Jump to content

Am I the only one who has never played a P Bass.?


bubinga5

Recommended Posts

I wouldn’t want to overstate it, but pickup placement is one of the things Leo Fender innovated. The central position is awkward in some respects, compared to other instruments of the period, including Fender’s own, which were mostly all the way back or forward. Even post-Fender, he developed the Music Man Stingray with its “sweet spot” pickup placement. There’s another thread on Reverse P placement, where the coils are swapped left/right as in Sandbergs etc. Details! 🤓

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

I think the fretboard going to 24 frets is giving the wrong impression as to where the neck pickup is

Screenshot_20210531-205122_Gallery.jpg

In hindsight that was a silly thing for me to say.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Chienmortbb said:

In hindsight that was a silly thing for me to say.

:D I only knew to check that, because I once said exactly the same thing in a similar situation and had the same thing pointed out to me ;)

Just looking at that bass ^^^^ I didn't truly believe it was actually in the same spot until I saw the guide lines in place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I vaguely remember some 2 pickup versions of P-bass having the neck pickup more forwards than the "standard" position (and obviously, the bridge pickup backwards from). But the gridlines on the pic above show they've preserved its standard location, at least on that bass.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't get too excited...if all you've played is active this and that then a P bass if not considered carefully may seem extremely dull indeed.......

I tend to find they sound flabby and mid weak fresh out of the box or with a new set of rounds.....but chuck a set of old anything on and bingo they tighten up beautifully. (I play with 20 year old chromes and get a very mid focused tight dry tone....works with everything.

Yep P's, Id struggle to play anything else, bit of an aquired taste but once figured....just beautiful.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, I recall a mate of mine bringing his Status bass round one day and thinking how great it sounded isolated in comparison to my Precision, made it sound rather dull indeed. But put in a mix that dull Precision just sang.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 01/06/2021 at 08:05, bnt said:

Even post-Fender, he developed the Music Man Stingray with its “sweet spot” pickup placement.

Well I played a 77 Stingray all thru the 80's cause it was the done thing and I never felt satisfied, comfortable. Cutting yes but I always felt something was missing. Anyway rectified the situation in the 90's with a P bass. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't play a P for about the first 20 years of bass playing. I played a Marlin Jazz (that was nothing like a jazz in terms of dimensions) and then an Epiphone Power bass like this one... 

eezz0kxso1dhi1w8beuo.jpg

But with Jazz pickups. 

Then in about 2010 I bought a Mex P/J and now I play a US Standard P although I do have a couple of other basses knocking around for fun, like a Bass VI and a fretless cowpoke. 

Once I got hooked on a P, that was it. I can't imagine playing anything else live. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Do any of you guys who swear by the P bass play anything with a hint of fusion? I can see how they would suffice, even excel in some genres, however even with soul music I like something with a bit more definition in the sound (without me having to play excessively hard to get it) - that can be achieved by muting technique and a bass with a more defined sound.

I guess I’m talking B Edwards late 70s sound v a mid sixties Motown (Babbitt orJamerson) or Duck Dunn sound. 

Even though it’s not Bernard Edwards playing, Sister Sledge’s version of My Guy (circa early 80s) v the original (which is also upright in fact) demonstrates the point v clearly. 
 

 

Edited by drTStingray
Link to comment
Share on other sites

P basses sound good recorded and live out of backline but I've rarely heard a good sounding P bass, if it's put through a desk and into a PA.

Sound engineers tend to emphasise the bottom end too much and make them mushy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, coupled with the low-mid bias of a Precision they can get boomy if lows are added. Because of this I send post eq to the desk via a Sansamp Para Driver which does the usual Sansamp thing of removing some mids so it focuses the sound, sharpens it up a bit.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started off with a Tanglewood P copy. Years later had a Hohner PJ which was no better than firewood. Then a Warwick Steamer LX with the PJ arrangement. I had an MIJ P bass, 1970 reissue with a Steve Harris pup and Steve Harris massive thick strings, I loved the size and clarity of sound from that but eventually moved it on to fund a jazz... Now I've made a PJ bitsa and it was OK, until I put a DiMarzio PJ set of pups in. This is now a proper P bass sound!! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, drTStingray said:

Do any of you guys who swear by the P bass play anything with a hint of fusion? I can see how they would suffice, even excel in some genres, however even with soul music I like something with a bit more definition in the sound (without me having to play excessively hard to get it) - that can be achieved by muting technique and a bass with a more defined sound.

I don't think Precision basses have any issue with definition. Players like Pops Popwell, Ready Freddie, and more recently Michael League and Kevin Scott all play fusion influenced music on a Precision, and they all sound great.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Doddy said:

I don't think Precision basses have any issue with definition. Players like Pops Popwell, Ready Freddie, and more recently Michael League and Kevin Scott all play fusion influenced music on a Precision, and they all sound great.

The view of whether they sound great or not is a matter of opinion I guess - having seen Pops Popwell several times with the Crusaders, he’s one of the guys of that era who played the bass very hard - and got a good sound accordingly, I was actually a big fan of his playing - there are others (Precision players) and definitely a lot around in the 70s (especially black R and B players such as Louis Johnson etc) however as I said, I have to work (play) too hard to achieve that on a Precision - I also have a slight dislike for the tone with the tone control fully open - I much prefer Louis Js Stingray or Alembic eras; same with other bands (Kool and the Gang; Rose Royce) - more defined/refined sound - I guess it’s down to personal taste. 
 

Edited by drTStingray
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, drTStingray said:

The view of whether they sound great or not is a matter of opinion I guess - having seen Pops Popwell several times with the Crusaders, he’s one of the guys of that era who played the bass very hard - and got a good sound accordingly, I was actually a big fan of his playing - there are others (Precision players) and definitely a lot around in the 70s (especially black R and B players such as Louis Johnson etc) however as I said, I have to work (play) too hard to achieve that on a Precision - I also have a slight dislike for the tone with the tone control fully open - I much prefer Louis Js Stingray or Alembic eras; same with other bands (Kool and the Gang; Rose Royce) - more defined/refined sound - I guess it’s down to personal taste. 
 

Don't get me wrong, I generally favour active preamps, but I don't think Precisions are particularly less defined. To me, it just has a different character. I think there are a bunch of players who have really good, defined tone on a P Bass. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve never understood the “dull P bass” thing. I play with a pick, which no doubt helps, and I tend to eq heavily, but I’ve generally had to turn the tone control down at least some of the way on mine when I’ve owned them, and bear in mind my favourite guys sonically include Chris Squire and Alembic-era Entwistle, so it isn’t like I don’t like brighter sounds. I could quite easily get way too much treble out of all the Ps I’ve owned. Not a refined, smooth treble mind,  more Jean Jacques Burnel gone mad, but still. However if it’s the tight, back pickup burp thing you’re into (I’m generally not) then no, they don’t do that. 

Actually, one other thing; I tend also to not use cabs with tweeters. So assuming you put a P through a tweeter loaded cab with a decent amp you should be able to get as much treble/clarity as you like, although as Doddy says, the nature of the sound might not be what you’re after. 

Edited by 4000
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 08/06/2021 at 13:35, drTStingray said:

Do any of you guys who swear by the P bass play anything with a hint of fusion?

Sam Wilkes gets a lot of fusion clarity with a P - I'd love to know the exact details but looks a lot like a modern american P:

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can relate to many of the posts in this thread. I intentionally avoided them for two decades. Couldn’t stand the look and still don’t think they are the most attractive basses. Now I have three of them amongst the others. I find they are way more versatile than many believe and it truly comes down to string choices, EQ and the ability to use multiple techniques (pick, fingers, hand positioning, etc). They really shine in ensemble playing and I have used them in jazz to metal. I am also one of those players that followed James Jamerson’s advice to play each note like you mean it and that helps.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, bloke_zero said:

Sam Wilkes gets a lot of fusion clarity with a P - I'd love to know the exact details but looks a lot like a modern american P:

 

 

Nice tracks - @bloke_zero he appears to be using an octaver on both tracks and I’d say the P bass has flats from the sound - I like this type of sound and playing which is quite similar to Pino. However, what the P can’t do is a more upfront clean bass sound with plenty of top - as an example, back in the early 70s, there were examples of Walters using a trebly sound on a Precision - and then there was Squire with a proper treble sound not on a Precision….. similarly hear Edwards playing finger pops on his flats equipped Ray (We Are Family for instance) and compare with the same on a Precision (even Sam Wilkes on the attached films).

The Precision is a really good instrument and also played with a pick BUT it certainly can’t cover certain ground, even with EQ and pre amp assistance - and even then there are styles for which it is not, for me, the most appropriate choice. 

It’s all a matter of personal taste really. 

Last night I was watching some live footage of Alan Spenner playing in around 1974 - as well as great playing and sound - he was playing a Precision - I was reminded why I wanted one back then - I was then reminded I saw him live in about 1979 playing a Wal and how much better it sounded in all respects….slightly different genre (Kokomo - soul/funk - 1974 was more rock/r and b)….

I guess we’ve all got different takes on this. 

 

Edited by drTStingray
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, drTStingray said:

Nice tracks - @bloke_zero he appears to be using an octaver on both tracks and I’d say the P bass has flats from the sound - I like this type of sound and playing which is quite similar to Pino. However, what the P can’t do is a more upfront clean bass sound with plenty of top - as an example, back in the early 70s, there were examples of Walters using a trebly sound on a Precision - and then there was Squire with a proper treble sound not on a Precision….. similarly hear Edwards playing finger pops on his flats equipped Ray (We Are Family for instance) and compare with the same on a Precision (even Sam Wilkes on the attached films).

The Precision is a really good instrument and also played with a pick BUT it certainly can’t cover certain ground, even with EQ and pre amp assistance - and even then there are styles for which it is not, for me, the most appropriate choice. 

It’s all a matter of personal taste really. 

Last night I was watching some live footage of Alan Spenner playing in around 1974 - as well as great playing and sound - he was playing a Precision - I was reminded why I wanted one back then - I was then reminded I saw him live in about 1979 playing a Wal and how much better it sounded in all respects….slightly different genre (Kokomo - soul/funk - 1974 was more rock/r and b)….

I guess we’ve all got different takes on this. 

 

Well I’d class a Stingray as coming into the “tight, back pickup” thing I mentioned. And no, a P won’t really do that. If you’re essentially craving that as an element of your sound, then a P certainly isn’t the best choice, but I don’t personally think that’s about “clarity”. “Tightness”, maybe. But I’m sure we all perceive (or at least describe) these things differently. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I recently had a gig at my local Jazz and Blues festival. It was not in front of an audience but was to be recorded and streamed at a later date.

Having had a gig recorded and streamed by them in 2020, where the bass was almost inaudible in the video, I decided not to take my Jazz with a J-Retro pre amp (which would be my usual choice and sounds great) but to take my old MIJ P Bass because thought at least it would look cool in the video, even if you couldn't actually hear it  :)

To my surprise, when the video was streamed my old P bass sounded excellent and really filled out the sound (we're just guitar, bass, drums and a singer).

After a bit of googling, I found out the sound engineer, who mixed the video, is a bassist himself.

 

Edited by gjones
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Cliff Edge said:

The only thing a Fender P Bass needs to be more or less perfect, is a Jazz bass neck.  

i've never owned a Fender P bass but i played a friend's one a few years back and that neck convinced me that i will never own a Fender P bass.  is the Jazz neck better?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...