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Fender P-Bass vs. Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dontpoll, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. dontpoll


    Jun 22, 2006
    I know the basic differences, mainly the P-Bass has the split pickup, and the Jazz bass has those funky looking J pickups.

    I own a P-Bass. Is a Jazz Bass "better", or is it just a preference thing? Are there certain styles that are better to play with one vs. the other? The Jazz bass seems to be more versatile in selecting the tone you want, but maybe I'm wrong..
  2. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Do. A. Search.

    Preference, tone. Jazz is more versitile
  3. If you search the forum I'm sure you can find an answer to your questions, this topic has been beaten to death here :p
  4. People like to debate this all day long, but to me it is a simple matter. The Jazz has a slightly thinner neck which some people prefer. Other than that it is essentially the same bass with the exception that the Jazz has two pups instead of one, which does offer more tone options. There is very little difference between the Jazz neck pup and the P pup. Slightly different body styles and that is it. Make your pick. I go for the Jazz ONLY because I believe two pups are better than one.
  5. what determines what bass is better then another one, is different to every person.

    there will be people who prefer P's and others that prefer J's
    The jazz bass also has a thinner neck.

    I own a jazz, and a Precision fretless. both are great and suit many styles.

    both are versatile instruments.

    I'm the kinda person who will one day prefer the jazz sound and the next day prefer the P sound.

    Really is up to you what you think is better. so go down to your local shop and play a jazz and see for yaself.
  6. NOTE: This is probably the single most asked question on Talkbass.com and normally, you will get screamed at to "Use the search feature" as this topic has been beaten to death many, many times. Because however, I just went through this decision-making process, I am personally in the mood to talk about it so for now, at least, you have avoided an embarassing beat-down for posting this question.

    First of all:

    Neither is better -- it's a personal preference thing. Both have classic styling, both have excellent tone(s), and collectively, these two basses are the best selling in the history of the bass. It depends on the sound that you want/need and the feel you prefer.

    Top-line overview:

    Precision Bass
    * One split-coil pickup
    * Thicker neck
    * Simple shape that some find "plain" but others find "classic."
    * Rounder/fatter tone
    * Fewer available tones due to the single pickup BUT many will argue that those tones cover most any music you'd like to play. They will also argue that with a few exceptions, the P-Bass is simply "at home" in any musical situation.
    * Subjectively, many feel like the P-Bass sound is what "BASS" sounds like to most people.
    * In an entire playing career, most bassists will own (or at least try) one of these.

    Jazz Bass
    * Two single coil pickups
    * Slimmer neck -- some find it more comfortable to play
    * Offset contour body that some find extremely appealing and "Sexy."
    * Thinner/edgier tone and many feel that this tone is superior because that "edge" allows it to cut through the musical mix.
    * This bass is the better of the two for slapping/popping.
    * Subjectively, many people feel like the J-Bass sound is essential for certain genres of music.
    * In an entire playing career, most bassists will own (or at least try) one of these.

    Bottom line Conclusion:

    None of the above statements is absolute. These days, you can find a Jazz Bass with P pickups and a Precision bass with J pickups. You can find a P bass with a J neck and due to onboard electronics, each bass can closely mimic the tone of the other.

    Try 'em both and see which one you like. If you can't decide between them, there's good news: In today's market, there are versions of each that can be had cheaply enough that most bassists can afford to have one of each. :bassist:
  7. Some people would disagree. :bag:
  8. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    get a stu hamm "urge" bass!!


    In my opinion, I like the jazz shape more, i would like to have a jazz with a P pickup at the neck position though
  9. Reggie Hamilton sig.
  10. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I would agree, except that the current search function sucks hugely! I used to be able to put in "jazz vs precision" which would give me all of the threads about that. Now it tells me that "jazz" is too small a word, or there are too many threads and tells me to use the google search. I use the google search and I get nothing like I was looking for.

    If the new search functions were designed to alleviate the problem of people posting the same thread over and over, it's a collossal failure. JMHO
  11. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Inactive

    Oct 18, 2006
    fender aerodyne jazz, best of both worlds. 1 P bass pickup & 1 jazz pickup, plus jazz body with jazz neck. Or a jazz special (if you can find one) 1 p bass pickup with 1 jazz pickup and p bass body with jazz neck.
  12. Basso54


    Jul 22, 2003
    Dalhart, TX
    it's all really a matter of preference. I'd go with either. I know some people say that you get the best of both worlds with a bass that has a P and J pickup, but i think that's inaccurate. The P-bass sound is unique and so is the J-bass sound. You should play with both and figure out which sound you like more. Initially in my career, i played a '78 American P-bass that was a loaner. I was SOLD on the p-bass sound from the get-go. I had never played a Jazz bass for more than a few moments at music stores. Years later, long after the p-bass went bye-bye, (out of my control, guy backed out on a sale which sucked greatly for me) I picked up a friends Jazz bass and asked if i could borrow it to get an idea of what kind of sound i could turn out of that puppy, I was a Jazz bass convert. I own a Fender Geddy Lee signature model and love it. I would try both and see what suits you best.
  13. mcdisease


    Feb 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I think they are completely different sounding basses. When I hear a P and like the sound it's usually sounds like a growly piano. The J sound I like is like the '62's. That whole huge wood sound with that punch sound.

    Usually when I try to figure out what tone I'm looking to have I listen to other bands and figure out what instruments they're playing.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ah, the old P vs J thread resurrected. Let me make it simple...there are people who love P's and there are people who love J's and there are people who love both. None of them are hurting for good tone, and there isn't a band in the world who would throw someone out because they showed up with either one.
  15. Earwigger

    Earwigger I'm a Roland man now.

    Aug 23, 2005
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Yeah, the Aerodyne P/J bass is a really nice instrument. I almost bought one yesterday. Just roll off the bridge and you have a P-bass, or add the bridge and you've got a really great and aggressive sounding bass.
  16. the one thing the Jazz does have over the P is it's slap tone IMO
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I disagree totally, Son Of. I love the slap tone of my Precision. It's fat and aggressive, whereas the Jazz is a little more slick and refined.
  18. BassFred


    Feb 20, 2007
    hi Bassmates

    interesting contributions,
    Does anyone have opinions on a US precision deluxe ?
    It has some kind of P/J configuration which would sound like compromise in the debate?
    I like maple fretboards for sure, like on this one.
  19. Or an Aerodyne Jazz / Precision Bass where the dilemma seems to grow further.
  20. I firmly believe that a body should have one of each.

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