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Considering a P bass over my Jazz? (motown tone?)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by crispygoat, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. crispygoat

    crispygoat Guest

    Aug 22, 2006
    London, Ontario
    Since I got into Motown I've been GASing badly for a PBass. I've been looking at the Lakland Dunn P bass. It's not so expensive. Would it give me a closer tone to those Motown records than my Jazz bass ? Would I be crazy trying to sell my Valenti and get myself the P ?

    (or would be better off switching amps :meh:)
  2. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Keep your Valenti!

    However, everyone needs a good P (so to speak). Why not a MIA '62 RI? or even a new American Standard P? The Dunn is nice, but IMHO if you want P-bass, that means a Fender. The new ones and the '62s are superb, IMHO.

    All that said, the right strings, the right touch, and killer time/lines played on a Jazz can do Motown very well, IMHO. I've played a lot of it, and must say that the line/feel is more important than the tone or the gear. But I'm sure you knew that!
  3. therex


    Jun 24, 2007
    why not a MIA p bass
    or a MIM
    or even better a Squier VM p bass, really a steal
  4. cripula


    Dec 20, 2006
    IMHO - Keep the Jazz, save for a P. Eventually you'll want both anyway, so if you have a nice J might as well hang on to it.

    In the meantime, throw on a set of flats and turn off the back pickup.
  5. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I've got an 08 P-Bass and had a 62 RI, and I currently own a half dozen other Fender Precisions.

    The 2008 Fenders are excellent basses, but in my opinion and experience, they don't do Motown. They've got a more modern tone, which is punchier and more focused. I have my 2008 P-Bass currently strung up with GHS Precision flats. I use mine when I'm playing stuff by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Jamiroquai if that means anything.

    I had a 62 RI a short while ago, and I sold it. It wasn't a bad bass per say, it just wasn't for me. I believe the one I got was an 84, though don't quote me on it. I also didn't like the neck profile on it.

    My go to "down under" Motown style Precision is a 57 RI strung with LaBella Flats (though is currently strung with Rotosound Trubass 88s) and I have a Nash P set up with LaBella Jamersons that currently needs some work done before its playable.
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I agree. And when you do get a Precision, the Duck Dunn is an excellent choice. The Jazz neck is great, and Lakland's pickups are more powerful and aggressive than Fender's IMO. They're similar to the Lindy Fralins in older Laklands. However, I'd still go with the American Standard Fender, because the necks are more comfortable to me. Plus, for Motown you want maximum thump, and I think Fender's pickups deliver that extremely well.
  7. Hum...I can get a nice motown town from my J. Of course you'll never get a P sound but with flats and the right playing style/EQing you can get great retro tones from a J. I too have been gassing after a P in recent months but everytime I go to play my J and crank out the retro tones the GAS dissapates in an instant! :)
  8. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    I went for my Duck Dunn for the same reason. My band do a lot of 60's and Motown stuff (more than i'd like actually) and i felt i needed a P.
    While it might not be the best choice tone wise i really wanted a Jazz sized neck as well so being a Lakland fan it seemed the obvious choice.
    Its got the Fralin in it and while i have nothing else to compare it with its close enough in the mix. ive just put some Chromes on it and again, not the best choice for a really authentic tone but it does the job.
    I was looking for a motown type of tone rather than an exact copy. Something a bit more modern but still in character.
  9. Ezbass


    Apr 3, 2008
    A split pickup is going to sound more Motown than a J pickup, but selling your Valenti would be a mistake as you're bound to GAS for a J as soon as it's gone. Assuming that your Valenti is a 4 string, the Duck Dunn would be a good choice as the neck is of more Jazz bass proportions and therefore more immediately accessible, how it stacks up tonewise I don't know as I've only played one at an exhibition and you can't tell anything at one of those things. There seem to be an awful lot of threads at the moment with TBers Gassing for P basses, particularly "boutique" ones. The general consensus in a lot of the replies seems to be, start with Fender first and then look more up market if you fail to find one that suits. If you find a Fender that really plays well and suits you, you could always retrofit some Fralins or SDs if the tone doesn't quite come up to scratch.
  10. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
  11. LP75


    Aug 29, 2006
    I am of the opinion that the Motown sound is more in the fingers and phrasing than in the bass, and if you roll off the treble, favor the neck p'up, and think Motown, your present bass will work fine.

  12. I'm not sure why you would want to mimic that old type tone in this day and age. Even on the rare occasion when I still perform those tunes, they sound MUCH better IMO with a slightly more modern take on both the tone and arrangements.

    That being said, just put some flats on your Valenti and roll back the treble. In a mix, that will get you there just fine. Quite frankly, even with new roundwounds, rolling back the passive tone control on any bass will get you 90% there. And that last 10% is just 'mud in the mix' anyway IMO.
  13. cigi


    Aug 22, 2006

    Couldn't have said it that good!
  14. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    That's what I would do!
  15. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    I also think a lot of the Motown sound came from the way it was recorded.
    They were quite low fidelity recordings and i think that also plays a part in what we hear as the Motown sound IMHO and i agree with Ken, its also a lot to do with feel.
    I loved Bob B's live tone on Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Motown sound but with a modern edge to it.
  16. LP75


    Aug 29, 2006
    Whenever I play "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", I play the sparse verse parts of the song fingerstyle, then for the chorus, I slide the pick in and dig in with the modern tone of either my Carvin or Modulus. It sounds killer, and everyone seems to dig it.
  17. Bingo... That's exactly what I did with my Lakland DJ5 and it sounds great for Motown. A jazz with flats is right on the money.

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