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What tone does P-Bass make that J-Bass cannot ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass301, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. Bass301


    Jul 13, 2008
    Many bassists prefer a J-Bass sound because of versatility compared to the sounds of a P-Bass , but what tone on the P-Bass is not possible on a J-Bass ?

    I have heard comments there is a specific tone on the P-Bass that a J-Bass cannot make. Where should a bassist set the P-Bass tone and volume knobs to create this sound ?

    What songs and bassists play the definitive P-Bass tone that a J-Bass cannot make ?

  2. Scott McC

    Scott McC

    May 13, 2006
    The main thing a J cannot do, that a P can.... is the P bass tone. The answer is in your question. Seriously though, it doesn't matter at all *** you play, just practice and work on musicality instead of getting a bunch of sand in your woohoo over gear.
  3. recreate.me


    Apr 2, 2010
    Well, IME its hard for a Jazz to make a really thick full tone. They can come close with an S1 switch and EQing but 50s RW P always seems to get a nice smooth and thick sound, and it OD's differently then any Jazz i have played...

    The knob position isn't as important as it being a P pickup, its a pretty constant tone, just rolled off when you start playing with the tone knob so thats not something i worry about.

    Thick, Full, Smooth, Chunky OD is my answer. A Jazz seems thinner and tighter to me.
  4. lowendrv


    Dec 12, 2007
    Tone is from your fingers.
  5. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    You're going to hear all kinds of opinions from Jazz lovers on here, about how the frequency range is actually "wider" on a Jazz, how enamored they are about parallel wiring "cancelling" a little of the sound, described as "character", and so forth...

    But, to my ears, Precision basses just have a naturally fuller, deeper sounding bass response.

    Mo bass. less "burp". I'm just not a Jazz fan, though if they produced equal BASS, I would be. Like the necks!
  6. Tone comes from a variety of places and is not limited to your fingers.
  7. Mikio


    Feb 21, 2009
    Santiago de Chile
    Different things, the J can imitate the P, but the P is deeper and fuller as said before. Sounds "better" than the neck coil of the J, but the J doesn't sound bad at all when used as a "P"
  8. lowendrv


    Dec 12, 2007
    I've found no matter what amp or bass I use I sound like me.
    I guess I meant voice not tone.
  9. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    P tone is much fuller and thicker sounding than J. But in saying that, it is the reason I have gone to PJ bass configurations....LOVE those diverse tones. I am using a Duncan SPB-3 & STK-J2b pickups and I LOVE em. Just my thoughts.....
  10. blmeier7

    blmeier7 Supporting Member

    May 7, 2006
    Amarillo, TX
    The best way for me to explain it is with these two clips. One is a P and the other jazz. Neither bass can get the tone that the other is getting in these clips.

  11. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I played J basses for years without owning one, because I was a lead guitar player and only played bass when the Jazz-owning bassist wanted to scare everyone on guitar. I explored pretty much the entire range of tones I could get out of a Jazz, and was never very satisfied.

    Then I got a Precision and I could suddenly shake the dancers' butts just by staying on the beat.

    That's the tone the J doesn't make.:D
  12. heard it a few times...

    A Precision will sit in the mix.

    A Jazz will cut through the mix.
  13. slopeshoulder


    Nov 1, 2009
    Hollow grind, and an authority and heft and thrust around 400 hz that I can't get any other way.
  14. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Fuller thicker tone describes it well. Even if I create a P bridge pup voice positioned closer to the bridge then it should be, its gonna inherently sound thicker then a jazz pup. J pups can be great but its not the same. When I listen to soapbar pups I listen to see wether it can do a better P pup simulation or better J pup simulation. I prefer those that do better P pup simulation. The main thing thats kept me from keeping a bass with J pups for any length of time is they just dont work as well for me with heavy overdrive. P's and soapbar pups do overdrive better. The best overdrive voice Ive gotten from soapbar pups are ones that can do a better P pup simulation rather then J. I couldnt care less about pup position since Ive played P with traditonal placement and bridge and neck sets and brodge and mid position sets. Including those with reverse postion in any of the postions bridge, mid, neck. P's arent J's. J's arent P's. soapbars arent P's or j's but ussually do fairly good simulation when wanted of one or the other but not both.

    Go find a BC Rich with P neck and bridge pup set. Compare it to J bridge and neck pup set. With nicest darkest voiceing J's. Still isnt same kind of voice char as them P's.

    My fave position for single P put set is bit closer to neck position then trad fender P.
    I've also played basses with J and soapbar pups in the mid traditional fender P position. They didnt sound like P's either. Though the soapbar pup could give nice P pup simulation as voice variation when wanted via eq.

    I've only played one J pup that had a allmost P pup like char to it. Was rockfield neck position Jazz pup/ Not as thick as a P but otherwise fairly similiar sound char possible. Best sounding J pup Ive owned.

    P brings the thud thats articulate like fine solid wood mallet on very thick stone wall. P's slightly more organic then J. J's more suitable for hifi sound then P is. The P adds a bit of just for fun aliveness organicness which replaces the more hifi sound of J. Soapbar pups that do good P simulation can do the hifi sound to. Diff kind then J's though.

    Can one eq a j pup to simulate a P pup? kinda, you can add fullness and thickness simulation to a point. You can boost low low bass for thumpier articulate tone. But its not the same. Only J bass Ive played that came close to P pup like sound was a rockfield neck J pup. Best sounding J Ive played. But it had less of the p fun sound then a P. Like a P trying to be all hifi.

    Are P pup basses less versatile then J? Of course not. Just go look at some of the BC Rich supreme series basses. Those are complicated basses sound option wise. Lol.

    O btw the note swell to P pups is diff then J's. P's have a bloom to their notes J';s dont imo
  15. Southway

    Southway So ugly, he made a train take a gravel road

    Jul 26, 2009
    Lake of the Ozarks
    So how would one of those Squier CV 50's P's compare?
  16. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    The P Bass sound has a "heft" that the J Bass neck pickup doesn't have, to my ears. With good eq, you can get really close, but only that split coil pickup has "it".

    In a recent Bass Player magazine article, someone said that the P Bass has "snot", and that's why the P has made a comeback in bands where the bass has a lot of guitars to be heard among. I agree.
  17. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    The new split coil Squiers can do the P sound quite well.

    My GC has the Vintage and the Classic Vibe split coil Precisions, and they sound great.
  18. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    P has bottom end, J covers wider tonal range. I generally prefer the P because it always sits well in the mix, despite the genre of music.
  19. InLeoWeTrust


    Nov 11, 2009
    To my ears, a P has a prominent mid-range "growl" that a J can't quite get, though you can get close by leaving the neck p'up full up and rolling off the bridge just a bit. With both p'ups full up, the J has a very deep bottom with a "glassy" top that the P can't duplicate - same setting also gives the classic J slap tone.

    I love J necks and their versatility and feel I can get to 85% of the P tone with my J - so I'm primarily a J guy. But when I absolutely, positively have to have the classic P tone. . . I break out my new Squier VM Jaguar (P/J configuration) with Chromes on it! :hyper:

    Check out these clips - same (awesome) bassist, same band, same studio:

  20. SlingBass4


    Feb 28, 2009
    Kansas City
    IMO & IME they both have their place (that's why I have 1 of each). They're probably equally represented in both live and recorded situations. Not to slight other style basses, BUT......with both in hand there is very little (sonically) one can't achieve :smug: Different - but essential for the balanced bassist!

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