Fender Jazz or P Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DarkElixir, Oct 30, 2000.

  1. DarkElixir


    Oct 30, 2000
    I need to get a new bass (right now i am borrowing a crappy Squier II P-Bass that feels like a million lbs to play), and I'm debatating between a P Bass or Jazz Bass. I heard that J Basses have more tonal options, but P-Basses are easier to play. Please help out! THanks guys
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Their playability don't differ much, at least not compairing MIM J to MIM P (Made in Mexico, the standard models). Correctly set up, they're pretty much the same to play.
    The J basically gives three kinds of sounds, while the P only gives one. I'd go with the J, but that's me - I really like the sound the J gives when both pickups are selected.

    As always said - try *both*. Preferably through an amp (so you hear their differences in that area), and see which you like best.

    Good luck!
  3. You might look into one of the Fender models that have a P-J pickup configuration. That way, you can get a little of each flavor.
  4. Mr Cup

    Mr Cup

    Mar 2, 2000
    I recently bought my first fender, a mia p bass. I was debating between the j and p, and although its definately true that the j has more tonal variations, you can't get that p sound on a jazz bass. I went with the p because I'm a huge fan of the sounds of old motown bass. Also because on my old fender copy with both p and j pickups, I always turned the j off because I preferred the sound of the p, so if that's like you, keep that in mind.

    Try out both, I don't think there's really much difference in playing difficulty, I suppose that you might get used to the neck of one (jazzes generally being thinner) but doesn't neccesarily make one more difficult.

    Also, if you have the cash, the deluxe series are excellent. Heaps and heaps of tones. But the standard series are brilliant too, whatever you choose, it'll sound cool.
  5. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    I'd like to echo the comments above: there isn't really much of a difference playability-wise. To my ears, the P-bass has a darker though not necessarily deeper tone to it. A J-bass sounds warmer and rounder tonally to me. I really like J-basses because of the greater variety of tonal options, however, a bass like the P-bass Special would combine the best of both worlds. One thing that I can say is that I definitely prefer the Jazz neck to the Precision neck - it just feels better and more responsive to me. Definitely follow the advice of the above comments and try out both styles of basses before you buy - it really is a personal preference.
  6. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    I think the J's sound better, and I like the thinner width at the nut. And I love the looks of the J. looks great on me cause I am a big guy.
  7. I really like the Jazz Basses. The neck is quite a bit easier to play, and I like the tonal options. The Js are supposed to be hevier, although I don't notice that much difference.
  8. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    They are both good choices. I prefer the J bass's due to the tonal options you can get from them, The necks on the J bass is also a bit slimmer and easier to play, but not by much (at least not to me). If you want the best of both worlds you should check out the Deluxe P-Bass Special, it has a p/j pickup combination and a Jazz bass neck. I agree with White_Knight that the P has a darker sound to it, more mellow sounding than the Jazz has.
  9. heebs99


    Dec 3, 2000
    hope this isnt a real dumb question or something. i am a fairly new and young bass player. i am still playing on my very first bass, which happens to be a squier precision. i love to play punk, its the only music i like, and thats what i play with my guitar-playing friends. so i was just wondering, is one type of guitar better for playing one type of music than another? for example, is the Pbass better for playing punk then the jazz bass is? just been thinking about this and wondering. someone asnwer please =)
  10. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    No bass is necessarily "better" at a style of music than another. However, if you're going for a specific sound then there may be a "better" bass. I see a lot of P basses in punk bands - people just love that dark mellow tone. Plus, to my ears at least, P basses sound better with a pick than J basses do. However, I've also seen quite a few punk bands using J basses. It all just depends upon how you want to sound tonally.
  11. I'd say get both (if possible) or just get a P/J. I love the tonal abilitys of a Jazz bass, but i also love the darkness of a P. As for punk, i think that a P bass is much better than a J because P has more "punch" to it, and thats what is often disired with punk. Right now, i only have a Fender Jazz (i have a Yahmaha P, but i wouldnt really call it a p, just totally different than the fender P sound) and am about to get a Fender P special (P/J, J neck). I play a lot of punk right now, and i have my jazz bass set with only the neck pickup, and it comes close to a P bass, but not quite. its almost "thinner" sounding than a p. In general, the neck solo'd isnt thin at all, BUT complaired to the P it sounds thinner TO ME. I also play a lot of Blues and Jazz, and for that, i use both the Jazz bass pickups together, and it gets a nice sound.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I vote Jazz Bass. No reason. That's all.
  13. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Go jazz. Also, consider this:
    The MIM jazz is AWESOME! True, the MIAs are made better and have more features. But take one of each and put them head to head at a store. I did. The MIM sounded better, amazingly enough. The tuners and bridge are pretty much donkey feces, but those can be replaced for about $120 total (for GREAT stuff). Add a case ($90 or less). Totals:

    MIM Jazz, upgraded, with case: $500 plus tax
    MIA jazz, standard, with case: $909 plus tax

    The sound difference is minimal, the colors are different, but for a savings of about $400, well, figure it out...

    P basses are okay, but you'll most likely want more in a bass, so get something that is going to suit you for quite a while.
  14. The P special with the extra pup gives ya the best of both worlds.
  15. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    I wouldn't try to let someone choose between a P or a J for you. The main differences are in the neck and the sound. The Jazz obviously has a thinner neck, the P a wider one. Tonally, the P has a very warm, full sound and higher output pickups. The Jazz has a bright, very crispy single coil sound, and it¡¯s excels at mids and highs, where the P¡¯s forte is the low and low-mid range. Even in a PJ configuration, neither bass can emulate the other completely. I myself, once tried to seek the answer to which bass is better, but found out that neither one is. They are very different basses, and you should just go into a shop and try both of them out and decide for yourself.
    As for which one is better for punk, there isn¡¯t a definite answer to that. If you really wanted to, you could play an upright bass. In the end, it¡¯s all a matter of individual preference. Many punk bassists choose a P, but there are plenty that play Jazzes too.
  16. And if you still can't decide, get something completely different -- like a cheap bronco bass -- and re-route the body putting in whatever type of pick-ups you want! (Otherwise there is very little reason to get a Bronco bass)

    How about a nice semi-hollow?
  17. Borderline


    Oct 30, 2000
    All in all, I prefer A Jazz Bass, better tonal variation, and a slightly more comfortable neck, IMO. As for playing punk, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love the sound of a J-Bass in a punk band... Two words: Matt Freeman. Punch isn't always everything in a punk band.
  18. the wizard

    the wizard

    Oct 10, 2000
    My choice is the P-bass. Its low mid punch makes it sit very well in the mix together with distorted guitars.
  19. Get a cheap J, put in Dimarzio DP123's, and when you cut back the bridge pickup, sounds real close to a P, but I always turn the bridge pickup back up and the tone way down 'cause that's the coolest sound for any type music, as far as I'm concerned.

    Don't get locked into trying to make your punk band sound like every other punk band. That ain't punk, dig? Punk is doing what YOU want. It's the existential dilemna rolled up into a musical style.:D

  20. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    I can't stand anything about a P Bass but the neck. If I could find a Jazz with a P neck, I think I would have my ultimate bass. I love the Jazz for the tone and tone variations.However,I dislike the thin neck.

    The Jazz is the most copied bass in the world. I would guess that is because of it's playability,feel and tone options. You can select from a tight,snappy Jaco style tone to a dark,hollow P bass sound,a rich funk,slap tone or anything in between. If I were making a selection I would want what is going to offer me the most variation. The P bass basically offers one foul tone,IMO, while the J offers many. You may not appreciate it's range now but as you progress and eventually branch out and play different styles of music you will. Think about it: 1 pickup or combinations of 2. More is usually more when you're looking for great tone. Just my thoughts.