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Trying to decided between two basses(aka PJ vs Jazz debate)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by _godspeed_, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Ladies & gentlemen,

    I have a dilemma here. I'm avid Precision bass lover - I currently have(well had) 2 Precisions. Kept one with flats and one with rounds, but my "flatwound bass" was getting significantly less playtime so I couldn't justify having 2 basses that sounds pretty much the same, one had to go. Decided that I'm gonna get a Jazz bass instead and just have 2 different basses. Throughout my life I owned 2 Jazz basses, but I never fell in love with them - they were great instruments, but I just couldn't get used to feel of offset body, slim neck and tone. I usually kept bridge pickup rolled back 10% which was a sweet spot for my taste. I ended up selling both of them and getting P's instead.

    This time I decided to finally get a Jazz Bass I'd love. I'm a sucker for a relic'd look, so I started looking for Road Worn Jazz or Flea. I previously owned Road Worn P and really loved it, but I had to sell it as I couldn’t get used to wide flat neck. Generally I'm a fan of Flea and RHCP, he's had a great influence on me as a musician. Miraculously I found Flea Jazz Bass for a good price on the other side of Canada and seller is willing to ship. After a lengthy conversation and a lot of photos I saw that action is is quite high and being a low action junkie it really scared me as I read a lot of stories about busted necks on Flea Jazz basses. The seller is not familiar with bass setups, so he dropped it off at Long & Macquade(Canadian analog of Guitar Centre) and they will take a look and set it up properly. Waiting to hear back from him in the next few days. So I'm pretty much set on Flea Bass, when suddenly I got a reply from this Craigslist ad I enquired about about 3 weeks ago - 2011 Fender Precision American Deluxe in like new condition, 3-tone sunburst, rosewood fingerboard(you know, the classic Precision look). The seller is willing to negotiate which will bring the price of Deluxe to exact same price I'd be paying for Flea Jazz with shipping, only Deluxe is located 20 minutes away from me and I can come and try it out anytime. So now we're coming to the great PJ vs Jazz debate, as well as MIA vs MIM :) From what I hear, the difference in tone is not too significant between the two, PJ being more meatier.

    So, here's a list of pro's a cons

    Flea PROS :
    1. I absolutely LOVE it's relic look, though I'm not a huge fan of shell pink, but it’s grew on me.
    2. Neck feels great(I tried one in local store).
    3. Loved those '64 pickups, perfect fit for a vintage reissue bass. I much prefer vintage sounds.
    4. I love Flea and getting his bass is quite special for me. Fender will eventually stop making them. A cool piece of history!
    5. Mint condition. Owner never changed original strings!
    Flea CONS :
    1. Can't try before buy, so essentially I'm buying blind.
    2. Seller doesn't have a lot of knowledge about basses, so couldn't really talk about action and setup. Action was quite high in photos. Store will do a setup and checkup, but I would have no proof except for sellers words.
    4. I might talk to him about buying via PayPal to get some protection, but I don't know if they would cover "inaccurate description", etc.
    5. Canada Post is on strike so I might not get bass for weeks.
    6. No hardshell case.
    7. Still not sure if I'd get comfortable with a slimmer jazz neck.

    American Deluxe PROS :
    1. MIA quality. Not that there's something wrong with MIM, but I've seen tons of QC issues with those instruments.
    2. Love 3-tone sunburst + tort + rosewood look. One of my favourite combos!
    3. Great tone flexibility - active/passive, PJ. Everything I love about P basses is there plus added clarity from Jazz pickup in the bridge.
    4. Great price! I would say - AMAZING PRICE!
    5. Familiar neck profile.
    6. Original hardshell case and mint condition.
    7. Professionally setup by well-known local guitar tech.
    8. Can come and try it out tomorrow!

    American Deluxe CONS :
    1. No wow factor. It's a just a meh bass to be honest. I could find a bass like this in no time. Looks like neck is satin, so it's plus in my books.
    2. Might not be too far away sonic wise from my other P. Essentiality Deluxe is more of a high-fi version of a P-bass, my other P is nitro + EMG Geezer which is lovely vintage tone I’m into. Heard a lot of negativity about those N3 pickups and preamp.

    It heart says FLEA, my head says American Deluxe. I was always taught not to trust my heart...
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  2. squish

    squish Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    Go with your heart. I love my Flea Jazz. It really is a special bass. Lots of wow.
    If you haven’t already, buy some setup tools from Stew Mac (straight edge, under string radius gauge, string height ruler, feeler gauges) and make your own killer setups.
  3. lowdownthump

    lowdownthump Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    Get the Flea bass. If you don’t like it, sell / trade it . At least give it a try. Otherwise you’ll never know.

    Also might want to try a Stingray of some sort like a USA SUB ,used Stingray or Sterling Ray . Necks will be closer to Pbass necks and also offer you Flea tones.
    HD007 likes this.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i have experience with both jazz basses and PJ's. for me: PJ's are superior (versatility). good luck with your decision! :thumbsup:
  5. I own both, an American Hot rod P/J bass and an American 1996 '62 RI Jazz. I currently have La Bella flats on the P/J and DR Sunbeams on the Jazz, I had to buy a new neck for the Jazz (original was soft, a defect) and put in a 0.1 mf tone cap because it just wouldn't get bassy with the tone on 0. I have always been a P bass player (well Ricks too) but after playing the Jazz for a while and playing around with it to be how I like a bass I will have to say that the Jazz seems to be more versatile, cuts through and people really like the sound of it. It is also easier to play. That being said there was a LONG break in period for me, took me about two years before I really felt comfortable with it. I find if I put in enough time with any bass I will get accustomed to it and will usually like it. Right now I own 8 different basses and the Jazz is my favorite....... which is subject to change of course:laugh:. Another thing with the original neck I didn't like the 7.25 radius, I like a flatter neck, the 9.5 modern Fender neck is better for me.
  6. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    I’m a P guy too, but a change o’ pace is nice to have around. And you’ll still have your P with rounds for your #1, after all.

    Unless your current bass isn’t cutting it and you’re eyeing the PJ as your new #1 player, I’d "...finally get a Jazz bass I’d love." Also, if this Flea has the body (looks, weight) and pickups you love, if you never do get used to a Jazz neck, you could always swap a P neck onto it later on and have your own custom creation perfectly suited to your tastes and needs. And in that case, the current setup and even current setupability doesn’t really matter
  7. Decided to go with neither! ;)

    I'm in process of building my dream bass - light relic "Pino Palladino inspired" fiesta red precision(either Road Worn or MJT body), Road Worn Nate Mendel neck(I have short fingers, so those 1.75" necks are not for me), Fender hardware, EMG Geezer pup, Thomastiks.

    In a meantime I picked up a parts jazz bass locally - it has Fender 70's jazz bass neck(MIM), Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass body(beautiful 2-piece soft maple), EMG J pickups. Play very nicely and I quite like a beefier neck profile on it. Will see how my 3rd jazz bass stint will go, as I'm still all-and-all P bass guy!
  8. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    Problem is that the OP may simply dislike J's as much as I dislike Ps. I really need some kind of preamp to wash the P sound.

    I keep throwing $ down that hole but they're just build experiments.

    Closest P equipped bass I infrequently use is my Spector.

    I have a set of electronics out of an MTD 535 that's essentially reverse 5-string Ps in an EMG 40 package I'll get around to building.

    On to the next experiment.
    AndrewTaran likes this.

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