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The basic flaw in the p-bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ric5, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The basic flaw in the p-bass

    Quote from John Entwistle ... "Once you turn up the treble on a Precision, the bottom drops out In big arenas, I wasn't getting enough bottom end from the P-Basses when I had the treble all the way up."

    I re-discovered this last weekend ... I went to an outdoor party and our band played and some others as well. In my band one of the guitar players is also a bass player. I brought 3 basses and he brought a guitar and a bass. So at the end I plug in his p-bass with flats. He has always bragged about the low end from this bass. So I plug it into my Rig. An Ampeg with 2 2x10 cabs and a line out into the PA, and I turn up both knobs and to my surprise the was very little low end, just a lot of midrange plunky noise and clicks and fret buzz.

    The basses that I had were a 5 string Rickenbacker a 5 string jazz with a stingray pickup in the bridge and a frankensteined 2 pickup SG bass also with 5 strings. All 3 of these basses had more bottom than the Fender p-bass with flats.



    I started this thread to discuss the p-bass and the nature of the tone control on this bass. At first a lot people seemed threatened and seemed to think that I hate p-basses. I like the p-bass and the jazz bass, and many other basses. The thread has developed into a good discussion of what happens to the frequency responses of the p-bass as you change settings on the tone control. The p-bass is more of a mid ranged intstrument. As you roll off the tione control it produces a lot of low mids which people percieve as low end, when the tone control is opened up it produces a lot of high mids which is percieved as high end. That is why Entwistle made the statement quoted above. I like to have treble, bass, and mids in my bass tone when playing. Also my rig and my pedal board are set up to add a lot of mids to my bass tone as I play.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
    RaggaDruida likes this.
  2. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    hmmm...I wonder if it is a bass-to-bass issue...cause my 72 P has plenty of bottom end. It also might be an amp thing? I have heard other P's that do lose some bottom end, but mone doesn't.

    It has all original pups/electronics minus the volume pot wiring, and ground wire.
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Never been a problem with my '63 P in the 46 years I have owned it.
    Mantis Tobaggan likes this.
  4. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    turn the knobs on your amp
  5. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    what? I have never heard this. I think you just get a bass boost when you roll the tone all the way down...which I guess is kind of looking at the same coin from the other side. Still, that's crazy talk. I've never found my p-bass to be lacking in booty.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  6. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    That sounds like a problem with that bass or your amp EQ. P Bass usually have a thundering low end. That sounds like a bad pickup, bad electronics, or just a bad bass overall.
  7. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    My P cuts through better when I roll off the tone
  8. Nobody

    Nobody Banned

    Jul 14, 2004
  9. Robdrone


    Jul 27, 2012
    Lancaster, PA
    If it sounds bad with the treble knob turned up all the way, don't turn it up all the way. I never understood why people expect completely different basses to react the same to your amp settings and the same tone knob settings.

    I mean the tone knobs are for shaping, not just cranking them up. You don't walk up to a graphic equalizer and immediately slide all the faders straight to the top do you?
    MEKer, BassBuzzRS and OOD like this.
  10. taurus1


    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    yeah P's are clunky, clicky, buzzy junk, with no bottom end.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  11. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Thats why the P/J was invented Ric5!

    Youve BUILT enough of them
    To know that instead of the two band EQ, the VVT with the bridge J is the solution for this issue.

    Its not the pickup thats at fault, IMO, its the volume tone combo- its insufficient which has always been my only issue with traditional P basses.
  12. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    Whole lotta silly in this thread, gotta say.
  13. 3506string


    Nov 18, 2004
    Lawton, OK
    It's all perception. It's unlikely that the tone knob is affecting the low end at all. If your hearing more upper mids and highs it may seem as if your bottom end gone.
  14. brad houser

    brad houser

    Jan 4, 2008
    plenty of low end from my P. probably a bad setup if someone's P lacks booty. those pickups ARE adjustable.
  15. brad houser

    brad houser

    Jan 4, 2008
    exactly. the tone knob takes away treble/ mids. it cannot add anything. low end content stays the same.
  16. Broadstbully22


    Dec 5, 2011
    This made me laugh.
    Brother Goose likes this.
  17. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    punchclock likes this.
  18. kilgoja


    May 26, 2005
    who turns the treble all the way up on their bass anyways? i sure don't.

    i leave the tone knob a hair more than halfway. all the way up is too bright and all the way down is too muddy.

    i leave the treble flat on my amp and still have plenty of highs. i play with a pick though not my fingers. you don't really want highs on a bass. that just gets string noise and such. what you are after are high-mids. that is what cuts through the mix so to speak. you need the low end to drive the music and the high mids to cut through and give definition to what you are playing.

    the problem with the p-bass is the lack of growl. it's not a bad thing. it fits certain music very well. it just comes down to what you prefer. i prefer the growl you get from a jazz bass or a stingray.
  19. soflbass


    Mar 2, 2013
    S Florida
    Whenever switching from a P to J bass, I have to adjust the eq on my amp. Never have I heard anybody complain about low end on a P bass. I have heard others bash the P for lack of highs. Bad pickups or electronics are the only reasons I can think of causing this type of issue.
  20. At some point I fear all P threads may in effect qualify as *religious* due to the feelings imevitably generated...:D
    RaggaDruida, ajkula66 and OOD like this.