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Show me the light! Help me decide on a P-bass!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jeff in TX, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    I want a P-bass. Nothing else I have found sounds like one. Some say you can get that P-bass sound from a J-bass. I can't. Can't get it from a Fodera Monarch either. Close... but no cigar - too much sustain, not enough "P"! I want that traditional pants a'shakin' get yer butt movin' P-bass tone.

    So, help me decide. I'm gonna get a Fender, not someone else trying to do a "P". Now, do I go for a new P-bass MIA? How about the Deluxe? An early '70s? I really like the looks of that '57 Reissue - how is it? Or wait for a cherry pre-CBS? (I've played one pre-CBS - wasn't impressed).


    Show me the way!!

  2. peabody

    peabody Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    La Crosse, WI
    I may be a bit biased, but go for an early 70's model. I have a '72 that I bought in 1978 that I will probably be buried with. The sound is awesome and it still plays like a dream. The best part is when I bought it in 1978, I traded in a Peavey T-40 and paid $75 to boot. Not a bad deal, considering what it's worth now. Good luck in your decision!!:cool:
  3. man Jeff, I'm gonna be watchin this thread closely from the sidelines, I've been thinking the exact same thing lately... Should sadowsky or mike lull P styled basses be thrown into the pool of options along with a new MIA P or an early 70's P? inquiring minds want to know... :D
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I pretty much agree that nothing sounds like a Precision. You're lucky because you're looking for a four-string... my options as a five-string P-bass lover are extremely limited. The Fender P5 has a nice feel, but I don't care for the preamp. My Lull P5 is passive but has 35" scale and a slim/fast neck... it sounds very nice, but doesn't quite have that authentic P-bass oomph.

    I would definitely recommend the Fender vintage reissue Precisions. I owned a '57 RI for awhile, and it was sweet... I only traded it when I switched to five string. It does have the vintage "C"-width neck (1.75" at nut) which some players have trouble with.

    If you fancy "boutiques", note that Lakland has the Bob Glaub model P (import and domestic versions, I think) and Roger Sadowsky offers an Ultra-Vintage P-bass. Both are 4-string only, despite me begging to both Dan and Roger that a 5-string vintage P would be a really cool idea.
  5. chris h

    chris h Guest

    Jun 16, 2002
    Oxford, England
    Good choice! many fancy basses have preceeded the humble p bass but it is a classic sound not to be messed with! have you ever heard a bassist with a p-bass sounding terrible tone-wise?! its possible i suppose, but what im saying is that the p bass clank is a true classic. I have a 57 re-issue MIJ 50th anniversary and I LOVE it. its a really unusual colour, as you will see from the picture. Just look at the grain on that neck!!

    I cant speak for the other models, but im sure I will never be getting rid of this one!

    Well actually you cant really see the grain on the neck.. Might take some more pics if interested.

    Cheers, Chris
  6. vanselus

    vanselus Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Amen - I used to have a 78 P (root beer) that was funky as all hell. I second what pea said!
  7. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    By all means - snap away!!
  8. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    As much as I love Roger's work (I have two Sads - which are my all-time favorite bass), I want this to be a Fender.
  9. toad


    Jun 26, 2002
    i'm very happy with my american series pbass. tightly put together and solid precision sound. when i was shopping around, the 70s pbasses i got my hands on were all over the place. some sounded good, some not so good; most were HEAVY with big neck pocket gaps; one had the neck lifted about a quarter inch off the pocket held by just the screws. that one actually sounded pretty good. i liked the sound of the 70s basses, but couldn't justify the price they fetch these days. also the necks were much thicker. i liked the 57ris i tried--a little less aggressive sounding, generally a little warmer than my am.series (ash,maple neck). great neck for my tastes--a tad wider with a thinner profile.

    as always i think it's best to play them until you find yours, but generally, i would feel reasonably safe with a new am. series or a RI if i had to order on the internet, depending on what you're looking for in sound. YMMV, but i've found that they are reasonably consistent. unless you find that right 70s bass locally, i've found they present too many variables especially at those prices.

    good luck.
  10. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Don't know how much help i'll be because i've never played a pre-CBS or a '57 reissue. All I can do is tell you how completely happy I am with my '02 P-Bass DLX. It's got the 18volt pre-amp with the bridge pickup. It nails the classic P tone and it's versatility really surprised me.http://www.guitarist.co.uk/gear/gear.asp has a review of the '02 P and J basses, if you're interested.
  11. If I were looking for that traditional pants-moving sound, I'd go with a Fender 4 string P. No active preamps, no 5 string, nothing fancy or light or new age. Just a big plank of wood with 4 strings on it. Of your choices, I'd go MIA standard or a reissue. They just seem to grab the whole vibe. (Make sure its sunburst or red. Then you are master of oldschool.)
  12. My thoughts exactly.

    I'll always have a P 4-banger with TI Flats in my harem. There is no substitute for a P.

    There is a lot to be said for the non-deluxe model. Standard replacement necks are readily available from Warmoth. There is no preamp B.S. to deal with, but a Raven or John East can be easily added. Both beat the crap out of the Fender preamp. There are a LOT of pickups available for a P4. I'm currently using a DiMarzio DP146 and loving it. The Duncan Hot for P didn't work for me. The stock MIM pickup was more percussive than both, but I like the DP146 big phat tone a whole lot more.

    I'd like to somebody score a really nice MIA P4, SB3 color with good workmanship. My 2001 MIM has sh*tty workmanship in the screw holes, etc. But, it is still a very nice bass and I'm happy, etc... but a MIA would be extra nice. The MIM SB3 finish is nowhere near as tasty as the MIA finish.
  13. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I've got Ted Partin's old MIM P w/ a Basslines and BA bridge, w/ a d-tuner.

    I guess he picked one of the good ones, because that thing is a thrill to play! I'd still like to find a nice MIA, but I'm good for now.

    Nothing quite like getting your P on...
  14. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    If you want a new one, I say go with the MIA '62 Reissue (see pic below). It has the Nitro finish which I think lets the wood breathe more and just sounds better with age. Plus it has the top loader bridge which I prefer over string-thru. And that 4-ply brown tort guard is the best.
  15. Jeff, if you want a P, go for The P. IMO, one of the best sounding P bass is the Steve Harris sig P bass. I want to get one so bad, they are balls to the wall bad ass. :cool:

    If you want the P sound (again, in my opinion) stay away from the active P basses. I've played a few, and hated them. I also didn't really like the MIA P deluxe, with the bridge powerbucker. But then again, it may be the P bass for you, I can't make that call.
  16. I'm lovin the P-bass right now. I wanna do a Warmoth project or something here soon.

    If you must do Fender, though, go with the MIA.
  17. If I were to buy a Fender, I'd get an American RI. I find the necks on the RI's to be far nicer, read: "slimmer", than the fat ones on their current American Series siblings, and the build quality/qc is higher on the USA made basses if compared to the MIM:s in general (I'm leaving the MIJ/CIJ basses out of this discussion, 'cause they're not readily available new in the States -apart from the, nice quality, Artist Series- even though you could import one yourself).
    And if I were too chose between an American '57 or a '62 RI, I'd go for the '57. They've got the sound, and feel, I'm looking for in a P. YMMV, obviously.
  18. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Wow! Thanks for all the input! I really like this P-bass, but with a maple board:


    What about the pre-CBS? I really don't mind a refin, so what's a good price for,say '57 - '64 basses? Any reliable contacts?

    Thanks again!!
  19. Then, you might like this:

    No? ;)

    It's an American Vintage '57 RI, BTW. Click this!
  20. I don't mean to steal Jeff's thread here, but what is the difference sonically between the '57 and the '62 American reissues?

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