Alternatives for Fender P

My Fender is on its way back to the retailer (again), and hopefully I’m going to get a refund (again). My confidence in Fender is near zero at this point, and I’m not sure if I’m going to go for it for a third time, so I’ve started looking for alternatives. What I want is a reasonably priced bass (around EUR 1k or below) that replicates the Fender P tone as close as possible, but is not made by Fender, and is not defective on arrival.

So far I’ve looked at the below four. I’m leaning towards the Sandberg Electra, but the tone is not quite the same. Does anyone have positive or negative experience with these ones? Any other basses that you think would be a good match?


I am sure you can get a Vintage (the brand) P Bass that will rival Fender in quality and componentry. And they should be everywhere in Europe. And you can save you some money.

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There were lots of solid suggestions in this thread for P-Js.

For a pure P have you considered Warwick Adam Clayton Signature CW – Thomann Ireland ?

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The Warwicks will not sound like a Fender P. Personally I think they sound awesome, but it has a much more aggressive and modern tone than a P-bass.

To your list I would add:

Yamaha BB734A
Yamaha BBP34

as worth checking out. Also different than a P, as all P/Js will be, but more of a classic tone.


“p bass alternative??..…

Ain’t nothin’ better than a good ‘ol single string “Gut Bucket”….!!

Keep On Thumpin’!


I don’t know where you are, but in the US, LsL makes an amazing p-bass. I have one of the only lefties they’ve made so far and it’s wonderful. Every review you read or watch of LsL instruments comes to the same conclusion — more like a vintage Fender than most vintage Fenders.


@akos you could take another approach….
Get a Squier or other lower cost Fender copy and upgrade, and put Fralin P pickups in it.
I just got a set of these and they are amazing.
Fralin specializes the Fender P and J tones, but does them better.
I am next going to order a PJ and J set from them based on the P I just got.


ESP LTD make some killer PJ basses. I have a lower end B50 FM and it is awesome. And they are cheap.


Could also step up from the LTD (entry level) line to an Edwards (~$1-2k) or MIJ ESP ($2-4k) :slight_smile:

Even the LTDs are great though, on par with Ibanez and Yamaha production basses. (And made in the same factories.)


I’d go with G&L, ust I like @John_E suggestion to go with Squier. I must have missed your posts, what happened to your fender?

You can always choose the MIJ aerodyne pj. I love my EBMM Cutlass but it’s going to be outside your budget and pretty hard to come by where you are.

I love the sire jazz bass but not their pjs. I’d also look at Chavel fo the more classic P bass.

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Chavel is by Fender

Schecter has some P basses


Personally - given his luck so far with their quality, and given the wide variety out there - if I were him I would forget about Fender, including Squier and by extension G&L. There’s a lot of great basses out there in that price range, and definitely a whole lot more bang for the buck. If I were him, ater this many failures at QC and customer care, I wouldn’t be giving that group of companies another dime.

This isn’t commentary on those basses at all; this is based on his experience with the company.


Man, that really sucks that you’ve had so much trouble with that bass.

I think Sandberg basses are all kinds of cool. You just need to decide if you want a P or a PJ.
@joergkutter has a Sandberg and would be able to speak more about them. Of the ones you posted, I would expect it to give you what you liked in the Fender.

The Sire Marcus Miller basses have a rolled edge fretboard. Most people seem to like them but I have read where some folks didn’t. Just letting you know what might be different than what you expect.


I absolutely agree with this. The only good thing about fender instruments are the resale value.


True that, but I have a TM4, which is basically a Jazz, so I can’t really say anything with respect to Sandberg P-clones reproducing that P tone. In general, Sandberg basses are very nice instruments and I am very happy with mine (I think @Krescht also owns a Sandberg, and perhaps a few more people in here).

As for a P bass (not from Fender): the AIO PB4 I recently purchased is a really really nice bass with a killer P tone for around 450 dollars (+100 dollars for shipping to Europe) - so far, I am very impressed with it.


Thanks for the suggestions everyone, lots of basses to look into, will take a while… :slight_smile:

I’ve also just run into this Lakland Skyline 44-64, any opinions? (Disregard the colour…)

And @howard hit the nail on the head, the idea here would be to not give any money to Fender. (Having said that, at the end of the day the Duff McKagan PJ is still my dream bass, so being the idiot that I am I might give it a third try, but I hope I won’t.)

See here and here. It’s currently on its way back to the retailer, they said they’ll give me a refund if they can reproduce the issue.


The one I have is a California II VM4. It has inverted P and MM-style pickups, which give it a more modern sound. When I switch off the MM pups, it can get a thumpy P-bass sound.

However, if you really want to get the vintage Fender sound, you’ll probably have to change the pups. The different type of bridge might also play a small role in the sound.

If you consider a Sandberg as a valid option, it might be worth considering going for a California instead of an Electra. The one below offers an active/passive switch for the electronics:

It’s a little above your 1K limit, but you’ll get the real 100% German build one :star_struck:


That color is fantastic :slight_smile:

Seriously it’s great, love it.


Made in Germany basses have superior quality. Sandberg and Warwick are amazing and I have owned them both (I still own 2 Sandberg basses). Remember that tone can also be shaped with a preamp. Sandberg Electra with a Tech 21 preamp will bring you very close to that Fender p-bass sound.

That said I do think a Marcus Miller or Lakland will feel a bit more like Fender. Personally I like the looks of that Lakland better. You can’t go wrong with any of those imo.

Go Warwick if your focus is more towards metal :metal:


I don’t think I would agree that made in Germany products are good. Most things I’ve bought in the past that were made in Germany were horribly unreliable and of shoddy quality, even though they were expensive. Lesson learnt. I won’t touch anything that’s German made now. Even German cars are legendary for breaking down quickly and frequently

The days when Germany was a manufacturing powerhouse are long gone. There’s no talent there now. Talent follows where the manufacturing centres are.

Also, Sandberg basses aren’t made in Germany. They’re made in the Far East.