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the one for me: J or P?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by colors, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. colors


    Sep 1, 2005
    So I have read through all the newbie links etc, where mostly everyone talks about what the physical differences of these two iconic basses are, with no mention of the tonal qualities or where they fit into the modern musical cannon.
    I am primarily an upright player, looking to buy just one EB. I will be fine with the necks of either of these instruments, I can adapt to that. What I am curious about is where they instrument fit genre-wise these days. I have played both basses extensively but I won't have the chance to play both in a live contaxt, especially considering that less than 10% of my gigs are on electric.
    I am definately looking for an American instrument with a maple fretboard, passive, and will be stringing with labella blacks. My amp choice really varies as I tend to borrow things from friends. When I do pick up the electric it is to play stuff in the alt-country/folk realm, so a 'vintage' sound is nice. I like a 70's EB sound, and I'd just as soon take the upright to the gig if this 70's EB sound isn't workable in the music, as it's really the only enjoyable tone for me as an EB player.
    If you feel inclined to give me a recommendation for either of these basses please elaborate. This is NOT A POLL for which is your favorite. I only start a thread to stimulate an intelligent discussion. Thanks,
  2. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream

    Oct 5, 2009
    I say go with an American Fender J. With the rear pu rolled off you can get a convincing P bass sound. In my mind - you've got the best of both worlds.
  3. colors


    Sep 1, 2005
    thanks Steve, is there any sort of buzz issues when you roll out one pickup completely from the J?
  4. if you´re too close to your amp, it will buzz if not than no problem...IME
  5. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    I much prefer the P but much of that has to do with the fact that I simply can't stand the little tooth pick necks on the Jazz so I would highly recommend that you play both to see which one feels better to you.
  6. I have to disagree with you on this.

    I have a jazz bass with single coils and either pickup soloed hums, and not just when I'm near my amp. The bass is fully shielded (control and pickup cavities) and grounded properly (star grounding) by a professional guitar tech and I still get that 60 cycle hum with either pickup soloed. Proximity to an amplifier might affect the hum, but the noise doesn't just go away if you move farther from the amp. Plus, proximity to other sources of interference will have an effect on the noise as well. Every single coil equipped jazz bass I've played has been the same way - it's just the nature of the beast.

    Personally, I love the soloed bridge pickup sound on a Jazz so I put up with the hum. I don't mind a little bit of 60 cycle noise because it usually isn't noticeable when other instruments are playing, but it is definitely there and could be an issue to other players in noise-sensitive environments.
  7. colors


    Sep 1, 2005
    I guess you didn't read my thread, I have NO preference for the necks. I hardly ever play electric, so its really just a matter of me being easily able to adapt to the neck whichever one I choose.
  8. I have one of each. A while back if you would have asked this I would have said J bass no question. Now I would have to go with the P. I started noticing last year that so many of the bass players in today's rock bands are playing P basses. I wondered why and had always thought the J was the more versatile of the two because it has two pickups. Once I really started playing a P it just sounded so full. If you really want a nice fat sound string it with flats or pressure wounds. Now I gig with a P bass as my main bass and use the J as a backup. Even though you stated that the neck makes no difference I would have to say that in the long run I think it might. Many of the upright players I know don't like J basses because they find the necks too thin.
  9. colors


    Sep 1, 2005
    I understand the logic that I may prefer a thicker neck given that I am coming from upright, but I also have a left wrist issue which only effects me on electric, so thats what keeps me from considering the 'long run'. The truth is, I can't practice electric because of this condition, and really only need it for the simple gigs when I get called to sub where DB isn't an option. It's hard to believe that EB could be the more challenging of the two physically, but it's a matter of my wrist being vertical versus horizontal, not the amount of pressure or string spacing.
  10. PJMiDi


    Feb 27, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    anything against a PJ? just curious.
  11. Rumblefisher


    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    I think you will find that very helpful :)
    Also, keep in mind there are "best of both worlds" basses out there, although for me they never truly hit home the way the individual ones do. However, the new American Precision Deluxe basses are @.@ IMO. In other words, awesome. :D
  12. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    If you like that 70s Music Man sound, why not get one of the new EB Classic series Stingrays? It's essentially a 70s reissue of the 'Ray.
  13. i think you'd be better off with a P... you can get just about any sound you want out of it.
  14. becker4567


    Jul 26, 2008
    PJ! Great versatility. Lots of punch, or roll off the J pup and get traditional P bass sound. I am totally sold on the PJ configuration and can't understand why it isn't more popular. If you are looking for a certain type of sound, either a J or P are great choices, but if you like to play around and experiment with different sound types, you should consider a PJ!
  15. So I'm curious then, why not look into an EUB instead?

    In the case of the electric if the neck is not an issue I would go with the P bass then.
  16. I think by 70's EB sound he is referring to electric bass in general not the Musicman bass.
  17. colors


    Sep 1, 2005
    Thanks for all the reponses first off, I am learning more with each one. Also, I am not really interested in spending more than $1000. For that reason, and due to the fact that I HAVE auditioned both the J and P extensivly, I am not really considering other models. I also like as few options as possible in terms of controls. My upright doesn't have any knobs on it, believe it or not ;) and I manage to get a bunch of different tones just fine.
  18. Rumblefisher


    Aug 22, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    Cool. BTW, I mentioned the Lakland site not for you to buy a Lakland, but to check out that audio gallery. It's impressive and will give you an accurate idea of P vs J in many styles of music, as well as their individual personality.
  19. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I too am primarily an upright player though I'm trying to play more EB these days. I agree completely that EB is not nearly as ergonomic as DB. I have one 34" bass and the others are 30". Short scale basses alleviate almost all of the LH wrist problems for me that you refer to. Believe it or not my favorite bass to play is my Squier Bronco. $150. I'm experimenting with different electronics to get a little closer to a P bass sound but even stock the sound is very usable. Now, I don't play any styles that require a "modern" sound and I don't ever slap. To my ears the Bronco has a nice thick, wooly, warm sound to it.
  20. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    What's a typical arrangement when you're on electric? That might influence my view. For really dense electric mixes with multiple guitars and keys, I've preferred my Jazz, because the deeper lows slide under everything else, yet the highs can cut through and it has enough mids. For power trios or "unplugged" situations I've tended to grab the P. But these aren't very strong preferences, as the other works great in either situation.

    I suspect either would work great for you too. You said you like simple, which indicates P. As an upright player, you're used to using technique and positioning to create tonal variation. This can/should be done on any bass, of course, but the P's simplicity almost requires that approach. I find it refreshing.

    Also, is there a "typical" rig? If you're usually playing through fifteen inch speakers, I'd lean toward the P. It's not like I've played through zillions of rigs, but with fifteens I've preferred P-basses.

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