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J vs PJ

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Coolhandjjl, Jul 17, 2012.


  1. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    I have 2 Hamer Cruise Bass's (an almost J style bass). Is there any real benefit to routing the neck pup cavity(and covering any left over holes with a new pickguard) to fit a split P and making it into a PJ bass? Or is a split P in that position not really that big a difference? I've tried the DiMarzio Model J in that position, didn't really hear that much difference from my stock Seymour Duncan Vintage SJB-1 pups. Is it that big square shape of the split P pups that gives the P-pup the P tone?
     
  2. CORBS

    CORBS

    Dec 28, 2010
    You can find some "P coils in J shape" pickups to try, which would be a lot easier and cheaper then routing. Like a reverse Fender S-1 P pickup. It's a J with two coils wound in reverse just like a P bass, one coil for the E and A and one for the D and G. The coils are smaller so the sound won't be exact, but the nuances of humbucker vs. single will be there. Plus getting the P pickup you chose to play nice with the J, unless they are a matching set (meaning you have to replace both of them), is always a gamble.
     
  3. exmaxima1

    exmaxima1

    Jan 27, 2009
    Geneva IL
    If you have a USA Hamer Cruisebass it would be a shame to butcher the body like that. Sell it to someone that appreciates them, and buy a Squier Classic Vibe 60's.

    If you have the Slammer version (Korean or Asian), go ahead and route the piss out of it. It would be easiest however to find a J pickup with split coils that would emulate the P sound. I have 3 USA Cruises (2 are 2TEK), and the best one has EMG JV pickups and active preamp---it has tons of bass/punch/fatness and eliminates the need for a PJ setup.
     
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    There was a huge discussion here about what makes the P tone. I neither read nor participated in it but you can look for it if you like. Based on other discussions here and elsewhere I would say that the P sound comes from the location of the P pickup in relation to the bridge and nut (though it is usually defined as half way between the bridge and the 20th fret which is the equivalent) and the fact that the pickup is mechanically split with the halves in different positions. It is actually the split between the halves that lies at the 50% point mentioned above. If your purpose in going to a P/J setup is to be able to sound exactly like a P and somewhat like a J (bearing in mind that neither is an absolute sound, both are subject to personal interpretation) then the P pickup needs to be right where it is on a P bass. A whole lot of P/J basses have it in the wrong spot, including many Fenders. The P pickup is usually close to the right spot but how close varies considerably and only you can decide if it is close enough to win that proverbial cigar or not. Now if you just want to have two pickups to choose between then yeah, you can use any old pickups and put them anywhere they fit but I find it difficult to think of the result as a P/J unless one of the pickups is actually a mechanically and electrically split P pickup. Now if you were to use a split coil hum cancelling J pickup and angle it so the pole pieces are kinda in the place where a P pickup would put them you are starting approach the ideal but you would still have to route the bass.

    Ken
     
  5. tabdog

    tabdog

    Feb 9, 2011
    Just stick a third pickup close to the bridge.

    Tabdog
     
  6. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Kinda like this (it's a Godin Shifter):

    godinshifter5black.

    But you would want to angle the middle pickup....

    Ken
     
  7. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    On a Fender Jazz, isn't the neck pup mounted right where the EA on a Fender Precision is mounted? Opps..just checked, looks like the J neck pup is slightly closer to the neck.
     
  8. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    That is what most people here claim and I have just accepted it as a probable fact rather than checking it out myself. I have measured a lot of online photos of P/J basses and that is what I base my comments about them on. The location of the P pickup in a lot of Fender basses does not seem to be based on the location that they use for the Jazz bass neck pickup, Fender puts them in a variety of places. In fact the Squier P/J Jags have it closer to the "magic" spot than the Modern Player Jag does, for example.

    Ken
     
  9. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    So where is the magic P placement?
     
  10. tabdog

    tabdog

    Feb 9, 2011
    5-1/2" from the bridge

    Tabdog
     
  11. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    That may well be true but since it is hard to measure pictures in inches I always go with the maxim that most people use: the split between the pickup halves should be halfway from bridge to the 20th fret. That is how real P basses always have it in online pictures.

    Ken
     
  12. Ive never seen a J-shaped P. How is i designed? two coils side by side? Super thin coils positioned like a P in a jazz housing?
     
  13. The latter. And it doesn't sound like a P pickup, but it does sound good. I have a couple.
    The P sound comes from the pickup placement, as well as it's design. And the design is key: a wide, FLAT coil, very unlike the J design. It ends up being so long that it won't fit on a four-string.
    So, break it in two, and stagger the halves. Hey, might as well reverse one half to eliminate hum. And there it is.
     
  14. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    I have read something like that elsewhere, I think you are onto to something. I have also read that a J pup sounds like it does because conversely it has a very narrow sensing area or aperture.

    So we have placement and design as the two important features.
     

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