Fender P Bass - American Deluxe vs American Standard

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bigsnaketex, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    I'm looking for some real world experience from the collective here and have one simple question that will solve my problem:


    Does the Fender American Deluxe P-Bass sound the same as an American Standard P-Bass when played in the passive mode?

    I'm thinking strongly about aquiring an active P-Bass to get more tones but I'm scared that I'll somehow lose my prefered P-Bass tone if I went to it full time - and simply I can't lose the tried and true P-Bass tone because it's the foundation for the tone in my head.

    So, IF the "American Deluxe" is in passive mode - will it sound the same (in the mix) or does all the extra stuff do something to the sound?

    The main reason for the question is that I have had a Japanese Aerodyne with the P/J setup for several years and my experience is that it sounds different with just the P pickup on (to my ear) than my American Standard, therefore I use the Aerodyne for a few songs when I want the unique tone from my bass - but I can't use it all the time because it simply doesn't seem to produce the tone that my American Standard does.

    I truly don't understand why that is - but I do know there is a difference (at least as my ears hear it). Therefore I have to logically conclude that it could be either the much thinner body of the Aerodyne or the fact that the other pickup cut into the body takes away some of the P-Bass magic.

    And please, before someone says "go play one" - just know that I have, many times - but playing in the music store doesn't tell me how it will sound in the mix on stage with a 5 piece rock band playing Foo Fighters music!

    Sorry for the long dissertation but I've found that it's good to make all my points up front here on "Talk Bass Theater"!!

    Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience.
  2. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Gold Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I think you'd have a hard time getting any data from Fender as to the difference (if any) in the pickups between the two variations you are enquiring about. Also, the differences sonically between an Ash body vs. Alder (American Standard line) may factor in as well.
  3. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    Oh I agree, that's why I was asking about someone that may have some real world experience with the two. Fender is no help with anything concerning these type of questions. As a matter of fact, they're not much help with anything.
  4. SpinyNorman


    Oct 24, 2012
    I would say that there is a difference between the two. I have a 2011 Deluxe w/ Rosewood neck, and a 2010 Standard w/ Rosewood neck (both with alder bodies), and there is a subtle difference between the two. It's not a huge difference, but it is discernible.

    I believe the single coil neck pickup in the deluxe is different than the one used in the standard. Fender's site lists the deluxe with a 'Deluxe Split-Coil Precision Bass® Pickup'. The new 2012 standards are using Custom Shop 60's split coils, so that muddies the waters even more.

    I like the additional flexibility of the deluxe model. If the passive tone doesn't appeal to you, you could always swap out the neck pickup for a standard model's pickup. I've seen them on Ebay for a fairly inexpensive price.
  5. Can't help with a comparison, but ,like you, I'm in a rock band playing Foo Fighters songs, and my American Deluxe gives me the best sound I've ever had. It sounds great in any situation I've thrown at it. Although, IMO, you can't go wrong with either.
  6. SpinyNorman


    Oct 24, 2012
    The Deluxe models in Black, Olympic White, and Sunburst have alder bodies. The Transparent Wine and Natural colors have ash bodies. Thus, one can compare the alder body models, as the difference is basically the neck pickup.
  7. 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
    Wood makes a difference? Anyway, your audience isn't going to know the difference if you EQ either bass to be close to the tone you want.
  8. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I thought the Aerodyne was basswood? (not that I'm saying the wood makes a difference!)

    To the OP: I say keep your passive P, ditch your Aerodyne, and treat yourself to a MusicMan Stingray 5 (or 4, if you prefer) single H. To me, the passive Fender P and the MM SR are the two basses that consistently, virtually always sound good in a mix. And the SR will give you the "different tones" you are looking for without losing your tried-and-true P.
  9. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    The Am Dlx P is by far, my favorite Fender bass, and the ONLY non-Rickenbacker bass I own. Mine is an older model, when they used a big fat humbucker at the bridge, and no passive mode, but talk about big fat P bass tones, this thing rocks.
  10. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    I've been thinking about a Sting Ray. I saw a beautiful Surf Green (or whatever color they call it) with a roasted maple neck last weekend at The Perfect Bass - and it was very nice. They do feel very good in my large hands.

    I "borrowed" the American Deluxe from my local shop for this weekend's gig. And as bad as I hate playing a bass with stickers still on it, I'm gonna give it a whirl so that I can test it in real world setting.

    I'm pretty sure that my regular old American Standard P will stay with me for ever and always because I'm convinced that nothing else will make that sound. I dont know if it's the flatwounds, or the wood, or the pickup........all I know is that the "P" sound is the one in my head for 75% of everything I play.

    I'll probably send the Aerodyne on down the line and get the Deluxe if it does what I think it will do and I'll just stop the foolishness of trying to have one bass at a gig and reconcile myself to bringing 2 or 3 to each gig.

    I'm already the guy that owns the P.A. so it's not like I'm going to save myself from making 8 trips to the van anyway!!

    But man, the Aerodyne looks so very cool. It's black, and I put black hardware on it, I dyed the rosewood fretboard to the darkest ebony I've ever seen and then I put some DR Black Beauties on it. It's a shimmering mass of blackness and has a very cool vibe to it - plus it's light - so very light. But it has very limited sounds for the variety of stuff that we play.

    And isn't that the way it always is.

    Long live GAS!!
  11. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    Oh, and I neglected to mention that I just got a Ric - a beautiful mapleglo 4003 (brand new) that I've been playing in "ric-o-sound"!

    I've got the bridge through a Fender TV 15 and the neck through a Fender TV 210 and I have to admit that it may be the coolest sound I've ever produced. I haven't quite figured out what the application on stage will be but it surely sounds amazing in my music room when the band comes over to cookout and jam a bit!!
  12. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I hear you on the blacked-out look. I have this one coming. US made Peavey Fury. All factory original, except for strings and upgraded pickups.

  13. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    Maybe you could "borrow" a StingRay from your local shop, too, before you commit to the P Dlx?

    I own both (a P and a SR5), but I'm speaking from the point of view of what I've heard as a spectator listening to other bassists play. It doesn't get any better in the mix than a good P (to my ear), but a good SR is just as good. I would DEFINITELY go with a StingRay before I'd go with an Active P.
  14. My AmDlx P in passive mode with the blend rolled all the way to the neck pup sounds just like, you guessed it, a P-Bass. I use rounds, and I think the the passive P-bass tone is very nearly identical to the pre 2012 AmStds. The only difference I can tell is that the passive output of the neck pup on my AmDlx maybe leans towards the low side of the average output on the AmStds I've played (with the preamp on, it's way hotter than the AmStds, obviously). Because of the output difference, it might seem a little less aggressive than its all-passive brethren if you are using rounds. If you are using flats, I doubt anybody would notice any tonal differences.
  15. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    I had an amer dlx p just like this. Big tones, lightweight. Sold it and bought a RIC
  16. Fenderon


    May 28, 2008
    Have you tried a American Standard P bass with S-1, just a thought.
  17. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    I have the S1 switch on a tele and a strat but not on a bass. Does anyone have any experience with that and what is the sound like?
  18. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    IME/IMO, the S-1 is very effective on Jazz basses, not so much on P Basses...

    - georgestrings
  19. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    I would love to "borrow" a Sting Ray but alas, we do not have a MM dealer within 100 miles! I believe I would love a Sting Ray and will probably take your advise and get one.

    My original thoughts on the American Deluxe were to be able to get the active AND the traditional P sound in one bass.......and I will find out tonight if that works!
  20. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    Very nice! I am literally neighbors with Hartley Peavey and us local folk get to try out his new stuff before the rest of the world does.

    Therefore I have lots of Peavey basses in the rack.

    Peavey may be the best value in the business.....

    I tried desperately to make his 215's work because the black widow speakers are pretty good and I can get them for cost but they were just too heavy for my old back!