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thegummy

To Owners of Both J and P Basses

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Can you describe certain situations where you'd choose to use one over the other? Certain genres or styles of song?

I tried searching for this kind of topic but all I find is "J vs P" threads rather than specifically when an owner of both chooses one over the other.

Just for the record, I have both and tend to play the P most of the time but I do like the sound of the J too, just looking for inspiration as to when is good to utilise the J (and even which pickup config).

Cheers!

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Much as I like my Jazz basses, the Precisions get taken out far more often, in fact in recent years, I've only gigged a J when I feel it needs to taken out or moved on.

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Whether I use my P or J depends more on how I'm feeling than what I'm playing! I use them both in a variety of settings ranging from jazz/swing to funk/disco and they both do the job. The J does deliver a bit more snap and growl but, on the rare occasions that I get any good comments on my bass sound it's usually the P. There's something sublimely 'right' about a good P bass.

Edited by ikay

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My favourite bassists are mainly P players, but when it comes to the two, I can't decide and thus I tend to be a PJ type chap, or at least 'two pickup' basses. There's something about the combination that seems to offer a tightness to the sound that I can't really describe. I think my favourite combination which is going off topic is a pair of dual-rail soapbars. Would that be J Bass on steroids?

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I`ve not got a Jazz at the moment, but the only time when I have had one where I felt it suited better than a Precision was in a rock band that had two humbucking guitars and keyboards. The Precision just had too much bulk to it with all the other sound going on, so the more subtle finesse of the Jazz fitted in really well.

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[quote name='FinnDave' timestamp='1508166087' post='3390187']
Much as I like my Jazz basses, the Precisions get taken out far more often, in fact in recent years, I've only gigged a J when I feel it needs to taken out or moved on.
[/quote]
That's exactly it for me as well, in fact I moved my J on.
Prefer the feel of P sized necks.

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I've had a few over the years. The first 10 years of my playing was on jazz basses. Love the feel of the necks and the tone. Once I got experienced enough in understanding where the bass fits in a mix though I started to leave the jazz basses at home and gig the with P's. Not matter how much technology I use to try and get a jazz bass to fit i the mix, it never is as easy as just plugging a p bass in.

So these days, I gig with a P bass (will be putting a jazz neck on it at some point) and I've moved all my fretted jazzes on. So basically, fretless jazz for practice, fretted P for gigs/Studio sessions.

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I've always been a P bass person and I own one of the best passive Precisions I've heard but after being [i]the[/i] bass for 5 years it doesn't often get of the subs bench these days.

My go-to bass right now is an active Jazz. I'm just preferring the extra dynamics of this bass over everything else.

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I just rotate mine. I'm not sure that in the middle of a gig the punters notice the difference tbh. Currently on a P phase but will be J-ing shortly.

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I can't get anywhere near a jazz bass tone on a P Bass? I can get near to a P Bass on a Jazz Bass. This is more of a personal instrument feel preference. Imo

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My P is my go to. It sounds awesome, it plays awesome, and it's light and easy to carry!

My J is a 5 string elite and it also sounds awesome, it also plays awesome, and it's light and easy to carry! Being an active bass and a 5 string I use it for more modern sounding songs and in rooms where I need added control on the fly! Also the low B comes in very hand! The P wears flats for all other circumstances!

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My go-to is an active jazz, but I like my P bass and take out which ever one I fancy. Some band leaders seem to prefer the Precision, but I think both sounds will work in just about any type of music. I’ve just got a Stingray as well, which is obviously a different sound again but still something I think would work for any gig.

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It seems a lot of people share my experience in finding the P "just right", especially for rock or blues involving electric guitars.

Some situations I can think of that theoretically may allow the J to shine could be:
[list]
[*]A sparse song with acoustic guitar and light drums?
[/list][list]
[*]A slow ballad with clean arpeggiated guitar rather than dirty chords? (we do a song like that and I roll the P's tone all the way off and use my thumb but have thought using the J's neck pup could be good. Have tried it at rehearsal but when I'm concentrating on playing and singing it's hard to really compare the tone - would need to record both).
[/list][list]
[*]Songs where piano or other keyboard instrument are used rather than guitar?
[/list]
I think the reasoning behind the scenarios is that the P seems to have strength alongside electric guitar chords as it manages to fill a space that fits in with that.

Good posts so far :)

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[quote name='thegummy' timestamp='1508201545' post='3390493']
It seems a lot of people share my experience in finding the P "just right", especially for rock or blues involving electric guitars.

Some situations I can think of that theoretically may allow the J to shine could be:
[list]
[*]A sparse song with acoustic guitar and light drums?
[/list][list]
[*]A slow ballad with clean arpeggiated guitar rather than dirty chords? (we do a song like that and I roll the P's tone all the way off and use my thumb but have thought using the J's neck pup could be good. Have tried it at rehearsal but when I'm concentrating on playing and singing it's hard to really compare the tone - would need to record both).
[/list][list]
[*]Songs where piano or other keyboard instrument are used rather than guitar?
[/list]
I think the reasoning behind the scenarios is that the P seems to have strength alongside electric guitar chords as it manages to fill a space that fits in with that.

Good posts so far :)
[/quote]
Funny you should list all those options for using your Jazz, I'd be using my P with flats for all those situations! My Jazz tends to get used for most things post circa 1985, and especially so when I need to get more at hand tone shaping!

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[quote name='thegummy' timestamp='1508201545' post='3390493']
It seems a lot of people share my experience in finding the P "just right", especially for rock or blues involving electric guitars.

Some situations I can think of that theoretically may allow the J to shine could be:[list]
[*]A sparse song with acoustic guitar and light drums?
[/list][list]
[*]A slow ballad with clean arpeggiated guitar rather than dirty chords? (we do a song like that and I roll the P's tone all the way off and use my thumb but have thought using the J's neck pup could be good. Have tried it at rehearsal but when I'm concentrating on playing and singing it's hard to really compare the tone - would need to record both).
[/list][list]
[*]Songs where piano or other keyboard instrument are used rather than guitar?
[/list]
I think the reasoning behind the scenarios is that the P seems to have strength alongside electric guitar chords as it manages to fill a space that fits in with that.

Good posts so far :)
[/quote]

For these I would drift towards one of fretless basses.

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I've had both over the years.... and several of each - like many of us, I suspect
I play in several bands, and when I was after a "rockier" sound, I tended to opt for a P over a J
However, there were times when I'd happen to take the J along (as a spare, or just cos I fancied trying it on one set of songs for instance)
I would find the Jazz sounded better than I'd expected. A quick sound-check, before the 2nd set kicked off was usually enough for me to tell...

Nowadays, my preference is for a P/J bass. I just like the tonal options. I can have pure P when I want it, and completely "kill" the J pickup
But I usually dial in at least some J - To my ear, this is the best solution. The P tends to cut through with whichever band I'm playing, and I get as much Jazz "burble" as I want for any particular song

I have a fretless bass, which is a Jazz. I did own a US fretless P - but I prefer the sound (and flexibility) of the two Jazz pickups when it comes to fretless.
The fretless P was great - it was lovely & light, and comfortable to play, and felt and sounded good... but somehow, the 2 Jazz pickups suit fretless more
All the above are merely my opinion, of course - but to anyone who hasn't tried the P/J option it's well worth some experimentation, especially in a live situation

One or two other thoughts - which have probably been discussed many times on here; I tend to prefer P's for body shape - in general they're lighter in weight than a J. That may not mean much to some - but as my age advances, the lighter the bass, the happier I am after a couple of hours playing. So if I'm going to be playing a couple of long sets, or am likely to be tired (work, rehearsals, or gigging three nights running)

I usually prefer the neck dimensions of a J.... but not the very thin, highly tapered versions (I had a 70's RI Jazz, it was lovely, but the neck was very slim at the nut)
My fave ever neck being my old RW Jazz, and my (luthier slimmed) RW P. On P basses, i tend to prefer "C" shape / profile necks (more akin to that RW Jazz)

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I've had a couple of both over the years.

I originally found that the USA P I had was much fuller and meatier sounding than the MIJ Jazz i had - exactly what I needed for a rock/pop band.

But as band diversified and i needed to play some slap/more intricate stuff, I ended up with a USA jazz fitted with Aguilar hot pickups - it was the best sounding bass i've ever owned. It had the fatness of the P, but with greater note separation and clarity, instead of the slightly blurry thud that the P had.

I sold the J in the end tho as it was too heavy for me - my main bass remains a Precision.

I think I'd miss the full fat boom of a Precision more than I miss the high end articulation of a Jazz.

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[quote name='dood' timestamp='1508169967' post='3390224']
My favourite bassists are mainly P players, but when it comes to the two, I can't decide and thus I tend to be a PJ type chap, or at least 'two pickup' basses. There's something about the combination that seems to offer a tightness to the sound that I can't really describe. I think my favourite combination which is going off topic is a pair of dual-rail soapbars. Would that be J Bass on steroids?
[/quote]

Would that be more or less the same as a pair of humbuckers in Jazz bass positions? If so, you've basically got a Thunderbird!

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[quote name='EliasMooseblaster' timestamp='1508232413' post='3390634']
Would that be more or less the same as a pair of humbuckers in Jazz bass positions? If so, you've basically got a Thunderbird!
[/quote]

Point well made! Yes, the early ones are dual rail humbuckers. I for some reason never put two and two together! - I will however need to go listen to some Paul Gray now! Loved his TB tone!

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[quote name='FinnDave' timestamp='1508166087' post='3390187']
Much as I like my Jazz basses, the Precisions get taken out far more often, in fact in recent years, I've only gigged a J when I feel it needs to taken out or moved on.
[/quote]

Pretty much my situation, although for different reasons i expect.
I much prefer jazz basses, but i just cant get them to work as well as i can a P bass live. I struggle with the low end, and the lack of punch on the G string. Yes ive done as much tweaking as i can be bothered to do over the years, and the jazz bass has worked well for me, but when i plug a P bass in life just seems to get a lot easier.

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[quote name='dood' timestamp='1508234090' post='3390650']
Point well made! Yes, the early ones are dual rail humbuckers. I for some reason never put two and two together! - I will however need to go listen to some Paul Gray now! Loved his TB tone!
[/quote]

Feel free to share any particularly pertinent examples with the rest of us - I do love the sound of a good 'bird!

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I have a P, a J and a Ray that are my trio of gigging basses.
The P gets used for about 2/3 of the set and is my favorite of the three - both to play and tonally. I like the depth and power of the P but I do still like a bright, aggressive sound with lots of articulation so use Dunlop Superbright Steels on it which works nicely for me.
The jazz is a fender Modern Player which is actually 2 coil tap-able humbuckers so I set it as neck humbucker / bridge single coil which then sounds very much like a P/J and then use that on all the songs that I play with a pick (P/J with a pick worked for Duff).
The (Sterling SUB) Ray I just use on anything a bit funky or with a bit of slap in it.
I could get away with any one of them at a gig to be honest (and have done) but I've got the option to use all three so why not?

Edited by Painy

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Between a P and a J, my best answer is... a PP ! I'm lucky enough to have vintage BC Rich Eagle bass at home and for me, it's the best of both worlds. Got a massive P thump, and some extra tightness&growl if needed. And a bunch of usable tones in between.

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