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Options for a passive 5-string P/J bass?

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

  1. El_Duderino


    Aug 23, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    (I'm sorry if this topic's been covered before, but the forum search removed key things like "P/J" and the 5 from "5-string", so I was only able to do a search for "string" which was less than helpful. That said...)

    I'm a beginner/intermediate player, and I'm hoping to start playing gigs before the end of the year. My main bass is a 2006 MIM Fender Jazz bass, but I've also got a '72 Gibson EB0. Trying to be professional about things, I'd like to have a backup bass available/ready if I do start playing gigs, and for a number of reasons (value, considerable difference in sound), I'd like to get another bass besides the EB0 as my backup. I tend to play in the alt-country genre, and would like to find a bass with a sound that is complimentary to that style.

    Talking to my teacher over the weekend, I mentioned I was thinking about either a p-bass or a 5-string as a backup (either of which might push my jazz bass to backup status), and he suggested I look out for a 5-string p/j combo. Since my jazz bass is passive, I'm looking for a passive p/j so as not to throw off eq should I need to switch.

    Since my playing is still very much a hobby (and my wife just lost her job) I can't throw down a couple grand for a boutique bass. What are some of the options available to me, particularly where money is a definite concern? As a bit of an aside - would it be doable to put together something like this as a franken-bass, and if so, which parts (5-string, p/j) would I want to make sure were done at the factory, and which would be mod-able at home?

  2. Mola Ram

    Mola Ram

    Jan 18, 2010
    Yamaha BB425X ($600) or, if you can spare the extra cash, the BB1025X ($1000).

    I own a 1025X (I would have gotten the 425X because it was the one I originally played, but I luckily found the higher end model for a great price online) and its probably my favorite bass I've ever owned/played. Bolt-on, passive, P+J 5 string.
  3. El_Duderino


    Aug 23, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks Mola - definitely an option to consider as that's around my price range.

    On the franken-bass question, If I wanted to stay with a Fender, would it be reasonable to take a MIM 5-string jazz and swap out the neck pickup for a 5-string P-pickup? What other things would I need to change?
  4. XtheDeadPawn


    May 24, 2008
    Schecter Raiden Deluxe 5 (1st choice)

    ESP LTD B-55 (2nd choice)

    If you can find used or save up a little the best bass
    Schecter Diamond P 5 Custom

    (If you'll notice the Diamond can replicate a P/J and a P/MM because the humbucker in the bridge can be split no modding required just pull the tone knob up and it is a jazz pickup)
  5. Lull & Nordy
  6. +1 in the Yamahas. Im eyeing one as my next bass.

    As far as ready to go basses, you can score a Reverend Mercalli for around $950-$1,000 new(I have one and it's amazing). You could also mod an existing P for a few hundered dollars. There's a Yamaha Attitude in the classifieds that is a great bass just screaming for a J pickup!

    Provided the pickups themselves are passive, you can yank the electronics out of an active P/J (like a Schecter Diamond P5 or FenderDeluxe Precision) and have your passive.

    You'll need a new pickguard to cover a new rout in the body. You will also want to make sure that the P5 and J5 pickups balance each other. It's often not as easy as just throwing a different pickup in there.

    Also, the resale value will likely take a big hit as well...

    There are many great (dare I say better?) non-Fender options out there, so keep your mind open to them!
  7. El_Duderino


    Aug 23, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    If I wanted to go the mod route, you'd suggest modding a P rather than a J? Any particular reason? (Not questioning the advice, just curious as to the reason since it seems it would be a lot easier to change a pickup than add a string, and you don't see as many 5-string p's as jazz basses).
    If I bought a P/J set (rather than just throwing in a P and using the existing J), pretty fair to assume that they'd balance? As for re-sale, that's half the reason I'm thinking of using a MIM-V as the base, so the original outlay isn't too great.

    As for non-Fender, the Schecter basses don't look half-bad, but I don't like the look of the Yamahas quite so much. I'd be really happy with a Nordy or Lull if they were in my price range.
  8. It's cleaner to put a J in a P than to rout a P into a J. No new guard or any extra routes.
  9. El_Duderino


    Aug 23, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    You wouldn't have to rout for the J pickup on a P? Also, if you were to put a P in a J, could you just use a P pickguard, or are the bodies too different? Lastly, one of the things I read on here a while back suggested that a 5-string P neck can be a bit cumbersome. I guess you could always swap it out for a 5-string J neck if that was a big issue...

    BTW, thanks for the feedback/help. I don't really have many people to talk to so I can think through these kind of things.
  10. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I JUST starting wiring maybe 2 weeks ago. I have a super cheap yamaha backup bass, I changed the Pickups (I was given some from a friend, but decent pickups are pretty findable cheap/ used)
    After rewiring, doing the best setup I could muster (not a pro, but patience+research add up big time)

    I got alot of this free, but lets say if I bought everything I wouldve spent maybe $400.
    It was exciting, inspiring, and I truly feel more in touch with the feel and sound of basses.

    I have a Roscoe, and yet I have been playing this one for a few gigs straight because its so exciting that I made the bass feel and sound great

    Dunno where you live, but a pawn shop is always worth a peek.
    Also, warmoth, though you CAN DEFINITELY spend alot there, its totally possible to get a super well crafted bass, + that patient TLC and youve got a winner
  11. El_Duderino


    Aug 23, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Yeah, I know some people who I think could handle a job like this, wouldn't charge me an arm and a leg, and I might even hang around to see how things are done. I think that's more and more of the reason I'm thinking a mod-job might be the way to go.

    Heh, I live in the city. I think I have multiple pawn shops within walking distance of my house (I know of at least 1). I really should check them out, but in that I'm probably gonna need to save up some cash first, right now it would just be a horrible tease to go, find something I want, and not be able to buy it.
  12. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Re : wiring
    Sure thing, getting it done is super nice, but dont be shy to try it!
    I took out the old potentiometers , practiced wiring them and rewiring until it looked clean and gave a signal. I can give you helpful links and some freshly learned rookie mistakes to avoid if you give selfmodding a second thought :)

    Re: pawn shops
    I like to look BEFORE I have cash. You learn whats there, what you like, price tendencies, and you dont blow your cash before youre sure.
    I think the most helpful buying experience may be finding a pawn bass that you completely love and want, and coming back 1 day and it isn't there anymore. Really let you know what actually resonate with you
  13. Routing a P into a J would leave an empty route like this (this is a soapbar sized rout): IMG_0266.

    You'd have to cover that up with a pickguard. A J rout would be cut into unrouted wood, so it would look clean.

    You can't put a P guard on a J body. The body shapes are totally different.

    5 string necks very from really big and fat (Squier Deluxe Precision 5) to much smaller and thinner (Carvin SB/B50, US Lakland, Sadowsky). The string spacing also varies from 19mm (aka 'wide spacing': same as most 4 strings) to 15-16mm (aka 'narrow').

    There is also scale: 34" or 35". Some will say that a 35" is needed for a good B string. From experience, I say "phooey". A well made 34" will provide as solid a B as a 35". I no longer own any 35's, FWIW...

    There is no right or wrong, just personal preference.

    One of the many things at which Talkbass excels! Whatever you want to do, chances are that someone has already been there.
  14. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    The Yamaha BB415 is an excellent passive P/J. And they were selling for $299, new, right after Yamaha discontinued them. So, you can usually find great used ones for cheap!
  15. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I'm selling a Yamaha attitude standard 5 with a USA fender p pickup and stock j. Pretty killer bass and I have very high standards.
  16. El_Duderino


    Aug 23, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Ahh...that makes a lot more sense now. Thanks.

    If you were to cut a J into a P-bass, how would you handle the wiring to get it to the pots? Go through the back?

    I guess my thought was that with routing a P into a J, if you do a messy job, at least it's covered up by the pickguard, whereas with routing a J into a P, you've got one shot at it, and if it isn't clean, you're pretty-well boned.

    Kinda what I figured. Custom pickguards aren't too difficult, right?

    From what I gather on other posts here, it looks like a MIM Standard V, string spacing is about 18mm. Would this need to be modified (presumably with an aftermarket bridge) in order to get the strings to sit over the poles of a 5-string P pickup?
  17. They drill a little hole from the new rout into the control cavity. Very tidy.

    That's why it's best to let an experienced person with the proper tools do it. IMHO.

    Nope. Just adds another $50-$100 to the cost. And in some case they will want you to ship them the body...

    There are different pickups with different spacings for this. Contact the pickup manufacturer for the recommended spacing/pickup pairings.
  18. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Yamaha BB1025X or 425X.

    Super nice basses.
  19. topcat2069


    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs

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