How would you describe the difference between P and J?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HalfPlayer, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. HalfPlayer


    Jun 9, 2013
    What are the overall sound differences between P pickups and J pickups?
  2. Hum ;)
  3. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Splitcoils in a Precision offer a serial approach and an accentuated midrange.

    Singlecoils in a Jazz deliver the authentic parallel approach and, yes, hum

  4. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Many men (and it is always men) like to decide upon a particular way of doing things. Often they decide quite early in life, they stick to those decisions like it's important, and they proceed to tell everybody about it, all the time.

    Precision and Jazz basses represent a great opportunity for these people to be as tiresome as possible.
  5. IPA

    IPA Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    A P sounds like a log rolling down a hill, a J sounds like a basketball bouncing
  6. Pokerdweebz


    Oct 26, 2012
    Lancaster, PA
    That is an amazing description. I was going to say a P thumps and a J growls.
  7. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    This is pretty funny....and probably true.

    The truth is you can do an awful lot with's hard to generalize the different tones because they just doesn't lend themselves well to verbal description.

    Probably the best thing to do is listen to recordings of different players with their respective instruments and make your own conclusions.

    For example: Duck Dunn, Jamerson and Steve Harris-P-bass

    Jaco, Marcus Miller and John Paul Jones-J-bass

    ....While there are simularities and differences it's just not as productive to try to talk, explain and debate this as it is to actually sit down and listen to it.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm going with Pokerdweebz for best really short description of it. (P thumps and J growls)

    However, that is way oversimplified. The best news HalfPlayer is that this subject has been covered so many times here that you can't possibly read all of the threads covering it. Up at the top of this page are two blue lines. The second one down has a search feature. Do a search on it and read until your eyes get crossed. The amount of info you will find will blow your mind.

  9. NightTripper


    Oct 20, 2011
    A P is like "BOOM!" and a J is like "Burp!"

  10. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    That's good!

    I say a P "Grinds" and a J "Growls."
  11. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Both P's and J's can get many sounds, especially the J setup. Note, we are talking about the instrument here, and not just the pickups. The placement and control settings matter a lot.

    Most people play J's with both pickups up all the way. That gives a punchy, bright, and mid-scooped sound, aggressive in the highs, with lots of very deep lows. P's tend to have lots of high and low mids, and less extreme lows (yes, really) and highs than a Jazz. But the overall perception is that a P has more low end, because of those thick low mids.

    The Jazz can sound more defined on the low notes, especially if you favor the bridge pickup. It can also have a tendency to sound thin on the high notes. The P will usually sound full and fat on the highs, sometimes maybe too thick or undefined on the low notes, especially with a low B.
  12. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Don't know about the low B on a P bass (never played one) but I pretty much agree with everything you said here. I own both and have made numerous comparisons. They're still great sounding basses in thier own right which is why they've survived for so long.
  13. Lean a Jazz against the wall, it falls over. A Precision won't.
  14. P = thick and warm and sits right in the mix to be felt.
    J = deep and focused and cuts through the mix to be heard.
  15. IPA

    IPA Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    I am very much a 'leaner'-- against the desk, against the wall etc. and this bothers me way more than it should. Maybe one of the reasons I keep going back to the P?
  16. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011

  17. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    +1 the best description I have ever heard (read).

  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Ps are more precise. Js are jazzier.
  19. Best answer ever.
  20. A Precision Bass is humble stands in the back of the mix. It's tonally limited but universal.
    A Jazz Bass shows off and stands in the front of the mix. It is tonally versatile and universal (which is why I prefer it over the P-Bass, but that's just my taste).