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American P-Bass sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by count_funkula, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. What is the difference between the sound of the newer American P-Bass and the older ones?

    I'm trying to plan my future bass purchases. Right now I have a American Jazz Standard. I'm thinking about selling it and getting a Modulus VJ4 for my main bass, and a P-Bass for my backup and when I want to get some good fat passive sounds.
  2. I have found that EVERY P-bass sounds unique, partly due to the body woods (alder vs. ash), partly because of the fingerboard wood (maple/rosewood), and partly due to when it was made. My findings, based on hours of trying out basses at Guitar Villa, a great store in Pennsylvania:

    '60's P's -- very mellow and round-toned

    70's P's -- more bark and growl, but can be
    heavy mommas to carry

    new P's -- a combination, but not as "alive" sounding, somehow (maybe the graphite- reinforced neck changes the resonance?)

    My favorite P, which I own, is a parts bass, with a '78 maple neck, new cherry sunburst ash body made by an American parts manufacturer, anodized pickguard, Bartolini pickup, and flatwounds.

    The '78 neck is DEAD-straight, and this bass just has a tremendously-pleasing sound for any vintage-sounding music.

    But if I tried to sell it, it wouldn't be worth much. Go figure. . .
  3. The only diff between 1999 and 2000 P's are IMHO the price. There are small changes, non vaneer body, rounded fretboard edges, stuff like that, but to me, the excessive price isn't worth it, look for an old American Standard.
  4. Jsonnenblick, I think you hit the nail on the head with the new P (thanks, I thought I was imagining things). There is something absolutely wrong with the dead spots, creepy-sounding, I want to say. They seem to be somehow more "spread out." The sound overall seems less focused, but it's the behavior of the dead spots that really bothers me. In comparison, I can hang with the dead spots on a '57 RI just fine. Somehow they sound natural and kind of remind me of how all the notes on the URB sound different from each other. But even if the dead spots on the new P aren't as pronounced, somehow they sound all wrong to me. Brrrr.
  5. P basses with the graphite reinforced necks do sound a bit more clinical, true.

    But still a sound to kill for.