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How Close is a P+J to a True J

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bgavin, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. I listened to the Sadowsky P+J on BassTasters and was quite impressed with the J tone as heard through my 12" 3-way monitors and 60w amp.

    Van, I assume those tests were done with both P+J fully active?

    Anybody have thoughts on how close the P+J gets to a Fender J+J tone? I have need for the two basic tones: regular P-bass, plus J+J jazz tone.
  2. pdusen


    Aug 18, 2004
    My P-J soundes very JJ to my ears. Sort of a beefy JJ. Thats with both pups all the way up, of course.
  3. Personally i think my MIA Fender hot-rod gets close..but still lacks the deepness of a J. It really needs that extra J Pup IMO.
    But i find my hot-rod has alot more punch than a J.

    Close, but no cigar.
  4. I don't think either tone is really replicated. Soloing the P pickup apparently won't give you a perfectly P only sound, since it is wired in parallel or something. And the P+J combo sounds like a P with added J growl, which isn't bad, but won't approximate a J. I think it's more of a compromise between P and J, but not either at the same time. If you want a straightforward P/J tone, get a P/J. A P+J will get you a P+J. Of course, this is in my experience and in my opinion. P+J's still do a pretty good job of approximating, but I don't think you can get a perfect replica, and if that's what you're looking for then you should pass on it.
  5. Is there a difference between P+J and P/J? Or just semantics?

    I'm thinking of a standard P pickup, with a standard J bridge pickup where each can be solo'ed, or combined with both full on.

    As long as the P is in the standard position and can be solo'ed from the J (switch, not pan-pot), there is no reason it won't sound exactly like a P-bass.
  6. P+J is the one P, one J pickup config that the thread's about. P/J means "P or J" - basically, "If you want a straightforward P or J tone, get a P or a J."
  7. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    my only bass is a fender p bass special, made in mexico, p body, jazz neck and PJ pups. like people have said it does a nice job of different sounds, i mostly have just the p on. that is because the j either by it self or with the p creates some mad hum. could just be me and my bass.
  8. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I've always favored a bridge pup so I'm not really a P kind of guy although I like a good P tone. So far, I've gotten better P tone out of some J sets (even MM's) than any P I've had - although I've had a lot more J's. I started out with a wall of PJ's: Barts, EMGs, Duncans, that come to mind. To me a PJ is a middle of the road thing. It's like a third alternative. I rarely ever play a PJ config anymore - though I did run a set of EMG PJ's recently and forgot about the seriously punchy P tone resulting from adding some J to the mix. But if I had to jetison the EMG J's or PJ's, the PJ's would go first.

    Personally, I'd go with a J set as an only bass. The reason being there have been more J pups made than all the rest combined. Your tonal options are unlimited for true J singles alone - not counting split coils, blades, stacked HB's, etc. made in J form.

    Regardless, a decent PJ setup is a very flexible and practical configuration and will work to about any musical style. It's all I played for over a year and I still keep an EMG and Bart PJ set.
  9. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    you are getting hum when both pickups are on because fender uses very inexpensive pickups on the mex P-Bass Special. Although not as bad as on the Indonesian P-bass special. The ondonesian p-special needs pups and pots replaced to be reasonably quiet. So changing your p-ups to something better like Seymour Duncans Or DiMarzios would improve things and make it sound more like an American P-Bass. I had one and did this and it sounded so much better But I changed out the pots on My MIM p-special when I did it. And you could also go with active p-ups and get even more p_punch and Jazz Growl. Lots of choices. Have fun
    live to play play to live.
  10. Luknfur,

    I have a P-bass, J-fretless, and G&L L1500, so I have the P, J, MM thing covered. For the record, the P is my main player.

    What I'm asking is will P+J give me close to a Fender J+J tone. I understand it isn't "true", but that listen I gave to BassTasters Sadowsky P+J was certainly close enough for my needs. I've invited Vanselus to contribute to this thread also.

    It would be a simple task for me, to route out my MIM-P and add a DiMarzio Model J or Nordstrand NJ4SE at the bridge. I have no experience with P+J, so that is why I'm asking the question.
  11. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    yep, different twist on the question but the answers still basically the same. In particular, I'd say a PJ tone is it's own tone that's not P or J. In general, it's close to a J tone - definetly closer than a P alone, especially if the P is just used to accent the J.

    To me there are so many variables involved that anything could sound like anything else with the right combination. In general, my experience is what I described, specifically, there will always be exceptions. If a P is your main bass, then I think you'd find a PJ would give some extended range and added flexibility. But I've gone through about 20 sets of J's (including 6 sets of Fenders) trying to get a Fender J tone to my liking in any one of 5 basses and have found one set so far I'm fairly satisfied with. So I've actually had better luck getting a good P tone from J sets. Bottom line is, you really don't know anything till you do it (although I'd speculate a Model J would not be a combo with a P to get a Fender J tone).
  12. half as close....well, atleast that's what I've experienced.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I've hotrodded a lot of P-basses to PJ. As mentioned, they sound reasonably close to JJ when both pickups are on. The main difference in tone is on the D and G strings: the P-pup split coil is closer to the bridge than the J neck pup would be, so the sound is slightly less full or more growly, depending on your taste. Some notice the difference most when popping those strings.

  14. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    To my ears, the Sadowsky P/J sounds a LOT like a regular P bass, but tighter and more full-range, which I attribute to the excellence of the Sadowsky pickups. Sounds exceptional in a gig setting, in fact, that's my MAIN gigging bass (singer/songwriter gigs). It's really nice to have the J pickup in there too, because you can tighten up the sound and add a bit of J flavor - and it gives a lot of flexibility for different tones. Compared to the Sadowsky J bass, the PJ is much warmer, with more midrange attack compared to the relative scoop of the J bass with more accentuated highs and lows.

    Can the PJ get you a true JJ sound? Hell no, it's not a JJ. Sadowsky puts the P in the correct spot, so the P sound is close to right-on. Of course, if you're one of those people that likes to solo the bridge J pickup, that's going to be close to correct as well.

    Only the end user is going to be able to say if the PJ will suit their needs in the J-sound department, but IMHO the Sadowsky PJ can get much closer to a JJ sound than the other PJ's I've tried.
  15. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Not close at all IMO.
  16. won't a J-P-J bass like Stu Hamm Urge, if wired with the correct pickups and options offer a J sound as well as a P sound. Of course, the only way to truly have both sounds is to have one bass of each type. But what about this as an alternative to two?
  17. not sure totally about the Urge II basses, but the Urge I basses have a J-P-J p'up arrangement and don't give you a accurate J tone nor a deep bassy P tone, the bass is too much of a compromise. Downsized body, short scale, kubicki preamp. The UrgeII basses at 34" scale is slightly more accurate sounding, but the one i tried out, while it had more sustain and sounded deeper than my UrgeI, too was a bit of a compromise soundwise, its sounded good, but not like having a straight up Pbass, thats were it lacked IMO
  18. What if one were to just take a P-Bass and throw a couple J-pups in her (or Visa Versa, take a jazz and throw in a P-pup)?
  19. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    It wouldn't sound exactly like either, since the E-A coil of the P, and the J-neck share territory, in order to place them in their proper positions.


    (position data courtesy bgavin!)
  20. The P and J-neck are indeed fundamentally different pickups. The pole piece and magnet design, aperture, etc, are quite different between the two.

    What got me thinking about all this, is listening to Bass Tasters' Sadowsky P+J recording. Van, I assume this was made with both pickups fully on?

    If so, this is close enough to give me that J similarity when needed. Agreed, only a J+J is truly going to sound like a J+J. I'm looking for owner experience, not theory, that tells me a P+J is fairly close. I heard this in the Sadowsky recordings.