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Jazz vs Precision Basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wooftag, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. Jazz bass

    163 vote(s)
  2. Precision bass

    205 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Wooftag


    Dec 31, 2020
    I was Thinking of buying a fender bass and I came down to my two favourite basses. Jazz and Precision. I was wondering if there was an overall best out of the two or it just came down to preference. I was wanting information on what genres/playing styles the jazz bass would work best with, and what genres/playing styles the precision bass would work best with and if there was a huge difference between the two different pickup types.
  2. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    This is probably the single One topic that has been beAt to death. Ok , maybe maple vs rosewood.

    The consensus is that the audience will not know the difference.
    rockinb, groovepump, Saint70 and 43 others like this.
  3. KingShiv


    Oct 10, 2019
    I believe tone is 90 percent in the fingers/pick, 5 percent in pickup placement, 3 percent in the types of pickups, and 2 percent in the fretboard wood. I would choose a precision, but that's only because the feel of the neck, not the tone. You can play any genre with anything, but you might only be comfortable with a certain type of bass.
  4. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    For me, it's the precision. Not because of the tone per se, I agree 90% of that is in the fingers. I'm just more comfortable with the precision neck profile. I have big hands...
    Eric66, Mickey666, retslock and 3 others like this.
  5. 2112


    Apr 30, 2005
    Depends on what you want. I gigged and recorded with Jazzes for a long time in my Rush tribute and originals projects. But in my current 80's rock cover band, I use Precisions. They just sit better in our mix, and they're lighter too!

    You can also consider a PJ, which typically has the P pup in the neck position and a J pup in the bridge position. There are alot of folks who prefer the versatility, and there are alot of folks who don't like the sacrifices... I often refer to a PJ as a "spork"... because it performs both functions, but doesn't do either particularly well. (The PJ fanbois probably hate me for that haha.) Even so, I am currently firing together a parts PJ... so there ya go.


    Either or any way you go, somebody above said it best: the audience won't notice a difference.
  6. TrevorG

    TrevorG Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2012
    I went for a PJ and have never been happier.. Of course if you really like the Jazz's neck pickup you don't gain much but a PJ suits every other preference.
  7. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    The only answer is to get one of each.
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    All depends on the tone you prefer (soundwise). I've owned the same jazz (with a P neck) 35 years, the same P for 15. I love both, and whichever I am presently playing is my favorite.

    Neck width is part of it as well. I prefer the wider neck.
  9. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    For me, ergonomics was a bigger deciding factor than tone. I prefer Jazz necks, and P bodies. So I made a parts bass.

    I do prefer a P pickup, I like the simplicity and the sound it puts out, it just works for me. But I can get close enough to P tone with a Jazz neck pickup, and close enough to J tone with a PJ bass.

    The one dealbreaker caveat would be if you want that stanky, burpy, growly bridge pickup sound. It’s something you can’t get with a straight up P bass.
    TrustRod, leftybass54 and Polardog like this.
  10. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
  11. Get one of each.
    Precisions= lighter, thicker neck, simpler, less tone options
    Jazz= heavier, thinner neck, more tone options, not a p though.

    the above are generalizations, of course. YMMV
    dabbler and BigCactus like this.
  12. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    Played a Jazz for 40 years. Had a few Ps and a Tele over those years. Dumb reason, but I settled on Ps because it's easier to change volume with one knob. If I had another Jazz, I'd change it to volume, balance, tone. The neck on my 73 Jazz pretzeled and was replaced with a fretless P neck (which I still use) in 1976, So I am only familiar with P necks
  13. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I was thinking of buying a sandwich for lunch and I came down to my two favorite sandwiches. Turkey and roast beef. I was wondering if there was an overall best out of the two or if it just came down to preference. I was wanting information on what meals/sides the turkey sandwich would work best with, and what meals/sides the roast beef would work best with and if there was a huge difference between the two different meat types.
    groovepump, TH63, MrBass617 and 26 others like this.
  14. A good American Fender P/J is the ticket. It is a Precision bass though, I use the J pickups for more mids and presence and add however much I think the sound needs, I rarely have the J on full. That being said I do own a Jazz and like it.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
    Cartier76, shredace and JRA like this.
  15. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    In an either/or scenario for me, it would definitely be the J.
    I favor the J for the extra depth and raw "bite" with a good single coil neck pickup, the versatility blending in the bridge pickup (even if most settings don't elbow through a mix quite as readily as the P) and not least of all, the looks.
    I do appreciate the simplicity of just one pickup, though - and a nice beefy neck. So I keep one of each.
    YMMV. (Some people here prefer the P so much, they collect only that design.)
    gg69, JRA and bobyoung53 like this.
  16. BasEd


    Jun 27, 2017
    You can’t make a J sound like a P or vice versa. I’ve had many of both. I’ve just got a PJ. From what I’d read I assumed they were the worst of both worlds. But in fact they are the best of both worlds IMHO. I get a great P sound with just the P pickup up full. I get a nice Jaco J sound with just the J up full. With both pickups up full I get a scooped sound that’s very similar to a J bass with both pickups full but with a slight hint of that P sound. I can make my PJ sound like a J or a P but I can’t make my J sound like a P, even using just the neck pickup. I still love my Js though and currently have three Js and a PJ. With the PJ I don’t need a P bass. If I wanted a single bass that does it all I’d go for the PJ. It doesn’t do a Stingray sound but I’m really not keen on that sounded anyway even though I think the Stingray is the best looking bass out there.
    rockinb, gg69, Ken Green and 6 others like this.
  17. Love_Bass


    Sep 5, 2012
    gg22, Bill sessions, retslock and 3 others like this.
  18. BasEd


    Jun 27, 2017
    In general, the bulk of the songs out there will be using a P a J or Stingray, probably in that order. I see more bands using Ps these days, especially for rock. Don’t see too many Stringrays lately. I’ve used all three to play the same set and neither the audience nor the rest of my band noticed!
    leftybass54 and BigCactus like this.
  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i promote two-pickup axes for those who like some versatility and for those who are admitted/committed "tone chasers" (i am not a tone chaser). if you are a tone chaser: a P-bass doesn't make sense at all.

    i've settled on PJs for the best (and/or worst) of both worlds (per BasEd , above).

    but if you are limiting yourself to one ax, for any reason = a J can do more, obviously. also: the best fenders are likely to be other brands than fender, so there's that.

    good luck with your choice(s)! :thumbsup:
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 3, 2021

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