Why would you choose a P over a J?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vindibona1, May 5, 2019.

  1. I know a lot of guys have a P bass as their weapon of choice. What is it about that model that would make you choose it over a J bass? I own both 4 and 5 string J basses and every time I pick up a P it just doesn't speak to me. Perhaps it's because I'm used to the neck on a J? I dunno. Sound is so nuanced anyway.

    So what is it about P basses that grab you?
  2. pappabass

    pappabass Inactive

    May 19, 2006
    Alabama !! Roll Tide
    Bigger sound? I had a jazz just could not get that big bass sound I wanted. But a p bass is generally muddy.
    activa44 and fender68 like this.
  3. Resonance129


    Feb 15, 2011
    For me, it'd be the way the P translates to the ear when played with other instrumentation.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the sounds of a Jazz too (and PLENTY of other basses, for that matter), but when blending with other sounds, whether on a stage, or musical accompanyment, headphones or open room, IMO the P just sits in the most pleasurable places within the ensemble as a whole. It's got the "beef" to support the rest of the sounds well, and tends to compliment rather than overpower. It's so simple, controls-wise, but can be incredibly versatile with a few knob twists on your amps EQ.

    Not to mention, I've come to find the P bass neck profile to be one of my favorites.
  4. Bikeguy57

    Bikeguy57 Supporting Member

    I think you answered your own question. What ever speaks to you. They both get the job done.
  5. Punch. I own both and like both but the P bass has a more old school tone, great rock basses, solid, especially with an SVT. Mine are Fender P/J basses but I usually use the P pickup with a little of the J pickup mixed in.
  6. Ghastly


    Oct 18, 2015
    Mill Valley
    Sound, feel, looks...

    But I like Jazz basses too. :thumbsup:
    sludgetail, activa44, Winton and 3 others like this.
  7. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Bigger, beefier tone but a P can sometimes sound a bit too...well, like a P. Thats why I have found I prefer a PJ. Can brighten up the P when needed, but still retains that P sound or it can beef up the J bridge sound, thats usually too thin on its own, by adding in the P pickup. Its much more versatile in tones than any P or J.
  8. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016
    As someone who prefers a Jazz that has only recently begun to understand a P...

    If my amp is dialed in for a Jazz it’ll make my P sound thin and kind of boring. If it’s dialled in for a P it’ll make my J sound too scooped and kind of weak.

    I’m sure there’s more to it. I never really liked the P that much until I plugged it into an Ampeg.
  9. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    I wouldn't
    bhendrix and Charlzm like this.
  10. Precision for me, thanks. It fits my style and is able to reproduce the tones I use most often without much effort. I just feel comfortable with them and although there are many other types of instruments that have stood the test of time, the P is one of the all time greats.
  11. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    I played Jazz bass for years, live and a some recording. Always wanted a P bass though. When I switched to a P bass years ago, I tried to get on with J basses as well, but I always ended up selling them. I prefer the tone, feel, neck (no more thin necks for me) and looks of a P bass. I still dig J basses, no doubt, but P bass is my thing. P and Ray is what I use nowadays, as both do it for me.
  12. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Because it sounds better, and feels better.
    Pops OB, retslock, steamthief and 5 others like this.
  13. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    At that, Js are cool too. In fact, anything that is tuned an octave lower than a guitar is great. It really doesnt matter what the hell it is. But for me, P sounds better, feels better, plays better. It's actually as simple as that.
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  14. Feel-X

    Feel-X Inactive

    Apr 23, 2019
    Ellery, dalahorse, 4sight and 7 others like this.
  15. BassmanM


    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    Why the eternal comparison between the P and the J? They are two different instruments, that's all. No need for rivalry.
    mcnach, raphaeld, Ellery and 12 others like this.
  16. Personal preference and nothing else.
    Same reason I choose a Stingray over both a P or a J. Someone else could play what I play in the bands I play with either of the others and I am sure it would sound good. I just prefer the sound of a Stingray.
    retslock, Robscott, eadg98005 and 3 others like this.
  17. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't have to think about much; I just turn everything up to full and they simply sound good.

    I also like the feel of the [typically] wider necks.

    I prefer the inherent tone of the pickup to a J.

    String-to-string balance can be perfected, unlike with a J (my biggest annoyance about Js is the weak middle strings).

    And they look great.

    That said, I don't ever hem and haw over P vs. J when leaving for a gig. I use them pretty much interchangeably.
  18. Quote of the day
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  19. Biffa

    Biffa Inactive

    Apr 16, 2019
    County Durham, UK
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