Out of the Game Too Long: Which Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BB Brian, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    TLDR: I want to buy a new bass and am stuck between Sire P(J)7-bass, Sire M7 (Jazz) bass. Fender Player Jaguar (PJ), Epiphone Thunderbird IV (the one with TB plus humbuckers.) It will be my only bass for a while and I play a massive variety of music.

    The Whole Story: Probably a familiar tune to a lot of you: I grew up, had kids, sold my equipment but now that I have on kid in college and another in High School, I am finally at a point where I can play my bass again. I miss it. I have an acoustic guitar but it's not a bass, and that is where my heart lies.

    I've owned a Peavey T-40 I bought used in '88. I played in a little punk band then a hair metal band. I later bought a Jackson Charvel 3B which was my first active. After leaving the hair metal band I joined an alternative cover band and then started a punk pop group. I picked up a Fender Standard American Jazz in '94. We were signed to in indy label, toured, had fun and later broke up. I had a Dean acoustic bass for a while and played in a duet doing covers of reggae, ska and punk.

    I am torn on what bass to buy. I don't have the cash to stick into another American made Fender, at least, not if I want to buy an amp as well. So I am looking from about $500-$700. I've narrowed it down to 4 basses so far:

    Sire P7
    Sire V7
    Epiphone Thunderbird IV
    Fender Player Jaguar

    The reasoning, so far, is I sort of want a P-bass sound, or at least the option for it. But, I don't know if a PJ really gives me that sound or not. I can't go test anything right now, obviously. But, the Sire and the Jaguar both give me that PJ setup. With Fender I get the name and a cool looking shape but at the highest price. With the Sire I get what I hear is a well built bass with a string though the body design, rolled edges, binding on the neck and an active system. The Sire seems like a lot of value for the money, IF it is indeed well built and will last a lifetime.

    The other options are the Sire V7 Jazz bass, old familiar and the second cheapest option on my list. As above, it seems like Sire has a lot of value for the money if the basses are indeed well made. If it sounds and plays like a Jazz bass, I am intimately familiar with it. I also love the shape. The wild card is the Epiphone T-bird. I love the look of it. It's the cheapest option on the list and costs less than I paid for myMIA Fender Jazz in 1994. That scares me a little. Plus, I am not sure the T-bird will be the most versatile bass in the long run.

    As far as what I'll be playing, think generically everything! I have a love of Reggae, Pop, Punk, Desert Rock, Metal (everything from Sabbath to System, Motorhead to Mastodon), Grunge, Ska.... So, that's why I am leaning toward a PJ setup. If I can get everything from a Precision sound to something rounder and brighter like I could with my old J-bass, I feel like I can cover any genre I want.

    So, main questions:
    1. Can I really get a p-bass sound from a PJ (more specifically the Sire or Jaguar)
    2. Is the Sire too good to be true? Are the MIM Fenders quality enough to record and play out?
    3. How versatile (or limited) are a PJ, J, and T-bird?
    4. How heavy are these basses these days? I'm a lot older than I was in the '90s and I do have some spinal issues. A lighter bass is definitely better for me.

    If you have read this far, may the God of Thunder bless you, your bass(es), and your fingers and picks. ALL advice is greatly appreciated. Stay safe out there!
  2. shojii


    Sep 7, 2011
    Welcome back! What kind of amp are you running? I’m only asking b/c it might be better to look at getting the best amp you can get at this point in time as it’s probably going to be a bigger influence on your tone (and ability to be heard) if you’re at the stage of acquiring new gear. Notwithstanding, my view would be either a good PJ bass (like the Sire - which can do a good impression of a passive P tone) or a Stingray. (Sorry Jazz fans). Good luck with your quest....
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  3. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    I don't have a real amp at the moment. I'll probably run it through an old Crate six string amp, just to practice and goof around. I imagine after Christmas I can get a real amp. I have been looking already of course, and have it narrowed down to the Ampeg BA 210 combo, the Fender Rumble (500 or 800, not entirely sure yet), or an Ampeg Portaflex 500 and 210 cab. I've read mixed reviews on the Portaflex head and it's reliability. The Fender, I have read, can have a muddier tone and I don't know how much I can clean that up. That said, the Fender Rumble seems very back friendly for an old guy at 35 pounds.
    Artman likes this.
  4. ruju


    Dec 9, 2017
    Check out the Yamaha BB series, or even the TRBX 174...I have the 174ew in mango wood top..it's a passive PJ. The build quality is excellent, it plays great and it sounds great..
    Really inexpensive as well..
  5. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    I gave Yamaha a very serious look before narrowing down the list. In the end, the aesthetics just don't do it for me. I know what a tremendous value they are and I think they sound pretty good, from what I can hear on the internet. But you know how it is, sometimes looks matter and that's all subjective.
  6. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    How about a G&L L-2000 tribute
    Very versatile and a well built and solid value. Or, the G&L SB-2 if ya want PJ.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
    Akiyamaha, Crispus, kwdhsk and 10 others like this.
  7. ruju


    Dec 9, 2017
    True, I can't argue that.
    My problem is I like so many body shapes and different basses. Everything from classic p or jazz to modern Dingwall .
    Good luck with the search. Post pics when you find the one. Or three..lol
    BB Brian likes this.
  8. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    at the very top of your budget, but for the next holiday - probably mothers day - you can get 15% off by contacting GC, MF or maybe sam ash via chat or by phone. they give discounts on excluded brands when contacted.

    if you want something that sounds like a p bass, you can't beat a p bass
    Fender Player Precision Bass - Buttercream with Maple Fingerboard

    i love my MiM mustang. it sounds great, it's good quality. it did need a switch replaced - it was cheap to do. but to be honest, most basses are good quality these days. i just bought my husband a squier classic vibe jazz bass, and the finish and build are very nice, way nicer than i expected, and it sounds so like a jazz bass.

    is that epi tbird one of the ones with the mudbuckers? if so, definitely not the most versatile of the bunch.
    J-Bassomatic, teh-slb, dmt and 4 others like this.
  9. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    I gave them a look. I'd need to play one to see what I think of the neck. I have the Epiphone T-bird on the list mostly just because I have always loved how they look. 12" radius would be an adjustment for me. The adjustment is easier to take when you love the look. ;)
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  10. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    I really think you should look in the classified here. Lots of decent used basses there, and likely will be well cared for.

    I wouldn't buy a T Bird without playing it. Like Rickenbacker, some people swear by them, some swear at them. To give you an idea, it's not tough to find an MIA Fender shipped for under a grand, shipped and with case or decent gig bag.
  11. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    I am betting they are muddy indeed. I was hoping to get some feedback there. If the MiM Fenders are good build quality that may be the way I go. I do want that P-bass sound, but I am also afraid of being "stuck" with one sound, hence leaning toward that MiM Jaguar with the PJ setup (And I honestly love the look). Any ideas if that can get that P-bass growl?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  12. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    That TBird is a real way-outlier in your 4 and probably most likely to disappoint.
    Gary Warner, BB Brian and pcake like this.
  13. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    Yeah. It really is.

    Also, thanks to all of you who have responded so far! This really is quite helpful and anything folks can add is valuable feedback for me right now.
  14. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    don't get me wrong - i love that tbird, but only for a certain sound.

    and i'm a sucker for a PJ pbass myself. i don't think growl when i think pbass so much as thump; when i think growl, i think j bass or stingray. i find a PJ just hits the spot, which is why i got the mustang. i hear you won't get the exact P bass sound with a PJ - but to me, what you get is better. YMMV.
    Rezdog, JRA, bhendrix and 1 other person like this.
  15. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    It may end up being the best compromise for now. If I started gigging and making money I could consider a separate Precision and Jazz at that point. For now, I just miss my bass!
    Rip Van Dan likes this.
  16. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Sounds like you've made your choice! It's got the looks you dig and PJ format. You're done!
    Monterey Bay-ss, shojii and BB Brian like this.
  17. Oobly


    Jun 19, 2008
    Hmmm... From my experience with a couple of Jaguars with P+other pickups in (Squier VM HB which I added a P pickup to and a CV which I installed EMG Geezer Butler pickups into), you can get very close, but not quite there. The problem is you always have some influence from the other pickup and volume control affecting it, you've got an extra inductor and resistor always in play, which will alter the tone. If you want the versatility in a single bass, perhaps wiring it with a no-load volume pot so when you roll the Jazz pickup off completely it cuts the pickup and pot completely out of the circuit. Then you can still roll in the J pickup and roll off the P to get a variety of PJ tones, including something that comes very close to full J sound, IMHO.

    I love the Jaguar shape, prefer passive instruments and think the tone of the Thunderbird is a little limited, so my vote goes to the Player Jaguar (with the pot mod).
    Monterey Bay-ss and BB Brian like this.
  18. Ronnie Thunders

    Ronnie Thunders

    Oct 21, 2019
    The jag baby! Vintage modified squier to save some bucks on that stimulus check. There's no shame in the name! 15870809351117360813141495104186.jpg
    UMA1, pcake, kirillstokes and 5 others like this.
  19. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    EatS1stBassist, pcake and BB Brian like this.
  20. bhendrix


    May 2, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    +1 Got one recently and the J and P have been sitting a spell...

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