Adding a J pickup to P bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Axtman, May 24, 2018.

  1. Yes.

    14 vote(s)
  2. No.

    11 vote(s)
  3. Carrots.

    2 vote(s)
  1. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I am toying with the idea of adding a Jazz bass pickup near the bridge of my Fender American Standard Precision bass. Before you shudder at devaluing a bass, this bass is beat up and won't command top dollar anyway.

    I like the sound of a jazz bass but find J basses lack a bit of bottom end. I also like the sound of two pickup basses. They seem to have a fuller sound and more flexibility in their tone.
  2. C_Becker


    Mar 30, 2017
    I vote yes. Worst case is you don't like it, then you can just not use the J pickup.
  3. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Those of you that have a PJ bass, do you like the sound better than a P bass?
    Mertle72 likes this.
  4. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    It’s a gamble. Some PJs work much better than others, and i can’t quite figure out why. I think it’s about selecting the right two pickups and spacing them right.

    But considering parts and labor costs to do it right, you can maybe find a cheap PJ for about the same. One of the best sounding PJs I played was a Squier... so I think it’s just a matter of trying enough of them to find one you like...
  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    A Jazz Bass won't have the low mid punch of a PBass but in practice a JBass bridge pickup won't add all that much since the PBass pickup tends to overwhelm it anyway. Some like having this but I've never found it very useful overall.

    The better solution may be to have both basses but wire the Jazz Bass in series as well as in parallel and you'll have the versatility you want with more bottom end and greater output from the series position. Different tools for different jobs.
  6. Mertle72


    Dec 20, 2013
    Pickup placement is key. Go PJ and never look back.
  7. okabass


    Mar 19, 2005
    Precision P is a classic on its own. I've tried J PU several times on a P Bass and always end using only P PU.
  8. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    For me, yes. I mainly use the J solo but frequently dial in (VVT) a little of the P to add a little woodiness to the J. The P is rarely (but not never) used on its own, but I prefer a P over a J in that position. On my JJ I never use the neck pickup solo...
    As always, YMMV...
  9. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Had a PJ, and even though I like the tone of both pups on, I definitely prefer the P soloed.
    I prefer the tone of a J bass with both pups on than PJ with both on, but I prefer P better than those two.
  10. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Don't destroy your nice Am P.
    The low cost Squier VM PJ is good investment. Try it and she is not far behind as USD1200 vs USD 349.
    Turock and Axstar like this.
  11. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    First, I don't care if someone wants to mod a late model Fender. It's your bass, do what you like. It's not going to be nearly as rare 50-60 years from now like pre CBS basses are. If the routing is done well, it will look great and then it's just swapping pickups until the sound is found.

    The weird thing with P/J is the blended, phasey tones, they are more odd vs a straight J. IME, P/J basses tend to work best when the players tend to play on either pickup soloed and do blends every now and then to get the J versatility out of it. I treat my P/Js as a P 90% of the time and a 50/50 blended P/J the other 10% of the time. It's a little enigmatic as to why some P/J sound better than others. Pickup choice and settings are key, for sure. The P pickup usually has to vintage output and/or be lowered, the J usually needs to have a hotter output and/or raised up close to the strings to balance. My US Dlx P has a double J in the bridge and balances nicely. This is what works really well, IMHO. Dropping a double J in the spot that puts the rear coil in the 70s spot with a switch to do series/split really makes for a pretty versatile, thicker sounding P/J. Wire it up to split to whichever coil sounds better to you.

    On that not, pickup spacing seems to make a difference, too. Some think the 60s J spot sounds better, some think the 70s spot does. I like the 70s spot on a P centric bass. The J pickup is used as a tonal manipulator, and it seems that the 70s position, being more bitey, facilitates this. Perhaps the 60s position sounds better soloed, I don't know because I never solo the bridge on my J types.

    I have experimented on bridging the tonal gap with J/J and P/J basses with series/parallel wiring. I have done a switch on P/J basses to configure the split coil P to go parallel. The parallel P pickup is cleaner, brighter and has less volume, roughly emulating the sound of a J neck pickup. I have also wired J basses to have series/parallel operation of the two pickups. Series does roughly emulate the P sound-more volume, less highs and more lows and low mids. It's pretty handy to have either of these schemes on a push/pull pot, hidden from sight. The tonal option is there if you choose to use it.
    sikamikanico and soulman969 like this.
  12. Yes I love the versatility of my P/J.
  13. thmsjordan


    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    I like the idea of PJ basses but this has frequently been my experience too.
  14. I actually prefer the sound of a stock P bass split pickup over the PJ. I have many PJ basses, and to my ears they sound better with just the single P pup on.

    For the record I love the jazz as much, but together they just lose something. I've actually disconnected some of the Jazz pickups as they seem to "gut" the P pickup of its wonderful tone even when shut off. I can't quite explain, the closest I can get is as if there is a HPF on the bass when a PJ is wide open.
  15. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    East Coast
    am wonderin why fender, ibanez and a few other continue to make PJ configured basses still?
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  16. Because I'm sure many like the sound. There are different sounds thst you can only get using a PJ configuration, and I'm sure that works well for many. There is a definite bite the pickups have together that I can't get with just a p, so there ya go. It's just not what I like, but of course that's just my opinion as well.

    I like strawberry and chocolate malts. You might like banana or vanilla. It doesn't make one better than the other, just different.
  17. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Not trying to talk you out of a PJ but have you tried a series/parallel switch on a Jazz Bass? I have one on my American Standard and it purrs like a lion. Lots of low end with plenty of authority.
    PawleeP likes this.
  18. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Go for it, just us a hot noiseless Jazz pickup. A split J would be ideal
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 18, 2022

Share This Page