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What is the purpouse of the P/J config

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Youngspanion, Dec 14, 2005.


  1. I mean its really a p bass with a jazz pup added. It doesn't sound like a jazz bass because a jazz bass' tone comes from the neck pup and the bridge pup together, right? I mean exactly what reasoning would you give someone for buying a P/J bass. Buy a P or a Jazz. I think.
     
  2. dave120

    dave120

    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    P/J configs seem to be a compromise between a P and a J. It sounds mostly like a P with the bridge pup off, but doesn't sound as much like a Jazz with the P off. Mine has more in the mids/highs than my Washburn Cb-150 (a P bass essentially) and more bottom end than my Washburn T24 (essentially a Jazz). P/J is my favorite pup config because I like the mids a lot but also want more bottom than I can usually get from my Jazz. With pup blending and EQing you can get tons of different sounds out of it too. It is like a P with a hint of J growl in it is the best way I can describe it.
     
  3. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Because they like it?

    If it wasn't something a lot of players wanted then there wouldn't be so many variations available.

    For the most part a player can have a P-bass sound with the option of another basic tone immediately available.

    Happens to be what all the basses I have right now are although I'm more interested in a MM in the bridge position.

    Tastes will always differ and you don't need to be able to understand other peoples choices but sometimes I suppose hearing what others are thinking can help get a new viewpoint.
     
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Well, it's not like it was some scientific thing...long before you could buy a P/J bass off the shelf you had players adding J pickups to their P basses.

    Heck, I own a 53 P-bass that someone added a Gibson humbucker to as well as a bridge pickup (though it's not a J pickup...it looks like it came from a lap steel guitar actually) about 35 years ago. I also recall seeing a J-bass at a music store back in the 70s where the bridge pickup had been replaced by a P pickup (does that make it a J/P???).

    Adding a J pickup was a popular enough modification that it eventually started showing up in factory basses...though not from Fender itself until 1985 or so.

    For that matter, players have been swapping Fender necks for just as long...putting J necks on P basses has been more popular over the years than vice versa but I've seen both.
     
  5. How would you describe the tone of a P J set up in comparison to a Jazz bass. You wouldnt compare it to a P bass because thats just comparing Apples to Apples.
     
  6. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    I don't have much experience playing on a P-Bass, but I actually tend to leave the blend control over on the P-pup most of the time.

    I'm sure someone will come along with much more input on this than I can offer.
     
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Correct. However, it allows me to have a P-bass with a little more tonal variety. I bought my P-J bass for the P pickup and I use that pickup exclusively 95% of the time I'm playing it. Conventional P and J pickups don't sound great together in general. Unconventional P-J shaped pickups like EMGs and Lace Sensors are an entirely different story.
     
  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    It doesn't sound like a Jazz bass at all unless you're talking about a jazz bass with the bridge pickup soloed.
     
  9. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    In my limited experience, this is accurate. I suspect the configuration became popular because it gives P-basses a little more definition and cut, which helps in many live situations. Of course it gives more flexibility too, but I view P/J basses as P-basses first, with the J pickup mostly for seasoning the tone to taste. I could envision emphasizing the J pickup sometimes, but rarely. After playing a J and P for awhile now, I think I would find the P/J configuration useful, and I'm on the hunt for one now.
     
  10. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
     
  11. eqvolvorama

    eqvolvorama Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2000
    Arlington, Virginia
    I'm a huge fan of the P/J sound, not because of the flexibility but because I just tend to like the sound of a P-J setup with both pickups dimed.

    I have two PJs right now, a Yamaha BB1600 and an Ibanez RKB. The Yamaha actually has the J pickup positioned closer to the bridge than the RKB does.

    The sound is really different than either a pure P or or a pure J bass sound. It's more 'scooped' than the P, which helps it cut through in loud situations, and it's a bit more compressed and forgiving than a pure J setup.

    One thing that I'm sure would bug some players is the fact that the G and D strings have a significantly different sound than the A and G strings. Since the P-pickup is staggered, and the J is not, both pairs of strings experience different harmonic emphasis characteristics. If you begin a scale on one of the lower strings, and follow it up, you'll notice a definite shift in the tonality of the bass as you cross over to the upper register.

    Some basses (such as the Yamaha BB1000MA) fix this problem by reversing the P pickup. This makes the tonal shift less evident, but IMO takes away some of the 'cut' of the higher strings.
     
  12. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    Its like an Appitizer you just get a littel of each , some of us like a littel more BBQ Beef ( P Pick Up) Then Roasted Shrip ( J Pick Up). ;)
     
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I agree that PJ doesn't sound exactly like JJ, but PJ does give a good approximation of the JJ tone, especially for slap. For some players it's a compromise, but others actually prefer the tone of PJ to JJ. There's a fairly well known guy named Victor Wooten who uses PJ basses. :p
     
  14. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Its a compromise. if some think the jazz tone lacks punch, or think the p bass tone lacks variation and growl. P/J.
     
  15. wyleeboxer

    wyleeboxer Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Orange County, CA
    Some basses (such as the Yamaha BB1000MA) fix this problem by reversing the P pickup. This makes the tonal shift less evident, but IMO takes away some of the 'cut' of the higher strings.
    I agree with this danroche, Ive noticed it with my recently aquired bb300. Everything about the tone kicks, but the higher string stuff sounds muffled. I raised the bottom pup higher at the end of last practice, I think it might have helped?
     
  16. R.Lee

    R.Lee

    Nov 12, 2005
    oHIo
    The sound why else? Some people like the P/J sound better some like m/m some like soapbar. It's all about what you feel and hear when you play.