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PJ pickups vs single pickup P

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sm49341, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    Sorry guys I'm sure this has been discussed but I have searched and searched. Anyway, really looking to get into a Fender Precsion bass. Sometimes you see them with a PJ configuration. Just using your brain, than sounds like a good idea. Tonal options. But some people say you just don't get the same Pbass tone outta these. Trying these models out is not really possible, I have to drive quite a way. Is there really a noticeable diff if you have that J pickup turned off?
  2. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    I have 2 Lakland PJs and LOVE the tone!

    I get a great P tone out of both of them with the J shut off....

    Get a PJ...IMHO they offer more options...
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Rolling off the J pickup gets you very close to a P IMO. Even with both pickups on full the tone is very "P" to me.
  4. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    I've owned many P/J's. The answer to your question is, it depends. If the bass in question has a pickup selector, where the P pickup can be isolated, then the answer is no, there is no noticeable difference. If you have a blend knob (like a Precision Deluxe), then you will either get some input from the J pickup or a subtle tone difference just from the blend circuitry. That difference is really subtle, but it's there.

    That said, there are different flavors of P/J's. A Spector Euro sounds NOTHING like a P deluxe or a standard P.

    What are you looking at getting?
  5. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    True. If the blend/selector is set with both pickups on, the P pickup will dominate. The J adds a bit of tonal yumminess that makes P/J's so appealing to me. It's a bit prettier sounding than a standard P, but beefier than a jazz bass.
  6. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    Exactly ......I love the combo but rolling off the j gives a nice p sound.....
  7. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Not if your brain is educated.

    The typical passive P/J with V/V/T controls is a technical failure for reasons I've spent thousands of words explaining just in the past couple of years. Search "V/V/T syndrome" just for a start. It's just terrible, ignorant engineering.

    If you think the P/J is a valuable idea, go the Tony Franklin route, with switched pickups of the best individual quality, not screwed up "P/J" pickup sets that try (unsuccessfully) to match each other, but fall short as either P or J.

    Do what you want, it's your money, your funeral.
  8. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    Here is some PJ goodness....as you can see from the picture in my avatar (which is the bass on the recordings) I did V/V/T/T this allows ultimate control.



    ..and a Jazzy Christian Song written by our band leader:

    Sorry for some of the off notes....

    I think this sounds pretty much like a P to me...(and the J was at about 60%)
  9. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    I should know this, Doug, but which pickups are in that Lakland? Also, which strings were you using in those clips? I've been interested in a PJ for quite a while, but haven't found one I'm sold on yet. The clips sound great, nice full tone!
  10. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    Thanks man....those are the lakland vintage style pickups.

    Strings are sadowdowsky black label flats.....you know me...not a flats guy but I really like these strings....alot!

    A 4464 with the same set up would be killer!
  11. milkman-27


    Jul 4, 2009
    I am actually having a dilema with this sort of thing right now. I have a 2010 Fender AM Standard P that I love, but when I am rehearsing with the band it seems that my Yamaha BB414 with both pups on full sounds way better when playing with the band than my Fender P does. As a matter of fact, I only gig with the Yamaha. I have been actually considering selling the Fender and maybe buying another P/J style bass preferably another Yamaha BB series and using any surplus to go towards another 410 cabinet. Too bad cause I really love the Fender but I love the way the Yamaha sounds alot more.
  12. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    OP here. Looking at a passive Fender P. Or something similar in the price range. Passive all the way tho.
  13. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Yeah, you gave me the idea months ago of finding another 44-64 Custom that I liked and adding a J pickup. I have a good local luthier who could do the work. But, well, you know, I want that instant gratification thing. :)

    OP, since you are interested in Fender, you might take a look at the"Cowpoke" thread, that's a popular Fender PJ that can often be found for a good price.

    EDIT: Oops. OP, just saw you want passive, so never mind. :)
  14. Bredian


    Apr 22, 2011
    Got P/J set ups in several basses, but all are active. Fender Precision Lyte, and a couple of Epiphone EBMs with really substandard electronics I'm in the middle of replacing.

    In my 3 piece band, I use both pups, but rarely blend. The P having a fuller range and I am not competing for sonic space, but instead need to fill it.

    In the 7 person, 5 piece band, only the J pup will cut through.

    Will advise when I get the EMG PJXs up and running
  15. If it's a pj that you believe you must have then do it

    If it so important to be able to
    get a 'p' tone through the ability of winding off the j then so be it, go for it

    The reality is the guitar will only sound the way it does by virtue of its attributes, what you run it through and how you play it....

    I would worry less about the pj thing and think more about whether an individual guitar is attractive and for that you need to see it, touch and play it...

    I wouldn't read too much into specs in terms of trying to establish how it will sound...admittedly specs are important as they define the attributes, but at the end of the day we are either happy or unhappy with what sits in front of us after purchase...

    I would also worry less about comparisons and focus on does this particular bass meet my needs and am I really happy with how it feels

    Keeping in mind how it sounds in a store is a very limited criteria to use in assessing its overall sound capability

    This response whilst not
    attending to technical attributes of the
    Pj hopefully assists on other aspects of the decision of what to buy


  16. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    People can say what they want about the technical aspects of it, but what matters to me is how it actually sounds. And for that, I started a poll somewhere roughly around a year ago. It compared my '66 Fender Precision to my SB-2 (which is a PJ) to my parts bass P.

    The poll result was that more people picked the PJ as the "real" Fender Precision than either of the others. That told me all I needed to know about whether a PJ can produce an authentic P tone.

    Since then, I spent about $20 on pots, knobs, etc, and added a Master Volume and a Tone to the SB-2. I now feel like it is the ultimate P and PJ.
  17. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    Honestly you should get a Blacktop Jazz.
    Screw the P/J, get a P/P!
    I had a P/J Fender before and it just never did anything for me.
    It is like having a 1x15 and a 2x10 speaker setup: they do not mix easily, if at all.
    If you do go for a P/J setup get a switch in there that turns them either on or off. Do not try to blend.
  18. The problem with some PJ's is that the J bass pickup can be really thin sounding on it's own, and not really that usable. Plus you can get that single coil hum when the J is on. A P bass pickup on its own is a humbucker, which won't hum on it's own, but a J pickup is a single coil and you get the hum. (you'll usually get this with a jazz bass too if you go on only one pickup - some pickups are better than others at masking the hum).
  19. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    dimarzio p/j set (j is hum cancelliing) with a vol/tone and 3-way selector. simply stunning tones come from that setup.
  20. Gmclachlan

    Gmclachlan Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    I have a similar setup. I put a Fralin split coil J pickup in a couple of Precisions and use a blend pot. It eliminates the hum you'll probably get from the J pickup otherwise, and sounds great, fat with midrange from both pickups, fairly punchy bark from just the J and lots brown midrange from just the P.
    Not quite as isolated as a pickup selector switch, but I like having a little blend, and I like having a master volume no matter what pickup configuration I'm using.