Why do PJ basses always have J necks?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Naigewron, Sep 20, 2022.

  1. Naigewron


    Jan 5, 2018
    I've started sniffing around for a P bass.. So I figured, why not make ait a bit more versatile and add a J pickup in the mix as well? Pure P tones when I need it, and then blend in some of that honky bridge pickup when I'm feeling crazy.

    But it seems like almost every bass manufacturer out there does the same exact thing: Once the J pickup goes in, the neck taper and nut width goes from a nice chunky P neck to that dreadfully narrow J neck (just my personal taste, obviously)

    Even if the body shape and control layout is obviously based on a Precision, the neck always seems to be based on a J.

    Is there a reason for this? Or is it just one of those "that's how Fender did it back in the day, so that's what everyone does now" deals?

    Who makes PJ basses with P style necks?
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  2. Rev12_11


    Oct 5, 2019
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Guessing because it sells better.
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  3. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    The Yamaha BB models don’t have J-type necks.
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  4. All of the Precision basses on the Fender website have the same nut width regardless of pickup configuration (1.625”), with the exception of the American original 60’s model which is 1.73”.
  5. Naigewron


    Jan 5, 2018
    Wow, I stand absolutely corrected. For whatever reason, every PJ I've tested in the past has seemingly had J necks, including a few Fenders. Looks like it's not quite as much of a trend that I have assumed.
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Try a Tony Franklin Precision, fretless or fretted. It comes with a P neck.

    Technically, this is P/Soap bar, but I think it is one of the awesome basses I have ever played.

  7. At some point that may have been a Fender “standard”. Someone with knowledge of Fender history can probably tell is. I know what you’re talking about though, I have seen the jazz neck configuration but can’t remember where.
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  8. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    We’ve had some threads about swapping a J neck on to Ps. I would be there are a load of folks willing to swap necks with you if you happen to end up with a PJ with a J neck.
  9. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    First off, I'm no Fender fan so this is coming from pretty much an anti-Fender guy.

    Check out the American Performer Precision. It's a P/J with a P neck (not a HUGE P neck, but not a J either) and I had no idea Fender could make a bass this good. These basses are criminally overlooked, are made in the USA, and sell for next to nothing. If I still played parallel fret basses, my Performer Precision would be my #1.
  10. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    I have a MIA 90’s Fender N series PB with the Jazz bridge pickup. It has a PB neck, although it’s the best PB neck I’ve had my hands around, and there has been more than a few.
  11. I also got an American Performer PJ and yes it has a modern P neck, 1.5" nut I believe. Super comfy and I love the thing.

    The ONLY thing I will knock it on is that I don't really think the stock pickups are the best PJ pairing. Rolling in the J progressively rolls off the low end response. Like a lot. The J by itself is OK, and the P by itself is GREAT. But almost any blending of the two is just about unusable to me. I am still weighing options for pickup upgrades here and may go down the TB tried-and-true Geezer route, but am fancying a chat with Lindy Fralin to hear his thoughts first.


    Additionally, and not quite on-topic, the Mark Hoppus Jazz bass from the early 2000s was a J body with a P pickup and P neck. Quite the reverse of the standard "P Bass Special"! I just finished my own custom-built (by a few of my favorite vendors) Miami Vice themed, Hoppus inspired J. I used a Fender roasted maple P neck on this maple J body, and it is absolutely fantastic. Gunna take it back to my dude Brian at The Low End for one more neck pitch tweak to get the action rrriiiggghhhhhttttt where I want it, but dangit this thing is an absolute beast!

  12. primusfan1989


    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    Id be willing to bet the reason they all have J necks is because the most common mods to a P bass is a j pickup at bridge and a jazz neck
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  13. My Fender Precision Lyte seems to support the OPs argument. It's got the PJ pickups, all the Precision sounds from the P and all the Jazz tone from the J and a REALLY nice blend control. BUT, the nut width is pretty darn small at 1 7/16" (1.4375") and with big hands I also much prefer the bigger/beefier neck of my 5 string Warwick and Squire Jazz. Maybe a 5-string with a PJ configuration is in your future.
  14. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I think there’s a bit of a breakdown in communication happening here.
    When i think “Pbass neck”, i’m thinking about a nut width that’s greater than or equal to 1.625”.
    And a Jazz neck has a nut width in the ballpark of 1.5”, give or take.
    So the Yamaha BB basses do have a J style neck (1.57” nut), and an American Performer PJ with a 1.5” nut is a J style neck, even if the decal says “Precision”.

    To that end, i do agree with the OP that a lot of PJ’s do have Jstyle necks (those with nut widths smaller than 1.625”), but after scrolling through Sweetwater, it looks like that trend is coming to an end, so it shouldn’t be an issue any more.

    I hope i understood OPs question, and i hope this helps.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
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  15. I need that 1 5/8" nut.
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  16. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    If it doesn't have to be a Fender, maybe look for a Lakland. The Glaub P/J was available with the 1.75" nut width (and those necks are to die for if you like a 60's P neck). I think there were/are some Skylines with that spec, while some are 1.6"
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
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  17. Ricky Rioli

    Ricky Rioli

    Sep 29, 2020
    Geriatric Jazz, 1 + 7/16"
    azz, 1 + 1/2"
    odern Yamaha BB, 1 + 9/16"
    recision, 1 + 5/8"
    tingray, 1 + 11/16"
    intage Precision, 1 + 3/4"

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  18. r_bnks

    r_bnks Supporting Member

  19. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013
    1.5” is a more common neck width; for novices, people without large hands and guitarists that occasionally swap, is easier to wrangle.

    That’s probably the main set of reasons why.
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  20. Charvel/Jackson 2 B doesn't have a jazz neck 1.63" at the nut so 1 5/8 roughly a P neck