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Fretless P, J-J, P-J, or Other?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Groover, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    Seems as if most Fretless basses (at least the ones that I've seen) have a J-J pickup configuration.

    What's your preference, and why?
  2. contrabassie


    Mar 11, 2003
    I'm also interested in this question so I've used this thread.
    Some explanation: I have a Fender JV precision bass (CIJ) and a mexican Fender P with darkstar pickup (and also a Ric 4001 '76, a jazz CIJ, a mustang CIJ and an Epiphone El Capitan).
    Because I do not use the JV p-bass at the moment (I use the Darkstar P), and because I want a fretless fender, I have two options: defret my JV Precision or sell my JV and buy a fretless. What should you do?
    Is a neck pickup (like Jazz Basses have) necessary for a good fretless sound?
  3. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I've done the defretting thing, and after all that work, I opted to get a fretless neck (unlined). The bass I defretted was a cheap gtx bass, not worth much to begin with.

    I've tried the neck (it's a 1970 or 1971 fender) on a Jazz Bass Special with P and J on a Basswood body, then on a an alder '96 Jazz with regular pick-up spacing and recently on a '73 ash body jazz with stock pups.

    So far, I've liked it the most on the Jazz Bass Special because of the P option and also because the J is the same as the 70's Jazz spacing (closer to the bridge). Basically, the best of both worlds for a fretless IMO.

    It also works great on the '73 body, but lacks that big rich P sound that I like.

    The one thing I didn't like about the Jazz Bass Special body was that it was too light, and it felt as if the neck made the bass. Good sound, bad feel - I sold that body.

    I like the Tony Franklin bass a lot, but lacks the 70's pup spacing for the bridge.
  4. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    The typical fretless sound you hear in your head, and on most recordings is likely to be a J/J, with the bridge pup solo'd. Therefore, a J/J is likely what you want...here's mine:
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I have a fretless P with rounds and a fretless J/J strung with flats. Between the two, there's pretty much no sound I can't get.

    The fretless P is an interesting instrument, not what you're used to hearing, but a beautiful sound nonetheless.
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I don't have a strong preference, but my fretless is a Precision. The J/J configuration seems more popular these days in general, but even more so for fretless, probably because the bridge pickup accentuates the "mwah" and certain harmonics some find desirable for fretless playing. I think my fretless P is fantastic though, and gives me plenty of mwah.
  7. jimbilly


    Apr 19, 2006
    I like the warmth and growl of the p and bridge pickup for fretless. I've got a '79 fretless P neck, I've had it on my '78 P and it's currently on my MIJ P-Special, I much prefer the p-special as a fretless.
  8. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    My fretless is a PJ strung with flats. My preferred sound is the bridge J pickup, but both pickups full on gives me a great slap tone (yes, I slap on the fretless with flats, all the time).
  9. rafunk


    Sep 18, 2005
    Valencia, Spain
    I had a Warmoth J-J, wich I saled when a buy my Sterling fretless (you see: a new possibility: MM pickup :smug: ).

    But i heard a P fretless and it sounded huge! and, also, plenty of "mwah".

    Because I rarely used de neck J pup in my J-J, now I'm looking for a PJ combination. I think it will be the fretless sound I like. I'm very happy with the sterling, even it have piezo, but I want a more rounded sound, less attack. And the P pup I hope will bring this.
  10. its because everyone wants ta be like jaco :p
  11. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    I'm thinking about a P/J fretless. I had a Jazz (copy) before but it's so done and it's all mid. I've got a P pup in an acoustic and it sounds great, more acoustic than the piezo which sucked, almost upright and very versatile.
  12. contrabassie


    Mar 11, 2003
    Thanks for all that answers. I think I'll look for a PJ fretless, but I'll try to play one first.