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Does my PJ sound like a P, a J, or a PJ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by faulknersj, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. ...a P.

    12 vote(s)
  2. ...a J.

    0 vote(s)
  3. ...a PJ

    31 vote(s)
  1. Been around a long time doing this bass thing. I have been blessed with many incredible basses over the years and have quite a few keepers for life in the stable. I have mostly been a Jazz bass dude for most of my life, but have always loved the sound of a P...especially on recordings. I have heard P's sound unreal live, but just as often, I have heard them sound like an indistinguishable pile of mud. I have purchased several PJ's over the years, all passive, and none of them sat in the pocket quite right. Worse, they didn't do a straight P, or J Bridge tone all that well either. One of these basses was a Fender Custom Shop PJ that I special ordered. It was a great bass, but just didn't wow me with the tone I was after. So one day about 6 months ago, I was at Guitar Center messing around with the basses they had in stock, and I plugged in and played a Fender Elite PJ. I had never heard of this before and didn't think much of it. I, put it in passive mode got the volume up, and was really surprised at how great it sounded. I solo'd the P pickup, and then the J pup....and that is the moment when I first realized that it had indeed happened! The thing I thought was a pipe dream, to have a bass that truly crushes P and J tones, was right there in my hands. I wasn't looking to make a purchase, but I did. Now, I never know if I'm going to like a bass until I hear it in the mix, so I took it to a jam I go to and had a buddy play it. Well, wouldn't you know I was even more blown away! So as I mentioned before, I have a lot of really great basses, but over the last 6 months, this bass has become 'the one' for me. My 'main squeeze', my 'first call'. I love the thing so much that i made a cheesy video from a clip at a recent jam i recorded on the voice memos of my iPhone. I am curious what you all think of the tone..more P...More J....or PJ?

    639F5975-358B-4CC8-9756-CFA52AA0BEFD.jpeg E61B6C91-DD87-4668-91A2-BE76C40E86C0.jpeg
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That's a very nice cross between beef and bark! Plenty fat and round, and yet not muffled and buried. Great tone. (Great pocket playing too!)
  3. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    I can see why you like it so much. Great Fender tones .
    faulknersj likes this.
  4. Thank you! You described exactly what I love about this bass! This might not be the tone for everyone...but it is for me!
    saabfender and two fingers like this.
  5. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Hey, I've done the same.
    I'd love to be able to make a quality video, but...
    faulknersj likes this.
  6. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    faulknersj likes this.
  7. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hey Faulknersj, excellent playing and groove. That bass has what I think of as the classic PJ tone.
    There seems to be a common misconception that the PJ is an attempt to have a Jazz and a Precision in the same bass and I think this is what leads so many to be dissatisfied with that config.
    Adding the Jazz pup to a Precision was so we could get more upper range definition from the standard P bass. When one approaches the PJ with that in mind then the tonality of the passive PJ makes perfect sense.
    Pet Sounds, JOME77, Templar and 3 others like this.
  8. Right on! Thank you for the input!!
  9. Sounds like a good P bass to me, well actually a cross between a P and a J, no wait like a P, sounds like a Fender, no seriously it sounds like a P bass with a hint of the J pickup in there. great playing by the way.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  10. Ha! Thank you for the compliment! I think it is interesting to ponder...is there a PJ tone that is distinct?
  11. After reading your and the rest of the posts I'm starting to think so, the high mids are accentuated making the bass more present. I have two and usually cut the J pickup to just add a little higher mids, in fact I had a second volume control added to my TF fretless so I could drop that pickup down a little in the mix, makes them more versatile. I rarely run both pickups full out on any two pickup bass I own. Your bass sounded great, how was it recorded? What amp? Strings etc, inquiring minds need to know:laugh:.
    Oatis likes this.
  12. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    I'm not sure what I'd call that tone, it definitely has elements of both P and J for sure, but it is all meat and all solid gold.
  13. It was recorded on my iPhone in the ‘voice notes’. My phone was about 5 feet in front of my cab right next to the guitar amp that is really loud on the recording and a few feet away from the drums lol! You can barely hear the guys on the far side of the stage. The amp is a Genz Benz Shuttlemax 6.0 using both the Tube and Fet channels (Mix button depresses) simultaneously. The EQ is flat. My cab is a Bergantino AE 4x10. The strings are the stock Fender strings that came on the bass. I rarely change strings and have Basses with 5 year old strings that sound great!

    F2513E91-B595-4B59-830C-B57A561CC843.jpeg 07A043A5-AA69-446D-9458-7D241DB561D7.jpeg
    gepettus, BillMason and bobyoung53 like this.
  14. IMHO...the pickups strike me as the biggest difference between this PJ, and others I have played. The P pup is listed as a ‘Elite Precision Bass’ pickup, but the real magic is the 4th Generation Noisless pup in the bridge. It is the first time I have found a bridge pup that can match the output of the P pup, and can both sound incredible solo, but also add just the right bite when blended with the P.
  15. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    Interesting - maybe I need to pick one of those up and add it to my PJ.
    faulknersj likes this.
  16. bearfoot

    bearfoot Inactive

    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    The P pup sounds like a P. It cannot sound any differently. The bridge jazz pup sounds like a jazz bridge pup.
    However, not all P-basses and J-basses sound the same, so there will always be people who say it doesn't sound "right". It does.
    We are dealing with a placebo effect here. In blind tests, you can't tell which is which. But you can tell one Precision pickup from another.

    With both pickups on, in various blends, it sounds like a P/J. This really isn't any more complicated than that, but varying specs of those pickups and the most powerful drug in the universe (placebo) make an issue out of nothing.
    Dave Hill and faulknersj like this.
  17. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    WADR, you can't tell me what I hear, you can only tell me what you hear. To me it doesn't sound like a simple PJ.
  18. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i'm thinking there isn't...much. all of mine sound different = they all have different pickups. since they all have the same strings and the same passive electronics i have to conclude that the pickups distinguish between the three axes/sounds. i like them all and play them all but they each sound different. would/could i say that they all sound like a PJ? no. FWIW: all p's and all J's sound different from one another (to me). some (by the same manufacturer/batch) sound about the same (to me).

    i think any 'competent' ax can be made to sound good/cool.

    cool ax --- and cool playdown, OP! :thumbsup:
    faulknersj likes this.
  19. I also have 2 Fender Elite J Basses with the new 4th Generation Noisrless pups...they are very high output and extremely underrated imo. I think they carry some stigma from the earlier versions of the Noiseless series. They are really full sounding...deep fat consistent low end with just the right sprinkle of mids including a little high mid sheen without the super top end brittle clank.
    Oatis, lowdownthump and BillMason like this.
  20. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    Are they what people refer to as the Gen 4 pickups?
    faulknersj likes this.

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