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P Bass or Jazz Bass?

John Brown

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Everybody go ahead and add to this, but:


The jass bass has a single puckup that is stretched across the strings. A P-bass has 2 pickups, each optimized for the strings that it picks up. Also, it is easier to adjust the PU height for a particular string.

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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I'd say there are 3 basic differences. (1) The P bass has a "split" pickup--two halves offset, side by side, & they hum-cancel--while the J bass has two single coil pickups (typically; you can also get "stacked" humbucking pickups that will drop into a regular J bass pickup slot). (2) The P bass has a somewhat chunkier neck with a more rounded shape on the back, while the J has a thinner neck & less rounded. (3) The P typically has a "darker" sound, fairly heavy, while the J has a "brighter" sound. This is very, very rough, & you'd probably do best to A/B them to hear (& feel) the difference for yourself. (Keep in mind that body & fingerboard woods also contribute to sound; do a search for threads on that topic.)


Single coils tend to have a "janglier" sound than humbuckers, so the J bass tends to sound "janglier" than the P bass. The Rickenbacker is also a good example of this.


There are also "hybrids"; e.g., the Lakland & the Carvin are available with a J-style pickup in the neck position, & a humbucker in the bridge position, which can be switched between humbucking & single-coil mode. This allows for a wide range of tonal possibilities.

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