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fender p-bass differences?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lil'bass, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. ok....so ive tried a few p-basses out....they seem very different to each other.....can anyone help me with any kind of information regarding their differences? Obviously i know that every bass is different to a certain degree....but i mean the differences from model to model or even year to year if that makes any difference. Im looking for a meaty rich sound but with the presence the fenders provide oh so well. Thanks x
  2. scuba steve

    scuba steve

    Dec 28, 2005
    Hillsboro, Tx
    well, different woods sound diferent. fenders use mainley alder and ash(alder being a bit more common since it's used for most solid colors). pickup quality- american fender pickups are generally of better quality, have more output, and better dynamic range. blah blah blah. which basses did you play?
  3. i played a japanese one...didnt really like it......and a mexican re issue that was worse....so is an american one the best place to start?
  4. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Older P-basses cost a lot more because (among other things) they used a different kind of finish (nitro) that aged differently and tends to give the notes a really rich and open 'bloom' when plucked. The downside is that relatively few vintage Fenders survive with their necks decent shape.

    Newer USA Fenders with nitrocellulose lacquers (USA vintage series) will have some of this tonal difference. These basses are especially hip for funk and R&B.

    The choice of body and neck woods also matters. A 'dark sounding' P bass will have a rosewood fingerboard and alder body. A 'snappy' P bass will have a maple neck and ash body. This is a rule.

    The standard USA basses are a little more 'modern' in their construct--for both better and worse. Their necks are stabilized with graphite and they have hard poly finishes.

    For about the same price, you can get a Lakland Skyline Bob Glaub, which I and a number of others think are a viable alternative to the standard US models.

    What kind of sound are you looking for?
  5. shnapper


    May 1, 2005
    Which P-bass model is japanese made? I know my Marcus Miller 4 is a great Asian made piece.

    Anywhooo, I have a Mexican P-bass that I've modified using american vintage pickups, a BA2 bridge and finally I mounted a black pickguard with black screws to give it the stealth look.

    I have fiddled with the truss rod, nut and pickup height to make what I feel is a very playable great sounding bass. It's a natural ash body something I guess fender does in limited numbers for G.C.

    Obviously the difference between mine and an American would be craftsmanship(subjective), quality of wood and as already metioned pickup and bridge quality.

    Side by side I think for the money I would choose mine since it was half the price as an american, but with my mods just as good or better since I prefer the badass 2 bridge over the American bridge. I do believe the only option my mexican will never have that the american p-bass offers is the string through body.

    The only thing left I could do is change out the tuners to a better quality, but I would still be way under the cost of the U.S. version.

    So far I'm in it for $500.00 total with all my mods. I think with recent price increases the American P can be had for what about $900 to $1000? Mind you I did all the mods myself so if no labor cost, your milage may vary depending on your skills.

    I think you should get what you like but also consider if you find something that plays well cheaper and can be easily moded to sound as good as something much more expensive you should save yourself the cash and make it a do-it-yourself project.

    My long 2 schillings worth........:D

    Attached Files:

  6. scuba steve

    scuba steve

    Dec 28, 2005
    Hillsboro, Tx
    im about to get a fender american p-bass finished in black with a rosewood frettboard and put a tort pickguard on it(pure emo!!!). i love the feel of rosewood, and it will help with ataining my favorite p bass tone. im getting the american because i want a quality bass that i know i can count on for a very long time. also, the newer american basses from fender have some great features like reinforced necks, and the s-1 switch. japanese fenders are great, and some argue that there just as good as the americans. i finally played a geddy lee jazz the other day(i know, i know...) and they are made in japan and i was very impressed with the quality. did you play the Mike Dirnt p bass, or the sting signature bass, because, correct me if im wrong, but i think they are the only two MIJ p basses found easily in most music stores.
  7. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Dr. Phunkypants presents a very good summary, but I'll add that the American Vintage ('57 and '62) basses, which have the thin nitrocellulose finish, also have the original wide 1.75" nut width (44.5 mm) and narrow vintage fretwire. They'll get you closest to the real vintage tone.

    The American Series and Standard (MIM) have the 1.625" width (41.3 mm), which many find easier to play. They also have larger frets, which some prefer.

    I think the American Series basses are vastly superior to the MIM Standard series. The construction is more solid, the hardware is higher grade, and the U.S. pickup provides much greater clarity IMO. And maple fretboards are available. If you can afford one, I think it's worth it. But the MIM models are still quite good, and deliver a heavy, deep thump that's appropriate for a P-bass.

    Some MIM models in the "Classic" and "Deluxe" series are even better, such as the Classic '50's, which is essentially an MIM version of the American Vintage '57. I played one and liked it very much.

    For more detail on the specs, go to Fender's site, www.fender.com.