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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)
    28.6%
  2. ...a J.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. ...a PJ

    30 vote(s)
    71.4%
  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Yes...I believe so...
     
  2. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
  3. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    I believe that there is such a thing as a distinct PJ tone and I don't mean this in a cork-sniffing tone-snob sort of way.

    Several years ago I picked up a "different" bass off the classifieds here, which was a custom 4-string PJ with active EMG's and a b/t preamp. Nicely different from my passive 4-string Jazz parts bass, but sorting out the useful tones with this new PJ was a puzzle for me. I hadn't played a bass with that P-bass midrange "honk" in a long time, but this one was VERY prominent in the mix when I played it with the band. With the P pickup solo'ed at a gig, my guitar player actually asked me to turn down. Truly a first for me.

    Rolling the blend halfway between the "solo P" and the middle with both pickups full open was great for smoothing off a little of the anger in the tone of the P on its own, but I also grew to like that setting a LOT more than with the blend right on the middle detent (the P and the J both turned all the way up). That middle detent sound is much more disappointing than the tone I generally find in one Jazz or another with both pickups full up.

    Then the revelation: I was listening to a mix CD that came with a bass magazine I got in a previous lifetime. This issue featured TM Stevens and one of his tunes was on this mix. It opened with his rippin'-diculous slapping and shredding, but it also clearly sounded to me like a PJ and not a Jazz (I thought he was always a Jazz layout player). Sure enough I looked at the cover and there he was making a face and holding a Warwick(?) with a PJ pickup layout.

    Before I took up with my PJ, I had often been playing my Jazz with the neck pickup solo'ed, but I've very quickly come to appreciate what I can get from either the P pickup solo'ed or with just a little J blended in there, too. I know that active EMG's are profoundly different from passive humbucking Jazz pickups (DiMarzio Ultra J's) and there are plenty of other ingredients in the recipe like the woods, the players, the amplification, the strings, yaddah-yaddah.

    I really do think that the PJ thing is "a thing", even if it's a little more subtle shade of grey.

    My PJ is currently in the shop - it's getting a passive set of pickups swapped in and I'm very looking forward to hearing what I get from that. Full passive for now - if I miss having a preamp, I'll add one later on.
     
    Bass Man Dan and faulknersj like this.
  4. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource

    Dec 28, 2012
    Sounds very P like to me, and very nice at that!
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  5. red_rhino

    red_rhino Gold Supporting Member

    +1. Sounds like a tightly focused P. I would say it leans more toward a P than a J, but I would guess it's the J pickup that's giving it some of that focus.

    Nice playing, BTW. :thumbsup:
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  6. Chrisk-K

    Chrisk-K

    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    To me the PJ tone (mixing 50% P and 50% J puckups) is very different from the JJ tone. The PJ tone is fuller and smoother than the JJ tone. The PJ tone can be described as a good old P tone with sizzle.
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  7. jastacey

    jastacey Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Houston,Tx
    That sound/tone, is the reason why I aquired an Elite P-bass, it just stands out enough, to give definition to the groove, the 4th gen bridge pick up, is really what gives the Elite P-bass, it tonal character .... Oh, by the way ... Nice playing 2016 Elite P-Bass.
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  8. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    I have a Sadowsky PJ and it sounds like a more focused P when I have both pickups on. I love that sound. When I roll to the P only, it sounds like a P - less focused, but nice and round and classic. I also am able to roll to the J and its a very usable sound as well.

    So it is basically 3 sounds. I like to switch to the J during certain parts like leads or breakdowns.

    I really like your bass. Looks awesome and sounds great. Enjoy it.
     
    lowdownthump and faulknersj like this.
  9. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Right on man! Thanks for sharing! A couple quick thoughts: 1) The EMG + Fender combo is super under rated. I won't be shocked if you go back to that set-up (I do hope you love the new one though!). 2) One trick I like to apply for pickup blends, whether a J-Bass, or a PJ, is to adjust pickup height to get the blend where I want it at the middle detent. Given, this only works for more nuanced blending, but I like to control what I get when both pups are equal.

    Cheers!
     
  10. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I love the 3TSB with Rosewood or Pao Ferro Board! Are you as in love with that thing as I am with mine? I also can't say enough about the neck....everyone has different preferences, but that neck shape is absolute perfection for my including the distance of the first fret (F) from the bridge. With some 21 fret basses, that little xtra distance to the 1st fret bothers me...but when I set this next to my 20 fret basses...it is somehow almost the same length?
     
  11. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Sorry, you even said 4th generation, I'm a moron.
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  12. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    If you try one in the bridge i'd love to know what you think
     
    BillMason likes this.
  13. jastacey

    jastacey Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Houston,Tx
    Yes, the neck is just so comfortable, when I was checking them out, at GC, I just couldn't put the bass down, and I did this over the course of a week or so, and the fretboard on my bass is rosewood, as to the extra fret, one gets used to it rather quickly, at least I did, I also have a 2004 Deluxe P-bass, and while that neck is comfortable, the Elite is, American Deluxe P-Bass. handsdown, a more refined instrument
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  14. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    I have one in black ash/maple and its amazing.Never played any bass i liked better.
    Turn the jazz pickup off and its a p bass,very piano like but can be agressive if you play it like that.
    The jazz pickup when added bring more ring to it.
    Most important,I found that with this guitar compared to others i can play many hours without getting tired.
    Use it as passive only.
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  15. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I find that in passive mode...you have a killer vintage sounding instrument in your hands...kick on the pre-amp, and a whole world of more modern sounds is at your fingertips...Truly a Swiss Army Knife...but exceptional at each tonal palette..
     
  16. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Denver
    Killer playing man! Sounds like a P to my ear holes. :D
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  17. Sounds like a P with a little extra burp. Very good sounding band BTW!

    :thumbsup:
     
    faulknersj likes this.
  18. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Thank you sir!
     
  19. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I also think much more P than J
     
    metron likes this.
  20. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Denver
    So I missed it if you said what your pickup mix was (all P, all P some J, or both full)? To me it sounded all P. If you had a mix of the single in there, IME the change in tone is pretty subtle unless they are both full on and you get that middy PJ thing going on. That sound is pretty distinct, and I didn't hear that here.

    What I did hear was a ton of awesome bassery with a wicked deep pocket. :D:laugh::thumbsup:
     
  21. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Denver
    I should add that I don't think PJs can do "the sound of the Jazz bass" which to me is both singles on full. PJ tone is just different, and in a very good way.
     
    faulknersj likes this.

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