P vs. PJ: difference in sound with J rolled off?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by philthygeezer, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. philthygeezer

    philthygeezer Supporting Member

    May 22, 2002
    So does a pure P-bass have a different sound than a P-J with the J pickup rolled off?

    Please discuss. Thanks!
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've seen some PJ's where the P is closer to the bridge than on a standard P. If the P is in same position, I can't think of any reason why there'd be a noticably different sound.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Location definitely matters.

    On a side note, depends what kind of p bass tone you are refering back to. I had a godin p/j that i put bartolini pickups in and the tone with the P solo'd was WAY different than a fender P tone. Way better ;) less trebely, more bottom, more vintage, more styleee
  4. If your talking Fender P vs Fender PJ (like a P deluxe)...no discernable difference...

    other than that...what David and Figjam say...
  5. There is an electrical difference, because the J and its pot circuitry affects the total impedance of the circuit.

    The only way to avoid this, is by isolating the J and its pot(s) from the circuit with a switch or push-pull pot.

    Whether or not this affects your sound is subjective. You would have to experiment with this to see if the project is worth the hassle.
  6. Subculture13

    Subculture13 Jamming Econo

    Apr 9, 2003
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    Call it subjective I dont blame you, but I had a PJ for years, a tone and feel that I knew well. I almost always played with the J rolled off, I just liked it better that way.

    One day out of boredom when the strings were off I REMOVED the J pickup and restrung it. It sounded a little different, but it definitely played differently. Call me crazy, but I swear the magnetic pull of the pickup influenced the snappyness of the strings. It felt more alive, less muted if you will with only one pickup in it.

    To test this discovery further, I immediately dropped it back in, put the same strings on and I did notice a difference. I went one step further and raised the J pup height to VERY close to the strings and played it unplugged. I totally noticed a difference then, it felt as it the strings were being tugged at the whole time, as if drawn to the magnets. I hated it, my fingerstyle speed was reduced almost instantly from fighting against the strings.
  7. if nothing else, the string sustain will be affected. and like you said, the closer you put the magnetic pickups, the more it will be affected. This is precisely why EMG developed their active pickups like they did, so that you could move them right in without worry of putting too much magnetic field around the strings.

    IMO, the effect of the extra pickup is small, but noticeable...the effect of "dialing out" the pickup vs. "switching it out" as bgavin suggested is probably hardly noticeable at all.

    I don't know...if you never use the bridge pickup, then don't put one in, there are no advantages in this situation. Personally, I use the bridge pickup in my P/J quite a bit (rely on it heavily for slapping, and use the bass extensively in series mode, since my series mod). For this reason, there are definite advantages for me in keeping the J pup.