1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Cutlass vs P, why are they different?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Will H, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Will H

    Will H

    May 23, 2017
    I was looking at buying myself my first bass, I was borrowing one from my uncle and he needs it back. I'm looking for a tone that has a lot of mids and is very crunchy. I play mostly punk and rock but I also play a lot of blues and jazz. I do understand that there are many other basses, but I jus really want to know the difference between these to make a more educated guess.
  2. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    They're both nice.
    On paper they're both very similar.
    I've never played or even seen a cutlass in person but I love Ernie Ball basses.
    You need to get in room with each one and see which you Prefer
    If it were me, I would get the other one. Caprice is it? It has the J pickup in addition to the P. More tonal options
  3. I googled it, and it looks like you are talking about a $1600 bass. That's far too much money to invest in a first bass. Worry about this question after you have learned to play, and developed preferences.
    AndyLES, jam.majors, obimark and 2 others like this.
  4. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    If the op plays jazz, as he has stated, he is most likely worthy of a nice bass.
    Besides, if money is not an object, it's very wise to get the best instrument possible (for many reasons)
    Artman, LBS-bass, Epitaph04 and 3 others like this.
  5. It is generally best to start on an inexpensive instrument so that will know what you are doing when you shop for a better bass. You cannot know what bass is right for you, as a beginner. You have to play for a while, develop your preferences, and then play a bunch of nice basses to see what sounds and feels right. Why throw $1600+ at a bass before you know that it's the bass that you will want when you mature as a player?
    kentiki, FugaziBomb, AndyLES and 3 others like this.
  6. Will H

    Will H

    May 23, 2017
    I forgot to mention I have been playing for a long time. I never really needed a bass because my uncle never needed his back, but now that he does, I need to find something to use.
    Iwlim1Taek, MDBass, SirMjac28 and 2 others like this.
  7. In that case, see if there is a shop that carries both basses, and try them out.
    Artman likes this.
  8. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    I guess what we are differing on is that I am not convinced that our friend is a beginner.
    He may very well be but he didn't say that.
    Since he asked very specifically about a 1600 dollar bass, I assume he has an idea of what he wants
  9. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    I didn't play the Cutlass yet, but from what I can tell, it's very similar to any other P - passive split coil in the mid position. It will probably sound very similar to any other P. There may be minor differences in sounds due to different designs (larger poles, not sure about the innards of the pickup), but it's not like it will sound like a Stingray...

    Ernie Ball basses are known for quality, so it may be worth the money, but I'd look at all the P basses you can try and get the one that feels best in your hands. You can tailor the sound with the strings and, if it comes to it, there's a wide variety of P pickups you can choose to replace them. Some smaller shops even make Ps with wide poles like the Cutlass.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  10. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Bird Supporting Member

    The bigger differences are going to be between neck shapes, and body sizes. imo.
    You need to try out both.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  11. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    The difference is one of them is ugly!
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  12. River Runner

    River Runner

    Sep 23, 2014
    The pole pieces on the pickups are very different. On the Fender type P pickups, there are two pole pieces per string with the string vibrating between them (neither magnet is directly underneath the string). This takes away some of the initial peaks when the string is plucked and makes for a smoother tone (that's the theory anyway) and with the Cutlass you have much larger magnets that are centered right under the strings so I would expect you to get a lot more initial snap when you pluck or strike the string. So a more compressed attack with the P bass and a snappier/peaky attack with the Cutlass. That peaky attack is what Leo Fender was trying to avoid when he designed the pickup. But years later changed in favor of the MM style with large magnets directly under the strings - times and tastes change.

    Disclaimer: I've never played a cutlass - I'm just making a guess based on looking at the pickup design.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
    osonu, bassliner50 and Papalampraina like this.
  13. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    Stick to answering what the OP is actually asking.

    It's not anyone's place to say what someone else is or isn't allowed to buy with their money :thumbsup:
    Artman, LBS-bass, Iwlim1Taek and 14 others like this.
  14. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    Since the designs are similar, the main differences will most likely be the neck profile and the pickups.

    Lots of companies make a great P bass in that price range, so try out as many as you can and see which one feels and sounds the best to you.

    Happy hunting!
  15. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    P Bass is the bass
    Artman, joebar and bassliner50 like this.
  16. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    n1as likes this.
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Initially it was more because there were no real bass amps when the PB first came out. And the transient spike that occurred with the pole pieces directly under the strings could very easily blow speakers in the amps of the time.

    We didn’t even get what today would be considered ‘real’ bass drivers until the early 80s. Prior to that “bass speakers” were still using the same basic designs as their guitar counterparts. It was somewhat harder to blow them. But not by much. However, once the speakers could handle hotter signals and more peak excursion, Leo went with punchier pickups.
    malthumb and catcauphonic like this.
  18. waynobass

    waynobass Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Precisions don't look that bad.

    He doesn't want options, he wants mids and crunch.

    What is your uncle's bass?
  19. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    IMO The Cutlass looks like a Pbass with the lower bout cut off. Kinda a stumpy for me. A P-Ray. love their colors though.
    The $1600+ price tag is pretty ugly.
    Pet Sounds likes this.
  20. Will H

    Will H

    May 23, 2017
    My uncle has a 90s/80s p bass. I really like it but I feel like I haven't really explored many other options.

Share This Page