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Affordable five-string with p-bass tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Hey everyone, just taking a quick survey here. I play a Washburn Taurus 5-string, which has more of a jazz-pickup design. I like playing the five strings but I'm thinking of getting a second bass with more of that low p-bass tone. Looking at Fender, I notice that they do this with an American Standard p-bass V at $1300 new, but all their other fivers are jazzes. Most other companies seem to go with jazz-type pickups on their fivers.

    I'm a hobbyist of limited means so I was wondering if anyone could recommend anything comparable with less of a price tag attached (apart from hoping someone out there has a used AS precision-V for sale). Something that might be $600-800 new, or proportionately less used.
  2. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
  3. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    + on the yamaha, you can get a good kind of P tone on a Jazz by soloing the neck pickup.
  4. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Ill throw one out, how about a G&L L2500? (either a new Tribute model or used US model) It can approximate a P bass tone, plus tons of other tones, and even the Tribute models are very well made. I love mine and I got it used here on TB for around $400.
  5. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    The Yamaha is a great affordable five.

    But the 2008 and later Am Standard P-5's are really sweet. With the pickup adjustment dialed in (see Ed Friedland's video), they have a really good B string, and they have the sound and ergonomics that inspire classic P-bass lines. When they come up used, they seem to be around the $900-1000 mark. If you can find one, they're a keeper at that price.

    I can't agree with pedroims about getting a good P-bass tone by soloing the neck pickup on a Jazz. I'm not knocking the flexibility of the Jazz bass, and you can certainly get a passable generic old-school tone by tweaking the knobs, but it doesn't really nail the honk of a good P-bass.

    And assuming that the OP's Washburn is a T-25, it definitely won't do a good P-bass imitation. I like those basses a lot, but they have a growly, agressive Warwick-ish thing going on that's on a whole different planet from a P-bass...
  6. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    A Lakland Skyline 55-01 with the neck pick-up soloed will give you 90% of a P-bass tone. It has that smooth, woody midrange bark that you come to expect from your average passive Fender Precision. I've owned two MIA Fender Precision American Standards in the past and I'm surprised how close my 55-01D comes to their classic tone.

    With both pickups on it sounds more like a Jazz bass with a bit of snarl to it.

    That being said, I haven't seen or played a Lakland 55-64 yet. It looks like what used to be referred to as a "Bob Glaub 5". That pretty much has P-bass written all over it. They say availability late Fall 2010.

  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    +1 on the L2500. Although watch out for flames from the 'P-Bass Consortium' for suggesting it. Personally I think it's a better 'P' than a P-Bass.
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Perhaps that's because it has its own sound. To me it has a "middle pickup" vibe, but not a P-bass vibe.
  9. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yeah that's what I had started thinking from but unless a used one comes available it's out of my realistic prospective price range. Used ones don't seem to pop up too often here or anywhere else I've seen (ebay, CL, etc.).
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I own two L-2500s and I agree. It's of interest but not a P. And my big gripe is just this. I'm dying for a P 5er and Fender of course had to cancel them for being too cool or something. [or to force a few dollars more by making only the MIA available] Feh.

    I'd LOVE to find a P or P/J 5 string without having to sell the car to get it. When is SX going to get the word?
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    The Taurus is so cheap, if you really like it it would be worth buying a second one and replacing electronics with a P.
  13. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    +1 on the Yamaha, the BB415 and 615 are great basses, they do a good P bass sound, and they have excellent B strings. The body shape is a bit weird, IMHO, more circular than a Fender, very 1980s. They also have J pickups at the bridge. The 415 is passive and the 615 is active. I've seen the 415 for around $4-500 CDN and the 615 for around $700 CDN, used, but I think at that they are overpriced - not in terms of quality or value, just in terms of what the market will bear - these are not highly sought-after instruments and stay too long on the used market. A local store has had a used BB615 in stock literally for years, but they will not drop the price, so there it stays.

    I have seen the newer passive Fender P5s selling used for $850-950 from time to time, and would definitely go this route if you can find one and can afford it. Check TB classifieds. There are also the earlier active deluxe models, but they are active... and will sound different.

    I've heard one or two people recommend the L2500 when people are looking for a Fender P5, which to me (IMO) is like recommending a single coil P bass (the telecaster style or pre-1957 style), a Jazz bass or a HH Stingray in that they each have a totally different type of neck pickup, and different placement of the pickup - it will not sound the same. "Passable" is up to you however, not the person selling it or anyone else on TB including me, but they are not split coil P basses. Only you know what your threshold of P tone is, and for you, maybe nothing less than a Fender P5 will do.
  14. palmann


    Sep 3, 2006
    Well actually a L-2x00 can pretty much sound like a P and I use both in my bands without problems. The neck, the shaping and the balancing of the G&L feels pretty close to a P, too.

    Gruesse, Pablo
  15. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
  16. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    Rogue bass!
  17. duckman999

    duckman999 Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    Definetly agree on this. More aggressive mid's than a p-bass. I have trouble getting mine to have a "less aggressive" tone. But, I haven't yet done the bridge mod to experiment with other strings than the D'Addario's.
    Love the bass though.
  18. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Obviously, you're all part of the "P Bass Consortium".;)
  19. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    I seriously need to give one of these L2500s a good go, they are very interesting to me, have been for a while, and I have heard a lot of good things about them. However, I am very skeptical that an active bass with two MM-style pickups can sound like a passive split-coil P bass. To me it seems as logical as saying a P bass can sound like a MM or a Jazz - worthy tones in their own right. Not that the P bass is the be all and end all of bass tone, it isn't. It works very well for me and what I do, but I do of course recognize many other options. I love Paul Denman's tone and playing for example, and I wonder if an L2500 can cop the MM tone well. I suspect an L2x00 would be a good alternative to buying an active Jazz and a Sting Ray, but am very skeptical about it copping a P bass.

    What is this P bass consortium? I hope there aren't membership dues, I have enough trouble paying for after school child care and groceries.

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