Hallow Precision Tone

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jd_watt, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Hi all,

    So, I've done some research (and experimentation), and I was wondering if anyone had any insight: what is it the gives the Precision bass it's hallow sound when the tone control is fully open? I'm assuming it's the pickup and it's placement on the body, but I'm not sure. Would some amount of eq fill it out? I like the P, but sometimes the hollowness of the notes irritates me. What'cha think?
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Pickup position. Now there's the difference between you and me. You say you like the P, but the hollowness of the notes irritates you. I say the hollowness of the notes irritates me, so I don't like the P. Anyway, roll the tone back and boost the bass on your amp to get less of that dreadful sound.
  3. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Haha... that's funny. Yeah, it's the only thing that bugs me from time to time. I like to have some high end and bite in the tone, but there hollow thing does bother me (especially higher up the neck). I wonder if there's a hole in the eq spectrum that could be filled out?
  4. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I really like the hollow/round sound of the P-Bass, which is from the pickup placement. I also like the sound of other basses too. It depends on what you are going for, but I find a P-Bass really sits well in a mix, especially for rock.

    I find that for most basses, you can EQ the character out of the bass sound and just have a generic bass tone. But, you won't get a P-Bass to sound like a Jazz bass or have a modern sound if that is what you are looking for.
  5. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I love Precision basses. All I've played for the last 15 years. I still hate the sound of the tone all the way up in most situations and actually feel I can cut through most mixes better by rolling the tone completely off for that mid-hump that just isn't there rolled up. Many players overuse the tone knob on their Precisions (and other basses) anyway, IMO. I can't really think of anything more obnoxious than someone cranking the tone like Geddy Lee while playing some Otis Redding or Motown live. Makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I wish people would just lay off the tone knob once in a while and understand the big, versatile piece of equipment behind them called an AMPLIFIER.
  6. I use a toggle switch to quickly bypass the tone. One position on the toggle is tone full off and the other is tone full on. I set the amp so that both positions are useful. This also helps me eq out the hollow sound.
  7. I like the full range of Precision tones. Basically the more rocky the song the fuller the tone setting. If we're going mellow I turn the tone down.

    It has great versatility, least it does on my pre-CBS P!

  8. For many P-players the hollow tone is hallowed.
  9. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    That, and the split coil design. Only way to get rid of that is tossing in a different pickup design altogether. A JJ with P body would actually be pretty cool, I think.

    (And I guess I'm alone in liking Ps with tone wide open? All the way down sounds just like mush to me...)
  10. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Naw, I almost always use my P pickup wide open. I love that midrange bark and grind.
  11. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    The hallow[ed] P sound comes from several factors: it was the first viable electric bass, so that is the sound most people expect; it came directly from Uncle Leo, so it is automatically special; the pup location is perfect; but mostly, the hallow sound is because the P is the voice of God.

    Now, if you meant hollow, then I would have to disagree with you. The J is much more hollow, very scooped. The P brings out the characteristics of the strings and wood very well, the P is a very mid-rangey sound. Wide open, you get upper mids, and as you roll off the tone, the frequency of the mid-range bump lowers, but it is always mid-forward.

    Absolutely! Good catch on the grammar, too.

    I'm with you. I'll roll mine down to about 25%, but no lower.

    As do I.
  12. Some P pickups are under wound, resulting in a scooped sound. There's quite a range. You might try a different pickup.
  13. I do as well,WFO on the tone pot.If I'm playing a reggae tune it gets turned down,otherwise,let it do it's thing!:D
  14. Hallowed by thy P.
  15. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Strings are a good point. After a change, it might be a difference of night and day. I recently changed from TIs to La Bella DTF for recording purposes, and the difference between two flats could not be greater. The former have a heavy midrange, and the latter the 'hollow' sound I imagine a classic P to have, with stromg bottom and some on top, with a slight scoop in the upper mids. The TIs are more 'mid-complex'.

    Slap some steel rounds on it and it's another world altogether. Now you have gnarl for days... It's fascinating how versatile a P can be, now that I think about it. Play around some with strings and you're bound to find something that sounds good to even the harshest critic.
  16. My experience of owning a '76 P and a '64 P is that the '64 P has a much more useable tone pot range. I play the '76 P fully open but only seem to explore the tone pot on my '64 P. One's ash/maple, the others's alder/rosewood and I believe they both have stock pickups; are they different? Anyway, I can't explain it - that's my experience and how I react to the two basses.

  17. I think the OP means that tone full on tone that sounds somewhat like a beefy fart into a tin can. I also describe that as hollow sounding.
  18. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Most amps have enough EQ to adjust your tone.
    Go with that.
  19. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Oh Man... haha Good catch to all on the grammar thing lol That had me cracking up this morning. Oh thy hallowed P...

    Also good call on reducing the tone pot 25% and cranking the treble on the amp or on a VT pedal etc...

    I found that it was really the brittle top end over the HOLLOW sound that was grating on me. I think this is a major step in the right direction.
  20. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    You are not alone at all, I prefer the tone knob dimed with a set of stainless strings.
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