Difference between P and PJ?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by toad, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    I've been missing that Precision thump these days, so I'm ordering a body with a Precision rout from Warmoth. I've been thinking maybe I'll add a bridge pup just for versatility, but I was wondering--

    I remember having a Fender PJ and a P, and I recall thinking that the PJ with the neck pup soloed just didn't sound as meaty as my Precision. Was that just the nature of the two beasts, my imagination, or is there something in the wiring that explains this?

    Has anyone else felt this?
  2. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    Maybe just the type of pickup?
  3. *maybe* the j coil kills a bit of the string excursion? (I'm reaching on that one)
    electronically, they have seperate volume pots, but common tone, right?

    Wire them to an either-or-both switch then to tone.
  4. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I think some P/J setups have odd volume characterisics because of the interaction between the single coil J pickup and the humbucking P pickup. I tried a Hot Rod P-bass once, and found the volume dropped a little with both pickups on full, for example. I spoke to a seemingly very knowledgeable player about this, who told me the single/humbucker interaction was the issue. This could be avoided with a humbucking J pickup, like Lindy Fralin's P/J set which includes a Split Jazz linear humbucker.
  5. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    Yes. I didn't open it up, but that's how they respond to the three knobs. So, if wired that way and the j pup turned all the way down, theoretically there should be no reason for it to sound different than a P bass with no J bridge pup, right?
  6. TyKao


    Jun 29, 2003
    I know that some people insist on using a 3 way switch instead of the V-V-T setup, so you're not alone in detecting some sound difference. If I remember it correctly, unless you use the 3 way switch, you'll never be able to solo the P pickup by _completely_ canceling out the effect the J pickup has on the way the electronics interact with the strings. I've always wondered if it was really that big of a deal.
  7. Either that, or you could use a couple stacked pots, and have it like :


    so each pickup would have its own volume and tone control
  8. that sounds like the best way to go.
    i have a P/J with just vol/vol.
    if i crank both and then bring the J down a hair it gets louder.
  9. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Yep. It happens. My BCR has a pup selector switch and the P definitely sounds beefier when solo'ed with the switch, compared to using the volume controls.

    I think the "humbucker vs. single coil interaction" argument is pure BS. What it is, is just pickup loading. Happens on any passive bass or guitar with more than 1 pickup.

    Not for nothin, but this thread should probably be on the pickup forum...

    Here's an article that came from someplace on the guitarnuts.com website. I just went looking to try to find the link, but they completely changed the site and turned it into an ad generator. :rolleyes:

    I've tried this and it works. 3 of my basses now have this mod. This will also "fix" a passive blend pot so the pan is smooth and the center position actually sounds like the center.

    The value will depend on the pickups and the pots in each bass. Start with a 22k on each hot. If you need more you can increase it to 47k. And it's ok to use different values, if you tend to favor one pickup (and never solo the other) put the heavier resistor on the other one.

  10. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    Isn't the position of a P pup placed differently than the P of a PJ? I was thinking it was more in the middle of the body than closer to the neck like a pj.
  11. not one iota.
  12. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    Thanks folks for the informative responses. It looks like I have some things to think about and possibly some wiring options to explore. I think I'll get the PJ set up and test it to figure out if I need a switch.

    Oh, and maybe Mitch is right about this being in the Pickup forum. If a mod sees fit to move it, please do. Thanks.
  13. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    I set up almost all of my basses in PJ fashion. I find myself usually using just the P pup, because that's what I like. Iv'e always used a Fender P bass until the past year or so. But' i do love to have the versatility for when I want it and I also like the way that the J pup gives the body some aestetic balance.
    Depending on the bass, what the woods are, what the neck is, electronics etc., I can get just as much thump or more, depending which bass I use. some more, some less.
    Point being, you had the answer yourself, I believe, in your first post. Every bass is going to be different. :)
  14. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    Hm, the J-Bass pup won't kill the P tone at all, however it was probably that the pup in the bass wasn't as nice as yoiur other P. P-J is a good combo, and control wise, go with BLEND - VOLUME - TONE. Don't do stacked pots, harder to make quick changes.
  15. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    That is possible. Once I put it together, I think I'll try wiring it with the J pup and then without it to see if I notice anything. If I do, I'll look into the other wiring ideas. Thanks.
  16. audiotom


    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    I thought about buying one of those SX PJ combo's to get the best of both worlds, maybe I should steer clear. Has anyone had experience with these


    they have black and sunburst currently in stock
    maybe this would be a big rewire learning project

    I like the jazz neck size with p options
    I have a 78 p with jazz neck


  17. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    One of the best PJ sounds I got was using a P-pickup with a Tele-style pickup in the bridge.
    A pickup from a 1968 tele-bass.
    This pickup blended much better, with a p-pickup than a J-pickup.
    No lose of volume, more grit.
  18. this may have happened for a variety of reasons first of all you should know that on the PJ fenders the P pickup is placed elsewhere(closer to the neck than on a standard P-bass)due to the fact the designers had in mind a combination of P- and J- bass(on the Jazzbasses the attitude mostly comes from the bridge pickup)Other than that the answer could much simpler,that the pickup on the p-bass is hotter(and probably a different model)And also remember the wood factor i wouldn't be suprised if the p-bass has an ash body and thus sounds fatter(I'm pretty sure the pj-basses from fender come only with alder bodies)
  19. This is simply not true. Maybe on the P deluxe with 24 frets, but not on the hotrod or MIM P special, or I wouldn't have been able to buy off the shelf P pickguards and have them fit perfectly.
  20. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Yes, maybe this is more of a Pickups topic. Which is where this thread now resides. :)