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P-Bass vs. Hot-rodded P-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rabid_granny, Feb 10, 2002.

  1. I was visiting a local music store and they had this used hot-rodded P-bass for sale, eh? So I asked them what was the story behind it and they said the previous owner bought it but wanted a pure Precision sound so after only a few months, he sold it back and bought a Precision.

    Question: Why would someone want to sell a Hot-rodded Precision and buy a Precision?

    When I played it, it sounded exactly like a Precision, except that you could add a Jazz bridge tone (and the annoying hum), if you wanted. But you could turn off that pickup.

    Why? It seems like an upgraded Precision? Can anyone offer insight?
  2. Passive pickups are very sensitive to impedance loading which changes the tone and character of the pickups. There are impedance loading issues with a passive P+J that are not present with a P-only design. It is said that a pure P tone cannot be achieved from a P+J passive setup while the J pickup and/or additional controls are present in the circuit.

    This can be circumvented by installing additional switching that isolates the P pickup from a blend control and/or the J pickup. My drawing below shows a P+J circuit where two volume controls and a single tone control can be entirely switched in or out of the circuit. The player can go directly from the pickup to the jack, if desired. The volume and tone controls are push/pull types that include or bypass the pot in the circuit.

    Link to Passive Switching

    Another solution is using an active preamp such as the J-Retro or U-Retro that isolates each pickup to its own preamp channel so there is no impedance loading.
  3. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Not to mention the fact that a Hot-Rodded P doesn't look the same as a regular Precision Bass. :D
  4. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    My problem with any P/J configuration is that it "approximates" the Precision and the Jazz but it doesn't "nail" either one.So if you're looking for tone flexibility and you like the P/J tone for what it is then that's fine. But if you're looking for real P or J tone then buy a real P or J.
  5. I've been asking the same tone question on the Dude Pit, and all the P/J owners over there say the same thing: it does NOT nail the vintage J tone. They seem to agree that it gets very close to either a P or J tone, but nails neither.

    I suspect the P portion is due to the passive switching mentioned above, and can be cured with bypass switches. The vintage J tone is probably impossible because the P construction is fundamentally different from a J neck pickup.
  6. One thing a P + J setup can do that a P or J can't is get the P + J sound. That is a pretty interesting sound in itself. I'm building a Hot Rodded P out of Warmoth parts and it's the blended sound that I'm looking forward to.
  7. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Yeah, I like the P/J tone for a good slap tone... but that hum from the J... Hmm maybe P's and J's are better on their own. I say take each for what they are, and use either the J or a non-Fender for your slappity-slap needs :)