P Bass: The sound of classic rock?

Floyd Eye

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I wouldn't say that is entirely true. I have a V63, so maybe it's way different than the 4003, but the Bridge pickup solo'd, wide open is what I would call in the same ballpark as as Precision run wide open with roundwounds. Now a Precision won't sound like a Ric in any other pickup position though. The Ric is the more versatile bass in the sense what you can get a larger number of varying sounds out of it. Maybe it'd be best to compare a Precision to a 4000, just single pup to single pup. Identical, no, they each have their own distinct voice, but not worlds apart.





I am ordinarily on the bridge pickup and wide open on my 4001. It sounds absolutely nothing like a P bass to me.
 

Floyd Eye

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Then again I kinda do think the SVT is "The Standard" as well so....

I suppose if someone went out of their way via string choice, amp EQ, etc. to try to get a Ric in the same neighborhood as a P bass you could get close. The Hi-Gains always sound like Hi-Gains to me though. Maybe I just have been playing this damn thing too long.. lol
 

AdmiralB

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3,060
It's all in the midrange. I have a Steinberger XQ with two EMG P-in-HB-format pickups; I replaced the bass/treble control with the EMG variable-mid circuit. You can get a reasonable version of almost any 'classic' tone with it.
 

Cactus Bob

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When I think of the P-Bass sound I think of John Wetten with King Crimson on "Larks Tongues", "Starless", "Red" & "USA". His sound was huge!!! According to this advertisement back in the day a '61 P-Bass.


tumblr_mcofrgoTuy1r81zvco1_1280.png


I was blown away by the sound & feel when I received my new lefty AS PB in '06 and I am no bassist lol.

P-Bass1.jpg
 

walterw

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So am I just missing the good examples? Or is a Jazz bass actually the classic rock machine?
i think the j is the other classic rock machine, those tubby short-scale gibsons and guilds and whatnot were mostly '60s holdovers. the ric might have been the only other long scale "good-sounding" bass besides the fender, but it was frankly too weird for universal acceptance like the two fender models.
Young guys who could care less about Entwhistle or any of the pioneers probably have no affinity for a P bass.
nah, all the pop-punk "lip ring and trucker hat" guys love P basses too.
 

jcs

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8,093
Probably true. Truth be told 95% of the time I am playing my Spector these days. My disinterest in P basses is largely because the neck feels like they cut a baseball bat in half and put some strings on it. I have sold and even given away more P basses than I can count. I don't know why but I always seem to run into good deals on them. I have nothing against the tone that can be coaxed from one, although if I was going to play a Fender it would be my American Deluxe J. That thing sounds great, the neck feels great, it looks great. It's a nice bass. I very much prefer the NS4 and the 4001 though.
What about USA Peavey Fury with the J neck and P pickup?

I love mine....but darn I love my Peavey Foundation which is a J neck but J bass on steroids so to speak.
 

jcs

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I don't think people mean the P Bass is the sound for "Classic Rock" (i.e. the genre/era of music). I think they instead mean it's the classic "Rock" sound (fit for most rock music).

For me, as a guitarist who dabbles in bass, the P just sits perfectly in a mix. For what I do, you don't necessarily hear ripping bass lines and crazy bass parts...but it fills out the bottom end very nicely.
Carol Kaye, who did more sessions and hits thru the 60's than probably any other bassist always used a P bass or a modded Danelectro Longhorn.

Carol always stated the J bass was inferior for recording....the parallel/series mod is something I would insist on with a J bass.
 

jcs

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Electric bass means Fender Bass and Fender Bass means Precision Bass.

I can see how someone noodling in his bedroom might like the way a Jazz Bass sounds but in a mix the Precision Bass is king.

I would make an exception if you're playing early Eighties New Wave. I'd want something like an Aria SB1000 if I were there but if I were there I'd be spending most of my time on my hair.
I love my 80's Aria Pro II 32" scale with a pair of guitar sized humbuckers....cops a LOT of sounds.
 

jcs

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8,093
The "Precision is THE classic rock bass" is the same as the "The Ampeg SVT is THE sound of classic rock" argument; that is to say facile at best. A lot of the mid-60s British bands used Gibson EB-2s and EB-3s (The Yardbirds, The Animals, etc), Entwistle used an EB-2 early, and an EB-3 on Substitute. Jack Bruce, obviously used an EB-3 (although a Fender VI on Fresh Cream, and likely a Danelectro longhorn on Disraeli). Andry Fraser in Free, Glenn Cornick in Jethro Tull. Felix Pappalardi used an EB-1. Noel Redding and JPJ on Jazz Basses (though JPJ also used a fretless Precision and 51 Precision Bass, and Noel used Chas Chandler's EB-2 on Experienced), Jack Casady a Guild Starfire. As far as 60s rock go, I always think more of the Gibson sound as characteristic of the period. The Precision I think much more of as a soul and RnB instrument (Duck Dunn, Jameson, Bob Babbit, etc). The main Precision player of that era that I can think of, and that I associate with the bass is Entwistle. And Geddy also used a Precision for the first album which I think sounded excellent. A lot of more blues based acts, like Canned Heat, used the Precision though.

I don't think the Precision was really the "sound of rock" until in the 70s, with bands like Boston, Journey, Santana, Foreigner, that sort of stuff, which, similarly, I equate with the elevation of the SVT. People go on that the SVT is the sound of rock, but wasn't even available until '69/70 (the Stones had early prototypes in '69), and all the stuff like the Who, Hendrix, Cream, Mountain, Zeppelin was all recorded on Marshalls, Sunns, Hiwatts and Acoustics. It's just reductionism. This is not to say the SVT or Precision bass aren't good, but the end all be all? Or honestly even the standard? Mehhhhhhhhhh



(Disclaimer: my favorite basses are precisions, but I don't think they really deserve the pedestal they are placed on, especially with the tone it seems most people laud them fore [tone rolled entirely off with flats])
Did Bill Wyman EVER use a P bass?
 

AdmiralB

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the ric might have been the only other long scale "good-sounding" bass besides the fender, but it was frankly too weird for universal acceptance like the two fender models.

T-bird. But it was even weirder than the Rick.
 

Floyd Eye

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What about USA Peavey Fury with the J neck and P pickup?

I love mine....but darn I love my Peavey Foundation which is a J neck but J bass on steroids so to speak.


I never played a Fury, but I have an 80s model DynaBass that has an excellent, thin, J-ish neck on it and is extremely versatile. Has a toggle to switch from active to passive. Thing eats batteries.
 
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AdmiralB

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as far as i can tell people play T-birds for the look, not the sound.

I love the sound. It's not terribly unlike a dual-P setup, like the original B.C. Rich basses had. You know Fagen wouldn't have let Becker play one if it wasn't jazz chops, no hangups.

They don't play them for ergos, that's for sure. Unless you've got ape arms, the body contours are superfluous, since the body is going to sit about a foot to the right of your torso.
 

s2y

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I love the sound. It's not terribly unlike a dual-P setup, like the original B.C. Rich basses had. You know Fagen wouldn't have let Becker play one if it wasn't jazz chops, no hangups.

They don't play them for ergos, that's for sure. Unless you've got ape arms, the body contours are superfluous, since the body is going to sit about a foot to the right of your torso.

Gibson has released the occasional bass with a more conventional body shape with T-Bird pickups. I don't think they ever sold well. I think Lull did something similar recently, too. I'd agree that one more or less needs ape arms. I'm short and also happen to have T-Rex arms. :confused:
 

RickC

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Played a T-bird exclusively for the first ten years or so of my gigging life. I can assure you it was indeed for the sound; like a Rick on top but with a bigger woodier bottom. Still a benchmark tone for me.

/rick
 
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jcs

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I love the sound. It's not terribly unlike a dual-P setup, like the original B.C. Rich basses had. You know Fagen wouldn't have let Becker play one if it wasn't jazz chops, no hangups.

They don't play them for ergos, that's for sure. Unless you've got ape arms, the body contours are superfluous, since the body is going to sit about a foot to the right of your torso.
The 1 pickup T birds sound incredible live...I just saw Samantha Fish live and her bass player Chris Alexander borrowed a 1 pickup T Bird for part of the set.

All thru Chris 70's SVT rig......Chris normally is a J bass player but that vintage 64 T Bird was special....he had no problem getting around the neck either which surprised me.
 

jcs

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J basses can sound 'too lean' at times imo....thru an amp like my Eden Metro with the tube preamp on one side and extensive EQ on the 2nd SS channel, it will do a J bass justice.

That old T Bird just sounded BIG thru the SVT....I honestly can't remember if he changed the EQ on the SVT when Chris switched to the T Bird from the J Bass.
 

jcs

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I never played a Fury, but I have an 80s model DynaBass that has an excellent, thin, J-ish neck on it and is extremely versatile. Has a toggle to switch from active to passive. Thing eats batteries.
Pick up a late 80's Fury and drop in a Duncan SPB1 vintage P pickup and you are set for a P bass with J neck.

I can't believe how many cool tones I can get out of Fury into my Eden Metro...that one P pickup is a remarkable design and the placement is perfect imo.
 




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