P- Bass or J- Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bmaas, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Bmaas


    Jul 27, 2009
    Hey guys new to the fourum and new to the world of bass. I just started playing bass for this band and really am falling in love with the instrument but I dont want to make hte mistake of buying ****** equipment again I would rather by one good bass that will last me years. Whats the major difference between the p- bass and j-bass and what does active mean?
  2. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Search button.
  3. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Oh boy..

    P bass, Precision bass, split coil pickup, one pickup.
    J bass, Jazz bass, two Jazz pickups, two pickups.

    Active - bass runs on a battery, usually leads to a preamp, giving more tonal options, control.

    But thats just brief. Using the search button will give you hours of reading.

    And welcome to TB! Things will click in time, dont let our recommendations of the Search button get to your head, many new members ask the same question. ;)
  4. Rock-Bassman


    Dec 25, 2008
    If you like mowtown/classic rock/punk bass, go for the P. If you like jazz, rock, alternative, and stuff thats a little harder than classic rock. But I guess you can use a bass for any genre... some may sound better than others imho.
  5. bryceg2189


    Jul 24, 2009
    in my opinion, the pbass has a punchy mid range and the j bass has a more low end growl...but i mean everyones ears are different. another major difference is the j bass's neck- it has a much slimmer profile.

    my recommendation would be to figure out what your favorite bass players play and go from there. or you could just get a p/j bass with the best of both
  6. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    New guy?

    my suggestions: IN all likelihood, you won't on this instrument for years even if you keep playing - - you'll do what most of do - - sell, churn, exchange. So don't get too hung up on this bass.

    JC (above) stated the differences nicely -- for my money, I *need* two pickups so I have sound options. The P-bass does one sound *great*, but only that one sound. The J has a slightly narrower neck, which I prefer. So pick one, then pick the other later. Find out for yourself what works. I've had several of each, and in the end prefer the J layout.

    Last thought: Whatever you buy, buy USED. If you just have to buy new, buy something like an SX so the money you'll be throwing away won't be a huge amount. New instruments are like new cars - you walk out of the store and lose %30 of their value off the bat.... And you *will* be selling this bass, I assure you.

    Good luck.
  7. Sharko


    Jun 18, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Is that the town with impeccably cut lawns?
  8. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008

    And Ill quote Harry quoting me.

    I had a Fender Deluxe Active Jazz bass. I absolutely hated, I thought it was great until I played a few other basses. I sold it immediately. I found my Geddy on here for a great deal, but I was afraid to buy another Jazz.. Im sooo happy I made that jump. I love Jazzes. I actually plan on getting a fretless, and a 5er before the summer is over. I just love em.

    Then I got a P from a friend on TB. I love it! I do, it is exactly what I expected. But it has proven to me that I am a Jazz bass guy. The neck is a bit chunky for my tastes, and as Harry said, its more of a one tone pony.

    Will I always try to have at least one of each? Sure! But which will I play more, and buy more of? Jazz basses.

    Trial by fire my friend. ;)
  9. jbassbob

    jbassbob Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    Boise ID
  10. I like how P's sound, and they're necks are more comfortable for me, but J's can get a close enough P sound with just the neck pickup and have more places to put my right thumb, however jazz necks are too thin for my hands and I don't care for them unless its a 5 then they're ok.
  11. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    See, and Bryan thus proves that everyone is different. Especially when starting out there is only so much we can teach you. I wish I had someone to tell me to get an SX instead of my crappy Silvertone, I would have started on a much more solid base.
  12. nellie48


    Mar 12, 2007
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I have both but I find myself leaning towards the Jazz more. I play alternative, indy, rock music. The Jazz is more articulate and has more clarity in the mids and highs IMO. The lower notes have more of a growl or burp to them. The precision bass is a thicker wall of sound and I find myself using it for more warm tones and punch. I think the jazz looks a little sexy-er with its thin neck and offset body. I had a p/j configuration and was never happy with the tone.

    Get yourself a Fender used in nice shape. Literally every bass I've owned off Ebay I have played the crap out of it and then sold it at a profit or breaking even. The MIA have a better resale value.
  13. lowdown3


    Mar 22, 2008
    You see I had the Gedyy Lee bass for about a year and never did anything for me...And like this guy said I was nervous about getting another Jazz bass.....I bought a Fender Jazz Deluxe with the active and I have been playing it for almost a year and I love it...I also have a American Fender Jazz Standard and it sounds and feels like crap.....Buy used thats all I can say and what feels good to you may feel like crap to another..................Another bass that I liked was the Road worn Jazz bass....Anyways thats what I think.
    Buy what you feel fits you well.
  14. TeamTrejo


    Oct 12, 2008
    Franklin WI
    "P-bass or J-Bass"

    If you have to ask the question then I'd recommend the P-bass.

    It's a good place to start for the new bassist.

    Eventually you will own both.
  15. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Yet again, thus proving my point that every bass is different to each person. I love my Geddy, he didnt like his. I hated my Avtice Jazz, he loves his.

    This thread is proving lots of points guys!
  16. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Hi Bmaas.

    Welcome to TalkBass! :)

    As has been suggested, preliminary use of TB's search function will often yield answers to many of your questions, and will definitely win you friends here on TalkBass (and on other forums as well).


    A P-Bass' solitary, hum-cancelling, single-coil pickup, located mid-way between the P's bridge and neck, gives it a big, one-size-fits-all tone that sits well in the mix for any style of music.

    A J-Bass' two (typically non-hum-cancelling) pickups give it three distinct sounds, only one of which (the two pickup sound) has hum-cancelling capability.

    A J's neck is also more narrow (1.5" wide) at the nut compared to a P's chunkier neck profile, which makes the slimmer Jazz Bass neck feel 'faster' to many players.

    As a broad generalisation, a J's punchy response is favoured by fancy bass players whereas a P's fatter tone get the nod from pocket players.

    But then there's virtuoso P-player Mr. Colin Hodgkinson.

    One really can't go wrong with either instrument (as with choosing any bass, ALWAYS play a few first to find a good one), and many players wind up owning both:

    - one strung with roundwounds for a modern clang & twang,

    - the other strung with flat-wounds for that smooth, cool, old-school thump.


    Active basses have built-in pre-amps which require the use one or two 9 volt batteries (depending on the pre-amp's design).

    IMO/IME these devices form an unneeded source of additional problems (hiss, a superfluous layer of EQ which needlessly complicates getting a good amp sound, more components to potentially fail, weak or dead batteries) which undercuts a bass' musical tonality. :eyebrow:

    Passive electronics (like those found in most P and J-Basses) are simpler, less troublesome, and better sounding. :)

    (I may get flamed for stating my views on the active appendix, er.., pre-amp. Too bad.) :D
  17. nellie48


    Mar 12, 2007
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I totally agree. No flamming from me.
  18. I'm new to the bass world also, but I would recommend the Fender Deluxe Active P Bass Special to anyone else just starting out. It has both the Jazz and Precision pickups, active electronics, the Jazz neck and the P' body. It's the best of both worlds, or possibly the worst. :meh: But it gives you a ton of options for not a whole lot more than either a Jazz or P'.
  19. great observation. this is something ive always felt, but never put words to it. thanks! :bassist:

    whats interesting is that i own a jazz and when i bought it i was very into vic and marcus and trying to learn their licks, but over the last few years ive become disinterested with that and more focused on the motown style. guess what; my jazz is for sale here on tb (or for trade for a good P). :D
  20. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Why not have both? A J and a P go together like jam and peanut butter.