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why do people slag off the P/J config?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mike_odonovan, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. it seems in so many threads i come across about lots of different topics that some people seem so passionately against this pup combination. why is this?
  2. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Beats me. I have only one bass with that pup combination (NS4CR), and I love the sound. I plan to get another Czech 4 string sometime in the future, and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I also like this combination on the SB-2.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I think P/J is by far the best config for a classic bass sound.
  4. I think it's because that, if you're using a passive circuit and a balance knob, impedance issues prevent you from getting a classic Precision sound from the P pickup and a true soloed bridge J sound. Of course, for those who are using EMGs or a preamp that has a buffered balance pot, that's not a problem.

    I kinda like the sound of both full-on, but it's a bit light on the midrange.
  5. My Squier is a PJ... It was my primary (only) bass for several years and it did its job very well. So yea, I'm a fan. I'd be interested to hear the Fender version.
  6. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I love the P-J configuration. I wired mine like a Jazz bass, instead of using a pan pot, and it sounded great.
  7. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    I have an Ibanez SR400 with P-J pups. When I start playing it I used to get the balance knob in the center, using both pups, so the sound lacked a lot of mid frecuencies....... then I started to realize that FiEldY was everything but a bass player and my eyes (and ears) saw the ligth again, since that I use the P pup like 90% of the time, and when i want to add a Mudvayne-Jaco feel to a song I use the J pup, and never (ever) had used both pups together again.

    In few words, P-J configuration has a inherent problem with ESENTIAL mid frecuencies cancelation.

  8. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I used P/J for a long time, and one of my basses still is a P/J (EMGs, though with no blend buffer). I find that in almost every instance of P/Js with no buffered blend, ergo most volume/volume setups, the J pup has less output than the P pickup, so that both on, is more than 90% P, and very little J, and the P and J have different unity levels, so that for a solod J sound at the same volume as the P, you need to go to the amp for some extra volume. I don't like this.

    The J sound works well when you have a blend though, and I think that's where some really nice tones are to be found.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My guess is that resentment is from those who mistakenly assume that a PJ offers the best of both worlds, P and J. A PJ gives good P ;) but never sounds exactly like a J.
  10. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I think a lot of it depends on the circuit and on the pickups themselves. Like any other configuration there are lots of basses out there with bad pickups and bad electronics. I used to have a '94 Fender Precision Special with the P/J configuration. It was a competent bass already but when I put in Bartolinis, the thing came alive, it was like night and day. At the same time, recognize that this, like all PU configurations has its limitations and it may not be for everyone.
  11. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Must be the right combination of EMG pickups, preamp, and blend knob that make this NS4CR sound so good then. Out of all my basses, the NS4CR gets the most comments in regard to sound. I must admit, I'm hopelessly hooked on it too.
  12. kirby


    Feb 24, 2003
    I have p/j with a three way pickup switch (all passive) and the output is the same in every position, the only thing i can't get out of it is a real j sound because solo j sounds a bit thin on its own...
  13. low.ender


    Oct 1, 2002
    My Fender American Hot Rodded P bass Lefty (p bass w/ added j bass bridge p/u) is my favorite ax. I dont use the j p/u much, but its great to have it there when I want it.
  14. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    My Sadowsky PJ4 sounds great with good balance from both pups. The inbetween or combine pup sounds are quite funky and great for slap.
  15. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Funny, but there's an ongoing discussion on this very topic right now on TBL.
  16. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Sorry if this is a stupid question...

    But, even if you solo the J bridge pickup, it's not gonna sound the same as it would if they were both J pickups, and you solo the bridge pickup?

    Or am I misunderstanding?
  17. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    My old Hohner had passive P/J pickups and I found that with them blended there wasn't enough low-mid thump and high-mid honk to cut through, hence I always solo'd the P pickup. However my Warwick has reverse-P/J pickups (EMG) and sounds fantastic. I've taken a rather unusual approach to the setup, but even with the pickups set to be at even volumes when solo'd and mixed 50/50 the sound has enough mids to cut and has great big round bottom from the P pickup and clean modern highs from the J.

    My approach is to keep the pickups blended 50/50 at all times and then tilt them so on the E-string the sound is about 40% P, 60% J and on the G-string, 60% P, 40% J. I love the way this gives me more growl on the low notes and more thickness on the high notes and thus a very even sound across the whole bass. This does prohibit me changing the blend because the string balance becomes uneven but I'm more a 1 pickup kind of person anyway - it just happen to be the world's first compound reverse-P/J pickup complete with ebony ramp/thumbrest in between!

  18. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    I think the j pickup can add some bite to the overall sound of the bass when played along with the P.

    If single-coil, though, they can be noisy. And some I've heard a little nasally when soloed.
  19. Someday people will learn that Spectors rule all else.
  20. I agree 100%. Many people expect a PJ bass to do both a P and Jazz bass tone to a "T" and it just doesn't happen. My PJ bass does a great P and has a really great sounding soloed J tone but it's not a Jazz bass. My bass controls are VVT and I can bring out some of the classic J tone by backing off of the P volume a bit but it really has a tone of it's own so to speak.