Re: Fender P-Bass vs Jazz Bass & playability


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Posted by Mickster on November 20, 2000 at 17:00:58:

In Reply to: Fender P-Bass vs Jazz Bass & playability posted by dm on November 20, 2000 at 14:42:29:

Hey there dm, what's up?

Ah, this question I really like.I presently own a fretless Jazz Bass, and
used to own a Precision about 20 years ago.The neck on a Precision is wider
than that of a Jazz Bass, but not by that much.A Jazz Bass neck at the nut
is 1 1/2 inches wide, a Precision about 1 3/4 but that extra 1/4 inch feels
like alot.A Jazz neck also tapers more sharply between the 20th fret and the
nut and this also gives the neck a different feel.If you ever try a Pre-CBS
Precision neck, or a Musicman Stingray you probably won't like their necks
at all; they're even wider.I have big hands, but I always preferred the Jazz
neck; it just felt more natural in my hands.Which neck is better? Try the
two side by side.Without thinking about anything else your hands will tell
you which one feels more natural.

Now for the sound.The Precision has a split humbucking pickup.The Jazz two
single coils.A lot of people think the Precision has one sinlge coil, but it
is a humbucker.What that means if you're new to the game is that the two halves
of the pickup are wired out of phase with each other(the wires are reversed)
but the signal which goes to the amp is in phase.When a pickup is wired in a
humbucking configuration, it does two main things: increases the output
somewhat, and cancels most of the 60 cycle hum which comes from ordinary
electrical outlets.Originally they were called hum cancelling pickups.It
also does one more thing: it losses some of the high frequency response of
the pickup which gives it a more percussive sound.Some people like it, some
don't.

A Jazz Bass has two single coils which have more high end and a more focused
sound.If you were to play the two basses through the same amp at the same
settings in a medium to large size hall, the Jazz would sound punchier and
more defined at the back of the room.Also the fact that the Jazz has a second
pickup near the bridge gives it a more defined sound and more tonal options.
The drawback to the single coils is that 60 cycle hum.I bought my bass in July
and it drives me nuts whenever I stop playing and don't have the bass at an
exact 45 degree angle to the amp.(this stops the hum, but who wants to live like this?)You can get humbucking replacement pickups for the Jazz which will
stop the hum.They change the sound a little but it all depends on what you want.
I haven't replaced mine yet because I'm too lazy.One of these days.There's also
a very easy solution to the Precision's lack of definition at high gain: You
can buy a Precision with a Jazz pickup added by the bridge.Then you get the
best of both worlds.You also don't have to stick with Fender.The P-bass,J-Bass
pickup combination is just about standard on many other manufacturers axes.
As far as the amp goes I like Fender.What's your budget.Someone else asked
about a combo with 2x10 speakers recently for under $500.00 and I sadly had to
tell them that it was no go.A good, new combo with one 15 and about 100 watts
will run you about $500.00.Then you can look into used stuff too.Try E-Bay.

Hope this helped,The Mickster


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