P or J bass for beginner?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by draftech, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. draftech


    Aug 20, 2002
    Stanwood, WA
    My 12 year old son has expressed an interest in the bass, so I am doing some research to try and figure out what to get (I play acoustic guitar, so I'm fairly clueless about bass). I have seen a lot of positive posts regarding the Essex line at RondoMusic.com, and will probably go that route. The main decision seems to be whether to go with a P bass or J bass. Other than personal preference, are there any compelling reasons to go one way or another?

  2. boomerang

    boomerang Guest

    Dec 9, 2001
    I would highly suggest a p-bass. If you can find a used mim p-bass locally, i would go for that. I say a P over a J, partly because of its simplicity. The p bass is very versatile, it only has one tone knob but playing in different positions will allow your son to learn different techniques of playing. It sounds great played fingerstyle or with a pick. J basses are great too, but my first bass was a p, and it's the bass i compare all other basses to, including my jazz. A simple bass like the p will put an emphasis on learning the bass in a traditional sense, i think its the best electric bass a person could start out on. Most of us don't outgrow them either. :)
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    No, the P-bass is NOT versatile. It's a bit of a one-trick pony. Get the J-bass. Having two pickups gives you a much broader range of tones than what's available on the P, and you'll wait longer before you buy his next bass.
  4. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Speaking from experience - although I loved my Precision, I had a Jazz early on. For me, it felt better, Mel Shacher playe d one, and it had a thinner neck. As a novice, I was more interested in learning what the beast could do, so I liked being able to turn knobs and make things change. As I learned more, I knew what I was looking for, and found it in the Precision.

    Now, my son also wanted to start playing. I got him a Dano Longhorn, but he gravitated quickly towards my Hamer Cruise (like a Jazz) rather than my G&L (like a Precision) for probably the same reasons.
  5. boomerang

    boomerang Guest

    Dec 9, 2001
    fine munji. I say get him a P/J bass. but put the bridge pickup offlimits until he knows WHY he wants it.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Now THAT is dumb. No offense.
  7. JimM


    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    It would be nice if he could try each for a week or two and then decide.For some of us,the thinner neck of the Jazz and the variety of two pickups makes all the difference in the world,for others the deeper tone and wider neck of the precision are indispensible.I have one of each and like the J neck,but prefer the P tone.
  8. Since your son is 12, I would go with the Jazz model simply because of the thinner neck. I bought my son a bass for his 10th birthday last year and had trouble finding a bass that would be maneageable for him. Of course, he's bigger now, but even so, I find the Precision necks to be a bit big, and I'm a pretty big guy.:)

    The other thing to consider: as a first bass, you obviously don't want to spend a ton of money. Who knows if he'll decide against the bass in favor of guitar or piano. ;)

    Good luck!
  9. I say get a squire P-bass special.
    They have a jazz neck and a jazz pickup at the bridge, also there not that expesive, but there not cheaply made. and since you didn't pay a lot, you don't have to worry about him not taking an interest later on, and besides if he desides he doesn't like bass you can keep it!:D
    Beatkeeper likes this.