What Bass for 70's old school Funk-P or Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bobbo 77", Oct 25, 2006.

70's Old school Funk Bass-Old School Tone

Poll closed Nov 19, 2006.
  1. P- Bass

    67 vote(s)
  2. Jazz Bass

    58 vote(s)
  1. Question,
    Goin' back and diggin...70's funk again! What Bass tone was more prevenlent, or most recorded on dem hit's..bands like P-Funk, Aurra, Slave, Blackbirds, Mandrill ect. What was the tone?? Or what bass, P-bass or J-Bass, can I use as a set it and forget it Bass, all nite long???
    Bobbo 77'
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Both... though probably more P Bass than most might imagine. IMO you can get away with a good Jazz type bass for everything, a P Bass would limit you when you got to Aurra/Slave type stuff.

    Or a good bass in general with a bridge pickup.
  3. You can get away with anything with a good J bass
  4. Hey Brad,
    iffin' my ear's aren't playin' tricks on me, I could be wrong, but the P-Bass sounds liked it was on a lot of the hit's of the day! I've got the Slave and Teena Marie covered with my Marcus and Stingray.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    Brad pretty much told you what the deal is. The P would be great for late Motown stuff or Solar stuff. Any of the late seventies funk with more treble like Slave, Lakside, Aurra, Pleasure, etc. requires something like a jazz.
  6. D-Bone


    Jul 5, 2006
    Want the simple answer? If I were going that way (and money was no object) I'd go with something like a '67 P bass and an AMPEG SVT thru an 8X10 or 2 15's and a horn (rolled about halfway off). I'd go with Flats for that old Motown sound and Rounds on a '73 Ash/Maple Block Jazz for the P Funk sound. Either way, I'd use the SVT.......
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    A P would also be great for most Disco stuff too. A jazz won't have as much booty, but it will really shine for Anthony Jackson or Kleeer type pick tones. Anything from the later 1970's and early eighties will sound better on a Jazz.
  8. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I play in a cover band that does 70's funk and disco. We've got over 60 tunes that we play regularly. I estimate that about 75% of those tunes were recorded with a P.

    That said, I gig with a J. I cuts through better in a 14 piece band.
  9. i love em both, but jazz would get you the most tones.
  10. ebasss


    Aug 7, 2006
    El Paso
    The 72' Jazz Bass was the greatest Fender Bass EVER MADE...
    but P's are COOOOOOL too.
  11. Got to be a P-bass.
    Check out the Motown hits. Almost all it it on a P bass (James Jamerson, Bob Babbit,and some Carol Kay), Jamerson did some stuff on his upright bass. Then there was all that Memphis stuff that Duck Dunn played his P-bass on.
  12. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I'm an old-timer who was around then. P's were "THE" bass on 75% of all that stuff. It began to change when people started emulating Jaco Pastorius and his J in the 70's. Maybe 50/50 by the mid to late 70's, then more and more J.

    I started out on a P for my first 10 years or so, then went with the "different drum" (or is it "different bass"?) While I gladly admit P's and J's define the sound of many eras, I favor the MM Stingray, and equally appreciate Ric's, Thunderbirds, T-40's, Roadstars, and many others.
  13. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Mount Prospect, IL
    People are mixing Motown and funk. Understandable, because the 2 genres come from a common gene pool. Also, they are more differentiated now, in hindsight, than they were when they came out.

    Motown (to me) is Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Supremes, etc. All the stuff recorded prior to '67.

    Funk, to me, is the Commodores, the Ohio Players, Parliament, Kool & the Gang, etc.

    James Jamerson, Bob Babbitt, and Carole Kaye dominated Motown bass sessions, and all of them used P-Basses.

    BUT, funk is a different vibe, with more snap and less boom, and for that, the Jazz bass sits better. The Jazz bass was what Larry Graham used, what Bootsy played with James Brown (after starting on a Peavey T-40!) etc.

    Another option, of course, is the MusicMan StingRay. Favored by Louis Johnson.

    The MusicMan got a second wind as a "funk" bass when Flea used it as his slap vehicle, although I don't consider the RHCP's an especially funky band.

    Anyhow, what sounds "funky" to you? For me, the bass is an ingredient, but the envelope filter? Now THAT is a sound that screams "funk!"
  14. perhaps this funk dilemma is perpetuated in no small part because of "The Funk Brothers" as Motown's in-house band.

    what about ToP and E, W, & F???
  15. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Although I prefer Jazzes, I must say that so many funk/disco basslines from the 70s sound like recorded with P-basses to me.
  16. Motown was a record label, I think that's where the real confusion lies. I think we all know that funk music formed, developed and progressed directly from its earlier form with other styles/worldly rythms getting absorbed in the mix along the way.

    Listening to a well made James Brown anthology literally takes you through this progression.

    wa-wa-waauwww :D

    From what I understand, and like others who were around during this time stated, the P was still the #1 bass. Truly, it's the player and not the pickup. :bassist:
  17. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    Put a series/parallel switch on either bass and you have the best of both worlds! :bassist:
  18. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I too think people are confusing early Motown stuff with later funk. The early stuff was dominated by P, but I'd say 50/50 on the later stuff. J Basses were everywhere.
  19. EXCELLENT post -- one of the best I've seen on TB.

    Motown/R&B/Funk are all a part of the same heritage but are different sub-genres.

    Motown was "Black Music Scrubbed up/Cleaned up/Packaged for acceptance outside the Black Community" That doesn't make it bad or "less worthy" (I'm Black and I love most of it) but that was the deal.

    You want to hear some funk, listen to some Late 60's into the 70's James Brown.
    James' deal was (and still is), "This is me and what I do. If you don't like it, that's on you." The grittier the better. (Remember, this is the man who recorded "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." Today, that doesn't sound like a big deal but in 1968 it was shocking -- "Black" was almost a slur back then.)

    Getting back to the original question, IMO Funk is far more edgy -- less smooth -- less polished -- more gritty.

    To my ears, that means Jazz Bass.
  20. I agree! Motown and late 60's-70's Funk is a different animal altogether. Seems to me that lately alot of the hits that I'm hearing from back in the day sound P-bass-ish, when you're talking Slave (Watchin'you -J-Bass), some of Booty's work with James,(J-Bass), Michael Henderson (J-Bass), Boogie Oogie Oogie (J-Bass), Think of some of the classics played on a P-Bass (Brickhouse), early Brother's Johnson (Get tha Funk otta my Face), I sure there's others I can't think of off the top of my head this morning, but again, the funk's in us, and them Basses is just a tool, and as the replies keep coming in, either Bass is "Fonk-kay"!!:bassist:

    GO BEAR'S!!
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