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Sambrook

Mind your P's and J's

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Apologies if this has been done to death - I've just discovered why so many rave about the P bass. I had always thought, why have a single pickup when you can have two? 

Just acquired a Vintage V4 from Bill (Troubadour of this parish), and it sounds glorious. 

My question, then, is this :- is the fundamental tone of a P bass negatively affected by having a J pickup added? 

And if not, why are all P's not Pj's? 

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8 minutes ago, Sambrook said:

My question, then, is this :- is the fundamental tone of a P bass negatively affected by having a J pickup added?

No, but what problem are you trying to fix? You have a bass that you like, a lot, and now you want to change it to something that you don't know how it sounds. Why?

I added a J pickup to my P bass. I was happy to embrace the "more is more, and more is always better", philosophy and found it was largely a waste of my cash. The benefits didn't match my outlay. The routing was expensive and the great sound of the J pickup never materialised. OK it was slightly better but not the night and day improvement I was expecting.

What are you hearing that would be improved by the addition of a J pickup? I'd suggest a better first step would be to upgrade the P pickup and move from a good P bass sound to a great one, before you consider anything else.

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I found the J pickup on my P/J would allow me to dial in a little growl when needed. Guess it's horses for courses

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I've found that the bridge pickup tends to be more trebly so is very useful to dial in if I'm looking for more detail to be heard in the mix whilst retaining the P thump. 

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It's all down to personal taste, but I've despised the J pick up in every PJ variants that I've tried - so, for me and maybe only me the J pick up is wasted

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22 minutes ago, No lust in Jazz said:

It's all down to personal taste, but I've despised the J pick up in every PJ variants that I've tried - so, for me and maybe only me the J pick up is wasted

True. Guess I'm lucky to have a 70s dimarzio humbucker in my PJ. Sounds huge 😉

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The extra pickup and pot does affect the loading of the P pickup and change the sound ever so slightly. In the same way that your bass will sound brighter with 500K pots vs 250K. Many purists prefer a solo P for this reason, others fit a toggle switch, others don't notice or don't care about the difference!

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If I've learnt anything here (and at the Bass Bashes) is that nobody, and that includes bass players, can tell the difference in tone on basses - even though people claim that they can.

Check the results from the last SE Bash, people couldn't even identify there own instruments.

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1 hour ago, No lust in Jazz said:

It's all down to personal taste, but I've despised the J pick up in every PJ variants that I've tried - so, for me and maybe only me the J pick up is wasted

This ^ 

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Soloed J pickups never sound great in my hands, even though I've heard others make them sound great.

P + J blended didn't quite do it for me either until I tried a Yamaha BB - the J pickup is so beefy it's louder than the P, which gives it a much growlier tone like a Jazz when using both pickups.

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I love my Sandberg PJ.

for my rock and Indie covers band I tend to blend to around 90% on the P pickup for that classic rock sound.

If I'm playing funk or Chilli's then I bias to around 65% on the J pickup for a bit more treble and growl.

I also have a Fender Deluxe PJ but I rarely use the J pickup on that bass and keep it biased 100% to the P.  I'm sure there are many factors to the difference i.e. pickups, preamp, la Bella flats, but one of the reasons I liked it is that the Fender PJs have neck profiles more akin to those on a J bass than a traditional straight P.

I also suspect the reverse P pickup design on the Sandberg means the PJ configuration works better.

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I've got a PJ on one of my basses and it spends 90% of the time solo on the P. I find if it's the P sound that you love, having the option to blend in some J just dilutes the goodness. I'd happily have just the single pickup, but the bass is a stone cold keeper, so I'm also happy to have the j. 

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Yes, loading on the P pickup with two volumes or a pan seem to suck the life out of both pickup on all the basses I’ve tried - and I’ve had a few (Fender P bass Deluxe V, Yamaha BB etc). Not tried one with a pickup selector switch - if it truly isolates the two pickups it should do the trick, but I suppose you then lose the both pickups tone. In theory it’s the best of both worlds as I prefer the P bass pickup sound to the J neck pickup, but much prefer a j bridge pickup to a MM, as I prefer more bite from the bridge pickup.

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20 hours ago, PJ-Bassist said:

 

I also have a Fender Deluxe PJ but I rarely use the J pickup on that bass and keep it biased 100% to the P.  I'm sure there are many factors to the difference i.e. pickups, preamp, la Bella flats, but one of the reasons I liked it is that the Fender PJs have neck profiles more akin to those on a J bass than a traditional straight P.

 

I could have written exactly the same comment.

The slim neck profile and light swamp ash body makes the deluxe the perfect precision for me.

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I play a passive PJ, admittedly 90% P but when the band plays an instrumental I'll often switch to the J to cut through more, then back to the thumpy P to keep out of the way of the vocals. Could do the same with the tone control, or amp EQ but I can leave everything set up as it was this way.

 

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On 26/04/2019 at 13:55, Sambrook said:

Apologies if this has been done to death - I've just discovered why so many rave about the P bass. I had always thought, why have a single pickup when you can have two? 

Just acquired a Vintage V4 from Bill (Troubadour of this parish), and it sounds glorious. 

My question, then, is this :- is the fundamental tone of a P bass negatively affected by having a J pickup added? 

And if not, why are all P's not Pj's? 

 

Depending on how the pickups are wired, there's an interaction that affects the sound of the P soloed so it's not exactly how it would sound on its own... just how much that matters it varies: some think it's a deal breaker and others don't care. 

The J adds to the tonal palette available, but just how interesting is that depends, again, on personal preference.

Both pickups on can sound pretty good, but it sometimes it's such a mid-scooped sound that I have no real use for it. It depends on the actual pickups, and how they're balanced. I find a bridge J alone to be too thin for me to want to use it on its own, so when I have a PJ, what I do is set the P pickup first so that it sounds balanced across strings and the way I want it (pickup distance from the strings can change things a lot). Then, I just adjust the height of the J pickup until it sounds nice when I have both pickups on together. Sometimes it means the J will be very weak and it's only adding a bit, other times it's louder... I don't care, as I will never use it alone.

That's just what I do, not a 'you must do this' rule.

I prefer a more powerful pickup at the bridge, to go with the P. Another P works well as long as it's reversed (the DG coil being away from the bridge), a dual J can be very nice, and a big MM style humbucker also works well (my preferred option).

Why aren't all P actually PJ? Because there's enough people who prefer it to be just a P.

I have a single pickup Stingray, and I'll never buy a dual pickup one. Why? Because the single pickup one does what I want it to do and I like the simplicity (plus the extra pickup gets in the way for me, but that's just me).

As with a lot of other things here... it comes down to personal preference really, and there's no one single superior solution.

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Interesting.  I love that Jaco-soloed-bridge Jazz tone.  It is odd to think that this couldn't be done successfully with a PJ setup. However, ...

I'd like a P-bass but with 2 jazz pickups and no Precision pickup.  Why?  Well, I have several Ps and love them.  I want a 60/61 Jazz bass but these, for some reason, seem to be quite expensive.  I have considered "adjusting" a cheap pre-CBS Precision - obviously, one that's been messed about - and slotting in a couple of bare-knuckle Jazz PUs along with 2 tone and 2 volume pots a la 1960/61 Jazzes.  This then enables a full range of tones from a lightweight and compact "Jazz", ie a Precision!  Then you choose between the P-bass or the J-ish-bass.

Start the slaying ...

Peace

Davo

 

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10 hours ago, Davo-London said:

Interesting.  I love that Jaco-soloed-bridge Jazz tone.  It is odd to think that this couldn't be done successfully with a PJ setup. However, ...

I'd like a P-bass but with 2 jazz pickups and no Precision pickup.  Why?  Well, I have several Ps and love them.  I want a 60/61 Jazz bass but these, for some reason, seem to be quite expensive.  I have considered "adjusting" a cheap pre-CBS Precision - obviously, one that's been messed about - and slotting in a couple of bare-knuckle Jazz PUs along with 2 tone and 2 volume pots a la 1960/61 Jazzes.  This then enables a full range of tones from a lightweight and compact "Jazz", ie a Precision!  Then you choose between the P-bass or the J-ish-bass.

Start the slaying ...

Peace

Davo

 

 

What slaying?

I think you are completely right! :)

I used to own this (ordered exactly like that):

IMG_8309.jpg?dl=1

 

And I turned this:

IMAG4373.jpg?dl=1

into this:

20161021_004844.jpg?dl=1

 

Although now it looks like this:

20161228_191841_09.jpg?dl=1

 

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20 minutes ago, StevieE said:

@mcnach can I ask where you got that thumb rest from please? Cheers 

 

I had it made.

I once bought an OLP MM2 (Stingray clone) that had a metal thumbrest just like it at the P pickup spot, stuck to the pickguard (strong double-sided sticky tape, it can be removed without leaving marks but it stays on strongly enough that you won't shift it during regular use). I removed it, and put it on a Precision at the MM pickup spot, as I'm used to resting my thumb on the Stingray's pickup...

A few people here liked the idea, and someone who had access to a laser cutter made a bunch of them based on a scan I made, in black acrylic. That's what's on this bass. I had a few spare ones that have been given away over the past few years, and now I only have those stuck on my basses, otherwise I'd offer to send you one.

 

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3 minutes ago, mcnach said:

 

I had it made.

I once bought an OLP MM2 (Stingray clone) that had a metal thumbrest just like it at the P pickup spot, stuck to the pickguard (strong double-sided sticky tape, it can be removed without leaving marks but it stays on strongly enough that you won't shift it during regular use). I removed it, and put it on a Precision at the MM pickup spot, as I'm used to resting my thumb on the Stingray's pickup...

A few people here liked the idea, and someone who had access to a laser cutter made a bunch of them based on a scan I made, in black acrylic. That's what's on this bass. I had a few spare ones that have been given away over the past few years, and now I only have those stuck on my basses, otherwise I'd offer to send you one.

 

Cool, thanks for that. I've been playing my P today and thinking I could do with a little rest just where a jazz pup would be, then I see your post. 

Think I may see if I can get one 3d printed 👍🏻

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10 hours ago, mcnach said:

 

What slaying?

I think you are completely right! :)

I used to own this (ordered exactly like that):

IMG_8309.jpg?dl=1

 

And I turned this:

IMAG4373.jpg?dl=1

into this:

20161021_004844.jpg?dl=1

 

Although now it looks like this:

20161228_191841_09.jpg?dl=1

McNach.  Tell me about the transition from P to JJ and then why you moved the neck pick-up?  Do you have sound samples from both JJ arrangements?  This is very pertinent to me!

Regards

Davo

 

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@Stub Mandrel thanks for that (cool bass BTW!)

I have thought about a traditional thumb rest like that, but I'm looking for something to sit vertically to use as a thumb "anchor" as opposed to a rest (pretty much the top of a bridge pup) if that makes sense. 

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