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What makes a J a J or a P a P?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nick Gann, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    A few other threads got me thinking about this. What makes a jazz, a jazz, and a P, a P? Is it the Jazz bass neck, the Jazz bass body, or the Jazz bass pickups? Is it the P bass neck, the P bass body, or the P bass pickup? What identifies it as a J or a P? Or is it the sum of its parts? Would a P body with Jazz pickups and a Jazz neck be a Jazz? Would a Jazz body with a P pickup and a P neck be a P bass?

    Thinking about it makes me go crosseyed.
  2. s0ckeyeus


    Jun 2, 2003
    I think it's the pickup. Although, the Deluxe P-Bass has a P/J configuration.
  3. I think most will say pick-ups. I could be be wrong, however.
  4. i think that it's the body style the one that gives the name to the bass....
  5. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    D@mn! Thats a good question. The sound?
  6. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    Nick is going a little bit deeper than the blatantly obvious ;):D

    Many people say "I can't play *insert P/J here* basses because of _______ reason."

    What are the characteristics of Precision basses and what are the characteristics of Jazz basses?

    I never really see much of a difference between the BODIES of P basses and J basses--they seem like the same body structure with a different pickup cutout.

    There is, however, a difference in the necks. If I'm correct (I haven't played very many P's--just enough to know that I don't like them :D), P basses have much thinner necks than J basses. They usually have a narrower string spacing as well as thinner, less round necks.
  7. I think when it comes to necks, the P-bass has a wider neck, with larger string spacing. The J is what has the small neck.
  8. They're more than the sum of their parts. Pickups plus neck shape and size plus body shape equals what we think of. You can put J's and a smaller neck on an instrument, but without the offset body I'd venture we don't visually process it as a "J Bass".

    To me it get's a bit confusing when you start throwing parts 'cross platform. I've seen a decent amount of 70's P-basses with Jazz necks, and the modern day reversal of the Hoppus sig. Is it a PJ? If the finish is worn off, is it then a PJ with the crust cut off?

    I need coffee.
  9. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003
    i thought the deluxe P had a big fat active humbucker thing, not a jazz pickup.
  10. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Why is a Jazz called a jazz and a P called a p......?
  11. BassManPatsFan

    BassManPatsFan Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    San Francisco
    Uhh... I hope you're being sarcastic...
  12. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Was I? or wasn't I?
  13. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    Actually, you've got it backwards. Jazz basses have markedly thinner and slimmer necks with more narrow string spacings. Precision basses feel (to me, anyway) like somebody's cut the fat end of a baseball bat in half and put some strings on it.
  14. XxBlackOrchidxX


    Dec 23, 2003

    the first was a P (Presision) bass. it was the first bass guitar to be in the workign order a bass is today | suppose you could say. Later the Jazz bass was made with a sound to fit jazz music.

    something like that.
  15. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Don't think you're not missed Leo!
  16. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000

    Dang it.

    Knew somethin' wasn't write ( ;) ) :D
  17. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD

    But the Hoppus bass is marketed as a P bass.

    Maybe this is one of those things that is how it is just because it, well... is.
  18. s0ckeyeus


    Jun 2, 2003
    It depends. The American has a humbucker (or a "double J" according to MusiciansFriend), and the Mexican has a J.
  19. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The P stands for Precision. It is mainly a reference to the frets which allowed a bassist to be more "precise" with intonation as opposed to a fretless upright.

    I think the jazz was designed to be a faster bass for jazz lines, but I bet it is really because someone thought it looked "jazzy" (slang for cool).
  20. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Which is why I love the P neck.

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