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P bass, and why I love it!!

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In my early years of being interested in music, and with my naiive ear, the sound of a p bass really stood out like a Welsh baritone voice. It's the first instrument that I could identify by ear thanks to Sting with The Police, and more so Thin Lizzy with the live and dangerous album. I love the sound because it's so unassuming. It doesn't seek attention, and yet it's presence is so powerful. And the playing experience, the simplicity, the neck that you need to engage with and the pickup puts your fingers in the perfect playing position. 

       I've had countless other basses over the years.... You name it, I've probably had one and yet I keep coming back to the trusty precision. 

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I used to hate and loathe them just for the weight and perceived lack of comfort 

Then I bought a bargain fixer upper on eBay (white squier vm p) and it was awesome 

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I had a Squier fretless Jazz once.

It went back within the week.  I can't get on with the shape of Fenders in general nor the massive headstock.

Edited by SpondonBassed
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I love P basses. I've had a few over the years, and currently just own one - my first, and oldest one.

They are just right - I love the superior definition of jazz basses and the versatile range of sounds from active basses, but for me a P bass is always the one I come back to as it just sounds so right to me for the kind of music I grew up listening to. To me thats what a bass sounds like.

With a pick and roundwounds, mine has a real boing and snarl; with flatwounds and fingers, its smooth and deep.

I'm not a heroic bassist, just hopefully a tasteful, thoughtful player who does the job well, and an old P is just the right tool for me.

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Great piece of rock and roll Americana alongside the Strat (as far as Fenders are concerned) - in pastel colours, scream early 60s throw back, sunburst later 60s/early 70s, natural early 70s, black 70s rock, and white, late 70s punk. I guess the equivalent of an American Classic car - the difference being few people use the latter in everyday use in 2018, as despite how much nostalgia we have for them, they not the best at the job these days. 

Despite 50s design and origin have a place still in pop music, although are associated these days with inaudible or muddy, inarticulate bass sounds in modern music mixes. 

I absolutely love the look of them (especially in certain colours), but have found them no better than adequate, playing wise since the 70s and certainly not the best for certain genres. A lot of it depends what you are playing and what your playing style is.

I do cringe at their (in my opinion) somewhat overstated place in the history of pop music, largely created by more recent commentators and educators. Many famous players have never played them, and some of those who have moved on to broader, more articulate sounds. Some have returned to them but has their bass sound improved? 

Perhaps we'll go full circle and those currently extolling P bass virtues will return to double basses (or euphonia and tubas haha 😂)

 

Edited by drTStingray
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Yep, the humble P-Bass, does its` job so well, and certainly a huge factor in many of the great bass-lines from the punk movement when bass seemed to become more audible and a bit more up-front musically too, rather than as a backing instrument.

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22 minutes ago, drTStingray said:

Many famous players have never played them, or those who have moved on to broader, more articulate sounds.  

 

Really? Yeah i can think of hardly anyone who uses a precision....

I'd list them here but there's probably so few.

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17 minutes ago, bassbiscuits said:

Really? Yeah i can think of hardly anyone who uses a precision....

I'd list them here but there's probably so few.

You're right lots of people use them - but if you listed seminal, infuential players, then far less so (and remember the bass was fairly inaudible in the 60s so brilliant as Jamerson, Cogbill, Jemmott, Babbitt and to an extent Duck Dunn were no one had heard of them until more recent years and much of their output was fairly submerged in the mix - we didn't even have stereo in the 60s and much was heard on AM radio through tiny transistor devices with poor sound). 

The most famous bass player of all for instance has not used one. 

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I'll be honest, I've never played one. Maybe if I did it would be a total revelation and exactly what I didn't know I was looking for, who knows. For me I just can't get over the looks. I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but damn those things are ugly! Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80' listening to a lot of American rock and metal, so I prefer a more modern looking guitar, or actually just anything that's not "that" shape. I've always found Fenders extremely beige and dull. That headstock and tuners like satellite dishes. Just no!

Edited by Newfoundfreedom
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2 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I'll be honest, I've never played one. Maybe if I did it would be a total revelation and exactly what I didn't know I was looking for, who knows. For me I just can't get over the looks. I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but damn those things are ugly! Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80' listening to a lot of American rock and metal, so I prefer a more modern looking guitar, or actually just anything that's not "that" shape. I've always found Fenders extremely beige and dull. That headstock and tuners like satellite dishes. Just no!

No.

116067276_IMG_7135(2).thumb.jpg.af6da927c4656bcaa1dab571b64cc3bc.jpg

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I have played Precisions pretty much constantly since 1984.

I read somewhere that budding bassists would play what their idols played.

Thats pretty much true for me.

Bruce Foxton,  JJ Burnel , Phil Lynott ,Horace Panter , Mark Bedford, Sid Vicious...(Only kidding) 😂

I love the simple plug and play of a P Bass. No mucking about, plug in and it sounds gr8 from the off.

The Transit Van of bass guitars.

Edited by Hobbayne
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9 minutes ago, Hobbayne said:

I have played Precisions pretty much constantly since 1984.

I read somewhere that budding bassists would play what their idols played.

Thats pretty much true for me.

Bruce Foxton,  JJ Burnel , Phil Lynott ,Horace Panter , Mark Bedford, Sid Vicious...(Only kidding) 😂

I love the simple plug and play of a P Bass. No mucking about, plug in and it sounds gr8 from the off.

The Transit Van of bass guitars.

Horace Panter! I'd forgotten about him. I must have taken the P sound in by osmosis around the same time 

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I have to say, regarding the 60 or so years of pedigree that is claimed in the sales blurb, it doesn't really interest me. It certainly wouldn't sway me either way. I love the way P bass sounds, looks and feels. 

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I used to hate P basses too... The sound mostly... Then I had a proper light bulb moment when I played a really good one in Rudy's on honeymoon in New York 9 years ago. It's been all about the P-bass ever since. I currently have 1 US P bass (post-honeymoon wedding present!), but plans are afoot for more... 

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I avoided p basses for years because I thought they were boring.

Then , like a lot of others, one day I tried one just to find out if I could see why there's so much love for them and I finally got it.

I still prefer my P basses with an extra J though.

Edited by Cato
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John Wetton's bass lines and sound of his P bass during his King Crimson era still haunts me. Legendary bass. 

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28 minutes ago, JohnTse said:

John Wetton's bass lines and sound of his P bass during his King Crimson era still haunts me. Legendary bass. 

Don't forget John Deacons upper register forays with Queen

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My Precision is a Squier affinity. Its the bottom of the range, but sounds so good. I don't know its pedigree but I am pretty sure it has aftermarket pickups and tuners. I've installed a wilkinson brass saddle bridge and a roughly done decal. That's for everyone else's benefit 

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2 minutes ago, kevin_lindsay said:

I love P-basses!!!

 

20130817_193800.jpg

Before about 5 minutes ago if someone had asked me if fancied a pink 51 style P bass, I'd have given a polite but firm 'no'.

That's stunning.

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4 minutes ago, Cato said:

Before about 5 minutes ago if someone had asked me if fancied a pink 51 style P bass, I'd have given a polite but firm 'no'.

That's stunning.

This exactly. 

Just before I scrolled down to your post I caught myself looking at the picture with a glint in my eye. If you'd have described it to me I'd have probably baulked at the very idea. :)

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1 hour ago, JohnTse said:

John Wetton's bass lines and sound of his P bass during his King Crimson era still haunts me. Legendary bass. 

This.

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5 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I'll be honest, I've never played one. Maybe if I did it would be a total revelation and exactly what I didn't know I was looking for, who knows. For me I just can't get over the looks. I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but damn those things are ugly! Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80' listening to a lot of American rock and metal, so I prefer a more modern looking guitar, or actually just anything that's not "that" shape. I've always found Fenders extremely beige and dull. That headstock and tuners like satellite dishes. Just no!

As a latecomer to bass I really didn't want a P bass, but a technical failure on my own bass meant I borrowed one during a rehearsal.  I coudn't wait to get one after that.  In the same way that I don't buy s screwdriver because I like how it looks, I don't really buy guitars for their looks.  Its comfortable to play and sounds great - what more could I want?

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