Should I get a P or J bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HalfPlayer, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. HalfPlayer


    Jun 9, 2013
    This thread isn't on which one is better Im just wondering which I should get for the price. One is a squier affinity precision used for $180. The other is a used fender jazz modern player for $400. I tend to play stuff from RHCP and Iron maiden if that helps.
  2. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    Should you get a P or a J bass? Yes. :D

    For RHCP, jazz. For Iron Maiden, Precision.

    Seriously, those prices seem high on both. Look around, you should be able to get a high-end Squier Classic Vibe used for $250ish or Fender MIM for $300-350.

    JMHO of course and YMMV etc. etc. Full disclosure: I have both P and J, and then some. And then some more.
  3. JSpradBass


    Mar 3, 2013
    Columbus, OH
    Have you played either of them? If I was picking blindly between those 2 I would go with the Modern Player Jazz, but the price does seem high considering new they're around $500.
  4. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha & Grosbeak. I’m Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    RHCP's Flea uses a Jazz, but it's a traditional Jazz Bass. The Modern Player is a double humbucker bass, which is not what a J-bass sounds like normally.

    Iron Maiden's Steve Harris uses a P.

    $180 for a used Squier Affinity P is a pure ripoff - they go for $179.99 new. J isn't a great deal either, they go for $499.99 new.

    My vote is for "other". Check out Ps and Js here in the classifieds, you can get a much better deal.
  5. fusionbassed


    Jul 11, 2013
    Or get a PJ! P-bass pickup in front J-bass pickup in back, jb controls, maple neck, PJ body... but it might be out of your budget, a new one at GC is around $900. You turn the J-bass pickup off for the Iron Maiden, for the RHCP you turn off the P-bass pickup. Best of both worlds...
  6. inthebassclef

    inthebassclef Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    It all depends on what you are looking for. Both a p bass and a j bass are great basses and both have their own distinct characteristics.
    As said those prices are very high for those basses if they are used. I would look elsewhere and in the classified here. Also you may want to look at the classic vibe line of squier because the affinity is ok but the classic vibe are all around $300 new and of course cheaper used. Much better deal for the money and really nice basses that are of equal quality to much more expensive instruments.
  7. 3star2nr


    Jun 2, 2013
    Controversial advice but the bass doesn't matter half as much as the rest of your rig. So get the one you like playing the most.

    I've played both the p and j. The p sounds great but the j is more comfortable to me. I rest my thumb on the neck pickup and the P's pickups didn't stick out far enough for me.

    I also think if your into slap the p might be the better route to take
  8. Borzi_4


    Apr 3, 2012
    Dude, new Fenders are way too expensive. 3 days of a diligent craigslist hunt turned up a '94 MIM P for $180 and its been my main for about 8 months. But honestly, I've been GASing for a Jazz because I like the way it sits in the mix better. IMO a giging pro should have both sounds in their arsenal, I just wish I could afford to upgrade my Affinity J5!
  9. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    That's what Beavis & Butthead probably thought when they invented it, but they can't get past the physics -- particularly the electronic mess known as the "V/V/T Syndrome," which is bad enough on a conventional Jazz.

    I've been telling people this for ages, which they've of course resisted, but with the advent of the pricey Tony Franklin, which uses the switched P/J pickup arrangement I've recommended since sometime in the last century, I now retroactively make sense. :rollno:
  10. fusionbassed


    Jul 11, 2013
    If you want a really classic 70s sound, it sure sounds like Paul Jackson was playing a P on Chameleon from the original Herbie Hancock recording. Anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong... I think Rick Laird used a P on some of the early Mahavishnu stuff, and whomever played bass on some of the first couple of Brand X albums in the 70s it sounds like a P to me. The P just doesn't have the warmth of the J to my ear, but its a cool sound. But very "dead" sounding if that makes sense.

    If I played more of that kind of music, I'd have a P, but I grew up listening to Geddy and Jaco and that's where my ear space is. There's absolutely nothing wrong with either instrument - being a small player with small hands the J is more comfortable for me to play, though.
  11. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    +1 to that…well, mostly. I mean, $400 for a Modern Player Jazz isn't too bad (it doesn't qualify for the Fender Summer Slam discount, yet the Blacktop does…go fig!), but it probably wouldn't take much effort to find one for a bit less. That being said, it's won't be a normal Jazz sound. The couple I've tried out were a bit "jazzy, but beefier". I've though about adding one to my collection for a while, but it may not be what you yourself are looking for.
  12. Find yourself a nice Jazz somewhere. IMO, a Jazz Bass covers a whole bunch more ground tonally, than a single pup'd P-Bass.
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Ps usually have wider necks than Js. I prefer thinner necks.
    If you haven't played either one, I suggest you do before you buy.
    Maybe go check out a J or P on CL to get a feel for the neck width.

    Here's a link to a 3rd party CL search engine that makes it easy to do multiple area searches all at once:
  14. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Mad Love for SearchTempest! Awesome resource!! It helped me stumble upon a rare color-scheme Jazz bass last year…all the way across the country from where I live, no less.
  15. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

  16. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland

    Feb 11, 2003

    Get a Fretted Fender Tony Franklin Bass.
    To me, it get the best tone for a P & J. ( Not sure why)
    And when you blend both pickups, they don't sound like crap.
  17. Hey, get a PJ.

    And make sure the J is dual coiled.

    Edit: I would guess that you are more worried about the pickup setup than the body and neck.

    The Fender Precision is a big fat bass, the Jazz had a slimmer neck and that particular body shape which allows for tilting the neck up more easily.

    If you care about the feel of the bass, you need to try them at the store and then any type of pickup setup can be had.

    If you care more about the pickup setup, why don't you indeed try a PJ bass, even an entry level like the RBX 270 to make up your mind?
  18. GreaserMatt


    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    You can make a jazz bass sound like a p bass, but you can't make a p bass sound like a jazz bass; jus' sayin'... I prefer a pa bass myself, but if you are looking for versitility...
  19. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Get a P first. When you grow hair, you can then get a J. But if you get a J first, you may never grow any hair. ;-)
  20. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Many years ago I asked a guy in a music store about the P vs. J thing and his answer was simply, "most cats have both." :)

    I guess I would get a Jazz first, considering the music you are playing. Are you limited to just the two basses mentioned. If you can find more to check out and play, I would. I'm spoiled because I live in an area with many music stores and a dedicated bass store. If you just don't have many basses to try in your area, I would try to be patient and find a good deal on a bass you like. Maybe I'm stating the obvious. ;)