Precision vs. Jazz - "Sitting in the Mix"

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

  1. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Yes, engineers and producers are deaf and are complete idiots and have no idea what they're talking about.

  2. Nighthawk551


    Jan 3, 2007
    Sweetwater Sound
    Though I find myself using both in multitude of situations (and actually prefer the Jazz!), the Precision is simply "plug and play." That simplicity helps bolster its reputation.
  3. jason weatherby

    jason weatherby

    Aug 30, 2012
    I do live sound for a wide variety bands, classic rock, some country and many Christian bands. I see a better than 5:1 ratio of Ps Vs Js in use. Just one data-point, not an opinion. No studio experience (yet). I own, play and enjoy both P and J basses.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    That's you getting carried away, not any sort of reflection of how it is for everyone. When I go out and listen to my band, if anything, I usually tell the soundman to turn the bass down. And if I say it needs to come up, then it really needs to come up. But 9 times out of 10, I'm saying it's either fine or turn it down. I'm mature like that ;)

    Don't go out that far then.

    Always a good idea to be spotted by someone else.
  5. grey area

    grey area

    Sep 2, 2009
    almeria spain
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    BTW, I love both the P and J. I only wish I could have a J, but for some reason I can't find one in my price range that isn't crazy heavy. Used to have a great 98 Jazz but had to sell it for that reason. I could get an Alleva Coppolo or some such booteek build, but I can't bring myself to pay huge money for a booteek Jazz. And my wife would kill me.

    No matter 3 PJ's, which while not being identical, it's close enough.
  7. thunderfish


    Oct 29, 2010
    This is accurate and very well said. If you’re new to this topic, read his post. Then read it again. It's spot on. There is so much pure, natural low-end (and low mids) in a P-Bass. You don’t need to screw with EQ much at all and it seems to naturally find its sonic space in a mix, particularly a live mix. Granted, it’s not a sophisticated, multi-layered tone, but that’s the beauty. You also don’t have to trim out the treble or push the bass to where it sounds like a bass trying to imitate another bass. This becomes even more exaggerated with flat wounds on a P. Listen to Queen. Deacon didn’t have to EQ high-end out of his sound because the high end wasn’t there in the first place. Nothing but fat note. Want some more edge? Go with the round wounds. (Listen to Roger Waters in Floyd.) Want more edge? Listen to Glenn Hughes in Black Country Communion. When I was younger, the P-tone was too simple for me. Now I’m running with flats on a P-Bass. love it. Less is more, more or less.

    villis likes this.
  8. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    Many, club provided sound men. (esp if there is a "house sound guy" and 6 bands).. IME, every time.

    "No, we don't have time to screw around with going out of your amp/ preamp, just plug your bass into the DI then your amp, it'll be fine!! Hurry up, let's go!!"

    It has gotten better over the years, but many are still this way.

    Many, low cost by the hour engineers (as mentioned in the previous post) yes.

    ALL engineers? No.
    All Sound Men? No.

    REALLY Good engineers, REALLY Good sound men, Never.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Yeah, there are a lot of folks who have no business mixing sound and engineering recordings who are mixing sound and engineering recordings.

    OK, never mind...I was referring more to the mindset that some bassists have when they do a session, and the producer hates their $5000 clang machine and suggests using a Precision and they freak out. Sometimes they have good reason for wanting a change. And sometimes they don't, but I would suggest to anyone in that situation that you hear the producer out about why he wants the switch, and if you have objections raise them in a nice way, and you can alleviate a lot of problems, and you might even talk your bass back onto the session.

    This is all assuming you're a band paying for studio time or are in a project where you have some say-so about the final outcome. If you're hired to do a job and you don't have the name or FU money to argue, just do what they want unless you want to get blacklisted. Even Flea played a Precision gladly on the Mars Volta's first album because Omar the bandleader wanted him to. If Flea can do it, so can you.
    Chicken Wing likes this.
  10. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    Never said every one.. I said in MY experience. But for many if they are concentrating on isolating THEIR signal from the band as a whole, focused on the tone (cutting through the mix) rather than strictly a volume standpoint...

    Depends on the PA and the mix. You need to go to where the speakers are focused on, if the speakers are set for a 30-40' throw and that is where the sound booth is and what the sound man is mixing to, it makes the most sense to listen to how it sounds there...

    Or if your amp is on the left cranked up so you can hear it, and the PA puts more of your bass on the right to balance out the sound it again makes more sense to to go the middle where everything is being mixed for.

    If it's a small gig and only vox and kick are being put through the pa, and the speakers are only 20' apart, sure going in the middle out 10' will generally give a good idea of the mix..

    that really is the point.

    You need an objective set of good ears that you can trust. Preferably one that understand the band's sound. And how the band as a whole dynamically and sonically should sound. And preferably a set of ears not distracted by trying to concentrate on playing their part.
  11. ChadPaulJones - Best avatar ever.

    "This is tomorrow!"
  12. Octavio


    Sep 15, 2011
    Hawaii Kai
    I agree with Old Fart. My Geddy Lee Jazz Bass with Rotosound 66s sounds better by itself than does my Duck Dunn (Fender) P-Bass with flats. When we play in our three-piece band I always struggled to hear myself with the Geddy. We play pretty loud. So now I only play live with the Duck Dunn and there's no problem being heard at all. I can't explain the science behind it but I definitely observe the difference.
  13. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    If THEY are paying you..
    Then YOU play what they want and (generally) the notes, as written, on the page.

    It's a job. you do your job. You get paid. You leave. If they want a P with the tone @ 0, it's their money..

    Agree 100%
  14. BassByBaldSteve

    BassByBaldSteve Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    Endorsing Artist: Fodera Basses, Aguilar Amplification
    Own both, develop your own sound and approach on both. They are completely different animals, and one will never do exactly what the other does best nearly as well. The key is to know -really know- the instruments you own and how your touch effects the tone of said instruments. Know exactly what frequencies to dial in when using house on a P set it flat, and on your J boost low mids and bass...ha ha. This way you can plug and play and not have to worry so much about dialing in your sound. The truth is that every single room from Boston to Austin to Chicago to Los Angeles is completely different and like it or not, in the end you're mostly in the soundman's hands anyway. As a freelancer, here's my two cents:

    When you walk into a session bring everything (J, P, fretless, hollowbody, and something "differrent", like a Reverend, a T-Bird, a Ripper or a Guild), but start with a P-Bass. Most engineers I've worked with these days like to see what they know, and breaking out a P shows, right or wrong, that you "get it" in their eyes. Yeah, I know - listening with their eyes, but it is what it is. If the P isn't cutting it, move on, but start with the P. It's also a great idea to have your own DI, and I cannot recommend the REDDI enough. I know guys that use them as their only signal live. They are pretty expensive, but if you're serious about a career, invest - they are worth every penny when you look into a control room and see the stunned looks on the faces of the engineer and producer when they hear the tone. And bass playas? Tone is what gets you called back.

    Auditioning for live work, it's all about the lead time going in. Research the act, watch videos, check out the repertoire and image of the band and proceed from there. For example, there's a major label gig floating around LA right now for an 18-28 year old bassist to join a signed rock band with a pretty good deal. If you show up to the audition next week with anything but a P-bass (hopefully beat up) or a Thunderbird, you're going home without the gig. But that's not all...there is also the "slim and cool" factor:

    Be in great shape, and look what passes for "cool" these days as it applies to the gig. For example, if the band is going for "rawk", wear a beat up concert t-shirt from a show that happened before you were born, but something a little "out", like The Stooges, Velvet Underground, The Damnned, maybe The Stones...*but* ONLY from a Japan tour. If you wanna go modern, go with a band that broke medium or is about to break, like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Band of Skulls, or Rival Sons. If they are more Zeppelin vibe with the clothes, wear a vest over a dress shirt and loosely knotted tie with perhaps a pocket watch if they dress it up. Wear skinny jeans and chuck taylors for "rawk", skinny jeans flaired at the ankle and dress shoes or boots for more dressy. You guys might think this is ridiculous, but know and understand that management will be there, and believe me: They listen with eyes ONLY, and they make at least 60% of the decision. New wave/Pop? Dress in brighter colors, but still skinny jeans with a studded belt. Concert T would be The Cars, Sisters of Mercy, Talk Talk, Level 42, etc. Bass could be a Kubicki Factor or a sparkly Stingray, or even a headless Status. R&B? Bring a J, maybe a fiver and dress to KILL. See what I mean? Fitting the look goes beyond the instrument sometimes.

    I got off track there, but this also illustrates the critial importance of knowing your gear. Most of the time at these things, you're in the room for the step one audition for maybe 10 minutes (there will be a few callbacks). So be in tune, have you tone and volume controls on the bass where they should be, and be ready to plug and play FAST, no matter what kind of rig you find in the audition room. I've seen everything from Ampeg to SWR to Crate to Trace Elliot rigs on auditions, so you've gotta plug in and spin the knobs to get as close to your sound as possible as fast as possible. You're one of 30-50 bassist they'll be seeing that day and most will know the parts. Stand out by dressing, acting, talking, and sounding like a pro.
    philthygeezer, Stoch and Oldschool94 like this.
  15. +1 for everything you wrote! my experience exactly...
    villis likes this.
  16. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA

    A good engineer can mix any type of bass
    Oldschool94 and lewink like this.
  17. Brothers and Sisters: You need both.

    Is the mix dense?

    No -> Jazz w/rounds.
    Yes -> P w/flats.

    What's the style?

    Modern -> Jazz w/rounds.
    Vintage/retro -> P w/flats.

    Did you have any preparation or an extensive sound check?

    Yes -> Jazz w/rounds. (Shape, shift, succes)
    No -> P w/flats. (Plug and play)

    (This is just my opinion/experience, other experiences may vary. There are many more factors involved, ofcourse.)
    Chicken Wing likes this.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Unfortunately, this is all true for LA apparently. It's pretty well backed up by Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and he'd probably add bring a B-15 to sessions. The slim and in shape with good hair part disqualified me. But if you want in, better listen or your slight chance in hell of getting in becomes no chance in hell. Yeah, it's
  19. A huge +1
  20. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 23, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.