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PJ tone hype

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by davidchampoux, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. davidchampoux

    davidchampoux Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Quebec, Canada
    What is that hype about PJ basses?

    Is it only me or does the PJ pickup config sounds like ... thin? With an anoying (slight) ring in the upper mid area, around 4-5Khz?...

    I've had a few PJ basses, tryed different pickups. I always hear the same thing. In different amps or DI ...

    Is it only me?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah. If you hear the same things using varying pickups and varying basses I would have to conclude the "problem" is you. I have owned several and they all sounded completely different. I have changed the pickups in several and that completely changed the whole characteristic of the overall tone of the bass. The lack of similarity between these basses/pickups was striking.

    that being said, I think you are now listening for thing that may not be there. Perception is everything. You now have a somewhat negative perception of PJ basses. Our brains are very powerful things. Yours may have just turned you off to them. No biggie. There are plenty of other options out there.
  3. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    if you don't like them, don't use them.

    There is "hype" around every configuration - and there are people who hate them as well.
  4. LowBC

    LowBC Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2008
    Music Go Round - Aurora, CO (owner) We buy used gear!

    Never had that issue; I liked adding a little "bridge J" definition to a round P sound.

    Also, if you install a series/parallel switch that will turn that rig into a big ol' triple coil humbucker, you can use it to invade <insert politically correct country this week here>!!

    good luck!
    MobileHolmes likes this.
  5. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    I love the basic configuration...but I love plenty of others as well.
  6. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I guess I fell for the hype. I've played every configuration there is, and keep coming back to the PJ. Silly me. :rolleyes:
  7. I've never liked them either, both aesthetically and tone-wise. Now, P + MM...
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Just use America. It's always PC to bash America.
  9. My favorite "modern" bass has a neck J and a bridge MM. Just what I found I prefer. But, I do agree different pickups should have made more of difference(barring another problem with the bass).

  10. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    P/J basses sound very different depending on where the pickups are placed and how they're voiced for their placement. I find when the pickups are placed close together, the D/G strings can sound nasal and thin(certain pickups like EMGs work around this somehow), though I love the sound it gives with the bridge pickup rolled off just a bit. There are also P/J basses with a reverse P pickup that give a different(awesome) sound when both pickups are full on. My main P/J bass has the pickups spaced further apart and the tone is closer to a Jazz bass than anything else.
  11. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Actually this is my go-to 4-string (and actually, my only fretted 4-string). So obviously I like them, but I know not everyone does (and there are PJ guys that don't like EMGs so ymmv).

  12. Ditto. I mostly run as a P, but dial in a little J for bite with the flats.

    Me too. If I had my way, I'd own all P/J5's and 2 P5's (1 w.rounds, 1 w/flats). It seems a perfect config for me.
  13. I started on bass with a pj config. Ibanez Roadstar 2 black with white pickguard & have owned many PJ basses over the years. I like em, they can sound a little thin if you have both pickups dimed as can a jazz bazz if your pickup heights aren't balanced, this is more pronounced with a pj bass, most sound best to my ears with a slight roll off of the bridge jazz pickup.
  14. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Interesting! Before I built mine I tried a bunch of different pickups and locations and found that I prefer my J pickup a bit closer to the neck. Seemed to me having the pickup too close to the BRIDGE made it sound thin and nasal. I didn't start with a P-J setup though. Actually I had the complete electronics from a T-40 in a previous bass, pickups wired and located the same as they were in the T40. Sounded terrible! After much experimentation with the old bass I ended up here. The DiMarzio Ultra Jazz and Split P on this one work really well together. To my ear, it has the classic P punch and a powerful snap that work really well separately or together. I feel that they blend really well and I usually keep it around 60/40 one way or the other. Had many compliments on my live sound.

  15. Nice bass^
  16. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington

    Very awesome bass. I've never seen that pickup spacing used before, I'd love to hear how it sounds with the bridge pickup more in the ballpark of a Rickenbacker's.

    I wasn't trying to say that any P/J bass with the pickups close together will have a thin tone with both pickups on 100%, but(according to what I've read on talkbass) the phase cancellation between 2 pickups has a stronger effect when they are closer together, and can result in a bigger tone change when both pickups are full on. Especially with the D/G side being closer than the E/A's on a P/J bass, the D/G strings will sound different from the E/A strings. With a P and J pickup that don't mix well, you may end up with that thin sound some people associate with P/J basses. With a well matched/spaced set, you can have two distinct, beautiful voices coming out of your bass at the same time.

    Basically - P/J basses vary a lot
  17. The hype is that you get P bass tones and J bridge tones. I see little reason for a bass with a P pickup to have all that empty real-estate near the bridge. For the most part, I favor the bridge on a J bass since something about the neck pickup just doesn't do much for me.
  18. RED J

    RED J Lol

    Jan 23, 2000
    It's not only you, or your technique. Not all P-J setups are created equal. Keep looking. I react to most like you have. When I finally found one with the ahhhh factor, dialing in the J with the P not only expanded the high end and definition but the overall tone fattened up. Complimentary, not subtractive, which is how I find most P-J setups. YMMV.
  19. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I just got hold of a KH5 with this config. It is an interesting configuration. I was surprised at how the MM pup is so deep compared to the neck J pup. I like it though.. still fiddling with it and have yet to make it out in a live environment. Just been at home so far.
  20. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    My favorite pj bass was the g&l sb2. But that was really just a hot p bass that used the j pickup as a tone control. I'm a fan of the reverse P in the other PJs I liked, only sounded thin if eq from amp was thin.
    5StringPocket likes this.

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