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Is a P bass necessary?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MMcC, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. MMcC


    Sep 10, 2005
    OK. I don't want to get flamed here, I'm just wondering. I have nothing against the almighty P or those who play them. I'm sure at some point I'll own one too.

    It just seems to me that when I solo the neck pup on my Jazz, I get pretty close to a P sound. So why not play a Jazz and have the option of both?

    Now this is really just about sound. I realize there's differences in the bodies, looks, and neck widths; and those are a matter of preference.

    Anybody else with me? Discuss.
  2. IMO Jazz can get you close, and other designs with P pickups can get you close, but P bass is P bass. If you really need that sound that's the only way to get it. I normally call BS on those who calim to be able to tell these UBEr subtle details between Birdseye Maple fingerboards VS rosewood fingerboards etc, but even to my unsophisticated ear a Fender (or Fender style) P is what it is and is hard to duplicate. Mimic is pretty easy, but not duplicate.

    Still a jazz man, but my first bass was an affinity P and I find myself wanting nice one more and more.
  3. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    I'd say nah, its not necessary, but I have a PJ :D
  4. My opinion: Yes. My vision of a *proper bass player(slab, mind you :))*'s gear includes one Precision(ideally no newer than 80's but I'm flexible), one Jazz(also ideally old)& one all-tube amp. At least one bass should have flats & be fully passive. I will also keep a good fretless, a 5 & 6 & an active bass or two around(these features can be combined in any combination, on as many basses as one can justify/afford, as they're *extra credit* in my little world :D) & maybe a nice ABG. Oh yea- and one decent-sounding DB.
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've never owned one, i've never wanted one, and i've never liked them. the necks never felt comfortable to me, and while i like the classic p-bass tone, it's not what i want in the music i play.

    so no, it's not necessary, at least in my house. :). if i were forced back to 4 i'd be perfectly happy with the 4's i have (77 jazz, 70's ric and an older fretless pedulla).
  6. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    I think reaslistically its impossible to say that its necessary because it raises the question: "necessary for what". I do think that if you want to be a working studio pro you would be wise to have a p-bass and a j-bass in your arsenal, but that doesn't mean you couldn't do without them.
  7. Thrillhouse


    Jan 21, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I tend to agree with you that you can get a pretty decent P sound from a Jazz. I have owned several Jazz basses (all Fender) and have found this to be true. However, you can't get it dead on. The P is just more focused and has that real low/low-mid, thumpin' punch. Also, like you said, the neck is extremely different (which certainly affects playing) and the body is a bit different as well (probably doesn't affect playing much).

    I'd say the only real way to get a true Jazz and Precision sound is to buy both.


    Dec 27, 2007
    Listen more carefully, there IS a difference and for me it´s very noticeable, if you can´t hear it you dont´t need a P-Bass, but when you hear the difference, GAS won´t let you sleep...:atoz:
  9. IME, P basses do drive more than a jazz can. Why buy a jazz and mess about to get that drive, when it's already in a p bass as a "factory setting" if you get me?!

    It's more the sound i'm after, but i think jazzes play better. So i went the way of messing about.
  10. MMcC-
    I've recently went back to a P copy as my only gig bass...just for the simplicity of the setup and feel. One volumne/one tone. I don't need anything else for what I do. Anything else just distracts me.
    Instead of being constrained, I really feel liberated. I'm not wondering what any other bass or pickup or tone configuration would sound like. I just play. And I'm really having fun with it.
    But that's just me.
  12. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    actually, it was. the neck was too wide for a 4 string, the spacing at the nut too wide. all of my conklins have j-bass spacing at the nut, or less.
  13. I can see that reasoning. I just have fingers that are physically to small to play a seven string unless you are talking 10mm string spacing. I have only ever played one Conklin, a GT 7 and I couldn't do it. Never an actual custom Conklin. Maybe you could send one over for me to try out???
  14. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    Is clean water necessary?
    But seriously folks....I loves me a B necked P bass- Hail ya!
  15. Well one you can't live without and the other is overpriced and other options are readily available. I have consumed plenty of dirt filled water and I don't understand the problem.
  16. Greyvagabond

    Greyvagabond Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    That's why P/Js are so $$$!
  17. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    No, a P bass is not necessary.

    Neither is a J or any other particular brand or model.

    What's necessary is that you work well with what you have.
  18. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    I love Precision Basses - the bodies feel perfectly comfortable to me, I love the necks, I don't ever want more than a four-string bass, and I love the sound. Not to mention I think a classic Precision with the bridge and pickup covers is a very attractive looking instrument.

    There are a few things I don't like about my particular Precision, but that's nothing a few parts upgrades won't fix.

    Nothing is necessary in life but food, shelter and water. Music is a luxury, and what technology we choose to play it with will never matter to anybody more than it matters to us. If you like Precisions, fine, if you don't, fine. Who cares what anybody else plays?

    As long as you don't look down on somebody as a musician because of the gear they use, you can have any opinion you want on an instrument. I don't like Jazz Basses at all, but some of my favorite bass players use them exclusively.
  19. Mongo, You're more of a buzz kill than Buzz Killington. Way to give the most reasonable and accurate answer. :spit:
  20. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    For most of my bass playing career - 20+ years, I avoided P's like the plague. I thought they were fugly, sounded bad, were too common and plain....
    I played a good one one time a few years ago and have been hooked ever since. Now, I still think they're fugly, still think that they're too common and plain, but I wouldn't give my 3 up for the world now. They do EVERYTHING and more that I want them to do, no matter what style of music I'm playing. I cant say the same for my Rick, Warwick, or Jazzes. (all of which I also love)
    So, my answer - no they're not necessary, but they are the closest to an all-purpose, perfect bass that you can get.

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