Help needed picking out a p bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by countrybass, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Am I nuts?
    Long time j bass guy, with GAS (and budget 1,000-2,000) for solid P-bass.
    I’ve always gotten basses based on playability, not looks.
    I’m in the don’t give too hoots about vintage/ road worn biases.
    But now I really want a bass based on looks. What the hell?

    So I want black with tortoise shell pick guard,and a darker neck/fingerboard.
    I’ve been reading thru the posts here, and am confused. Advice appreciated.

    I’ve just started looking. Tried a roadworn jazz at a shop and really liked it.
    Looks like they are not offered in black.Not worth refinishing either.

    Guess it doesn’t have to be a Fender, or new for that matter.

    So are my best options the “professional “ line from Fender.
    Perhaps the other builders mentioned on Talkbass? (Nash guitars looked nice)
    Is there a comparable p bass to the roadworn line that comes in black?

    Or should I quit being a whiny little bitch, try some local P basses,
    and buy the one I like best and to hell with the looks?

    Am I nuts?

    (oh by the way, I really want the thumbrest on the E stringside,
    a hip shot on the E string, and light weight)

    Thanks !!!
  2. Eon Sky

    Eon Sky Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    I'd personally say that you should try some local ones out. It's not like you're going to be struggling to find a few of various brands and vintages. And honestly, I'd go for the black one you like best regardless of pickguard color (since that can always be changed after the fact). Especially if you find a black/rosewood Fender P. You could probably easily score one of those and get a replacement pickguard for well within your budget.

    As far as specific suggestions? I picked up a pristine used 2012 Fender MIA Precision for $600 by being patient and trying stuff out. The deals are out there.
    LUCE, garp and shoot-r like this.
  3. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    Play every P you can find, close your eyes and DON'T worry about the color/finish/brand on the bass.

    Go with the one that sounds "best to YOUR ears" and "feels the best to YOUR hands".
    (From your post above you already know this....)

    I'd also suggest standing and playing, find the weight of bass that "feels best to your back."
    (Some P's can be very heavy after a 4 hour gig!)

    Since your a long-time player of Jazz basses and their thinner necks you might try to borrow/rent a P for a gig or two just to see if your hands REALLY want to go to the wider, thicker neck of a P.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Viggo51, JRA and garp like this.
  4. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    You don't have to spend anywhere near that much to get a solid P. When I was in the hunt several years ago, I played everything I could get my hands on, and ended up with an MIM '50s Classic P.

    The beauty of Leo's platform is interchangeability of parts. If you can't find exactly what you're looking for, it's easy enough to build it yourself.
    bassrique, Dabndug, JRA and 1 other person like this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    come again...what was your question?
    why yes, yes you are! :laugh:

    if you absolutely insist on buying an ax --- strictly based on looks: you are disinvited from the party i'm going to have for all TB members...maybe in august. :laugh:

    if looks matter: take a chance on an online purchase (more options for 'looks') from a seller who accepts returns and get exactly the look you want.
    good luck finding the right P-bass! :thumbsup:
  6. Thanks all!!
    Yea, I’m going P-bass shopping tomorrow !
    The looks thing has me by the brain.
    You should see what my regular gig bass is.
    (Beat to poopie old jazz bass)

    So is there a ton of difference between lines
    of Fenders?
    I checked out the web page last night.
    Is it gonna be night and day between, say,
    a 800-900$ one and a 1500-1700$ one?
    I guess I figure night and day between a Squire
    and a Custom shop one.

    Looked like some nice ones here on the Marketplace!
    Have you guys ever bought one sight unseen ?
  7. Ps.
    How do I tell if it’s a made in America/Mexico/ Japan/ wherever ?
    I like to support American builders but does it really make a quality difference ?
  8. Plenty of options for a split coil "P" with a 1.5" nut. You just need to accept that it either won't be a Fender or will have an extra pickup.
  9. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    sounds like you jumped off your preference pedestal pretty quick, that makes suggestions far easier, and will say a dirt cheap '80s era Ibanez P or PJ could be the Fender killer you may never had considered. here's what my RB-620 looks like, the complete opposite of your desired object.
    ajkula66 and gidbass like this.
  10. Thanks for the advice.
    So AHaze, I'm confused. So you are saying there are other P-bass style basses, but made by
    other companies, not Fender, that I should consider?
    And I should consider them because they have a skinny neck like a Jazz bass?
    What other options?
    I haven't gigged with a P bass, but I can't imagine it would be that much bigger.
    But I hear where you are coming from.
    I also play string bass and the neck size between my 2 basses are quite noticeable!!!

    BassV, nice bass. Just gigged, where an audience member had his Ibanez tattooed on his arm.
    I'm still on the what the bass looks like kick, but may revert to my old ways(DONT CARE WHAT IT

    As evidenced by my regular bass picture. Kinda beat an worn. IMG_0457.JPG IMG_0458.JPG IMG_0459.JPG IMG_0460.JPG IMG_0461.JPG
    Bass V likes this.
  11. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    G&L LB100.
    P bass perfection.
    The Fender Midnight Japanese P bass is another option. Just add a tort pickguard.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    oldskoolskatedad and REV like this.
  12. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
    Desert, Colorado
    /\ this

    If I were buying a P, I'd definitely try the L100
    Clutchcargo, REV and jd56hawk like this.
  13. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Let's consider what we're dealing with here...

    - You're a longtime Jazz guy.
    - You've got GAS for a P.
    - You gonna lean on looks with this one, with some particular ideas of what you want.
    - You're open to going with a non-Fender.
    - Your budget is between $1K and $2K.

    Run those through the ol' TalkBass 5000 and it's telling me you should splurge for a custom-build. You'll spec every detail out exactly the way you want... not sacrifice a thing... get excellent components... and end up with a one-of-a-kind P that will sound great, look killer and last you the rest of your days.

    Maybe go for a Jazz width on the neck? Put that thumbrest wherever you want. A nitro finish perhaps? Choose whatever bridge, pickups, nut, knobs, tuners, face dots, side dots you want.

    Done... deal. :cool:

  14. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    That's pretty cool... I really dig what Ibanez was doing back in the early and mid-80s.

    Bass V likes this.
  15. BassDaddy77


    Feb 12, 2010
    NE Ohio
    As others have eluded to: Your bass awaits you via the G&L custom order option. LB-100 bass in black, tort guard, good ol' #8 neck (1.5" Jazz width) with rosewood board. Voila! The LB-100 is definitely on my GAS list, and this isn't helping. :woot:
  16. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    they were killing it for kids getting started on a budget and most of their vintage product still excels today
  17. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Why not just buy a used black Precision with rosewood board? The 2008-2012 run was nice. You can easily find them in your price range. Check out Guitar Center online used instruments, you can have it shipped to your local store and try before you buy.
  18. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    If you want a narrow neck like the jazz neck you're used to, try an American Special.
  19. LUCE


    Jan 9, 2015
    Denver, CO
    I found a Butterscotch Blonde 2007 USA P for $600. Not pristine, but a fantastic playing and sounding bass that has become my #1 - over basses that cost me 5x more.
    Eon Sky likes this.
  20. Budget between $1-2k. Save a couple hundred more and buy yourself a used custom shop precision. They’re AMAZING.