dirty tone and lacks focus compared to the other strings and basses. Maybe this is a problem? I would love to make this bass somehow happen for me.
  10. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Mine does that a bit too ... but it sounds fine unplugged so I'm going to try a different pickup. A '70s P is all about a slightly funky, dirty sound to me though, so it doesn't really bother me.
  11. fresnorich


    Sep 17, 2003
    Fresno, CA
    Try to find a Raven Labs PBR-1. They are no longer being made, but you can find them occasionally and they make a P-bass sound great. I think there might still be one for sale at thedudepit.com.

    It won't require any major mods and I think you would be please with the results.

  12. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    very true, I had a 78 p-bass that weighed 13 pounds, quality was good for Fender for that time. I never liked the sound and repalced the pups with DiMArzios which sounded much better.

    According to an installation option in the DiMarzio instructions, I wired in a mini toggle switch to get a standard sound or a hot sound.

    BTW I now use Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders which are great.