Precision vs. Jazz - "Sitting in the Mix"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ChadPaulJones, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. ChadPaulJones


    Aug 8, 2012
    I've see a recurring comment in a number of different threads regarding the age old debate of Precision vs. Jazz. The comment I'm referring to is "P's sit better in the mix". When this comment is made are people speaking primarily of a live setting, sudio setting or both? Also, whereas P's dominated in the 50's and 60's havent' J's become the more prominent bass of choice? I'd love to hear some expert opinions.
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The sitting in a mix factor is purely opinion. I'm no expert, but I've been playing for over three decades. I happen to be a P guy and I do think P-basses sound better in the mix -- but I also think they sound better out of the mix, and for any purpose including slap! J-bass players will of course prefer J-basses.

    J-basses are more popular because they have two pickups and therefore offer a wider variety of tones. Also, they provide the most popular slap tone.

    P-basses started in 1951, J-basses not until a decade later, and it took awhile for their popularity to exceed the P-bass, which "Fender bassists" had adopted as the standard.
  3. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    Well put.

    I have, at times, struggled to get my J to bite through the mix and have 'presence' in a live show. In those instances, the way to get it done is indeed to make the J 'bite' through using its superior high-mid and treble capabilities. Alternatively, one can sometimes also crank the low mids and bass, and achieve this.

    The P never has a problem. It doesn't need to 'bite' through any mixes. It sits in its own sonic space where it reigns supreme. That space is the midrange. The P can be tweeked to extend into deep bass or higher tones, but it OWNS the midrange.

    By itself, the P sounds good. By itself, the J sounds amazing. In a mix, the P sounds amazing and the J sounds good.
    Tikola914 and Isotonic like this.
  4. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    The next question is "which mix?" I've found my J works really well in guitarless settings but it's opposite with my P
    Mvilmany likes this.
  5. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    Sitting "in" the mix is more dependent on what the mix is... Also what the room is like.

    I have been in plenty of situations where everything is the same, volume, people etc. but the room either just sucks all of the bass out of the room, or makes it so loud and boomy that it turns everything into mud.

    IME.. set your sound and let your sound guy, or somebody who's ears you trust to, walk around listen and make corrections either at the board, or direct you to tweak your amp.

    And just because it sounds good or bad to you can mean nothing in terms of what sounds good in the audience..
  6. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I like hearing the attack of each note. When I try to dial that in with a P I get a more nasally honk which sounds good for rock or blues but out of place with other styles. If you like a warm round pillow or a snarly rock tone the P is great. The J is better if you want to hear midrange character, more open bottom and edge to the attack in a dense mix.
  7. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Maybe, but it's the opinion of about 90% of professional studio engineers.

    There's surely an element of monkey-see-monkey-do at work here, but engineers have always loved the Precision over anything else for traditional bass tracking.
  8. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    New England
    For playing along with distorted guitars, my P-bass cuts through a million times better than my Jazz bass. My Jazz bass sounds better all by itself, though.

    Of course, everyone plays differently, so other people might not share my experience.
  9. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    I would venture to guess that about 90% of the time their mixes sound the same too.

    And the tone of the instrumentation is indistinguishable from band to band. (every bass on their mixes sound exactly the same and every guitar has "that Strat sound").

    It's the path of least effort. They mix it to what THEY are used to and can sound good easily. As long as everything fits in their idea box, the way they expect it to sound they are happy. Venture outside of that and you become that "crap bass sound and completely unmixable"..

    smeet, LBS-bass, taught and 2 others like this.
  10. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    The sitting in the mix thing has far more to do with the recordist/sound guy than the instrument played I think.
    I do prefer Ps over Jazzes single coil over split coil Ps.
  11. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    New England
    I notice a difference during practice... as a result I have never recorded with a Jazz. Maybe in a studio the difference would be less noticeable, but I never want to chance it, so I generally record with a P-bass or my NS-2.
  12. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Sitting in the mix as in you dont notice the bass at all until it cuts out? If thats your definition then the pbass is prolly better for that. But then again, it runs the risk of getting buried in the mix especially in live situations. Its kinda sad if no one notices when the bass is cut out.

    The Jazz bass with the bridge PU definitely has more articulation. You can actually hear each and every note jaco is playing.
  13. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Each and every tribute over here has been correct and to the point

    But the difference is between what sounds more and what sounds better

    Serial (and in this case Precision' splitcoils) pickups are louder and cuttin' so physiologically "sittin' in the mix", bein' it live or studio

    Parallel (and in this case Jazz' single coils) pickups are way more defined and edgy, but they can find some difficulty to settle their niche

    villis likes this.
  14. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    Strictly from a live setting, IME a P Bass works best in a 1 guitar band, and tends to get buried in a 2 guitar band... In a 2 guitar band, *I* get better results with a Jazz in series, an EBMM, Gibson T-bird, or Spector, than I do with a P Bass...

    In the studio, the mix has more to do with the engineer than it does the bass choice, IMO...

    - georgestrings
  15. I gig with both and both sit fine. P vs J sitting in the
    mix better is just something else to debate about. In
    other words if someone says one "sits" better than
    the other they are just giving you an opinion not a fact.
  16. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I love both and find that both work very well in various mixes with a little tweaking.

    I happen to prefer J basses right now, but this time last year I was all about P's.
  17. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    My Jazz sit on a bar stool, the precision on a sofa! :(
  18. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    Depends which mix and it depends which P or J as well. I've played other Jazzes that don't sit as well as my '62RI does. Likewise, I've had problems with my 60th Anniv. P sitting where I wanted it to, where my Highway One P does. In my current band it's my Jazz. In a punk side project I do, it's the P (or also a Jaguar, which is neither here nor there).
  19. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    In the studio , differences can be made very much apparent.
    They can also be hidden quite well.
    Elements out of that are the players confidence and comfort when playing specific instruments, so you may well deliver better performances on the two basses you mention regardless of their sound being better or worse than the one you leave at home. That can't be bad I recon.
  20. I'm here with ya. I've got 3 P-basses, but lately the Jazz knockoff has been getting all the playtime. Just seems to fit better with my classic rock/blues band.

    The P w/ flats works great, too. Just different. I can do either.
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