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Ok! Lets talk Fender P and J. (long)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Walker, Nov 6, 2000.

  1. Walker


    Apr 25, 2000
    Hey Everyone!

    Ok, so here is the deal, I am thinking about buying another bass. I am thinking of going with a MIM or American made Fender P Bass, but am looking for more info before I buy. I currently play mostly Rock, Punk, Blues, Alternative, and almost anything really.

    On to the questions…

    1. (PICKUPS)

    § P or J pickups? What do you all think are the advantages and disadvantages of both Jazz and Precision pickups?

    § What pickup config is best suited for what types of music?

    § What are the differences in quality of a pickup, what makes one better than the other?

    2. (NECKS)

    § Jazz or Precision neck, what do you prefer?

    § Differences in wood type, what difference does it make?

    § Will a Jazz neck fit on a P body? And visa versa?

    3. (BODY)

    § Does the shape of the body effect the way the bass is weighted, how do they hang on a strap, any difference?

    § Does the shape of the body effect the sound?

    4. (MAKE)

    § What are the differences from a MIM, and American made bass?

    § What are the parts that make a MIM cheaper than an American made?

    § MIM or American or other what do you recomend?

    5. (CUSTOM)

    § Does any bass company offer a P bass with a Jazz neck and what is the price?

    § Does any company offer a Jazz bass with P pickups, and what is the price?

    What of the following do you recommend?

    - Pickups (brand + style)
    - Bridge (brand + style)
    - Strings
    - Tuners
    - Wood type (neck)
    - Wood type (body)
    - Colour
    - Make (MIM…)

    Thanks so much in advance to all then reply to this!


    Jeff Walker

  2. MatW


    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    Here goes:

    All of this is, of course, my own opinion and because I don't want to write 3000 words I'm gonna make some big generalisations.

    BTW - I play an American Deluxe Jazz (my fave), and a customised American Std Jazz fretless.

    1.1)P pickups have a thicker more powerful (grungier?) sound, J's are sweeter and have greater variation of tone due to there being two of them. Probably a P/J arrangement is the most flexible

    1.2)I'd say P for rock, J for Jazz/Funk/Fusion - BIG generalisation though.

    1.3)Quality of the magnets, number of wraps?? Pass on this one.

    2.1)Jazz is thinner, supposedly faster? I'm a believer in your body adapting to the instrument so it's a matter of taste. Generally, I would consider a Jazz neck easy to play than a P.

    2.2)The more dense the wood, the brighter the sound. However, typically, more punch/brightness = less warmth

    2.3)I believe so - although I wouldn't try it. The neck/body join is critical to the sound.

    3.1)The J is not as symeterical as a P, but I find the J fits my body better. I play mine high with the neck pointing 45 degrees between horizontal and vertical. This is great for me, and it's completely down to taste and playing style.

    3.2)The smaller the body, the less sustain. However, that's only an issue for seriously 'minimalist' basses. Generally, not much difference.

    4.1)It's in the name Made In Mexico, Made In America

    4.2)I don't actually know? Oops.

    4.3)I'm a snob with probably more money than guitar knowledge, I'd only buy American. I'm quite sure that if you hunted you'd find many a MIM that kicks a MIA's ass. What can I say - I'm happy with my fretless and I LOVE my jazz duluxe. At the end of the day it's a production bass so you must try and buy.

    5.0)I don't honestly know. Have you thought about a Stu Hamm bass? That's sounds like your cup of tea?

    - DiMarzio Ultra J's (I'm putting these on my fretless)
    - Stock Fender (I guess Badass for replacement)
    - DR strings (highbeams)
    - Stock Fender - the one's on my deluxe are great
    - I love maple look, but rosewood sound (I guess rosewood)
    - Something that let's the grain of the wood show through
    - For me MIA.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    MatW, Kudos to you for actually taking the time to answer all of Jeff's questions. I'd also like to give Jeff a couple of tips: Although all the questions you asked were interrelated, the general consensus is that concise questions are easier to answer, especially since no scrolling back and forth is necessary. Also, you might want to perform a search of topics and you'll find many of your questions answered in older threads.

    Will C.:cool:
  4. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    Wow, what a barrage! I wasn't expecting the Spanish inquisition.

    I'll start with the fact that it all comes down to tastes and even the fact that tastes change over time is importain. I got a few Fenders and a few opinions so here we go.

    1. I think the Jazz Pick up is more suited for getting that singing tone out of the bass nice for solos or slap. I like the P pickup for the bottom and just pure thud. No big news here. Think the P/J setup is the most versatile. Brands I like are Lindy Fraylen (sp?), EMG (18v) and Fender.

    2. Firstly about necks and Fenders is that even within a model, the necks come with a lot of different feels. Not being a Fender historian I can't quantify the range and reason for the differnces. My P basses (0ne fretted one fretless) have 1-5/8 inch (thats small for a P) nuts and are rather thin front to back as well. That’s what I like… I don’t have huge paws and it allows some mechanical advantage over the instrument… For me it just fits. As for wood I like rosewood. Also I don’t like the truss rod through the back thing. I have a de-fretted J that plays like a dream though. I just keep going back to the P-basses.

    3. I like the smaller body of the P-bass. I stopped worrying about neck dive after I started using suede straps and resting my right forearm on the bass more often. By the way, I think the J body looks cooler - if that means anything. My J-Bass is heavier, but I doubt all bodies with in a line are cut the same or weigh the same. The wood on the jazz is swamp ash and looks a little green. Does the shape of the body effect the sound? Very little compared to other factors. IMHO

    4. I don't have an opinion about MIM except that my MIM Volkswagen Golf is great. I would not care if my bass was made on the moon as long as nobody got hurt making it. I think the Hot Rodded P is a great value if you can find one from last year. They dropped the price to make room for this years models.

    5. Custom - do you have a trust fund? I would normally wait until I was in the store with a bass in my hands that worked well rather than goof around with what "Should be cool". Play as many as you can until your hands and ears tell you what is best for you.

    6. PERSONAL CHOICE … I have stated what I got and like but here's the recap incase you wanted to be exactly like me. :) What you really need is one of each!

    P basses: Fretles from the seventies with EMGs and a New Hotrodded P

    Jbass - maple de-fretted neck the thinnest I have ever seen on a fender. Lindy Frailen pickups. Passive electronics. This one I don't use as much.

  5. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I currently have an American made Standard P-Bass and a MIM Jazz, so I'll deal with the differences between the two...Without a doubt, the biggest difference falls in the quality of the components used. The MIM J is a '92, so there may be some difference with today's models, but the pickups, while functional, ar cheesy. They are basically some bar magnets slapped up against the metal pole pieces, absolutely NO WINDINGS!!! Now...that being said, they still provide a functional tone, and are useable.

    The bridge is thinner and appears more cheaply constructed than that on my P-Bass, (In fact, I've replaced it with the $20 model from Stew-Mac), as do the tuners. Definitely not Schallers! The body routing for the neck pickup is kind of just a square hole which does not really conform to the pickup shape...definitely can't just pull off the pickguard.

    The rest of the bass is good quality. The neck is just one of those ones that screams "PLAY ME!!!" The bass has been a steady partner of mine for six years and I won't part with it.

    The Amer. Std. P-Bass felt like quality immediately. I see Fenders get slammed all the time in this forum, but to each his own. I like 'em! My P is on the other extreme as far as neck contours. It's a big ol' baseball bat, beefy as hell. Am I the only person who digs a hefty neck?? I think not...Also, this bass has one of the best passive pickups that I have ever heard/played at any price! Records like a dream, though it weighs a ton! Quite the opposite of Rockinjc...Just goes to show you that no two, (or four), basses are the same!

    Have fun
  6. Bernie


    Dec 12, 1999
    If your interested check my ads on the classifieds page here.Im selling me MIA P Bass and G&L LB-100.The G&L is a P bass with a diferent name but sounds more like a vintage P than the other.Make me a reasonable offer on either and its yours.Thanks!
  7. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Just a comment after the very good responses to your question.Like you, and most players, I went through the P vs J thing. The differences have been well documented in this thread - pickups,body, neck, MIA/MIM etc.

    In the end I like them both equally. To me they are like different flavors of ice cream- some days I like chocolate and some days butterscotch.I play in a pretty high energy Blues/R&B band and both the P and J work great for my music.
    The J is a little cleaner and smoother whereas the P has a bigger bottom end thump.While the J at first seems to have the more playable neck I find that many lines are easier on the P because of the extra space between the strings.

    I don't take both to gigs but I do alternate back and forth week to week (or whatever "flavor" grabs me that night).If you told me that I could only have one it would be a very,very tough choice.

    As for US or Mexico. Well as both a bass and guitar player I have always had Fender stuff and I only buy the American models. Why? Well, I think the American models have somewhat better quality and consistency but I must say that the Mexican models at their price point are a better value.An American model at twice the price is not twice as good as the Mexican. It might be 15% better.That's for American Standards. The percentage goes up for the higher end US models. So does the price.

    I tried very hard to like the P/J combos. In the end they are not quite P's and not quite J's but a little of both. Now if you can only have one bass and you like that flavor then it's a good alternative.To me though having both was the only alternative.

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