P Bass and J Bass tone.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by amusicalperson, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Already, let me explain my situation and see if I'm the only one that is confused by this. So they say P Bass was designed with the fundamental tone in mind so that the P Bass would be mellow and sit well in the mix, and the J Bass was designed with more focus on the overtones so that it would be more present in the mix. Here is the problem I have, I find the P Bass have a nastier, raunchier tone that J Basses. I find J Basses have a smoother tone that sits better in the mix. Can someone explain? Or am I the only one who notices this?
  2. IMO the P bass "sits" in the mix quite nicely, and feel the Jazz bass can get lost in the mix more easily.

    I believe P basses originally had flats, which are definitely more "mellow" than rounds.
  3. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    Both J pickups on full sits in the mix much smoother than any P pickup. The P pickup tends to go "boing" and/or bark.

    Now the neck pickup of the J alone doesn't sound much different than the P imo....
  4. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    It just depends on the band, the material and the style you play in. If there's a lot of mids a Jazz tends to blend in more and get lost a little more easily so I've always had to tweak more high end into the EQ and play a little louder than I'd like. It sounds a bit thin on stage but out in the room it fits.

    A PBass has most of it's thrust in the low mids and it's pretty easy to get "under" the guitars and keys if they're consuming a lot of space in the mids. Unless you play an awful lot in high register a big old thumping PBass can pretty much cut through anything.
  5. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Get a loud enough amp and neither will get lost "in the mix" many bassists feel that if every note isn't blaring in conjunction with the rest of the band they are getting "lost in the mix" the bass is felt by the audience in a way guitars can't match I've had many bassists come up to me after a show and tell me they didn't "sit in the mix" well and I tell them I felt every note.
  6. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    These days there's no need for either bass to get lost in the mix.
    My personal preference is for the P tone.
    That of most Js tends to get annoying to me after a little while.
  7. BJMtz


    Oct 18, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    The one thing that always has confused me is that J basses are said to have a more versatile, wider range of tones compared to a P. Most of what I read says Ps are designed to get you that bassy boom while Js have that growl. Ps have been used from James Jamerson to Sting to Matt Freeman. And all those tones vary greatly in my opinion. I bought a P because I felt that would be the best fit for my 90s alt/rock cover band and it has been able to replicate close enough tones for Sublime, Weezer, Green Day, RHCP, STP, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Smashing Pumpkins....many more. Lots of P players in there yes, but also many that are not. Would a J work that well? I have my doubts, especially since I switch a lot between fingers and pick. I also didn't want to be seen playing a J on stage with a pick;)
  8. .....especially because you switch a lot between fingers and a pick...and don't want to be seen on stage playing a J with a pick...HUH?
  9. BJMtz


    Oct 18, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    As ignorant as that comment is, yep that's how I feel
  10. MrTaff


    Jan 20, 2014
    There's some truth to the statement though, I can't help feeling the same.
  11. Noel Redding has been doing it since the early Hendrix days... John Paul Jones in Zeppelin...
  12. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    There so many variables to this equation, that you can't just say it's one way or the other. A P-Bass setup "old school" with flats and string mutes will sound completely different than a P-Bass with un-muted round wound strings. The original concept of the P-Bass was to emulate the sound of an acoustic double-bass which blends very nicely in any mix. Compare that to the sound Steve Harris gets on his P-Bass and it's worlds apart. If you had both a P-Bass & J-Bass set up the same (same strings, amp, etc.) they would definitely sound different, but deciding which mixes better is totally subjective. So much depends on the style of music, recording techniques, and the engineer that you could make them both sound right, if you know what you're doing.
  13. I heard if you play a j with a pick you get banished from Talk Bass.
  14. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    It all depends on:
    the amp
    the type of music
    P.A. (or lack thereof)
    volume of other instruments
    size of venue
    the player
  15. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    "mix" obviously depends on who else is playing.

    Is there lots of space in the mix and your band needs it filled? Or is most of the spectrum already taken by two 7-string guitarist and a keyboarder with restless left hand syndrome?
  16. Come at me, bro :p
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The P-bass excells at low mids ... The low E is about 40hz and the low A is about 55hz. The bass knob on older bass amps is 60hz, and sometimes 50hz. modern preamps go down to 40hz. Low mids give you the octave above the low E and low A. Recording Engineers find those frequencies easy to deal with in the studio. So the octave above the Fundamentsl is what the p-bass excels at.

    The p-bass is a series humbucker which will distort sooner than the parallel humbucking of the j-bass. The jazz will give you more high end and low end and it can give you true single coil tone as well.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This might sound crazy, but play what you want. I prefer Precisions most of the time, but I do like the sound of a good Jazz Bass now and then. Don't have one because they usually weigh too much for my shoulder to take, but I have a handful of PJ's I'll use when I want that sound (and don't start with the "PJ's don't sound like a J" crap, people...it's freaking close enough).
  19. Once you realize "they" are wrong and the quoted statement is completely false, then you can proceed to play your basses with the technique of your choice and decide what sounds best using your ears. :)
  20. cv115505


    Sep 14, 2012
    Oklahoma City
    My standard practice is to always have 1 P and 1 J in rotation... I typically use the P more live and the J more in the studio, but that is strictly a law of averages... your playing style and the type of music you play dictate which is better. That being said, I find that most people who do not like the P have never played them in a mix. They've only tried them in the stores, so they don't get a full scope of their capabilities.