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Longtime guitar player, buying first Fender bass. School me?

waygorked

Member
Messages
609
I'm about to bag my first bass ever, purely for recording. I'm a good enough guitar player but a total bass hack. I'm hoping for something easy to play with versatile tones. I'm gravitating towards something from the Fender Player series. For versatility and ease of play, Precision, Jazz, or Jaguar, and why?
 

Tommy Biggs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,739
Play them. I like big necks, I’ve got an old Tele bass with a giant neck. It’s something some guitar players don’t prefer.
My experience is that Jazz necks can be more comfortable to guitar players.
Anyway mine is old (1973), and things may be different now...
I would think that maybe one of those hybrid basses with a J bridge and a Pbass pickup might be nice.
Try some!
 
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soulman969

Member
Messages
3,644
I'm gravitating towards something from the Fender Player series. For versatility and ease of play, Precision, Jazz, or Jaguar, and why?

Of those three the Jazz and Jaguar will offer more tonal versatility than a Precision which is more of a one trick pony yet for recording it's been one of the most oft used one trick ponies ever.

With two pickups and separate volume controls the Jazz and Jaguar offer you an ability to tonally blend between the neck and bridge pickups rolling in more neck or more bridge as needed.

If you want the ultimate in tonal versatility you might want to check out a G&L Tribute L2000. I'm a long time (50 years) player of Fender Basses whose converted from a Jazz to a G&L L Series although mine is a 5 string L2500.

http://glguitars.com/product/l-2000-2/

This was Leo Fender's final evolution of his Jazz Bass designs. The link will take you through it's features along with a very through demo video by Ed Friedland which I'll also post here. For recording a L Series Bass is an ace.



The G&L Tributes and Fender Player Series are similarly priced @ $700-$750 new and sell in the $400-$500 range used. As much of a fan as I have always been of Fender Basses an L2000 simply knocks the Fender Jazz of it's perch in every possible way so consider one as well or one of the others from the G&L Tribute Series like the JB traditional Jazz Bass, the LB-100 a traditional PBass, or the SB-2 a P/J style with G&Ls mini MFD pickups. They're all great basses that are nearly identical to their US made counterparts. Same pickups, same bridges, same electronics, same quality finish.

http://glguitars.com/product-category/tribute-basses/
 

kodiakblair

Member
Messages
24
Whatever you choose try them out first hand. The fit and finish on Fenders varies quite a bit,that goes for those of any origin.

While there's plenty happy Fender owners,over the years I've saw plenty Talkbass posts complaining about QC issues. For minor issues a common piece of advice is "just accept it,a replacement could well be worse". Not a thing to instill confidence with buying Fenders online.

Go to a dealer with a large stock and spend time playing as many as you can.
 

John(aka: Moby Dick)

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,363
I am a guitar player who recently started playing bass.
I ended up getting a fender jazz bass.
I could not be happier.
It has enough different tones to satisfy my desire to tweak.
Don’t be put-off by the long scale.
I adapted quite quickly and playing bass is entirely different from guitar so it was a whole new experience for me which is a good thing.

Good luck.
 

Kronos147

Member
Messages
507
If it can only be one, get a Jazz. With just the front pickup, it can get somewhat like a P bass.
 

electricity17

Member
Messages
888
Hard to beat a Precision. Good advice to go play a bunch and see what works for you. Jazz has a thinner neck that may be easier for you to play.
 

steve_man

Member
Messages
2,487
I'm a Fender guitar guy... have owned a couple of Precision basses over the years, and they are fine instruments. Recently purchased a Jazz bass, and love it even more! Even the Squire Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe basses are great players.
 
Messages
20,398
Of those three the Jazz and Jaguar will offer more tonal versatility than a Precision which is more of a one trick pony yet for recording it's been one of the most oft used one trick ponies ever.

With two pickups and separate volume controls the Jazz and Jaguar offer you an ability to tonally blend between the neck and bridge pickups rolling in more neck or more bridge as needed.

If you want the ultimate in tonal versatility you might want to check out a G&L Tribute L2000. I'm a long time (50 years) player of Fender Basses whose converted from a Jazz to a G&L L Series although mine is a 5 string L2500.

This was Leo Fender's final evolution of his Jazz Bass designs. The link will take you through it's features along with a very through demo video by Ed Friedland which I'll also post here. For recording a L Series Bass is an ace.

The G&L Tributes and Fender Player Series are similarly priced @ $700-$750 new and sell in the $400-$500 range used. As much of a fan as I have always been of Fender Basses an L2000 simply knocks the Fender Jazz of it's perch in every possible way so consider one as well or one of the others from the G&L Tribute Series like the JB traditional Jazz Bass, the LB-100 a traditional PBass, or the SB-2 a P/J style with G&Ls mini MFD pickups. They're all great basses that are nearly identical to their US made counterparts. Same pickups, same bridges, same electronics, same quality finish.

Everyone has opinions- and with decades of playing experience- you’ve certainly had the experience to put those opinions together- quite logically. However, I have a few exceptions to your post- While one may say a Precision is a "one trick pony," that pony is the de facto standard of all bass sounds. Every electric bass is a copy, derivative or compared to the Precision. One is not selling themselves short in getting a Precision bass.

As far as G&L goes- The L-2000 is more of a L-1000 with two pickups- in essence a Precision derivative rather than an evolution of the Jazz Bass.

As much as I love my G&L- no matter what I do to it- it stands proud of the mix. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on if you want the bass to stand proud or settle in. My G&L is my preferred "cover band/wedding band" bass because I want it to stand out. It doesn't ever get played for my Rolling Stones tribute band.

All of my yammering aside- I have not owned a Precision bass in almost 30 years, and for all of the time I've played bass, I WANTED my bass to stand out and it's only somewhat recently that I’ve discovered that “in the mix” thing.

IMO- you need to try out basses to see what’s comfortable to you. I prefer a 1 1/2” nut width- so Jazz bass type necks work best for me- but I primarily use the neck pickup alone on my Jazz. If you’re comfortable playing on a P neck- I would totally go for that- again- the P sound is THE Fender bass sound. If you prefer a smaller scale- a Jaguar bass would be awesome- they sound great, they feel great and are totally easy to play on.

IMO and all that.
 

lestrade

Member
Messages
37
For a guitarist picking up a bass I'd say the neck width is the biggest factor between a P or J Bass, What feels best to you?
After that.. on the lower end J Basses I'd be concerned about any pickup hiss at certain settings?.
 

Bob Womack

Member
Messages
2,737
I am a guitarist but also a producer/engineer and needed a bass for the the studio. I tried both Precision and Jazz and found that my guitarist's fingers preferred the narrower neck and extra tone options of the Jazz.

Bob
 

Platypus

not in rivers, but in drops
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,101
I have a P/J and a J and I love them both for different reasons. I'd just play a few and grab the one that speaks to you the most.

The P/J is the most versatile to me, but I end up playing my J bass more.
 

boldaslove1977

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,829
I'm a guitar player who started pickup up some gigs on bass in the past couple years. Bought a Fender P Deluxe and have been very happy with it. Think I got it for 400 bucks used, if I remember right.

Has a P body, J neck, and both pickups. Very versatile. Sounds like a Fender bass should. I think the P bass sounds are more convincing than the J sounds, since there's only the one J pickup. But I barely know what I'm doing with bass tones. I typically find one good sound and roll with that. And that tends to be with the blend knob rolled slightly more toward the P pickup.

The one potential drawback to this model... it has active pickups... which might not be for everyone.

I'm actually tempted to pickup a J to have as a backup, with a more traditional setup.

Anyway... this is the model I have. Great value.

 

Jignant

Member
Messages
1,439
I have been gigging bass as opposed to guitar in my current band for over 5 years and picked up a Fender Classic 50s P Bass around 2015. I have been extremely happy with it. Sounds great, plays great and it was right around 700 bucks at the time. You can't go wrong with these for the coin...
Z6zkuQK.jpg

EB3dWhx.jpg

Good luck in your search!
 

spencer096

Member
Messages
1,236
Of those three the Jazz and Jaguar will offer more tonal versatility than a Precision which is more of a one trick pony yet for recording it's been one of the most oft used one trick ponies ever.

there's more to this tho...

agreed if youre a bassist who regularly plays melodic lines and solos, a p-bass will likely find you wanting. if you slap, a p-bass WILL DEFINITELY find you wanting (please don't post the 3 good examples of p-bass slap that exist in history, those are outliers). my point is tho, don't confuse tonal versatility with practical versatility. and while "one trick pony" is a hard descriptor to argue with...that one trick is so outrageously useful and perfect, it almost makes it a one stop shop.

the role of the bass in a band is the foundation. that tonal versatility of other basses is great on paper, but it often gets lost in teh shimmer of a drummer's cymbals and the upper register presence of guitarists and singers. and as you often hear when bassists step out of that role, the band sounds hollow and emptier than before when the bass was that foundation. again, this isnt good or bad...it's just a sonic phenomenon.

i disagree with notions that jazz basses and the like are able to replicate where the p-bass sits in the mix. the p-bass is just something special in this regard...those low mids where it compliments the bass drum but also provides a beautiful landscape for the melodic instruments to play over without the bass getting in the way. that simplicity is incredibly powerful.

p-basses are stupidly easy to find a spot for in a band's mix, theyre even easier to record with. the downside are no slap, mushy melodic stuff and you might find it boring to just work with one pickup and two knobs. the upsides are, if you dont do those things, you can show up at any gig, any venue, any style of music...and the p-bass will be the perfect tool.

i strongly recommend flatwound strings too.
 

spencer096

Member
Messages
1,236
there's more to this tho...

agreed if youre a bassist who regularly plays melodic lines and solos, a p-bass will likely find you wanting. if you slap, a p-bass WILL DEFINITELY find you wanting (please don't post the 3 good examples of p-bass slap that exist in history, those are outliers). my point is tho, don't confuse tonal versatility with practical versatility. and while "one trick pony" is a hard descriptor to argue with...that one trick is so outrageously useful and perfect, it almost makes it a one stop shop.

the role of the bass in a band is the foundation. that tonal versatility of other basses is great on paper, but it often gets lost in teh shimmer of a drummer's cymbals and the upper register presence of guitarists and singers. and as you often hear when bassists step out of that role, the band sounds hollow and emptier than before when the bass was that foundation. again, this isnt good or bad...it's just a sonic phenomenon.

i disagree with notions that jazz basses and the like are able to replicate where the p-bass sits in the mix. the p-bass is just something special in this regard...those low mids where it compliments the bass drum but also provides a beautiful landscape for the melodic instruments to play over without the bass getting in the way. that simplicity is incredibly powerful.

p-basses are stupidly easy to find a spot for in a band's mix, theyre even easier to record with. the downside are no slap, mushy melodic stuff and you might find it boring to just work with one pickup and two knobs. the upsides are, if you dont do those things, you can show up at any gig, any venue, any style of music...and the p-bass will be the perfect tool.

i strongly recommend flatwound strings too.

my personal workhorse (and jealous dog)

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OBM9VHB.jpg
 

bigtone23

Member
Messages
7,081
I am a J guy when it all boils down, but do own many other types of basses and appreciate them all. Since you are a guitarist, you may not have all the hangups we bassists have in regards to the P vs J argument. ;)

In a nut shell, the P is a very wide use, one trick pony.
The J is inherently more versatile.
The P/J is as versatile as the J, but with a different angle. It gets you the 'one trick pony' soloed split-coil P tone, the burpy soloed bridge tone as well as a version of the scoopy blended two pickup tone. It doesn't sound exactly like a Jazz in blend mode, but has that cool, scoopy 2 pickup character.
Stingrays and G&L L series basses are cool and have their unique tones. The L1000 is a P derivative and the L2000 is more similar to a deluxe J since it has bypassable active electronics.

Strings, setup and amp/preamp settings can hone in the tone and feel of any of these basses. Active electronics also are great, if needed.
As far as necks, sometimes guitarists like the narrower J nut feel. You can get any of the above basses with any nut width. If the preferred body/electronics/neck choice not offered in your configuration, it's easily bolted together.

If I was picking one bass to be a sort of catch-all for a guitarist that's getting into the game for recording, it would most certainly be a P/J (preferably active with a series/parallel switch on the P pickup for a more J flavor when blending) or L2000 (with the K mod to add outside single coils--also a more J flavor--to the mix). You can also get a sort of P tone out of a L2000 by soloing the neck pickup in series mode.

See what I did there? I got all bass nerdy and suggested non J basses that with a small mod can be more like a J. :D:D;);)
 




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