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Which has deeper lows a Jazz or a Precision

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by markdavid, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. markdavid


    Jun 29, 2007
    I know most people say a P Bass has a deeper sound but i've heard that Jazz basses actually have a deeper low end than a P bass and that the P just sounds deeper due to its lower treble response , is this true as I would normally expect a humbucker (like on the P) to have a much deeper sound than a single coil ? :confused:
  2. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Well, traditionally a split coil pickup has a deeper low end than a single coil. It doesn`t mean you can`t make a Jazz sound "deep" or a Precision sound a bit more "trebly".
  3. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Define "deeper." I feel a Jazz bass's neck pickup sounds much more bassy than a P bass, and a 70's style Tele bass (with the humbucker right up next to the neck) is even more so. People often play a Jazz with the bridge pickup on though, and many with the neck pickup turned down or even off, and that gives it a burpy tone that doesn't sound very bassy, in which case a P bass is "deeper." You can't get burpy out of a P bass, which is why some might say that it has deeper lows than a Jazz bass.

    They both sound good! :bassist:
  4. namraj


    Feb 7, 2008
    P bass doesn't have a humbucker? its a split coil, very different
  5. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    but aren't they the two coils opposed, cancelling hum?
  6. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I think Bill was refering to the tele styles that have a humbucker at the neck, like the Squier VM Tele's, or the originals from back in the 70's.

    And in general - P bass has more low and thump, jazz has more bright and punch. As Bill said though, you can get a variety of tones out of either.

  7. Exactly. IMO you'll get more "less-complex" lows from a standard Precision, but a Jazz will get you almost there but with more definition in your tone. For what I play that's what I personally desire, but I can see Oldies, R&B or a live Hip-Hop group working well with a Precision (...and yes, I know I'm contradicting myself because the vast majority of live Hip-Hop seems to call for Saowskys. :smug:

    This is why I love the American Deluxe Precision pickup design. *Mostly* Precision but with the ability to dial in the highs and lows a P-bass doesn't have on its own with the double-J humbucker in the bridge position. :D
  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    It cancels hum, but it's not really a humbucker... technically a humbucker has two coils that cover all the strings, like on a Les Paul guitar. The reason they sound darker is that the two coils are at slightly different spots on the string, so higher harmonics are slightly out of phase and therefore quieter.

    P bass has one coil per string, split into 2+2, so it cancels the hum while still giving a single-coil sound. Brilliant!
  9. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I think the most audible difference between a P and a J with the neck pickup soled is in the sound of the D and G string - it is more defined and grindy in the P because the lower half of the pickup is closer to the bridge.

    I think it's really hard to tell the difference between a P and a J (with neck pickup soloed) when playing only the E and A string.

    I generally also find that J neck pickups are a little deeper than P pickups.
  10. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    Ahhh, thanks for the simple explanation, cheers.

    I still hear the P bass as having deeper lows compared to a jazz bass, even soloed on the front pickup... Nothing a good twist of the bass knob on your amp or outboard preamp can't change though :) Hmmm, although, a couple of people in this thread say they find the jazz deeper... i think i need to check it out again...
  11. namraj


    Feb 7, 2008
    humcancelling pick up and humbucker are different things.
  12. Bassman316


    May 27, 2008
    Longs, SC
    I have a SX P-bass strung with Fender flats, and I can say from experience that a P-bass can get pretty deep and thumpy. Then again I also have a MIM Jazz which if you do crank the neck pickup, it'll throw some righteous bass in your face as well. I think both can get down low if you can dial in the right sound.
  13. namraj


    Feb 7, 2008
    sorry beaten to it
  14. funkifiedsoul

    funkifiedsoul Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    I did this very comparison just today. A '72 reissue jazz and a Fender Precision (custom shop). No contest! At least with these two particular basses. The P has ooodles more bottom, and very fat. A bit more output too. The neck pup on my jazz does sound (almost) like the P but couldn't come close to being a substitute for this P. I haven't had a P for many years and forgot just how much bottom they have.
    Consider a P/J?
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Here's the thing, though, IMO: The traditional P has more of an emphasis of the low mids, which our ears hear as these super deep fat lows. A J neck pickup is closer to the neck, which means more pickup of the fundamental, thus deeper lows. But it does not emphasize the low mids as much, consequently we don't hear it as being as fat or boomy or even "deep". But if you compare them on a frequency analyzer, the J can pick up more of the fundamental.
    TrevorOfDoom likes this.
  16. detracti


    May 5, 2006
    Yes, the split P is a humbucker pickup. Just because it isn't shaped like a rectangle doesn't mean its not a humbucker.
  17. Robert B

    Robert B Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Hampton, Va USA
    Wow, you're right! Learn something new every day...

    I always thought the pickup on a P bass was a humbucker but when I saw your comment I checked out the specs on the P basses at Fender's site and sure enough -- they specifically refer to them as split, single-coil pickups. Cool!
  18. Jotaro


    Sep 14, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    got this from a source

  19. markdavid


    Jun 29, 2007
    thanks , that makes things a bit clearer , I understand now that Jazz basses have a deeper fundamental , do jazz basses have as much low end as p basses
  20. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    They both go as low as E. :)

    Not sure what you mean by as much low end, as bongomania said, the J neck pickup wil give you a stronger fundamental, which means the timbre is more pure (is pure the right word?). Every note you play on any instrument is comprised of the fundamental (let's say E), as well as many overtones, a.k.a. harmonics. These overtones are complimentary frequencies, and the combination of the fundamental and the overtones are what give that specific instrument it's own sound - the difference between an E played on a bass guitar versus the same pitch played on an organ, a piano, a tuba, or a string bass. The J bass neck pickup gives you a stronger fundamental, so the actual note played comes across with more definition and fewer overtones, so the low frequency notes you play are easier to identify when played solo. Because the higher pitched overtones are not as emphasized, we hear the impression of a deeper bass tone. The overtones are still there, just not as emphasized because of the pickup placement.

    The P bass, because of the pickup location and the fact that it is a split coil, gives a greater emphasis than the J bass on the low-midrange frequencies, so those overtones that occupy a certain range that we identify as low mids are bumped in volume, which allows the instrument to be heard better in a band mix. Solo, it might sound a little honky to some ears. You still get the fundamental pitch, the E, and you can still tell that it's an E, but it sounds like an E played on a P bass rather than an E played on a J bass.

    To be honest, in my experience, it takes personal experience to be even able to hear a difference between the two. I would bet that the casual listener will not be able to tell if one recorded bass is a Jazz bass or a precision bass, even in a blind taste test. I can usually tell, but I've been playing since 1982, and I'm still wrong sometimes when I guess which one I am listening to.

    When I play the two with a band however, my ears can certainly tell the difference. P bass all the way for me. :bassist:

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