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Is a '51 Precision/Telecaster bass what I'm looking for?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thibby, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Thibby

    Thibby Supporting Member

    May 2, 2015
    New Orleans
    Hey y'all, I apologize as I've made a few threads regarding '51/tele basses before, but I'd like some advice. My three-piece blues/rock jam band recently expanded, adding another guitarist and a pianist. While I used my basses interchangeably before, I think I'm going to be looking for a new tone with the new iteration of the group. I'm basically looking for more of a woody, vintage tone that's a bit more thumpy and has more attack than my current P-bass; while I sit in the mix well with it, I find that I want to fill up the low-end a bit more and punch through. I tend to find that I cut through the mix well with the jazz basses, but the low-end is a little lacking.

    My only issue is that I have nowhere to try out this type of bass. I've listened to multiple sound files online and they sound in the ballpark of what I'm looking for, but I'm open to suggestions of other basses. The two tele-type basses I'm looking at right now are the Harley Benton PB-50 and the Squier Classic Vibe 50's Precision Bass. I'm planning on putting some Labella Jamerson flats on any bass I get.
    Wisebass, TN WOODMAN and kodiakblair like this.
  2. @Thibby

    Either of those 2 will do the trick :) Single coil P-bass with flats is the way to go,it's not a cliche. Adding a foam mute or use a pick with palm muting will give you that extra punch :thumbsup:

    51 P-bass has been my thing for a few years now. I did consider the Squier CV but I've had way too good an experience using the Harley Benton 50 to justify the cost. That said,if I spotted a pine bodied Squier here in Scotland for £200 I'd buy it in a heartbeat :D

    Here's my PB-50s along with a couple of variations to my Squier Telebass bitsa.
    P-basses. IMAG0914.JPG

    I appreciate you can't play either before buying but Thomann give 14 days "make your mind up" time :thumbsup: If you don't like it and return it they won't refund the $30 shipping fee. That's just if you change your mind, for flauts/flaws/ they pay the return shipping. Their 3 year warranty is valid for US customers too.

    You may have guessed I'm a big advocate of the PB-50 so feel free to shoot any questions you think I can help with my way :thumbsup:
    subdude67, TN WOODMAN and Thibby like this.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    the 51 typically sounds to me like a barking dog. You can tame it down if needed with tone adjustment, flats and mute but even with a muzzle, and a leash a wild dog remains tacky.
    It fits fine for the needs of most rock ensembles as long as they don't expect to sound mellow.
    Thibby likes this.
  4. Thibby

    Thibby Supporting Member

    May 2, 2015
    New Orleans
    Thank you so much for your input! How are the necks on the PB-50? I really dig the chunky 50's p bass neck profiles, my SX has a similar feel and I love it. Is the standard pickup solid? I'll be seriously looking into these with the next paycheck I get

    @Jazz Ad
    Sounds good, I'm not sure if I'll ever really need mellow with this group! If I do, I'll just grab my jazz
  5. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    I haven’t read this post or any of the comments, but by just reading the title, I’m going to say Yes.
    4-fingers and kodiakblair like this.
  6. @Thibby

    It just so happens I have a PB-50 next to me and digi calipers.

    3 of the PB-50's measure 42mm at the nut. Way down at the 20th fret all of them measure 63mm wide. Necks are only 21mm deep at the 3rd fret rising to just under 24mm at the 12th. The aged white is an oddity, 24mm at the 3rd to 24.4mm at the 12th. Shame they didn't all come like that,reckon there was a supply problem and that neck came from a different source.

    I'd say roughly 7/8ths and 61/64ths are what you can expect at 3rd and 12th. Not what I'd call a baseball bat but then I own a couple of Wishbass,after them everything is skinny :laugh:
    Thibby likes this.
  7. 4-fingers


    Nov 22, 2015
    Ontario Canada
    Your Paisley looks amazing.......patiently watching and hoping one will pop up close to home.
  8. @Thibby

    Sorry I missed your question about the pickup. Rest assured it'll be the trick. The earlier models came with a Wilkinson,it covered the same range as the Seymour Duncan SC but had more output. These new Roswells sound the same as the Wilkinson and now Thomann are certain of their origin. The Chinese factories kept getting flooded with fake Wilkinsons so pickups come direct from WSC in Korea.
  9. It's a Harley Benton PB-50 refin and took me 3 attempts. Still not 100% happy so who knows 2019 may see a 4th attempt.

    I see the PB-50 costs $213CAD delivered. Do you folks pay import charges too ?
    4-fingers likes this.
  10. sneha1965


    Nov 7, 2007
    My immediate thought is a Hofner with a pick.
    PennyroyalWe, Dabndug and fermata like this.
  11. I find slab bodies uncomfortable to play for long periods...so much so that I have a 51 style P up for sale...
  12. Neither of the 2 basses the OP mentioned are slab bodies (Squier CV/Harley Benton PB-50) so he won't have that problem.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  13. sneha1965


    Nov 7, 2007
  14. But '51 is in the thread title, and that implies slab body. The stile I can't get over is "deep and punchy." My '51 P reissue offers "middy and clacky." Nowhere near the '57 and following P-basses.
  15. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Honestly, I can't imagine that a P bass with the right strings wouldn't do the trick just fine. In the past few years I've played in two bands that called for the sound you are looking for and sound was great. I had two basses that I used interchangeably - a 59 P bass, all stock and a MIM 60's classic series P bass to which I added a Fender pure vintage 62 pickup and a tone styler. I got the MIM just because I didnt want to bring my 59 out to some of the bars we were playing. Both were fitted with Pyramid flats. I find the LaBellas to be too muddy for my tastes. In some ways, the MIM was even better suited as the tonestyler extends the tonal options.

    Band #1 was Motown, some blues, lots of R&B - guitar, keys, sax. Band #3 was a blues/rock trio.
  16. sneha1965


    Nov 7, 2007
  17. 4-fingers


    Nov 22, 2015
    Ontario Canada
    It's Canada, if they can squeeze us for any tax or duty....that is what generally happens. I've gotten lucky on lower priced items though.....

    Did you happen to do a thread on the refin? Bet there would be lots of interest..... it looks terrific in my opinion.
  18. REV


    Jun 18, 2006
    This tone is easily achievable with flatwound strings and by placing a small block of foam under the strings right ahead of the bridge. You'll have to play with the size of the block and the position but this will definitely get you close to where you want to be. I always keep foam of several sizes in my gig bag for just this reason.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  19. I have both the Squier scpb and a traditional Fender split coil P bass (see avatar) and I would say that the scpb is a little punchier and has a quicker attack, both of which are likely due to having the pole pieces directly under the strings. I also find the tone to be more even across the board because there is no reinforcement and cancellation of different frequencies that humbucker do.
    The split coil P bass is a little bassier and thicker because it is basically a humbucker. They both can do the woody tone thing but I’d give the edge to the scpb.
    If you have access to a jazz bass you can get an idea of the scpb tone by soloing the neck pickup. The scpb does a better job though likely due to the pole pieces again.

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