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P-Bass: Good and/or bad?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by UnBonGars, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. UnBonGars


    Jan 12, 2013
    Hey guys this is my first post here, i'm a complete noob on the forum scene so don't hate!

    Basically, i own a Mexican P-Bass. The Mike Dirnt signature model; with the Rosewood neck and le split coil pickup. I bought it mainly because i love Green Day to death (Come at me, brah) and i wanted a Fender guitar.

    My main issue is that the P-Bass requires (in my experience, at least) a good preamp situation happening, because the pickup isn't really that powerful. I realized soon after buying that i don't really know too much about the P-Bass sound and how to use it; so chances are that i'm completely ignorant about a crucial factor on how to get the right tone out of it (or whatever).

    Any inputs on how to work a P-Bass, how to get a good tone; good P-Bass artists/sounds and anything else that may pass through your mind will be greatly appreciated. Cheers, all!
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    What type of string are you using? I would look at some Duncan Quarter Pounders if you want a hotter pickup I would also consider a Tronographic Rusty Box, VT Bass or a Tone Hammer pedal to give you some edge I'm a huge Greenday fan also.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    A p bass simply needs a good amp.
  4. to me the classic p bass tone is james jamerson's.
    in the recording subforum you find a whole lot of info about jamerson.

    imo p bass is all about complimenting the band. so i dont find a fancy slap tap solo tone desirable.
    to achieve something similar to the jamerson sound id use flatwound strings with a foam mute running a little into the hot zone with any given preamp.
    i love that sound!
  5. well to me p bass sounds best with preamp (just the gain control) and DI
  6. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    I doubt that's the sound the OP's going for.
  7. Lol. I suspect you are right !

    Key thing for any rock based tone is not to over-goose the bass frequencies, and to have planty of mids to cut through.
    If you havn't already got a parametric mid frequency adjustment on your amp, then this is a seriously useful thing to get in a pedal or pre-amp format to boost just the right mid frequency to get the character you are looking for.
    And also, if you are going for a green Day type tone, you will of course need some sort of overdrive ability, whether in your amp or a pedal.
    I really like the Ashdown Lomenzo Hyperdrive. The Rusty Box also sounds wonderful.

    Also you need to play with a pick !
  8. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    You could look into upgrading the pickup. Then get a nice amp, play with a pick, or fingers (with bright strings) - a nice bit of overdrive and you'll get the P-bass rumble. Make sure you boost some low mids.
  9. he didnt really specify what sound he was going for so i just wrote what kind of p bass tone i prefer
  10. roden


    Aug 30, 2011
    I have the mike Dirnt bass (fender version)
    and i like to plug into a Sansamp BDriver Di then into the Hartke A70 combo, P-bass sound to pale imo without something to make it more lively and naughty.
  11. I would suggest to the OP, he get a pro setup done first, along with maybe new strings. A pro setup would include adjustment of the pickup height, you'd be surprised how adjusting the height can bring a pickup to life. I did it before to my '78 P bass where the previous owner had the pickup way too low, and was flat to the body, instead of following the curve of the string radius. I adjusted it to Fender factory specs, and the difference was like night and day. Before, although it sounded decent, it was a little thin and clanky and the string volume was uneven. After adjusting, it had that full deep throated tone that the P-bass is known for. Get the thing setup before you go modding it, it may not need anything more than that.
  12. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    i have to agree with linton. This should be a nice bass. its got a 59pickup and a fat rosewood/maple neck. Pbass is a lot about touch i think. Its so simple, and thats the magic. id like to have one of thoes basses myself. im sure its nice for jazzy stuff too..its pretty much all in your hands..
  13. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    Maybe he didn't really specify, but...

    That may have been a clue.
  14. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Echoing linton I agree lots is to be gained by PU adjustment and new strings. For a greenday sound I'd go with some nice steel rounds.

    Heavy pick attack also does some magic. I prefer picks around 2mm for that.
  15. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
  16. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Yes, pickup height. And new strings.

    I think a proper pickup height would make that bass hot enough to get just about any acceptable bass level.
  17. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    yes.get a good professional setup. im sure the bass is great.
  18. msact


    Jan 8, 2013
    Somewhere in NJ
    I remember a long time ago when I was in high school (back in the 70's) the school band had a P bass. I really hated that it. For one thing, it had felt mutes that killed any sustain. Also, it played lousy and had no punch. At the time I really didn't know what to do, so I ditched it and brought my own bass from home to play in the school band. Looking back, I am sure it had to be the setup (in addition to those mutes) because my current MIM P bass is my favorite. It really roars and it plays fantastic. I was lucky because my P bass played great right out of the box. My new 60s jazz bass sounds great but the action is too high. I think it's hit or miss with how these things get set up at the factory. Don't get frustrated yet. It should be a great bass.
  19. Start with a pickup upgrade, if you want the best get Fralins or Antiquities. One step below would be Duncan SPB-1s and Fender Custom Shop. Also, experiment with quality strings, I like TI flats and DR Sunbeams.

    Don't forget, tone is in your fingers. Don't mute the bass with your hands and forearm. You don't need to murder the string when you pluck it. Make contact with the very edge of the fret.

    As people are saying setup is good too. I think more people should know how to do this themselves, there are only a few tools required. A professional will not be able to customize to YOUR feel and taste without specific notes, they'll just setup to a default player.
  20. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    i think the mike dirnt bass has got a pretty decent pickup actually. A 59customshop i think..