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In Your Words...P vs. J ??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rydin4lifebass, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. For those of you that own/play both, describe what you fell are the differences and pros/cons to each. I've read a lot of the posts and just want to hear "fresh" opinions. I own a pbass and two active Ibanez basses (one standard tuning, one BEAD) and I'm contemplating adding a jazz bass as well. I played a Squier Jazz the other day and really liked it (love the thin neck) but I'm not sure if I'm gonna pull the trigger on it just yet. It's obviously a different feel/sound than a precision but I'm not sure how to put it into words. Owning another bass isn't a necessity, but what benefits will I get out of it and how will it sit in a mix different than a precision? I play anything from 90's alternative to classic country up to hard rock and everything in between.
  2. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    P gives you the 'boom'.

    J gives you the 'bark'.
  3. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    ...that's pretty good.
  4. Why choose? PJ basses. :D
  5. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    Or what I do.... One of each.:hyper:
  6. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    To me there is no difference in sound. If you solo the neck pickup on a J it won't sound exactly like your P, but that's because it's a different pickup (different brand, specs, etc...)

    So with a P, you get a fatter neck and less tonal variation (one pickup instead of two.) With a J, you get a thinner neck and an extra pickup, aaand you can get that P sound if you want to.

    For me the only drawback of the J is that the body is a bit larger, and I dislike large bodies.
  7. I suppose the boom/bark comparison is what I was trying to get at. My pbass definitely has the boom but some songs/genres just seem to want more bark/growl, not that I want a "hollow" sound mind you, just something different. Would there be some genres you'd say fit one or the other better?...or something you would say "that song/genre needs a jazz bass" or "needs a precision" ?

    Side note: What bass is the bassist using here? --Fender Jazz I take it...
  8. LutherHeggs00

    LutherHeggs00 Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    P = presence
    J = ping!
  9. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    If you solo the neck pickup on a jazz, and have the correct pickup for boom, you'll get your boom. It doesn't have to be a P Bass.
  10. Skygoneblue


    Nov 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    P - Belch
    J - Burp
  11. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    When I got back to playing a little over 10 years ago I went to the jazz bass since it looked better than a plain old P bass. I owned about 5 jazzes back then all Fenders from Squier, MIM to MIA and even a 5 banger...they were great and had good punch.

    But there was this bass tone I would hear on old records. There was a sound I chased in my head that the Jazz never gave me so I tried a P bass. Alone without a band soloed they sound blah... but once I got in the band it filled out the sound and bottom much more than the jazzes ever could.
    Once I added flats to the P basses I was really sold...so were the jazzes to fund P basses and they are all I play today.
  12. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Per a video I saw online somewhere, and it seems to fit:

    Jazz bass, hits like a karate chop, quick and focussed.
    P bass, hits loke a slap in the face, not as quick but meatier.

    I've always bought PJs out of a fear of being too limited with a single P, then I spend 95% of the time playing only through the P pickup anyhow.
  13. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    The first 2 basses I owned were P basses and after switching to others I never missed anything from my Ps. Right now I'm playing a PJ and using the P exclusively because the J is defective. Still, I wouldn't care if I had to use a single J in the neck position. I don't hear any magic from a P pickup over a J in the same position.
  14. JCheung


    Jan 25, 2013
    Herndon, VA
    From my perspective a neck pickup soloed on a jazz is not like a precision. The jazz bass has what I would call a burping sounds the is perfectly capable of bringing out lows but naturally does better in the mid and treble side. Playing by myself works well, though I would take a stingray over a jazz personally. The precision is often considered the bass sound that is in people's head and for good reason. P basses are very widely used in many many bands and by many artists. The precision has what I would call a bite and growl when the tone is up and when pulled back has a strong low growl. Because of the inherent simplicity of a precision, more of the tonal variations may come from playing style and technique. The precision also, as mentioned, does much better in a band situation, seeming to find its own way into a niche pocket that rounds out a band's sound.
  15. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I disagree. There differences between a soloed J at the neck and a P but that has to do with the specifics of the pickup's design (split coil vs. single coil, etc...) not because a P inherently sounds different than a J. If you design the 2 to the same specs they'll sound the same.
  16. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Simple - IME, P/J's don't do the P or J thing as well as the "real thing" - I've owned a few P/J's, and other than the active ones, I feel I'm better off with either a P or a J Bass...

    - georgestrings
  17. Well, IME there's more to it than that. The neck p/u of a Jazz doesn't sound like a Precision. While it may appear that I'm putting words in your mouth, I don't think so because from what I'm reading it seems you are implying that a Jazz can give you the Precision tone.

    You also have to adjust your EQ settings to roll off a great deal of treble. By itself and without EQ modification, I don't hear the Jazz replicating the Precision tone. Does it give you enough of that warm boominess to play the song the right way? I think it's close enough to get you by in a live situation (but not on a recording). IME, it's even close enough that if you roll all the treb out and use your palm muting at the bridge, you can even get close to pulling off the pseudo-upright tone that you can fake on a Precision.

    The claim that a Jazz neck p/u gives you the boom of the Precision tone simply doesn't fly with me. I think my hearing is pretty good and I don't hear it that way. You have to do quite a bit of touch up to the sound.

    FWIW, I think all things being equal, the Jazz can give a bit more punch than the Precision. But all things being equal, the Precision sounds warmer and has more boom than the Jazz to my ears.
  18. JCheung


    Jan 25, 2013
    Herndon, VA
    I never intended it to sounds like I was saying it was that simple between the neck pickup of a jazz and a precision's single coil. I was simply stating that you do not get the precision sound by soloing the neck pickup of a jazz. Sorry for the confusion.

    BTW here is a video I think someone was alluding to earlier
  19. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    All Jazz pickups don't sound exactly alike. Neither do all Ps. I'd like to hear from a pickup maker on whether he can make a P and a J that would sound identical in the neck position, or if there is something that one just can't do while the other one can.
  20. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    Of course, although Jazz basses generally do not have P-like pickups, and the D/G side isn't in the same position. These are the main differences between the two, and IMO, standard P pickups do not sound like a Jazz neck pickup. It's got a lot more meat and presence, Js still sound thin by comparison.

    The different neck sizes also make a noticeable difference in tone, the thin Jazz neck accentuates the upper mids more.

    P with Jazz neck: http://www.lakland.com/ac_dunn.htm

    Normal P: http://www.lakland.com/ac_glaub.htm