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School me on P basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassike, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    I've decided that is time to add a P to my collection, I know nothing about P basses and I've read that the pups placement have changed over the years so what would be the difference.
    Also, would a pj offer every thing a p does and more?
    Basically I like to have as much info as possible before starting my research.
  2. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Seriously? Is this a serious question?
    You have read the pick up has moved - have you been serving a long prison sentence? ;)

    Simple bass, two controls, split coil was introduced in the mid 1950's. Essentially, this bass has remained the same.
    Maple or rosewood fingerboard, ash or alder body. You can go to the Fender site and see the modern permutations and evolution of the design.

    Go play one. Then you will know something about a Pbass... far more than you will learn by me trying to describe one.
  3. MD-BassPlayer

    MD-BassPlayer Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    P basses - you play them in the store and they sound okay, but then you try something flashier like a Jazz or a MusicMan and you buy that. But if they had a band minus one track for you to play along with in the store, you would walk out with the P bass every time.

    Very little has changed with the P bass because it's the sound that you've heard recorded a million times. The only significant change I can think of is that newer P basses have a slightly skinnier neck, I think it's 1.675 or 1.625 instead of 1.75 for the older P basses and 1.5 for Jazz basses. No idea when that change happened but I'm sure someone here will know the month and the year.
  4. Simple, effective, no nonsense bass for any style of music. If you have a chance perhaps go to a Guitar Center or some store and play a few of them.
  5. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
  6. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    I noticed that fender has some kind of a modern p bass that has 2 double jazz pups what is up with that ?
    How is this a p if it has jazz pups.
  7. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha & Grosbeak. I’m Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    That's the Blacktop P. It's a completely different horse, and is a variation on the P BODY shape, not so much the P sound. However, it's also (IMO) a really cool bass. Just not a traditional P.
  8. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Inactive

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    P is like the Chevy of basses - "Like a Rock". As American as apple pie. As German as strudel. As Japanese as used panties from a vending machine.

    I use my P so much, I'm getting rid of my Ray34. The lack of controls has been great - I focus on playing now more so than tweaking my sound. It just sounds good - all the time.
  9. johng999


    Jul 14, 2008
  10. Thankful birds

    Thankful birds

    Jun 17, 2008
    This it right here. P basses always sound a little muddy to me on their own, but punchy and distinct in a band setting. I think some jazz basses and other more full range basses end up occupying the same frequencies as guitars, keyboards or bass drums, and they get lost. That happens to some extent with a P, but the part that comes through is almost always punchy and defined. Borrow one and try it out. I would guess you'll end up digging it.
  11. well, it's got a neck that usually has frets, a body, some tuners, a bridge, four strings, one pickup, and two knobs - one knob makes your bass sound louder, the other knob determines how much of the treble you want to cut out of the signal. You can play the bass by pressing the strings down on the neck onto the frets, and then plucking them with either your fingers or a plectrum. Do you need to know anything else?
  12. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008
    Fender 2012 American Standard Precision Bass.

    1.625" at the nut.

    Research Complete.
  13. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Inactive

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
  14. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    Thank you for sharing your extent knowledge
    I think I would apply this wisdom to my other basses.
    You forgot to let me know what was the best P for metal.

    The reason why I asked is because I have a few basses 4, 5 strings Jazz pups, soap bars, MM, and fretless basses.
    I’m aware of the tone of p basses and I have played 1 or 2 but like I said it would be a nice addition to my collection since one of the bands that I play is a cover band and I find my basses to be too modern for a few songs.

    Also I wanted to know if the placement of the pup is the same between a p and a pj?

    Thank you
  15. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    thank you this is was helpfull, I'm aware my question might sound stupid to some people but i was never interesteed in owning a p or any fender bass, but without owning one I agree that a p bass is something we all should have.

    I look at basses as if they were tools, it is like haveing a bunch of flat screw drivers but not haveing other type.

  16. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    and there goes the coffee out of my nose lol
  17. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think it depends on the bass if the P pickup placement is the same as on a P or a P/J. I know that on my Dingwall SuperJ P/J (which you tried when it was a J/J) and the SuperP are slightly different (1/4"). I think it has more to do with the pickguard design and the aesthetic of the bass that it worked out that way.

    I had a Fender P/J 4-string and I am pretty sure it was the same P pickup placement. In the end, I ended up using the P soloed most of the time. The P just has that hollow round sound that fits with the music so well. I find it easier to hear in a mix than a Jazz.

    However, for greater overall versatility in one bass, a P/J is hard to beat. The only thing that can be problematic is if the rear J pickup is a single coil, it will hum. Whereas with a traditional Jazz, having the two pickups on full volume will cancel the hum, that's not the case with a P/J (unless the J pickup is hum cancelling).
  18. Based on what I've read, for most PJ basses the P pickup placement is the same as a regular Precision bass, and the J pickup is in the 70's position. There are exceptions here and there, like the Fender Reggie Hamilton bass, which supposedly has the J pickup in the 60's position and the P pickup moved closer to the neck - away from what some people would call the "sweet spot" for P pickups.

    I was in a similar position a year or two ago - considering a P bass, but wondering if it was worth my while to get a PJ. I ended up buying a Tony Franklin fretless used and loved it so much that I bought the fretted version new. Personally, I love having that J pickup on hand and being able to blend it with the P pickup. To answer one of your original questions: If you find a good PJ then yes, I believe it will offer everything a P does and more.
  19. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
  20. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    Hi this is what confuses me about the 70s and 60s position, that is why I was asking if the placement have changed over the years.
    but besides that thank you I think a pj would be the right for me.:D
  21. Primary

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    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.

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