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Active P bass maybe??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SteveC, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    So I am looking for a light weight bass, preferable a jazz. Unfortunately, they are pretty heavy, unless I go custom or "boutique" which can get expensive. Not always, but often.

    Anyway, whenever I pick up a P bass, they always seem to be light. I don't mind P basses. They play just fine and seem to sound ok - until I try to use it for CCM at church. I've always been a jazz guy, but as people say many times, a P or a J should be able to cover most any gig. Both are classic basses.

    I have always tried a basic passive P bass, but I'm wondering if I would be able to make an active P "fit" better to my ear. Or am I way off?
  2. P and J Combo maybe?
  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Almost everyone says that doesn't really work. You get the P sound, and the bridge J, but not the J/J sound. I think I'd rather go either or.
  4. thmsjordan


    Jan 10, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA & State College PA
    Eschew Obfuscation
    Who is almost everyone? I have been VERY happy with a P/J configuration for years and so have many of my gigging friends. It works fine, and no it isn't a J/J sound, but the blend of the P and J pickups gives you tremendous versatility, and the mix can be really sublime. Just ask anyone who gigs with one.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Yeah, I should have said there are a number of people who think that. I know there are many who don't. I actually should have probably kept a fender American deluxe p/j of nostatics.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Does a P really weigh less than a J? I would think they would be very similar.
  7. Rezdog

    Rezdog Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    T.Rez, Canada
    Greetings from the North,

    The P-Retro from John East drops into a P bass without any need for routing or pick guard mods. It will allow you to play active or passive. In passive you get straight P sound with no alteration. In active it's like a P bass on steroids with more tonal control and you never lose the root P bass sound. The battery is rechargeable like a cell phone and will last over a month and just plug it into the wall to charge it up. I've had mine for about 18 months without a glitch and it sounds awesome. You will not need the extra J pickup. Check it out.

  8. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    In my experience a PJ does not sound like a P does not sound like a J. A PJ with only the P volume turned up sounds pretty much like a P, but (to me) not quite like a raw single pup P. This might be random bias though.

    The PJ mixed sound is unique to itself if you ask me, it sounds exactly like what it is: A mix between a P and a J. A J bass (to me) has no P sound in it, and a P bass (to me) has no J sound in it. A PJ has both.

    I just bought off the classifieds a 1983 Ibanez Roadstar II P-bass copy, its passive pickups and captures a nice vintage tone but is EXTREMELY lightweight, lighter than any of my other basses. I'd say its just as good if not better quality than Fender's original offerings.
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I picked up am American Standard P and a Highway One P and they were like air - especially compared to jazz basses.
  10. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Winner!!! :D

    Comes down to personal preference, but I've gone through the best JJ, soapbar, P, and PJ basses and am firmly sold on active PJ (other than the Rob Allen which is a different beast).

    mmm, PJ

  11. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    That is a beauty. I do like the sound and feel of the Geddy Lee, just not the weight. Maybe I'll try a Comfort Strap. People say those help a lot...
  12. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    I'm in the "doesn't really work" camp, after having owned several PJ basses. I could never get the Jazz pickup at the bridge to have anywhere near the volume of the P pickup. Rolling to the back pup just takes all the balls out of it and requires substantial EQ adjustment at the amp or a pedal to compensate. Not at all gig-friendly.

    What DOES work is an active P/J setup. Then you can get enough control over the J pickup to blend and balance the two.

    The best take I've tried on this is the new Fender American Deluxe Precision. You get a good P pickup that can be used in passive mode, then you can flip a mini toggle switch to put it in active and make that J bark and growl like nobody's business.

    I was really impressed with this setup, enough to fork over the $ to get one.

    As far as weight, all other things being equal (which they never are of course) I have always found Jazz basses to be heavier than Precisions. More wood I guess. I have 2 of each right now, and even though I cherry pick all my basses based on weight (I just won't play anything over 9 pounds, don't care what it is) the Jazzes always run heavier. I'm referring to Fenders here. My Lakland DJ4 weighs about 8 pounds and is delightful to play even on a long gig.
  13. thmsjordan


    Jan 10, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA & State College PA
    Eschew Obfuscation
    I am agreed on the fact that you have to have a significant amount of EQ to make it work for quick switch stuff. I don't change my settings much during a gig, so I put the controls where I want em for that gig and leave it. I use an outboard Sadowsky on mine and so I can get where I need to go. But yes, that configuration makes the J pickup sound dinky when you suddenly drop out the mighty P in front. Different EQ is required for each solo. Together they can make beautiful music together.
  14. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Steve, you seem to like JJ basses so wait/find a JJ bass that fits your weight requirements. Some I've had that were lighter (8.something lbs) were G&L JB-2s (don't have the traditional J looks) or MTD Beasts (older Czech-made JJ MTDs).

    Just set your limits (what max weight, whether you require the full jazz look or not, top bucks, etc.) and find one that works for you. Depending on how non-standard you are willing to go on looks you might find something like the Yamaha RBX4 A2 that meets your criteria for weight and sound at a nice price.
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I wish I could like the look of the Yamaha. I guess they weigh nothing and they sound good. Ed Freidland has a demo and its a great sounding bass. Just can't get into the look and glow in the dark knobs.
  16. FWIW,

    I played an MIM Standard Jazz not too long ago that was lighter than my P-bass.

    With a J-Retro preamp I think it would have sounded spectacular.

    I'd just look for a light weight Jazz. They're out there.
  17. Just curious, what didn't you like about using a P for CCM?
  18. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    It was probably fine, just different from what I am used to. The jazz tone is pretty embedded in my brain. :smug:
  19. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Yeah, I probably just need to really search for a light jazz bass.
  20. I know some people have complained that P basses often lack in clarity when used in CCM.

    I know Hillsong bassists have used Jazz basses and Stingrays.

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