Almost Time to Order: Help Me Choose?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BB Brian, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    Preface: I don't have a big box music store closer than three hours away, so playing all of these before I buy is just not going to happen.

    What I want: A mostly P-bass sound. I don't mind having a little more tonal variety optionally. I've owned Fender and I like them, but read on. I want this to be a passive bass.

    The Front Runners: Fender Player Series Precision Bass. It sounds like a P-bass, obviously. Drawback is it only sounds like a P-bass and I don't know if I'll fall in love with the neck
    Fender Player Series Jaguar Bass. It can sound close to a P-bass (I mean, can it?) I have some tonal variety if or when I want it with the J-bass bridge pickup. I also played a Jazz extensively for years and know I like the necks. Drawback is it might not be quite as punchy as I might want it compared to a P-Bass.

    Darkhorse: Yamaha BB434. It is a PJ setup. No idea how close I can get it to sound like an authentic P-bass. I would have some tonal variety. For the money, this bass has more ammentities for almost a third less money; string through, 2-way truss rod, D'Addario strings, and the neck sounds like something I'd like. Drawback is it's a Yamaha. Name on a headstock might matter to some possible gigs locally. People seem to think of Yamaha as a student instrument down here. Also, will it sound as punchy as a P-Bass or at least, close enough for me to be happy?

    Also, if anyone has experience (I know a lot of folks do) with either Sweetwater and or Guitar Center, would you recommend one or both? Looking for a liberal return policy in case i am unhappy. Does Sweetwater's 55-point inspection really do what they claim it does? Checking each instrument twice, making sure it's in spec, checking everything for function (like the truss rod), etc?

    I'll be ordering at the end of this week if I can get a deal below MAP pricing by calling in and asking. It is a Father's Day present after all! Thank you for your time. Please note I am not currently interested in G&L, Sterling MM, or other options, just the three listed. Thanks so much!
  2. filwitheneff


    Feb 22, 2008
    The Player P-Bass. If you want authentic P-Bass sound, there it is! And it's easy to upgrade (lots of aftermarket parts available if/when you choose to do so). I doubt you'll have any problems with the neck.

    And that Yamaha would be a close second. Those BB434's are a lot of bass for the money.

    Sweetwater is a fine company to deal with. Yes, they do the inspection, and they do a minor setup (but you'll need to tweak it to your own preferences). I've bought many things from Sweetwater, no complaints.
  3. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    me, i keep buying basses and thinking "i'll get used to the chunkier neck", but i never do.

    this is my all time favorite precision
    i like the seafoam pearl. the neck is a jazz neck, so comfortable, the tone from the PJ pickups is versatile and sublime - i just wanted to melt in place. you mostly find the deluxe as an active bass, but this model is passive. i've played 3, and they all were beautifully finished. the only reason i don't own one is the pain i get from playing long scale basses regularly.

    sweetwater, btw, doesn't offer those tasty 15% discounts that other music stores do. MF and GC do offer those discounts, even on brands that don't take part if you call in.
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    First thing to me is the Jag is really a cool bass BUT it's 32" scale. Will that be awesome or will it bother you?
    It's got a good tone and looks cool. If you're cool with the shorter scale it's a nice choice. Only other comment is that it has a C neck so you may find it closer to a P bass but the scale will give the feel closer to what you want.
    Yamaha basses including the BB434 punch above their weight. Good electronics and pretty versatile tone range. Plus it has nice hardware including a 2-way bridge so you can use standard mount or through-body if you're into that. Wouldn't write it off.
    I like P neck profile and I have long arms and fingers and I'm personally comfortable with a 34" P. But if you think you may not like the P neck keep looking at the Yammy. The neck construction is really nice for the cost and may give you more sustain than the others. Like I said, I love P necks but the Yammy has a slimmer neck you may like if you play Jazz basses.
  5. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Tough call. As the owner of a few Fender MIMs and a Yamaha BB, it's difficult for me to be completely objective about the choices. ;)

    IMHO, the Yamaha with the J pickup dialed off will come very close to the P-bass sound, but it's not spot-on – it's still Yamaha's take on the P-bass sound. Personally, I really like it, but I also completely understand why others don't. Additionally, the Fender Player series and the BB434 all utilize Alnico pickups, which might or might not be your favorite transducer design. To @filwitheneff's point, choosing an FMIC product generally opens up a wider range of aftermarket modification options, should you decide to travel down that path.

    I have purchased from both Sweetwater and Guitar Center in the past, and have had good experiences. I'm slightly troubled by recent reports here that MF/GC are allegedly shipping GC retail floor stock for some purchases, so do parse the respective return policies closely before ordering.
  6. Player series Jaguar is 34” scale. Modern c shape 1.5 at but so basically a jazz neck.

  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    You can do a lot to a P bass tone with strings. I've had Rotosound swing nickels and steels, Lo Riders, and Precision Flats. All give different tones. Moving your plucking hand between the neck and bridge also alters the tone substantially.
  8. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I’d probably go Jaguar. Here’s why: I am also addicted to jazz necks. I’ve tried to get down with the P necks, but I’m a total creature of habit. It’s only 1/8”, but I can feel it. IMHO the PJ (In P mode) vs P is silly; any difference is minute and you will never tell in a band mix.

    IIRC you’ve been out of the game a while. So there is a chance you can jump back in with a new neck and adapt just fine. Also, there’s a chance you won’t click with the Jaguar body; so the Player P is a close second.

    Yamaha makes excellent basses. The headstock thing is silly, but it’s real. If it will get in your head, affect your confidence and limit your opportunities- then get the Fender.

    Dark horse#1- buy a Jazz neck, and a P body. That’s what I did. Dream bass baby! :D
    Guitar Parts, Bodies, Necks, Pickups, Fender, Gibson and more | The STRATosphere

    Dark horse #2- buy the P and Jag, then return one? :woot:

    So exciting your new bass is so close! :hyper:
    BB Brian likes this.
  9. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    It’s the new Squier Cv Jaguar that has the 32” scale
    BB Brian likes this.
  10. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    It sounds like you want a Fender (a "true" Fender, not a Squier), and you want a P/J to have the option of dialing in some bridge burp.

    If the headstock is important, and you're already considering the Player Precision and Jaguar at $700, I will second pcake and suggest you find a couple hundred extra and look at the Fender Special Edition Deluxe PJ: They street for $900 and check all your boxes; a passive P-bass with additional tonal options, a quality build, a respectable badge on the headstock, and styling that won't get laughed off a country stage.

    On the topic of Yamaha brand snobbery in Texas, I gigged a Yamaha TRB the other day in Arlington, and didn't hear a peep about playing a "student instrument", not from fans, not from other players. Yes, my TRB's a step above the BB series, but it's not even close to the $3000 MIJ lines you see showcased as examples of "professional" Yamahas used by the big names. In my experience, the gear you play is much less important to your bandmates and audience than how well you play it, and among your peers in the music biz, those who have been in the game for a while will have a pretty good handle on the quality of your gear, and quite separately on you as a player, and can sort the pros from the posers fairly quickly using a lot more variables than just the name on your headstock.

    The current BB series are not quite my cup of tea aesthetically, but they are right in Yamaha's wheelhouse of putting a more modern spin on traditional design aesthetics, and as others have said, Yamaha hits well above its weight class in terms of value for dollar. You get a very well-made instrument with excellent attention paid to QC, that will do its job day after day, night after night as long as you own it. They may not pack as much into the feature list as some other brands at the pricepoint (*cough* Ibanez *cough*) but you can trust the instrument and everything they put on it, and what they give you at each pricepoint will be far more than you can expect from other well-known brands. Case in point, it is by far the least expensive instrument of the three you're looking at, has exactly the same feature set as the Jag Bass, and I'll just bet you the neck will be a lot more stable when set up than a Fender neck, especially the slimmer Jazz sticks they commonly put on P/Js, without being chunkier or harder to play.
    ruju, DRBP, BB Brian and 2 others like this.
  11. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Oh yes, as mentioned above the SE Deluxe P bass should be a serious contender!
    BB Brian likes this.
  12. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I've owned Fender but don't own a single bloody one any more. You can guess what I'll recommend.

    I don't understand why peoples ignorant opinions matter when it comes to what you want to play.
  13. DRBP

    DRBP Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2018
    ok gang here is one of my first replies. i hope i don't screw it up too badly. i think i can provide a little input on this one. i love j basses but really like the p bass sound. i do have a g&l LB100 and love it but not what the OP is into. i agree with all of the above regarding the yamaha basses. i have three ('90's rbx650, 2010 TRBX505, and a 2017 BBNE2 Nathan East 5 string) and they are incredible instruments that punch WAY above their weight. the RBX and TRBX have many gigs on them, have never let me down and sound great in virtually any setting. i am primarily in a rock/pop cover band. (i use a G&L JB for musical theater work and occasionally an ibanez fretless as well)
    one bass you might want to think about is a fender aerodyne. I love mine. made in japan and has a fantastic P pickup with lightweight body and fast J neck. the stock bridge J pickup was a little thin so i replaced it with a Duncan hot stack and although it still doesn't have quite the output to match the stock P pickup it really sounds great. easy to play night after night as the basswood body is fairly light, looks cool, has the fender logo (although play what moves you, not what others think you should play) easy to get parts for, and reasonably priced.
    good luck with your decision, have fun with your fathers day gift!
    Swampish, pcake and BB Brian like this.
  14. Mr Cheese

    Mr Cheese

    Nov 8, 2019
    Buffalo, NY
    Agreed. But it does matter if your looking to get hired.
    BB Brian likes this.
  15. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    It shouldn't matter, but sometimes it does. Not when you play, not to the audience in most cases. But, it can affect auditions and some other things where you haven't actually played. Some people are ignorant and some doors are harder to open if they don't think you are a serious player with a serious instrument. For better or worse (in this case much worse) that's how the world we live in works sometimes.

    I live in rural West Texas. Arlington is 5 hours away. I deal with what I have to deal with.
    Mr Cheese likes this.
  16. Mr Cheese

    Mr Cheese

    Nov 8, 2019
    Buffalo, NY
    Still, your name is BB Brian........the signs point to the Yamaha!:D
  17. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I don't really like the necks on the standard Fender P Basses even though I don't really have a problem playing on them but I love the P bass sound.
    My solution was to get a used US made Peavey Fury. It's got a terrific neck that's pretty slim in comparison, also a heck of a player, that and the lighter weight makes it the perfect P Bass alternative for me. While not quite MIA Fender P bass in terms of overall quality of build, it's a better option to a MIM Fender imo.
    I don't know if you're considering used basses (as they don't make that Fury anymore), but that's what I would recommend and saves you money too, it's a great bass, and the old US Peavey basses do have a pretty good reputation, so the name on the headstock should satisfy most critical people out there.
    BB Brian and alanloomis1980 like this.
  18. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    So, I just sold my Player Precision and bought a BB434. Now, I liked my Player P. It sounded good stock (but even better after a pickup upgrade) and the neck had a more comfortable profile than any Fender P I’ve found. But I sold it for two reasons: 1) Although the neck was great for a Fender P, I just couldn’t ever feel comfortable with the width; and 2) I found myself limited by the single precision pickup.

    I really considered a Jaguar, and those are great instruments. You kinda can’t go wrong.

    But I decided to try something different and get the BB. Here’s my take after playing it for a few weeks.

    1) Some people will tell you the quality is better than a Mexican Fender. Not my experience. Better in some ways, worse in others. It’s about a wash.

    2) Sounds awesome. Punchy, clean, and versatile. Right now I’m enjoying keeping both pickups full and using the tone knob to sculpt the sound. You get a lot of options.

    3) The neck is fantastic. It’s right in between a Jazz and a P, and for me it feels great.

    4) Tuners are pretty poor, and it’s the first (probably only) thing I will upgrade on it.

    I think you will end up with a good instrument either way. I’d choose based on what style neck you want (P, J, or in between), and which instrument really calls to you.
    maxl, BB Brian and alanloomis1980 like this.
  19. FantasticFour


    Dec 14, 2013
    If you come across a G&L Tribute Kiloton, don't discount it because of the humbucker's position. In single-coil mode it does a rather convincing P sound.
    BB Brian and Spidey2112 like this.
  20. What are you playing? Are you playing in a funk band with keys and horns?
    Are you in a rock band with overdriven, distortion, rhythm guitars?
    Where do you want to be in the mix?
    Do you want a sculpted, defined tone? Or do you want low end rumble?
    These are the questions to answer before you get a bass.
    P- basses were designed in the late 40’s, before R’n R was popular.
    Big band, swing was the big style. So bass players didn’t have to take up Mach ‘space’.
    Guitars, keys, and horns, were on the high end. The bass just had to occupy the low end.
    But, it had to ‘cut through’ the ‘mix’.
    So, depending on the E.Q. profile of your pickup, that’s what a P-bass is designed to do.
    It doesn’t have a lot of tonal range, (occupy a wide frequency spectrum), but it ‘cuts’ through.
    BB Brian likes this.