Precision vs. Jazz - "Sitting in the Mix"

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

  1. BassBob1


    Dec 21, 2010
    Well, I have always been a J guy but I do love the P as well. I have never really had a problem with a J sitting in the mix or cutting through it. If there were any problems it's nothing a little pickup blending couldn't fix. I will say with more recent little recording projects I have either used my p bass copy or favored the neck pickup on the jazz for a more p like sound. Live I have always preferred the jazz though.
  2. Dave Campbell

    Dave Campbell

    Jul 13, 2006
    I have about 8 basses, and by default my P bass is the only one right now without any technical issues, so I've been bringing it to my gigs. I just find that I plug in and play with the P, I don't ever have to fumble around with the tone. It's kind of the Golden Retriever of basses... very reliable and user friendly.

    I get more exciting tones out of my Jazz, my G&L L2000, my '85 Stingray... but I have to spend the first set-and-a-half farting around to get the sound I want.

    The P... plug and play.
  3. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    I may be way off here..
    But, I am not able to judge MY playing in a live situation with the band going.

    If I walk out in front of the PA, and listening for my signal, then 2 things are going to happen.
    1 I will invariably decide I am not loud enough and turn up. (like a singer w/o any slapback)

    2 if I am able to get far enough in front of the PA to where the throw/ Mix is, I can not play in time. Assuming 50' (333fps sound) you would need to be playing .15sec in front of the sound you're hearing to be playing in time.

    IMO, it has to be the sound guy or a trusted set of ears in front of the mains to assess and offer corrections..
  4. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
  5. 10 Reasons:

    1.- The tone - full, rich, big
    2.- One pickup - just deal with it
    3.- Symetrical form -will fit on any stand without danger
    4.- No iron stuff on top
    5.- Simple, meat and potatoes - still the tone of your dreams
    6.- Best cut though the mix
    7.- It is the first one
    8.- it is the classic one
    9.- Great neck - the american special – greatest neck
    10.- Amazing with a pick
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Most of us will never afford the full attention of someone
    who is capable of handling an infinite variety of bass tones thrown at them
    and getting those tones to "sit in the mix" well
    -and who will take the $$$time and $$$effort to do so.

    Most of us are going to be stuck with a guy who will happily ignore "your tone"
    in order to meet the holistic demands of
    a serviceable room sound for the whole band in the next fifteen minutes,
    or get a decent source track /mix /master on in the few hours you paid them for.

    so the pragmatic question is :
    which bass is a busy, underpaid sound guy/engineer least likely to f*ck up int the mix?

    I vote P bass.
  7. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    definitely valid. And (unfortunately often) accurate.

    They will also tend to EQ the bass to "that same bass sound" they have been doing forever, tending to be boomy, lacking any definition, mixed enough so that you can hear it. Turning the bass, essentially into a tuned bass drum..

    Essentially, they are on auto pilot and don't care.
  8. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    I feel like fenders go through phases like fashion trends. Right now tele's are really hot, but 5 years ago no one except country players played them. You rarely see newer bands playing strats these days.

    P's and J's are about the same way. 5 years ago no one played P's. Right now I feel like they are more in fashion than J's. It seems to switch back and forth.

    For what its worth, from an engineers standpoint I have any easier time in general with P's than J's, but either is definitely workable.
  9. honest abe

    honest abe Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    Weslaco TX
    Audio Engineer for Marcos Witt
    I'm an mixing engineer first and bass player second. I've likely owned over 50 jazzes as I love their look and feel and prefer them in live situations for their flexibility. I've ended up selling everyone eventually. In the same time span Ive owned one Pbass (57 RI) which I'd never sell but rarely play live. Of all of the songs Ive ever recorded bass on half have been with my P. Precisions seem to cut thru any mix without effort whereas in my experience jazzes need more space to sound good. I consider myself a jazz bass guy that usually ends up recording with a P!
  10. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    My only gig is at church, so I'm hardly an expert. I love Jazz basses, have been playing them for years and in my very humble opinion the Jazz bass seems to best compliment the situation I'm in. It seems to sit "under" least with the way I use it...which in turn best seems to serve the music.

    Not that I haven't used my P bass at church because I did once a few months back. It worked, but the bass was new to me and I don't think I was quite use to the tone it produced. But I am playing this Sunday and am quite sure I'm going to have another go at it. I've been playing my P bass a lot lately and got gotten a lot more use to it. So we'll see what happens.
  11. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012

    The Jazz is definitely more scooped unless you solo the neck pickup. The extra mids the P boasts over J are absolutely helpful with giving it a place to be in a dense mix. With some of the more wide-open mixes you hear (not sure why it's coming to mind but, for example, that elevator jazz fusion stuff), maybe the extra upper mids of the Jazz are preferred.
  12. ChadPaulJones


    Aug 8, 2012
    Thanks for all the great info everyone.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member


    I assume you sometimes play along with recordings or the radio... that counts!
  14. precijazz

    precijazz I want a name when I lose.

    Aug 31, 2011

    ... and this. I just took my J to band practice the other day after using a P/M exclusively for several months, just because the J sounds so fine at home. It took me less than half of the first song to remember why I switched to the P in the first place.

    I need to find another band with more space :D
  15. bootsox


    Apr 28, 2012
    Biloxi, MS
    I currently back a guitar player who doesn't use any distortion or overdrive or anything, and I feel a jazz sits better in the mix. A P is overpowering and makes everything sound awful.
  16. A precision bass is the only bass that I never had trouble hearing myself with in any mix, assuming its wearing the appropriate strings. I was put off at first because I always thought its solo tone was either too harsh or too dull sounding. It wasn't until I got to play one in a band setting that I came to appreciate them. They really are a different animal in a live mix. There are times that I miss having a jazz, usually when I'm in a three piece where they have a chance to shine. I precision can almost be too much of a good thing in a three piece context, but I'm willing to accept the trade off because of the security a P can provide...I know what it's going to do and how it's going to respond sonically 9 times out of ten. It was a no brainer for me: Set and forget or always fiddle and tweak until I found a tone that worked.

    Its amazing the gear I went through before I discovered all this and when I found Talkbass, I realized I wasn't alone.
  17. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    They both have their applications. A precision is great in groups with guitars. A jazz is a must if there is a guitar player with a mid-heavy instrument though, like a LP or hollowbody. Take your pick with any other instrumentation. It really comes down to where the mids are from the other instruments that determines how useful a P will be vs. a J.
    Chicken Wing likes this.
  18. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    I don't have a huge amount of experience in the studio. However, on some of the sessions I've done, there were literally hours of sound checking the other instruments (especially the drums). When it came to my turn to get a sound with my PBass, it took less than a minute ... the engineers already had a channel on the board with a PBass sound marked (or memorized) and they were just making sure that we had a signal and that was it. With the high cost of studio time, I can certainly see the attraction of a highly predictable instrument that is easy to get a workable sound with.
    jimmybc91 likes this.
  19. Both P & J are classic basses.
    The P was NOT the first bass guitar, though. The first bass guitar was made in the 1930s by Paul Tutmarc.
  20. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Excellent post - I have a bit different spin on it. I think the pragmatic question is, which bass is going to sound the best to *you* - be it your onstage mix or what you can dial up in the studio. In my experience, when *I'm* happy with how the bass sits from my vantage point, and from the bands vantage point too, I'm more inspired, the lock is tighter, everything works better, and it shows in how the band sounds overall. Isn't that usually the goal? What the sound guy does to your bass sound is probably not going to matter much to most of the audience; they *will* notice if the band sounds great however.

    After many years of trial and error, I generally get my best live stage sound from a passive J, and my best sound in the studio with an active Lakland-style (MM bridge + Jazz neck). That's how it sounds to me anyway, and that's what I consider most important.

    Oldschool94 likes this.
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