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Not a P bass if it has a J neck?


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This is not an attempt at further advertising my sale, but I put my Limelight on FB Marketplace this evening and it received these comments regarding the fact that it's a P bass with a J neck.

Person #1 - "That's surely the wrong way around. Jazz body with a precision neck imho  It's the neck that gives the thunder on a precision...."

Person #2 - "I don't think a slightly wider nut width and string spacing "gives it thunder."

Person #3 - "no it doesn't but a proper fat P bass neck has a lot more timber than a slim jazz neck. That extra timber does make a lot of difference. Far more than high mass bridges etc."

Person #2 - "Well, let's face it, the totally different pickup configuration makes a bigger difference still."

Person #3 - "well ok sure, but pick up a P bass & play without plugging it into anything, still sounds like a P bass, do the same with a jazz, still sounds like a jazz. I do it all the time. I have 2 of each."

It struck me as a bit of an odd thing to say. What say you Basschat?

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What does it sound like to you?

I had a P Deluxe with the Jazz bridge pickup and active EQ. The neck was on the slim side for a P but it sounded pretty fat to me. No J to compare it to at the time. Curses to one in one out rules!

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I see both sides. Ive made s LOT of Fender-alike bitsas over the years, perhaps 30. The start point for me is to find a neck and body that resonate well together; some do, some don’t. In my experience some necks will make some P Basses sound more ‘like’ a Precision than other necks, and acknowledging my own bias here (I prefer Precision necks anyway), I’d say that this effect is more likely to happen with a fat Precision neck. So, a Precision neck will make a bass sound better (to my ear) than a thinner Jazz Bass neck more often than the other way around. But of course, ‘better’ is a difficult idea.

I can’t argue with the idea that in many/most cases the above might be a function of the quality as opposed to the quantity of the wood, replacing a poor quality J-Bass neck with a high quality P-Bass neck is not a like for like after all. 

Also I doubt anyone listening even to the bass soloed let alone in the mix would hear much if any difference between the skinniest and the fattest neck.  

But if I want as much Precision tone as possible from a bass, my start point would be a Precision neck. 

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Posted (edited)

Sounds to me dangerously close to a 'tonewood' debate which will inevitably lead to endless arguments over claims which are more or less impossible to satisfactorily substantiate.

Edited by Cato
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The purpose of a neck is to keep the string taut. Is it unreasonable to think that the construction of the neck will make minute differences to how it does this? I can't see how it is.

In this particular discussion, though, they're missing half of the factors. One dimension is consistent, the 34" scale, and they talking about the second dimension, the nut width. But there's no standardisation for the third dimension, the depth: the specs for both J and P necks vary enormously but are rarely given. Also, no account is being taken of how the neck is constructed, or what else is in it.

It seems to be reasonable to say, the neck impacts the behaviour of the vibrating string, but to reduce that complex issue to just the width of the nut .... 

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I probably should have added that I don’t give a stuff what they think, it sounds like a P bass to me. I’ve had a few decent Precisions in my time from standard to Custom Shop and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference by sound alone.

It’s just I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard that comment before and wondered if I’d missed that it was generally accepted to be the case. It would appear not 😂.

I certainly didn’t want to kick off another tonewood argument. No-one needs another one of those 🙄😂

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Posted (edited)

They may as well say that no P basses are correct since 1957 as the neck profile has varied a lot since then.

I am of the opinion that all factors, wood, nut, neck profile etc make a small difference but the pickups influence the sound above all else.
Stick Precision pickups on a Jazz and the overwhelming sound is a P bass.

That said I agree with @Beedster I love meddling with Bitsa builds and it is interesting how the various combinations of neck and body can make a subtle but important difference to how a bass sounds.

I have been on the lookout for an early Duff Mckagan bass for years and there’s no issue with that J neck P body combo!

Edited by tegs07
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35 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

I’ve had a few decent Precisions in my time from standard to Custom Shop and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference by sound alone.

When I changed my precision neck for a jazz neck I personally couldn’t hear any difference, it was just more comfortable for me to play 

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2 minutes ago, Delberthot said:

To further complicate things I would say that these are Jazz bassesfender_flea_jazz_bass_active_satin_shell_pink_front.jpeg.07339bf5a671fcc67848e3234a38bb0b.jpeg

 

I think you’ll find that’s a Stingray 😂

I’m joking, but this did occur to me when I read the FB comments. I’ve played a few SLO ‘Ray’s over the years and nobody ever says they are not a proper Stingray - or do they and I just haven’t noticed 🤷‍♂️

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I've got one of those cute little Harley Benton PB Shorty basses.  Short scale, J width at the nut, sounds like a precision to me.  I'd say the lack of timber doesn't affect the timbre, personally. :) 

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1 minute ago, Paul S said:

I've got one of those cute little Harley Benton PB Shorty basses.  Short scale, J width at the nut, sounds like a precision to me.  I'd say the lack of timber doesn't affect the timbre, personally. :) 

Ah yes, but how much ‘thunder’ does it have? 🤪

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The original Mark Hoppus signature Precision was a J body with P neck and pickups.

The updated Mark Hoppus signature Jazz was a J body with P neck and pickups.

I don’t think it really matters.

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I have a single coil P with a huge neck, which makes quite a tight, bright sound, and a Thunderbird with a very slim neck which, while still sounding punchy, is bigger and deeper than any P or J.

So the guy measuring the 'size' of the tone by the size of the neck doesn't even have a sound observation, let alone hypothesis.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ricky Rioli said:

The purpose of a neck is to keep the string taut. Is it unreasonable to think that the construction of the neck will make minute differences to how it does this? I can't see how it is.

In this particular discussion, though, they're missing half of the factors. One dimension is consistent, the 34" scale, and they talking about the second dimension, the nut width. But there's no standardisation for the third dimension, the depth: the specs for both J and P necks vary enormously but are rarely given. Also, no account is being taken of how the neck is constructed, or what else is in it.

It seems to be reasonable to say, the neck impacts the behaviour of the vibrating string, but to reduce that complex issue to just the width of the nut .... 

I have a Vintera P which I bought used and cheap as I love those cheesy 50’s surf colours. I wanted a split screen VW bus but settled on the bass …. anyhow digressing, the point is it has a 50’s contour neck but with modern roasted maple.

The neck is so light compared to the P neck on my US bitsa which has a 90’s Rosewood neck, but is so much denser (wood + whatever truss rod and frets are made of) So P necks with different profiles can vary dramatically depending on materials used.

The Vintera has less “thunder” but suspect that is because it has pickups that aren’t as hot as the active ones in the Bitsa!

Edited by tegs07
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Like the man alluded to, it's people talking bollocks on fizzbok...fk 'em, ignore them, no doubt your bass is a good 'un and is most certainly a P bass as described.  I'm putting together a P bass with Jazz neck myself at the mo, tho it's a junk-parts-caster I'd 100% call that a P bass too.

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The amount of thunder a bass neck can have is determined by how many screws are used to hold it on, hence Ritter's use of 17 screws.

An additional tweak is careful selection of the shim material ... traditionally the classic Precision makers of California favoured a piece of an Embassy fag packet, whereas the shiny surface of a B&H packet gave the tone more of a sheen and was considered a NYC sort of thing.

Final sculpting of the tone used to be achieved by the positioning of the fag burn on the headstock, of course. Choosing to impale your Rothmans on the end of the G-string was a pure act of rebellion.

 

 

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