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Quick question for soul/r&b/hip-hop heads

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by StompyJ, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. StompyJ


    Feb 3, 2006
    I'm trying to decide between an Fender American Series Jazz or Fender American Series Precision Bass.

    The stuff I'd like to do is like (not necc in this order)

    Erykah Badu (Otherside of the game, Next Lifetime, Anything off THE LIVE CD!!!!, Cleva, Back in the Day)
    Jill Scott (Golden, Talk to Me, A Long Walk)
    Maxwell (Till the cops come knockin)
    D'Angelo (Lady, Higher, anything from voodoo :)
    Meshell Ndegeocello ( ANYTHING from her, she the Queen!)

    Acid Jazzy Kinda Funk:
    Brand New Heavies (that standard Andrew Levy sound)

    Deep House tracks
    House tracks


    I'm a music producer who works in these styles, I'll primarily be going direct input in a studio environment. I think you can get the vibe in terms of what I'm looking for. Now this is my first real bass, which one do you guys recommend that will cover the kind of sound I'm looking for. I understand ideally I'd need both, and eventually I will, but I need something in my hands ASAP :)

    At this point I'm kinda leaning towards the Precision bass, and I might get a 5-string Jazz bass later on. If I didn't love Meshell so much, I think it'd be a wrap that I should get a precision. Reading on the site I see so much about how the precision isn't as flexible as a jazz. From reading this site it appears Raphael Saddiq, Pino, Andrew Levy are all P-Bass players, and I'm not sure what Erykahs bassists play. I'm not overly worried about slapping and popping, I just wanna lay down some deep grooves for my records.

    Also, are the Deluxe versions of the basses that much better?

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

  2. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    Welcome to TalkBass!

    With the artists you have listed, it is quite tough to decide between a P or a J. Personally, I would go with a P (the standard MIA, not the Deluxe.) IMO, that will give you the classic R&B, Soul, and Hip-Hop sound you are looking for.
  3. RoVaughn


    Oct 8, 2005
    under normal circumstances I would just say go for the jazz because it would be the most versatile for the the thick botton tone and the slap tone. However..you said you like the Erikah 's and her bassist (Braylon"brother B Lacy) Uses a P. But for what your talking abou(the musical styles Definately go with a Jazz bass. You just cant lose. with it. If you get a p It would be good but it would be more up to you to MAKE it work. The Jazz bass would be more naturalint the enviorment you described.
  4. StompyJ


    Feb 3, 2006
    Thanks for the welcome to TalkBass and for replying!

    Yeah, I understand I'm essentially picking some P style and some J style. I actually want to lean towards the P bass like you suggested, I guess reading all the stuff about how inflexible a P bass can be compared to a J bass freaked me out. The other reason I might get the 4 string P Bass now is because I might play with a modern gospel group (John P Kee, Hezekiah Walker, Kirk Franklin etc)in the next year or so, and I read many players use 5 string jazz basses. When and if that time comes I might just pick up a 5 string jazz then :)

    Thanks again!
  5. Whassup, E -

    You will get as many opinions on this as you get responses but here is my take. I think you should start with the Jazz. Don't get me wrong, a P-Bass is as classic as they come but the Jazz has more versatility IMO.

    You're a producer so you are familiar with a lot of different musical styles.

    P-Bass = "Old School Motown."
    (I don't know how old you are but think of the old Mary Wells song, "Don't Mess With Bill." Classic P-Bass sound. Thick -- almost boomy -- sits on the bottom of the mix.)

    J-Bass = "1970's Soul"
    Think of Verdine White on "Shining Star" (OR just about anything else he played in the 1970's -- he was a BIG J-Bass player -- and still owns/plays that particular J.) The J has a more complex sound ... and more variety in it and it cuts THROUGH the mix more. Also with the two pups, you can blend them in different ways to get more tones.

    The J also provides a better rendition of the old-school Slap tone. If you are familiar with uptempo Black Gospel music (Ricky Dillard/James Cleveland/Milton Brunson -- chromatic 8th note runs with some slap thrown in) -- that TENDS to be quintessential Jazz Bass action.

    Don't get me wrong - I think the P-Bass is awesome and nothing does a "P" like a "P" but for what you've described, I'd suggest that you start with a J.

    Re Standard Vs. Deluxe, I do believe "Standard" means passive (no preamp) while "Deluxe" means active -- has an on-board preamp.

    That's a subjective choice between the two. Some people like the plain uncolored tone of a passive instrument -- especially a Fender. Others like the tone-shaping options that an on-board preamp gives.

    Bottom line is that you should play both flavors of both basses and let your ears be the judge.
  6. StompyJ


    Feb 3, 2006
    Its tough because those Erykah Badu records almost define what I consider an almost perfect bass sound to be, but the issue of inflexibility worries me, since I do want to bop around styles a bit.

    Thanks so much for your response!
  7. Okay -

    Now we're talking the same language. THAT sound is Fender Jazz (or a reasonable facsimile -- lots of those cats play Jazz clones -- Sadowskys, KSD's, etc.) all day long.

    If you grew up in a Black Church, then the bass sound you are used to hearing IS the Fender Jazz sound and that's a perfect example of what I meant by "cutting through the mix." A P-Bass would get lost down there in the bottom with that Hammond/Leslie. A J-Bass cuts through like a knife.

    Does that make sense?
  8. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    No question. Jazz bass

  9. T-Funk


    Jul 2, 2005
    In my humble opinion, if you can purchase an American Deluxe bass, go with the Precision bass. If not, go with the Jazz bass.

    The American Deluxe Precision bass has an added humbucker pick-up near the bridge for increase tonal versatility. The said bass also has the same neck dimensions as its Jazz bass counterpart.

    Also, for your styles of music, it is probably a good idea to purchase a 5-string bass. Yes, a 4-string bass can be utilized, but 5-string basses are becoming more of the standard for those genres.

  10. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    I hear you on that, the bass tones on Erikah's live CD are great, very present, round yet clear all the way.
  11. StompyJ


    Feb 3, 2006
    Hey IotaNet, T-Funk and everyone else,

    Thanks for all the responses, this is a very deep and experienced website. I'm happy I found it so I can soak up all of this great knowledge. So many cats are suggesting I hit up the Jazz bass. I had thought about a 5 string as well, cause I know almost ALL gospel cats rock that, but I wondered if it might be overkill for my first and only axe? Like I said, I don't mind getting another down the road, but I gotta ease into this bass thing :)

    Do many players have a 5 string as their main axe? I am not skilled enough with the instrument yet to know why the 5th string would be essential :)

    Also, T-Funk, would an American Deluxe Jazz Bass allow me to get more of a P-Bass sound?

  12. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    T-Funk makes the call:
    Get a P/J of some flavor, and have the best of both.
  13. StompyJ


    Feb 3, 2006
    So the American Deluxe Precision Bass can get the sounds I want? I searched in the forum but didn't get too many hits on this bass. Are people happy with it? I don't think my local guitar center has one, so I can't test it.
  14. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    While I've not played that particular bass, I think porbably so. I have a 1951 P reissue that also has a J pup at the bridge, and I find that it covers a lot of ground that way for me...photo with a 62 J reissue:
  15. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    semi hijack here but could you tell me your fav "bass players choice" Erykah Baud album please? the album with the coolest bass playing on it...
  16. StompyJ


    Feb 3, 2006
    The Live album *BLEW* me away. That rhythm section was insanity in general, but I remember just being in awe of that bass sound.
  17. Because half of the tunes you'll play in Church will be in Eb. ;)
  18. bassksun


    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    +1 Yup.

    Howzabout a Marcus Miller J ? The pups would give him enough range for the production diversity. IMO

  19. But aren't people complaining about the LACK of tonal diversity from the MM elsewhere on the board?

    I love me some Marcus and would love to recommend that bass but there has been a LOT of complaining by TB'ers about the MM and how bad it sounds. (EDIT: I should have said how LIMITED it sounds.)

    Bassksun - do you have one? If so, I'd like your thoughts on it.
  20. StompyJ


    Feb 3, 2006
    Dang, thanks for all these replies, but alot of options are jumping out on the table :)

    In some ways I'm still tempted just going for a 4-string jazz bass or a 4-string deluxe p bass to start. I am FAR from "gig ready" especially for gospel basslines, and I don't really produce gospel so I'm not sure how much I'd need that 5-string live.. but neo-soul is often played in gospel keys so maybe it'd be worth the investment.

    Based on feedback from here, I'm leaning towards a 5-string American Jazz bass, or that 4 string american deluxe precision bass. How does this sound? Sorry to keep asking more and more questions, but my local GC is light on these kinds of basses, and I need to make a decision by Sunday at the latest.

    All of this info is EXTREMELY appreciated.