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Which is better for this type of jazz: P or J?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ccyork, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. ccyork


    Jan 26, 2004
    This month I'm going to start playing with a jazz group. I've never played with other jazz musicians before. There's a standard rythm section plus a couple horns. The trumpet player seems to favor Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard with a little Monk thrown in.

    Would a a P-bass or J-bass fit in better with this group?
  2. How about a P-bass with Fender or LaBella flats: for upright thump?
  3. ccyork


    Jan 26, 2004
    If the guitar is going to do double duty in a classic rock/oldies group, will the flatwounds still be a good choice?
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think if you are going to use a P bass, always use flats, if you want the best P bass tone. (just my opinion). Whereas if you want a more aggressive tone, use a jazz with rounds.
  5. Robman


    Mar 19, 2004
    Sherman, Texas
    Either P or J will do fine. I prefer a J with Rotosound RS77 Flats.
  6. A fretless Jazz with flats would be a great choice!
  7. Wayner


    May 7, 2004
    Maryland, USA
    I agree with lonote -- imo a fretless is definitely the way to go if you're playing traditional jazz, because you can get a double bass sound out of a fretless jazz if you need it (likely if you're playing monk or earlier miles). And if you want it to sound more traditional, just throw some rounds on there, and away you go.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    While everyone seems to have focused on mimicing a DB tone, I must say that whenever I go out to see local jazz combos with EBG players, they are all using J-style basses with rounds, period.

    Few bother to try to make it sound like an upright.
  9. I'm not a jazzer. I'm a blues guy in a west coast swing and Chicago-style band meaning that we play 40's-70's stuff and I also do some jobbing, usually in classic rock/blues rock bands. I have flats on all my basses and have no problem covering other styles of music when I job. I don't think a bass guitar is ever going to give you the same sound as a URB but the fretless "mwah" adds a bit of URB vibe and I get that "mwah" easier with flats than rounds. YMMV
  10. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    P or J with flats.
    Fretless is better.
  11. It really doesn't matter much. It just depends on what kind of sound you want. Try them both, and adjust whatever you need (e.g., strings) to get the sound you want. I've seen a ton of different basses used in jazz contexts. Don't worry too much about it. Your touch, feel, and ideas are going to matter more anyway. I'm not saying gear choices are irrelevant, but I am saying there's no real solid answer to your question as originally posed.

    Are you thinking of buying a new bass, or are you just asking which of two basses you already own would fit better?
  12. ccyork


    Jan 26, 2004
    I'm buying a new bass, but not specifically for this group. I really only want to own one bass. I know it will be a P or a J, just not sure which. I currently have a Mexican P, but I'm upgrading to an American instrument, so now's my time to make a decison...it's a hard decision!
  13. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Agree with this, seems like all the doublers I know have their upright and a jazz bass.
  14. Jazzbasslover


    Dec 8, 2004
    Either one will serve you well. I prefer the Jazz because I feel that it provides a better array of sounds that are immediately on hand for the user. Need a full mellow sound? Back off the bridge pickup volume a bit and pluck over the neck pickup. Even more mellow? Bridge pickup all the way down,tone all the way down, pluck over the fret board. A growling more aggresive sound? back off the neck pickup volume, crank the bridge pickup as wellas the tone and and pluck over the bridge pickup. As for you, pick the one you like the best,play it with feeling and you'll fare well. Have fun.