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paul_c2

Precision PJ vs Jazz

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I have an old Antoria Jazz bass, which is kinda showing its age. People might not know, but its fitted with 2x humbuckers in the usual (Jazz) locations. A while ago (like.....30 years ago) the bridge pickup failed, so it was replaced with a J pickup, and it kinda sounds good with that unusual combination. But recently, I've noticed there's quite a bit of noise from the guitar, its not the leads, amp, pedals, pedal power supply etc since I've tested and eliminated all that and its the guitar itself. Now, humbuckers are supposed to be noice-cancelling, and J pickups when both together do a similar thing....but mine doesn't.

In addition, a few screws have snapped, including one of the pickup height adjustment screws; and the J pickup is installed directly onto the body ie can't be adjusted in height. And there's various buzzes and dead spots, and certain notes or open strings sound out of place compared to the rest. Its served me well, but I think its due for either a major refurb or more. Also bits fell off the bridge a while ago, and mix & match screws have been used to replace some of the bits that fell off. And I'm convinced the neck is slightly banana shaped too.

So, I could get it properly looked at, possibly the pickup(s) replaced, but it will cost a bit, and some of the issues might not be 100% solvable. It still basically works and makes a nice sound though, as is, just with "quirks".

I looked at a replacement bass a few months back and after trying a few Musicmans and 5 strings, I decided I didn't really need a 5 string....then I looked at Precisions....then Jazzes....then I concluded that if I bought another, it would be quite close to what I already have, so it wasn't really worth buying another for the sake of it. But time's moved on and the noise issue is becoming more and more of an issue. Also, every time I pick up and play either a Fender/Squier Jazz or Precision, I can sense the quirks not there, the consistency of tone and they seem more "comfortable/playable" if that makes any sense.

So I was thinking of.....a Squier Precision with PJ configured pickups, or another (probably Squier) Jazz bass. In an ideal world a cheap Mexican Fender Jazz bass will be out there, but I've looked and looked and not found one yet. Squier Vintage Modified seem ideal (and I much prefer rosewood neck too) but I've seen a Precision PJ which I guess must be a Standard or Affinity? Are these a definite step below VM for quality, longevity etc???

I know....I guess I should actually try them out, including taking my existing bass and playing them back-to-back, but I wanted to listen to opinions first, from here. And yes there's tons of reviews and comparisons (and no doubt an amount of debate on Precision vs Jazz!!) but specifically I'm comparing a PJ pickup Precision with a "standard" Jazz here. I like the tone of a Precision but prefer (its a slight preference) the Jazz, does that exist with the PJ configuration or must it be Jazz all the way? Also (I am not sure of this) is a Jazz bass body contoured where a Precision isn't and is more slab-shaped? I seem to remember seeing the PJ Precision with contours, but other Precisions without?

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What's your budget? It's certainly possible to find a PJ with a jazz neck. I was about to suggest a fender blacktop jazz but that's double P config. There's also a very lovely looking Aerodyne Precision for sale here at the moment but the body looks decidedly un-contoured to me so that might be a deal breaker.

Are you 100% set on Fender/Squier? Because some excellent alternatives can be found for equivalent or less money if you don't mind searching outside of the Fender pool.

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Budget - not much, say £300 or so max, maybe more if really necessary but I can't really afford it. I'm not 100% on Fender but the times I've tried basses back-to-back and compared to a Fender/Squier I've always preferred them. Something says to me the safe bet is a Squier VM Jazz but I am open to other decent suggestions and I kinda understand the whole "Precision sound fits in better in the mix" thing too, hence why I'm looking with interest at Precisions - albeit with the flexibility offered with 2 pickups.

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It sounds like ergonomically, you don't have a great preference, so it'll come down to sounds.

A Jazz cannot do the P "sound", not really even close. But IMO a PJ, with both pickups blended gets pretty close to the Jazz sound. And, of course, they both have the same bridge pickup for that one soloed.

For me, I cannot do without the P sound, so it has to be a PJ. But if your main sound is the Jazz bass, both pickups blended, then its probably best to go for a Jazz.

As for longevity, I truly don't believe there is any difference between any of them. PLay a load of basses and choose the best one. INdividual basses of the same model do vary too. You can get individual cheap affinity squires that sound better than some MIM Fenders.

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[quote name='hamfist' timestamp='1498200211' post='3323044']
A Jazz cannot do the P "sound", not really even close.
[/quote]

I know I am in the minority here, but I disagree. :o

I mostly play J basses, but have owned a few Precisions - mostly because people keep saying that "a J can't do a P sound". My feeling is that at full band volume, the two are certainly close enough for me (and bandmates, and audiences). In my current and previous bands, we play(ed) a couple of Stranglers and Pixies tracks. I love a bit of JJB and/or Kim Deal, and I always felt that my J basses, with the neck pickup soloed, got pretty damned close to those tones. None of the P basses I have owned (and subsequently sold!) did it significantly better.

IMO, YMMV etc of course!

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[quote name='hamfist' timestamp='1498200211' post='3323044']
It sounds like ergonomically, you don't have a great preference, so it'll come down to sounds.

A Jazz cannot do the P "sound", not really even close. But IMO a PJ, with both pickups blended gets pretty close to the Jazz sound. And, of course, they both have the same bridge pickup for that one soloed.

For me, I cannot do without the P sound, so it has to be a PJ. But if your main sound is the Jazz bass, both pickups blended, then its probably best to go for a Jazz.

As for longevity, I truly don't believe there is any difference between any of them. PLay a load of basses and choose the best one. INdividual basses of the same model do vary too. You can get individual cheap affinity squires that sound better than some MIM Fenders.
[/quote]

I now have 2 P basses which I've had converted to P/J's, and I'm really sold on the sound and flexibility. I play in several bands, who are quite different from one another, and different with respect to what they like or expect from my sound and from how my sound "cuts through". I find I can always cut through with a P/J, I get a nice P sound, with as much of a hint of Jazz "burble" as I want.

I can also get a very Jazz-like sound, with a hint of P (if you know what I mean) - indeed, it's quite tempting to keep twiddling combinations and levels of both pickups - and it can annoy guitarists too! ;) My fretless bass (I only play fretless occasionally) is a Jazz, and oddly enough, I prefer the tones I can get from that, to the Fretless P I used to own. So for me, a fretted bass should be a P/J - I've not tried a fretless P/J but I think I'd prefer a fretless to be standard J/J.

Re the comments about getting a P sound from a Jazz - I've owned several basses of both persuasion and I never quite got a P sound from a Jazz. The closest I managed was with my Roadworn Jazz - the pickups of which I swapped for an old set of DiMarzio 1980's / early 90's pups, which sounded amazing. You could probably get pretty close, as Conan says above, with a decent neck pickup (like my old DiMarzio's) solo'ed and maybe a preamp and/ or EQ pedal - but I suspect it wouldn't be as obviously P bass sounding as JJ Burnel produced on those early Stranglers LPs. JJ and his sound was one of the sounds that attracted me to bass btw :)

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I forgot to add btw - one slight difference in a P/J P bass, and a P/J Jazz, is that of any given make / brand / batch the smaller body of the P should normally weigh slightly less than its' counterpart Jazz body. I never used to understand why people asked about the weight of basses - but now my joints, arms and shoulders ache more, this factor has become more important! lol

I haven't seen many factory built P/J Jazzes around. I have a Short Scale P/J Jazz - but these are as rare as hen's teeth

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Tell you what, bit off topic but anyways.
Hadn't used my jazz in ages with a band always one of the P's or Lionheart that gets the nod, Been thinking about moving it on as it has just sat there,
Had stuck some flats back on the Jazz a while ago and decide to take it along to practice yesterday, low and behold it did everything I wanted, bit of pick, fingers some reggae, funk and rocking blues :) Gigging it again next week,
It's easy to fall in and out of favor with different styles of basses when you have a few, but most of them will get the job done if you give them a chance.

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something like this
https://www.andertons.co.uk/p/0310500505/electric-basses/squier-affinity-precision-bass-pj-bass-guitar-in-olympic-white

the affinity range are suprising good for the money, i have a jazz at home that i bought for my daughter but have gigged it myself and was very impressed

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If you're looking at affordable p/j combinations, what about the new Sire P7? The first batch are already sold out at Thomann, but new ones are expected in August.

Edit: oops, perhaps too far outside budget, sorry.

Edited by SICbass

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Fender Precision Lyte might do it. Uber-slim neck, light as a feather, P/J configuration. I found mine had a particularly lovely P/J blend. You may well find one for your budget, too - for some unknown reason they change hands for way under their worth.

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[quote name='Telebass' timestamp='1498297857' post='3323681']
Or if you don't mind a slight deviation from the Fender norm - a Yamaha BB424.
[/quote]

Of course! I think we have a winner.....

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And well within budget, too, for s/h. Not that far out for new, if you can still find one.

Edited by Telebass

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[quote name='Telebass' timestamp='1498297857' post='3323681']
Or if you don't mind a slight deviation from the Fender norm - a Yamaha BB424.
[/quote]

This man speaks the truth. Got one s/h off here and I prefer it to my Nate Mendel P and highish end Ibanez.

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Was going to suggest a BB424 myself but feared I might sound like a broken record. Good to see I'm not alone in thinking it's one of the best PJs out there!

Was one for sale here not too long ago, and if memory serves, it was well under budget for the OP.

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Update - alas, I forgot it's a 5 string

http://basschat.co.uk/topic/305975-yamaha-bb425-black-excellent-condition-now-l250/page__pid__3323651#entry3323651

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I've kinda held fire on trying/buying a new bass, but last night (at a rehearsal) the noise issue irked me. So, I came home and ran through a bunch of tests again and its the bass. I tried my guitar (a Fender Strat) through the same setup and it too produces noise - although not quite as much - on pickup positions 1 3 and 5 ie one pickup selected. And it produces much less noise on 2 and 4 (where it combines the pickups). I know that a Jazz bass with standard setup can do this too - it combines both single coil pickups to cancel out noise, effectively acting like one large humbucker.

Does the Precision's standard (ie neck) pickup, being split, also have any noice-cancelling inherent in its design? And does the wiring of a (standard, whatever that is) PJ configuration do noise cancelling, or does the fact that one pickup is split enhance or mitigate this? I can imagine, if owning a PJ Precision, that a valid use of it would be to turn up only the neck pickup to get as close as possible to the original Precision sound - how close or wide of the mark this would be, I guess comes down to lots of factors including the precise location of the pickup(s).

Also I guess, that noise or the amount or absence of it, comes down to the quality of the wiring and the pickups (I remember Fender's top end models boasting "noiseless single coil pickups", for example - and have no reason to doubt its at least partly achievable); but also many other factors such as mains power quality, amplifier, leads, connectors, the other wiring within the guitar, in fact everything in the signal chain, pedal power supply etc etc

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I can only answer for the Aerodyne where I get a full on Precision with the Jazz pickup backed off and get a Jazz bridge pickup sound with the Pbass pickup wound off. The pair flat out gives a fatter 'Jazz' sound as you are incorporating a Pbass pickup rather than two Jazz pickups.

The Pbass pickup is hum cancelling.

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Update: I've finally been able to get to the shop and try out the basses I wanted to. Unfortunately they didn't have a Jazz to compare against but I took my own too, for comparison. The split pickup (P type) indeed is noise cancelling in itself, which is good. But if you turn up the J pickup then you'll get noise. So, with a PJ bass with both pickups turned up, it still has some noise. It was a bit frustrating really because 1) they didn't have a Jazz to compare against, neither did a different music shop in town, 2) they had a Squier Affinity and Squier VM Precision (both PJ pickups) but the Affinity had strings so new the trebly overtones you get in the first hour/day or so were overwhelming. Neither felt quite at home with me, but were reasonable. They had a Japanese Fender Jazz (not sure on the year) secondhand, much more expensive but after a fruitless walk to the other shop to try out a Jazz, I returned and tried it. It played perfect, much more at home, but it has an electrical fault which results in tons of noise and almost no output - so I've put a counteroffer in, subject to successful repair (it was took apart, it had no earthing from the jack to the pots or any other components) and I'm waiting to hear on that offer, which will be a day or so.

I also searched around beforehand, somewhat fruitlessly, for a Mexican Fender Jazz (there's one on eBay for £325 the other side of the country - but not much else) and also looked at new Mexican Fender Jazzes, but they're getting pricey now too.

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If you're still considering the BB424...

http://basschat.co.uk/topic/308045-yamaha-bb424x-black/page__pid__3327466#entry3327466

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I will go for a Fender(/Squier) Jazz, in one form or another. I think if I bought anything else, I'll always be wondering "what if.....". I don't know what it is, but there's something about the feel and playability of a bass that's "right", that you instantly know in your hands. Whether its down to learning on one kind, possibly an imperfect technique meaning others don't feel right, or actually something definable and physical about the guitar, I don't know. But I know when a guitar feels "right" in my hands. I've played Precisions before (although not for an extended period) and I owned a different bass a while back too, so its not like I have an irrational preference for Fender Jazz.

If this Japanese one falls through, I'll keep my existing for now and be on the hunt for a secondhand VM or Classic Vibe Squier Jazz, or a MIM Fender Jazz, or possibly another MIJ Fender/Squier. They're out there, its just finding the right one etc.

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Check out the Ishibashi site. There are lots of good Japanese basses here and the prices are good (don't be put off by the price in Yen).

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