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Re: Fender P bass or J bass... hmmmm?

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Posted by Mickster on August 22, 2001 at 12:40:53:

In Reply to: Fender P bass or J bass... hmmmm? posted by DDazey on August 22, 2001 at 10:05:06:

: Hello all!

: I am a bass player of about 17 years and in those years, I've owned a limited number of basses which never have included a good ole standard Fender Bass. In my opinion, nothing sounds like a Fender and now I am considering picking up a Fender but I'm trying to decide between a P or J bass. I'm aware that the J bass has a thinner neck and (I think) different pickups then the P bass, but I was wanting to see what kind of information you could share with me about the differences between the two. Which you prefer and why.

: I need to go to a store and try a couple out and see for myself, but I thought I would start my research here because of all the knowlegable bass players that visit this board.

: Thanks in advance,
: DDazey

Hey DDazey, what's up? Ah yes, the eternal question: Precision or Jazz? They're both excellent basses, but they both have strong/weak points. I'll list a few.
Precision - Strong: Round, percussive sound that goes with any type of music. Dependable as a horse due to the fact that it only has one pickup with simple wiring. Pickup is quiet.
Precision - Weak: Although its sound is excellent, it basically has that one P-Bass sound. Some think the neck is too fat, this is subjective though.

Jazz Bass - Strong: Two pickups give a variety of sounds. Using just the neck pickup, it can sound something like a P-Bass, though not exactly like one. Slim neck is liked by most people, again this is subjective. More aestetic body shape, again subjective.
Jazz Bass - Weak: On most Jazz basses, the single coil pickups have a tendency to "hum," ie, they "hear" 60 cycle hum from standard wall outlets and other electrical sources. Some Jazz basses seem to be immune to this, but, this is the exception rather than the rule. The hum is noticeable, though not very loud. It does however drive ME nuts. The most expensive models have active pickups(run by a battery) and these have no hum.

The greatest thing about both these basses, is that just about everything on them is user upgradeable. Pickups hum too much? You can replace them pretty easily, plus there are many different sounding pickups you can choose from. You can also swap necks between the basses, and, there are P-Bass models that have a Jazz pickup added by the bridge so you can get the best of both worlds. Now. as you may know, there are basically three different grades to choose from: Made in Mexico, Made in Japan, and Made in USA. Which one is the best? This is for you to decide. While the Mexican ones are the least expensive, they're not cheap, or cheaply made. A MIM w/case, brand new should run about $350.00 to $400.00 (shop around) Most of the MIA Fenders will set you back close to a grand w/case and tax. I think the MIAs are better made than the MIMs, but, I don't think they're worth 3 times the price. BTW, I have a MIM Fretless Jazz, and I love it even though the pickups hum a little. I also own a Yamaha BB5NII which is more in line with a MIM Fender. It was $479.00 w/case; the pickups are dead silent, they're hotter(louder and more growly) than the MIM, and it plays and feels just like a Fender. The choice is up to you. They're all good in their own right.

Good luck in your search,

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