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Returning Bass Player


Handsome_Chris

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I'm returning to bass guitar after many years away. I thought it would be an easy alternative to lead guitar: it is not, but it may be a lot more fun.

I am currently have a Ibanez 5 string (it was very modestly priced), which I bought despite @Bridgehouse's advice to get a P Bass.  I am looking at Jazz basses as I have small hands.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 08/12/2021 at 22:07, Richard R said:

Welcome aboard! :crigon_04:

If you're playing  5 string then most of the time you can stick around the 5th fret and work across the fretboard. The stretches aren't as much as up by the nut either.

 

+1 to this. My hands aren’t the biggest and I play 5 pretty much all the time. The 4 extra notes are cool (sometimes) - but being able to play a low E whilst still having 2 octaves pretty much under your hands is great.

 

I learnt on J’s - and have pretty much only ever played them. Don’t be spooked by the P’s wider nut. The modern ones (pretty much anything that isn’t a 50s reissue) I found to be totally playable. I had the “my hands are small therefore I can’t play a regular P” thing in my head for a long time though.

 

The modern ones are also pretty reasonable in terms of depth front to back compared to some of the older style baseball bat necks which again helps if you don’t have tentacle fingers. 

Edited by Nickthebass
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Thanks for the info guys.  I currently looking at getting a J bass as I think that they look cool.  I think that I want it in a P-J formation.  @Bridgehousetold me something about P bass split pickups, and and he is very persuasive.

 

Is it easy enough to stick in split pickups and a new pickguard?

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If you are anywhere near a music shop then go and play a few things. @Bridgehouse is a gentleman, a scholar and I'm sure can be very persuasive, but the actual sound of the instrument in your hand counts for more than anything else. Even if you're not looking to buy then you get an idea of what you do and don't want.

Not sure where in Oxfordshire you are or what shops are  near you.

 

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22 hours ago, Handsome_Chris said:

Thanks for the info guys.  I currently looking at getting a J bass as I think that they look cool.  I think that I want it in a P-J formation.  @Bridgehousetold me something about P bass split pickups, and and he is very persuasive.

 

Is it easy enough to stick in split pickups and a new pickguard?


You just can’t beat that split-coil P bass tone. But, if you like a thin neck then a PJ with a Jazz neck is def. the way to go - for a decent thin neck look for 38mm nut width. 

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On 12/01/2022 at 21:28, Handsome_Chris said:

Thanks for the info guys.  I currently looking at getting a J bass as I think that they look cool.  I think that I want it in a P-J formation.  @Bridgehousetold me something about P bass split pickups, and and he is very persuasive.

 

Is it easy enough to stick in split pickups and a new pickguard?

 

You’re right - Jazz basses do look cool. :) 
 

Ok - *long winded answer alert* *apply the in my opinion filter*

 

The short answer to your final question is - no. It’ll need a visit to a good guitar tech (there’s a thread here somewhere with a list of recommended techs all over the country). They’ll need to rout out a new hole for the split coil pickup.

 

The more typical (I think) modification would be to buy a P and get it routed for a J pick up at the bridge. Again this is major (and non-reversible) surgery. Personally - I wouldn’t even consider it. If I wanted a PJ I would buy one.
 

Personally I don’t buy the “best of both worlds” argument about PJs. For me the best sounds on a Jazz are both pickups on full or backing off the bridge pick (anywhere from a smidge to all the way). Both pickups on full on a J has “a thing” (a bit hollow, nice lows, a bit of cut or bounce up high) that you can’t get from a P.

 

To me - a PJ is neither one thing nor the other. It’s a J with the wrong neck pickup or it’s a P with some a load of business at the bridge to that shouldn’t be there. 

 

@Richard R is right on the money. The sound and feel of the instrument in your hands is the most important thing. If it doesn’t feel good to play then you’ll not likely to want to play it and won’t develop a relationship with the instrument.


@Bridgehouse is right that the split coil P pick has “a thing” that is great and works in loads of contexts. The counter to that is that a J will do a better impression P than a P will of a J. 

 

Anyway - that’s all a matter of opinion. Having looked for Ps with a 38mm nut myself, my conclusion is that they are pretty few and far between unless you want to custom build.

 

In terms of sounds - which players do you like and what do they play?

 

 

Edited by Nickthebass
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Thank you all for the advice.  I think that a J bass maybe the what I am after. 

 

May I say that this bass stuff is becoming way more exciting for me than the weeny 6 six string stuff.  I'm looking at basses and doing the upgrades in my head.  A high mass bridge hear , a hipshot Xtender there, and an active pre-amp to finish. Thankfully I've already got a source audio EQ2 so I do not believe that I need active stuff onboard.

 

Edit: With the EQ2 not being at the instrument, I appreciate that buffering is not occuring at source.

Edited by Handsome_Chris
Explaining my half-arsed understanding of active vs passive options
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7 hours ago, Handsome_Chris said:

May I say that this bass stuff is becoming way more exciting for me than the weeny 6 six string stuff.  I'm looking at basses and doing the upgrades in my head

Nurse, nurse! Another developing case of GAS!

Bring over that large mallet and the bagpipes and hopefully we can cure it early.

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On 14/01/2022 at 00:23, Nickthebass said:

 

...

 

Personally I don’t buy the “best of both worlds” argument about PJs. For me the best sounds on a Jazz are both pickups on full or backing off the bridge pick (anywhere from a smidge to all the way). Both pickups on full on a J has “a thing” (a bit hollow, nice lows, a bit of cut or bounce up high) that you can’t get from a P.

 

To me - a PJ is neither one thing nor the other. It’s a J with the wrong neck pickup or it’s a P with some a load of business at the bridge to that shouldn’t be there. 

 

...

 

 

This all day.

 

Also it's particularly distressing to see a nice 60s or 70s P that has been butchered by the addition of a J pickup about a millimetre from the bridge.

 

Anyhow, as others have mentioned, to the OP - find the bass that feels and sounds good to you.

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I am primarily a 5 string ibanez player. I have short hands too. Never felt the P very comfortable. The J is ok, if you like fenders, but in the end the lack of a 5th string gets me every time and I come back to something like an ibanez 5 string (I also have a Maruszczyk that has a neck which is a copy of an SR 5 string spacing!).

 

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On 12/01/2022 at 21:28, Handsome_Chris said:

Thanks for the info guys.  I currently looking at getting a J bass as I think that they look cool.  I think that I want it in a P-J formation.  @Bridgehousetold me something about P bass split pickups, and and he is very persuasive.

 

Is it easy enough to stick in split pickups and a new pickguard?

“Squier p bass special” ticks that box 

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