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What is the best P bass around? Modern or Vintage.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tendollarcat, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. My ears seem to be changing as I get older. There are certain tonal qualities that irritate me in even the nicest of basses. I have come to the conclusion that warwicks sound like a deep voice with a blocked nose, 128v preamps with 45 knobs on a quilt of every wood in South America can create obsessive compulsive disorder.

    To make things even more disturbing, I'm starting to seriously dislike the overwhelming mids produced by jazz basses. I want a bass that clanks along with a big chunk of simple good wood like ash and a maple neck. I want a scooped out tone. I think it's time for me to go back to the roots of bass.:)

    So I'm now selling my custom jazz and am saving up for a high end P-bass. What do you recommend? What do you use?Show me some photos! Is a seventies Fender better than a Mike Lull or Sadowsky? What do you like about your particular P-bass? :bassist:

    One request - please avoid giving me a history lesson about jazz basses and my stupid comments. Marcus, Jaco and a bunch of other guys would make a wishbass sound decent. I'm looking to cheat.:D
  2. Oh, also, if it's not rude to ask - How much did you pay?
  3. P-basses have a lot of mid character and are far from "scooped out." I'd look elsewhere.
  4. Perhaps I should clarify that that was a reference to ash as opposed to bass type. I'm pretty aware of what tones I can expect. I just happen to like ash P basses.
  5. I believe the Lakland Bob Glaub and Duck Dunn Signature models are among the best P-basses around.
    Skyline series is better bang for buck than USA.
  6. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    Hey Cat ...

    I have two vintage Ps ... neither is a ash body though although I did own a 70s for a while ... That said IF I was looking for a ash body P any of the new ones you listed would be fine, I would most likely opt for a PJ setup in passive if I was having one built ...

    The truth is, I usually use one of my Ibanez ATKs (I see you had one in the past) I like the USA ones with the ash body and "stree-free" neck, I find you can dial in a very convincing P-bass vibe with the eq and in single coil mode.
  7. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    If you want to go back to the roots of electric pass you need to get a pbass, probably fender reissue, with the bridge cover and put foam under it. You'll also need flats, I'd recommend Fender 9050m or Labella Jamersons. To get and idea of the sound you'd be getting check out motown and stax. The foam part is required if you want to get Jamersons sound on the motown recordings.
  8. Hey Kenny,

    Thats actually excellent news for me. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of a USATK due to a recent trade with Hemitom. I used to own a Japanese ATK so the US was always a dream bass. My idea was always to have the ATK as a really excellent 2nd bass and get something classy and either vintage or a good version of vintage as my recording-high end bass. I have to say, things are looking up.:D
  9. I love Jamerson's tone. Theres something gutsy and alive about where it sits in the mix. I'd love to hear about anyone who prefers the re-issue Fenders over the Lakland, Sadowsky, Lull types. Even older Japanese Fenders and Grecos can be excellent options although they are in a cheaper bracket.

    I'm really searching for the type of bass that I'll keep for years and to be honest, it's unlikely I'll be able to afford another for quite some time. It's taken me a lot of testing and trials to get to this point so I'd love to hear any ideas, experiences or suggestions. Thanks.
  10. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    Hey Cat ...

    The guys in by band just love my 68 P ... but I got NO complaint when I brought in that USA ATK one rehersal (and these guys WILL let me know) so I just kept using it it's my #1 now. Most underrated bass ever "IF" you can find a good USA they are few and far between these days. Glad you snagged one ...
  11. Well, I don't exactly have a "high-end" P-bass, but I love it all the same. Its an MIM Fender in classic Midnight Wine, totally stock...sounds fantastic through my 2x10, but I did NOT like it through my old 1X15 by itself, it lacked definition. I've never tried a USA model, but I guess it can only be better. I am a minimalist and prefer to put my time into learning new songs and technique rather than dealing with 45 knobs and playing "Twister" onstage with a huge pedalboard!
  12. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    I have the very good fortune of owning a few classic P Basses.
    Vintage Fender,
    USA Lakland Glaub
    and a Ultra Vintage Sadowsky P Bass

    If I had to sell all I would keep the Fender ..
    its a 63 and its a perfect instrument light weight great tone.

    My second choice would be the Lakland Glaub - if you want the vintage tone the Fralin pickups have captured that sound

    and my third would be the Sadowsky. The Sadowsky is an amazing bass but it does not quite caspyute the vintage tone the Glaub does...

    IMHO of course....
  13. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    This looks like pretty good advice. If you like the classic "P" thing, I'd go with a genuine early/mid 60's Fender. My '64 will go to the grave with me. Those are Alder bodies more often than not. If you're inclined to go with a 70's "P", check it over real close (as you should any bass really) because QC in the 70's was all over the place. I think a better alternative to a 70's is the '62 re issue. Haven't played the Lakland Glaub or Sadowsky, but the Lakies that I have played all had that Satin finished neck that I really don't care for. Is the Glaub Satin or Real Laquer? Satin doesn't feel right to me. Some people like that satin finish, so that's up to you. I think those are all good choises if you want a "P" and have the cash to do it. The older Japanese Fender/Squire re issues fron the 80's are a nice, less expensive alternative. You could even stick a Fralin in one of those and have a something real cool, without the big price tag.
  14. TDC, you should check out Fender's new American Precision with the S1 switch. It gets that classic fat tone, and a nice cutting "jazz" type tone with the S1 switch. If I didn't have my bases (har har) covered, I would've been all over a black/black maple/maple setup ages ago.

    Personally, having played 60's, and 70's and "modern" Fender Precisions, I found the tone on the more recent iteration to be a lot more versatile than the P's of old time.

    Someone is willing to sell me an early 80's Squire Precision for about $100.00... I wonder if I should do it... hrm...
  15. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    In my opinion and experience, Fender makes the best P basses. Sadowsky makes an amazing bass as well, but it won't sound exactly like a Fender ... its got its own tone. If you really want that classic precision sound, go Fender.

    I have owned Sadowsky, Lull, and Lakland.
  16. jz0h4d


    Apr 26, 2005
    The made in America Fender P bass is a better instrument than most of the stuff from the "vintage" years.
    The carbon fiber rods alone make them sound better, and the build quality has never been better.
  17. spooner2112


    May 24, 2004
    Arlington, Va
    You said you want a "scooped out" tone, but I wouldn't describe Jamerson's tone nor the classic P-bass tone in general that way at all.

    Be that as it may, a few months ago I bought my first P bass, a 1997 MIA Fender which I purchased off ebay. It has become my primary gigging bass and I wish I had bought one 15 years ago.

    I second the suggestions about the Fender '62 RI (also check out the '57 RI). I'm gassing for another P myself, and I'm trying to decide between one of those and the Lakland Glaub. A good first step might be to find a music store that carries both a MIA Fender P and one of the RI's, and see which you like better.
  18. The build quality may be better nowadays but both my '60 and '61 p basses literally blow away any modern p basses I've played...does it have something to do with the old wood? I dunno, maybe, but something is definitely different. Having said that I've played vintage "dogs" - just because it's "vintage" doesn't make it great. Over 20 pre-CBS p basses passed through my hands before I found these two and they are truly special...both have super-low action and the hottest p pickups I've ever heard. Both are refins and in my opinion that's the best way to go in the vintage realm. I realize that not everybody has 3 -4k lying around for a pre-CBS refin (I didn't for 25 of the 30 years I've been playing). Funny thing is the best p I've had outside of these two basses was a sunburst MIM with Duncan pups - cost? $350.00...you don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy great P Bass tone - nobody does it better than Fender.
  19. SharkB8


    May 29, 2002
    I tried a Lull P5 (ash body, Braz. R/W board, 2 band pre w/some kind of VTC thing) a couple days ago @ Basses-Electric-Acoustic and found it to be one of the BEST tones I have ever heard from a bass. If it wasn't for the color (Lake Placid Blue) I'd have been hard pressed to not leave with it. I'm now thinking about my own...


  20. I've owned a Lull P5 and have to day that IMHO it's the closest thing to a P bass sound in a 5 stringer...great workmanship...I'll probably have another down the road unless Fender can make a P5 I really like.

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