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What is the differance between P and J bass?


rockinredneck69

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The vintage bass page is pretty darned thorough, but to simplify, for me the main diferences are (A) the neck on the jazz is thinner at the nut, and (B) the jazz has two pickups while the precision has one. This means that the Jazz bay be a bit more flexible as far as dialing in specific tones.

 

I like 'em both.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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wait for it.... wait for it....

 

About 6 letters.

 

AHAHAHAHAhahahahahahaHAHAHAhaHAHahaaa!!! oh.

 

If you want to hear the difference, a None-More-P Bass tone can be heard on damn near anything John Deacon ever recorded with Queen or try 'Gimmie Three Steps' by Skynyrd. So P bass.

 

Speaking of Geddy Lee (see other thread right now), all of 'Moving Pictures' was recorded with a jazz bass. Oh, and there is this Jaco guy that was fairly well known for playing jazz basses.

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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

wait for it.... wait for it....

 

About 6 letters.

 

AHAHAHAHAhahahahahahaHAHAHAhaHAHahaaa!!! oh.

 

That is so far from funny I feel physical pain. :rolleyes:

 

:D;):D

 

FYI, Jeremy Cohen just confirmed for me on another thread that Wayman Tisdale plays a Fender jazz.

 

Bump, who's this "Jaco" guy?

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

'Gimmie Three Steps' by Skynyrd. So P bass.

 

So Gibson Thunderbird (studio)

So Fender Jazz (Live version)

 

Leon was a friend. He wasn't a real fan of one p/u basses. I've seen him play just about everything including a Pedulla and my Tobias classic. The last axe he had was a white peavey dyna bass that he just loved.

 

No matter what he used, he always sounded the same. It used to piss him off

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Originally posted by Dave Martin:

the jazz has two pickups while the precision has one. This means that the Jazz bay be a bit more flexible as far as dialing in specific tones.

 

This is what I was looking for, not physical diffs, rather, the technical ones. So then its basically about pickups?
Donnie Peterson
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Originally posted by rockinredneck69:

So then its basically about pickups?

Yes. However the difference in neck shape is important as the fast playing tapered Jazz bass neck has been copied by so many other builders.

 

The Precision pickup is a split coil humbucker wired in series, and thus produces a thick tone with lots of low end, almost booming low mids and clanky highs with limited treble extension. Good examples of the (very varied) precision bass sound include all of Jamerson's Motown output, Freddie Washington on Forget-Me-Nots (& Men In Black - sampled from it), Paul Jackson (Headhunters), and more rock and punk players than you can shake a stick at.

 

The Jazz bass has two single coil pickups connected in parallel, one by the bridge producing a nasal sounds with lots of growling high mids and a very tight compressed sound, and one by the neck producing lots of big smooth low end. The single coil pickups have a much more extended high end, and the classic J-bass sound (bridge pickup on full, neck pickup at 80%) has a big bottom end which is more open and smoother than the P-bass, growling midrange and an open and clear high end. For J-bass sounds check out Family Man (The Wailers), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Jaco.

 

Alex

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There was a thread some time ago asking if you were a P guy or a J guy (or gal as appropriate).

 

I prefer the J for it's skinnier neck and tighter sound. However there is a reason why the P has probably sold more records than any other electric bass. It is a great workhorse and provides a big solid sound.

 

Either of these basses will work well in any situation, just in slightly different way. As for me...

gimmie a J (J)

gimmie an "azz bass" (azz bass)

goooooooooooooooo JAZZ BASS

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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Originally posted by bikertrash:

Originally posted by Bumpcity:

'Gimmie Three Steps' by Skynyrd. So P bass.

 

So Gibson Thunderbird (studio)

So Fender Jazz (Live version)

 

Leon was a friend. He wasn't a real fan of one p/u basses. I've seen him play just about everything including a Pedulla and my Tobias classic. The last axe he had was a white peavey dyna bass that he just loved.

 

No matter what he used, he always sounded the same. It used to piss him off

So I'm a retard. ;)

 

Dammit all.

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Originally posted by Bumpcity:

So I'm a retard. ;)

 

Dammit all.

Please don't admit this to your students on the first day of class tomorrow. Let them enjoy the journey of figuring it out for themselves.

 

Ain't nuthin' like a good P bass. :thu: Ain't nuthin' like a good J bass. :thu: Ain't nuthin' like a good hot-rodded P bass w/ a J bridge pickup. :thu: Ain't nuthin' like a Fender Urge II with both J p'ups and a P p'up in the middle. :thu: Ain't nuthin' like a good'n'phat Music Man StingRay...but I digress... :(

 

:D

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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  • 2 weeks later...

To my way of thinking, the difference between a P and J bass goes way beyond the physical. Yes, P bass - fatter neck (usually), split pickup, chunkier tone, less highs. J bass - slimmer neck, easier to play, dual pickups, more note definition, more high frequency.

 

But... I think P or J bass is a lifestyle choice as well. Committing to the P means taking on a set of preferences, and inherent parameters. You can't or at least shouldn't try to play a P bass like a Jazz. That would be missing the point. The P bass is a fat, chunky-butt animal that likes to take up space. It demands a high level of attention to what you play, because every note hurts - or helps. There ain't no takin' it back with a P bass. You better mean it, or be very good at making it work. You can play fast on a P, but it's not nimble like a Jackrabbit, more like a Grizzly doing 60mph to catch something to eat. Slap on a P? Sure, it's chunkfunk, think Boz Scaggs "Lowdown". The pop on a P is not as sharp as a J. It's like getting sliced with a serrated steak knife. Ouch! Use only when you gots to cut through some tough meat. Classic P guys... Jamerson, Rainey, Rocco, Bob Glaub.

 

The J is a sleeker machine. Being a Jazz guy means having a little more wiggle room. It takes up less space in the mix, so you can get more active without squashing people. With great power comes great responsibility. Just because you CAN move around, does that mean you should? And if so - how to, how much, and why? The J is a bit skinnier, so you have to learn how to use that texture to fill it up, and how to play it fat when it needs to be fat. Soloing? Sure. Slap? You bet. Passive it cuts like a well honed Buck knife. Active with a good pre amp, more like a barbers razor. Classic J guys... Jerry Jemmot, Larry Graham, Jaco, Marcus...

 

Some people make a choice early on and stick with it. Their entire style is built around that early decision, whether it was conscious or not. You may know some of these people. Players that would no sooner pick up the other axe than they would deliberately eat rotten food. There's honor in this I think, it certainly makes your life simpler when it's Friday night and you're trying to decide which bass to put in the bag.

 

I think it behooves (love that word) a professional bassist to have both and spend time cultivating the characteristics of each instrument. You need to make each one speak it's native language. There are some gigs that just naturally call for one or another. Not to say you couldn't switch around. You learn alot about the nature of the P and J when you try to make one do what the other does naturally.

 

Personally, I'm more fascinated with the P because I've always been a J guy by first nature. The J thing is in my DNA, but the P has gotten into my blood. I love chunkin out some fat ass P bass. It feels like I'm on vacation. The J still feels like home even though I've spent years getting used to the 5 string. I am definitely a confirmed 24 fret guy now. I always wished Fender would come out with a killer 24 fret J bass. I know.. the Urge bass.... Like I said.....

 

On most of my gigs these days, there is the expectation that I'm going to solo. If I wasn't so damned attached to what happens between frets 21 and 24, I'd bring a J, but.... Luckily I've found something with 24 that does it for me. But I still miss the opportunity to play my Fenders. I actually go out of my way to cultivate Fender gigs. No solos please!

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Wow Ed.

 

An absolutely brilliant response, and words to live by.

 

Me...I'm a P/J.

 

I suppose that means I'm indecisive and unwilling to go all the way down either road. :D

 

Come to think of it, I am!

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Ed Friedland wrote:

 

There ain't no takin' it back with a P bass. You better mean it, or be very good at making it work.
What a brilliant line! Can I use it in a sig?

 

And there's more!

 

You can play fast on a P, but it's not nimble like a Jackrabbit, more like a Grizzly doing 60mph to catch something to eat.
You've seen me in action, right..?

 

Cheers

 

Graham

www.talkingstrawberries.com - for rocking' blues, raw and fresh!
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Gosh, I guess I was feelin' all poetic that day.....

 

It's funny, I've had many different P basses over the years. Some of them I cut up and made into P/Js, some of them WERE P/Js when I bought them. I've added preamps, swapped out the necks for something slimmer... and ultimately I got rid of them all. Finally I decided that if I get another P, I'm going to leave it the hell alone and let it be just what Leo wanted it to be... A P BASS. I have mostly active basses, even my Jazz has a J-retro in it (awesome!). But I'm leaving my 2 P's alone. One is a stock '88 made in Japan that sounds terrific, the other I just got from my flea-market scouring bro-in-law. A '72 Sunburst/Rosewood. The neck is messed up, but it's being re-fretted. Flatwounds and foam make this a Jamerson machine. No more surgery for P basses!

 

Now, if I could just learn that lesson with Stingrays!

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Ed, you can probably get a figerboard extension if you really love playing fenders and can't live without frets 22,23, and 24.

 

I don't know where or by whom you can get this done though.

http://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/blue.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/black.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/fuscia.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/grey.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/orange.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/purple.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/red.JPGhttp://www.briantimpe.com/images/LDL/dots/yellow.JPG
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Originally posted by dcr:

Really, when you get down to it, the biggest difference is that one is easier to spell.

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for dcr! He'll be here all night, so you might want to consider a change of scenery :P:D ...

 

-Pernax

 

PS. Ed's post was truly a thing of beauty, thanks for that :) .

(up to 200 characters) You may use UBBCode in your signature.
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If anyone's looking to give me a P-bass and J-bass (though a Lakland Bob Glaub and Joe Osborn would be fine if you can't find a Fender) I've decided what to do with them:

 

Light gauge rounds for the J-bass (and maybe a Sadowsky preamp) and low action to make it the ultimate slap machine, and heavy gauge flats for the P-bass for maximum Motown thump. If I could just have one Fender, it'd have to be a Precision, because my Warwick already covers the more articulate J-bass niche.

 

Alex

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I'm a j bass guy all the way.

 

However, I played a Precision for a few years to see what it was all about and then went back to the jazz.

 

The Precision seems to record better and so in recent years I bought another p bass and strung it with La Bella flatwounds. The only time I use this bass is in the studio and I have to say that engineers love it.

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Originally posted by jeremyc:

The Precision seems to record better and so in recent years I bought another p bass and strung it with La Bella flatwounds. The only time I use this bass is in the studio and I have to say that engineers love it.

It's those kinda honky low mids that do it - less deep bottom and airy top than the jazz, but that thick focused punch just cuts through any mix whilst still sounding very bassy.

 

I've always noticed that however great more scooped tones sound live, it's the midrangey ones that work on recordings - such are the limitations of making a mix work on everything from crap radios to OTT audiophile systems.

 

Alex

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Thank goodness I don't need to worry about such nonsense... ;)

 

Seriously? Just gimme a J bass with Duncan Classic J stack pickups, 3 band 9V active EQ with passive mode, 22 medium jumbo frets, and a sexy deep purple translucent finish with a 3-layer black/white/black mother of pearl pickguard. Tung oil satin finish on the maple neck.

 

Roto Swing bass nickel roundwound for strings (.045-.105), and 8 Tortex triangle picks for picking when needed (4 @ 1mm, and 4 @ 1.14mm).

 

Black hardware, with Hipshot bridge, Sperzel tuners, and D tuner. Don't forget the strap locks, custom leather strap, and matching Coffin Case.

 

Blue is overrated. :D

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