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After 4 months - 2019 Player Series Precision vs 2019 Am Performer Precision P/J

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Clark W, Mar 22, 2021.


  1. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    I first played bass in 1977, some piece of junk Fender copy, after it I owned basses by Carvin, Ibanez, and Peavey, all active, all strung with rounds. Then in 2019 I bought a 1986 Epiphone Accubass and fixed it up and loaded it with an EMG GZR Split P pup and strung it with the first set of flats I have ever owned. It sent me down the P bass rabbit hole. My only active bass left, a 2012 Ibanez SRX2EX2 I haven't touched since last October. And because of the Epiphone I have barely touched it since 2019 anyway.

    So after all these years, the past couple of years have been a whole new world for me as far as bass. From active to passive, my first set of flats, my first Fender and Acoustic bass, and now two more Fenders.

    Last October I bought a 2019 Am Performer Precision P/J, brand new, off the shelf, at GC. I wasn't a fan of the greasebucket tone circuit, and well the Yosemite pups were good, but nothing extraordinary about them. Overall though the quality of the bass is excellent. So I got rid of the pups and greasebucket tone circuit and replaced them with Aguilar's AG 4P/J-HC P/J pup set and custom made set of controls.

    Enter the 2019 MIM Player Series Precision. To offset the cost of the Am Performer I decided to sell off a Peavey Foundation 2000 Lined Fretless. Actually found a buyer here on TB, but he offered me a trade instead. A 2019 MIM Player Series Precision that had been upgraded with a Fender Custom Shop '62 P pup and a Hipshot Drop tuner. All I had to do was drive 2 hours to make the trade and I had a more popular bass I could sell. Well we know how that worked out, I kept it :D

    Now I love my Am Performer, the feel, the weight, the tone, but sometimes it's "too" clean. It's also strung with D'Addario Tapewounds. The Player Precision is strung with Fender USA Nickel Rounds. It has a grit the Am Performer doesn't and it sounds awesome. Although it's a tad heavier, it basically has the same feel as the Am Performer. The necks are extremely similar, maple fretboard on maple neck, 20 fret, c profile, medium jumbo frets, 1.625" nut width for both. The bodies are both Alder with the Performer's body being a touch thinner and sculpted so it's lighter but painted solid in Satin Lake Placid Blue whereas the Player is a transparent burst, definitely a thinner paint job.

    So how much of the mass of the bodies plays a part in their tone?

    Should I string the Performer with rounds too? I got away from rounds in 2019 and haven't looked back until I got the MIM Player which came with rounds and I left them on it.

    Or should I try using a pedal to add some grit to it and backing off the J pup a little? I have a MXR M85 Bass Distortion Effects Pedal on back order that should be here in a few weeks. I also have a EarthQuaker Devices "Plumes" that I could use now and really need to try it on a bass anyway. And I run a Sansamp BDDI through my FX loop, that I can always get a little grit out of. But nothing like what the MIM with the '62 P pup does naturally.

    I really love the mid range punch I get when I crank the J pup up on the Performer. But I love the low end and mid range grit I get on the Player Series Precision and it's Fender Custom Shop '62 P pup. I want to get more of that tone mixed in with J pup on the Performer.

    I guess what I'm trying to do here is get the Performer closer to the sound of the Player Series but with some of it's J sound still in the mix.

    Looks like I have a lot of experimenting to do.

    Or should I just be happy with the way both basses are and enjoying having basses that are both a joy to play, cut through the mix exceptionally well, but do it differently from each other in tone?

    I will say this, I never intended on owning a MIM, especially after buying the Am Performer, but this one has changed my whole attitude about them. Like any manufacturer out there, there will be some lemons but there will be some really good examples of their products and this one is as good as a MIM can get. It's really close to the Am Performer in build quality. It's practically flawless. October 2020 was a very good month for bass acquisitions for me. I'm glad I've kept it alongside my Performer Series and not put it up for resell.

    group01RS.jpg
     
  2. PWRL

    PWRL

    Sep 15, 2006
    I've found that Ensenada can turn out some real gems. My 2012 MIM Jazz is one of them. So, I understand how you feel about your MIM.
    I have two P basses, an MIA 62 Reissue and an American Special. I didn't like the Greasebucket circuit that came in my American Special, and so I rewired it in the 58 type configuration, which helped immensely. It has a heavy, dirty low end, now.
    The 62 RI has the D'Addario tapes, and while they sound great on some basses, they do have a super-clean sound. If you want to get your basses closer together in sound, then I would definitely put some rounds on the Performer. However, is there a reason? I'm often tempted to put rounds back on my 62 RI, but that bass naturally does the "clean" sound so well, it felt like a shame. They just compliment each other well. I have the Jazz and the Am. Spec. if I want a different sound.

    Another thing is that you could just swap the strings and see how that works out, if you enjoy the tapewound sound. However, that's one of those sounds that sometimes people want to like because they like the feel and the tension, but wind up leaving because the sound doesn't get them all the way there. That's how I feel about them on my Jazz, and since your Performer is half Jazz, I wonder if there could be a connection there.
    Adding grit with the pedals will work, but in my experience, there are still string qualities which will still exist and come through, especially with the tapes.
     
    Clark W likes this.
  3. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Thank you for the input, it was definitely insightful. One of the bands I'm involved in we do a lot of older and classic rock and blues along with some newer, more modern rock and acoustic, semi acoustic stuff.

    The Player with it's '62 FCS P pup and rounds of course is great for the older stuff. The Performer does better for a lot of the newer stuff we do with some exceptions. A pedal I think will add enough to it's cleaner tone to keep me from having to swap basses.

    It's just a personal preference really, cause in the end only myself and the other band members like the tone from one over the other in certain situations and no one else will ever notice it anyways

    So yeah keeping the tapes on the P/J for now and using a pedal every now and then is the direction I think I'll go. It does do that clean sound extremely well with the Aggies and tapes. Be a shame to make it closer to the MIM and lose that versatility.

    Thank you again for your input.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2021
    PWRL likes this.
  4. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Been thinking about this part of your reply all day. So I'm sitting here working on a new song list because we have a new vocalist who's vocal range has really opened up the opportunities to expand our repertoire quite a bit.
    But now as I find myself working on a new set list I'm also imagining which bass I would use. Here's an example:

    Whole Lotta Love / Zeppelin - my 2019 Player Precision with rounds would be my choice
    Have a Cigar / Pink Floyd - my 2019 Am Performer P/J with tapes would be my choice

    Your comments have really got me thinking about sound, what type of sound is best to use and when, and where it fits in.

    Now last weekend we practiced for the first time with a new vocalist, but the thing is it was him(no instrument) the drummer, one guitarist, and myself on bass. With just the one guitarist there's a void there that the grit from the 2019 Player Precision fills in nicely. With the Am Performer and tapes it cuts through crystal clear, but it still leaves a void in our overall tone. Which to my ears was a problem this past Sunday. But one that will be remedied soon, like this weekend soon. We have a second guitarist joining us, hopefully the last piece to the puzzle.

    When that 2nd guitar gets added, the void that I was filling on bass is going to shrink and then all that really matters is that my bass tone cuts through the mix. This is where the Am Performer with it's Aggie pups and tape wounds I think will really shine. The clarity that bass produces should punch right through and not blend in and off into the background. Those tapes with those pups on that bass absolutely ring out. Whereas the "grind it's way out" that the Player Precision does, could get lost some in the mix with two guitars.

    But... Always one of those, sometimes you want to leave that void alone. ZZ Top's "A Fool For Your Stockings", bass, one guitar, and drums, no grit on bass, actually a little muddy, straight up blues with even the guitar leaving more of a void because it plays more lead licks than rhythm throughout the song. We did this one a few weeks back with a guest singer and I of course used my Am Performer with tapes and rolled off the tone a little. It was perfect for the job.

    Tone, it's a never ending exercise... Time to get an A/B box
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
    PWRL and MattZilla like this.
  5. P Cheen

    P Cheen formerly Jaxon5 Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2015
    Sacramento, CA
    I agree about the necks– I had an American Professional with the “63 profile” neck and at the time I had a spare Player Series Precision neck (for a project that failed) and they were VERY similar. If I had a blindfold on I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

    Recently I narrowed down my collection to a non-export Aerodyne, a Classic Series 70s Jazz, and a Player Series Jazz and guess which one I pick up 99% of the time? (Spoiler alert: I just sold the Aerodyne and the Classic Series Jazz is currently on the chopping block)

    03DB9406-EBBE-4743-88DC-AF41E9C057C7.jpeg
     
    Wolfhound32 and Clark W like this.
  6. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    You know some here at TB say that the necks are made in Cali and shipped to Mexico for assembly with the bodies made down there. I don't know how true that is, but when comparing the necks on my MIM Player and my Am Performer I have to wonder if that just might be the case. It would explain a lot.
     
  7. PWRL

    PWRL

    Sep 15, 2006
    Regarding the tapes and so forth:
    I understand what you're saying there, and I think you're probably correct. Listening to A Fool For Your Stockings, that bass line has that sort of sound to it, and I can imagine where those strings would fit into that sound. D'Addario tapes have that almost vocal quality to them. On my 62 RI, I can even get some decent growl or something from the E string in particular. They definitely don't do what the rounds do, but they have those moments, and with a PJ config and Aguilars like yours, I can imagine that whole clarity formula working well in your favor.

    Regarding the necks:
    I've never had a straight answer about where those are made and how. I imagine it's somewhat of a secret. However, one of the things I heard at a Fender dealer, from one of the owners, was that Ensenada and Corona use the same CNC program at the same time. I recall him telling me that they had machines running at the same time from the same batch of information. Now, I'm sure that's not the case for everything they do in both places, but when I look at and feel my American Special P bass neck, it really looks and feels like a lot of MIMs I've picked up. I've also been told they finish the US-made budget series in Mexico, but I don't know if that's true. However, I've heard these crossover rumors since the 90's. The most interesting part was the owner of the store telling me the bit about the CNC machines. I don't want to say who it was because I don't want to throw the guy under a bus in case I'm misremembering something. However, there you have it.

    Sorry this is kind of rambly, but I'm still on my first cup of coffee.
     
  8. PWRL

    PWRL

    Sep 15, 2006
    @Clark W - Another thing I meant to mention was I think you're right about the inclusion of the second guitarist. That should probably fill the void and leave your bass to do what it does best. I remember playing with two guitarists, and the second guy and myself used to kind of meld sounds. Sometimes that was cool and sometimes I got lost in the mix, even on a Rick (though I never used Rotos or steels on it, only nickels). The tapes I think would fill the boomy end but still ring out on the highs. Let me know how it goes.
     
  9. skycruiser

    skycruiser Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    Texas
    Just curious - did you stick with the Player stock pick-ups or have you swapped them out? I picked up my first Fender in December - a Player Series Jazz Fretless and I'm not all that satisfied with the sound. Probably both fretless isn't working for me and the pickups. I'm thinking of swapping out the neck - maybe that will get me closer to the sound I'm looking for.
     
  10. P Cheen

    P Cheen formerly Jaxon5 Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2015
    Sacramento, CA
    The Player Jazz Bass pickups are one of the best stock ones in my opinion. Even better than the Yosemite set from the Am Performer series and the V-Mod set from the Am Professional. This Player Jazz I have now is actually my second. I bought one back in the summer but had to return it because the bridge was wonky.

    That being said however, I much prefer a “70s style” Jazz pickup set more - more growl, more treble, more punch. I’m thinking of getting either the Fender Pure Vintage ‘74 or the Aguilar 4J-70 set.
     
    skycruiser likes this.
  11. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    When I got the Player it already had a Fender Custom Shop '62 P pup in it. And the box the FCS 62 came in is currently home to the Player P pup. So I have no idea what it sounds like.
     
  12. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    On "Stockings" the bass plays a D note and holds it twice at the very beginning while the guitar plays some lead licks that go into a riff right before the bass hits again and the song is off and running. Except I play that riff on the bass in time with the guitar, a 5 note pattern, G string 14th and 12th frets back to the 14th, 13th, and 12th fret on the B string. Those tapes absolutely ring out on it like glass. So much so I have to play it with a light touch or the guitar version of that riff gets lost. Sounds pretty cool. I haven't played it on the Player Precision to hear what the difference would be like. Not sure I want to.
     
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  13. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Yeah I'm looking forward to a 2nd guitarist. It's a lot of fun to tie in with a guitar and pull off some riffs in a lot of songs where the bass is normally being a little boring and just holding the bottom end down.
     
    PWRL likes this.
  14. skycruiser

    skycruiser Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    Texas
    Thanks. I should probably give a neck-swap a try before I invest in new pickups. Maybe frets will get me close enough to the sounds I'm looking for. Sorry for the minor hijack OP!
     
    P Cheen and Clark W like this.
  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    You should use pedals because they’re fun. Play the strings you like and don’t feel like you’re married to a set. Experiment. Try TI Jazz Flats. Try DR Hi Beams or Dunlop Supers. Why not.
    And if the pickups ever seem too clean try a set of Fralin or Lollar, that’s the gritty P. My opinion (only mine), my 2021 MIA P pickup lasted about 3 days before I ordered a Fralin and that bass is now better for me.
    Back to pedals, if you have a full board get a matching board and fill it up and rotate one board to the closet so it seems like you only have one pedal board. Not crazy, try it. Get something cool and traditional like a nice tube preamp or leveling amp but also get some dumb unicorn because it’s still a pandemic and it will entertain you. Post pics.
     
    Clark W likes this.
  16. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    No need to apologize, this thread is all about what works, or what we think might work.
     
  17. 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 13, 2021

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