Make a J bass sound like a P bass

I know the P bass was first then they made the J bass to fix what players didn’t have in a P bass. P has the split one-piece P’ups while the J has two. Don’t have a P to compare it to, nor that much experience playing and making it sound right yet, but was wondering if you turn down the neck and up the bridge P’up and mess with the Tone control, wouldn’t you get close to a P bass sound? Is there any trick to getting a P-bass sound from a J-bass or are they just so different that they will always sound different, once I get my sound down and actually know how to play?


I would say the best bet would probably be to address it in EQ.

J-basses are typically kind of less thick, more growly, and scooped sounding compared to P-basses, which are more punchy/thumpy and mids-rich. Both are great tones but the pickups just have pretty different sounds.

If you EQ up the mids in a J and back off on the highs a bit you might be able to get a good approximation. I would not go with the J-bass bridge for this, the neck would probably be closer.

Some searching online turned up examples of what I am getting at:

Typical Fender P-bass EQ spectrum, shows the strong mids and low mids and lack of more “nasally” highs:

J-bass EQ spectrum, shows the mids scoop and the more pronounced highs:


Definitely roll off the bridge and solo the neck pickup. One of the things that makes a P sound like a P is the fact that the pickup is located close to the neck. It is closer to the neck than the neck pickup in a J. That’s part of the sound.

But you get closer to it just playing the neck pup. And following @howard advice.


When @howard is right, @howard is right


You guys are absolutely right about it.

And I would suggest….save your pennies and have one of each. EQ can get you close, but one of each will get you closest.

Of course, I have terminal GAS. The doc says the only thing that will cure it for me is a lethal bump on the head by Keith Richards’s slab of Telecaster. :grinning:


It’s not just the pickup shape that determine the tone, it’s also the location. P pickup is usually a middle pickup position. Jazz has one by the neck and one by the bridge. The location of the bridge pick pick up also a big factor. Fender 62 vintage is about the same as the modern fender jazz position. 75 vintage the bridge position move closer to the bridge which provide more sparkle and brighter tone, think Jaco and Marcus Miller.

If you want to replicate the tone you are going to have to first find the tone you like, then experiment with the balance between the 2 volume and tone, and more importantly, play from the middle or right below the neck pickup to get close to the right tone, whichever one that is.

Do you know any specific traits that you like about P bass tone? you can get that from plugging the strings from a different position no matter where the pickup located. If you plug a string close to the saddle it doesn’t matter what kind of pickup you’d get bright ringing tone same goes to the opposite, if you plug the string at the neck heel or over the last few frets you’d get beautiful warm tone.

In addition, the bass would also sound different when you play it alone and when it’s in the mix. You may not like the tone by itself but once in the mix it sounds great.


Was just watching “Duck” Dunn play Green Onions on a P bass and loved the sound and was wondering can I get a tone close to that on my J bass. Still very much in the beginner stage and due to some injuries can’t even practice, so just a curiosity question.

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I’d love to have both, but I also have small hands and short fingers, so a P bass may not fit my hand at all.


You can get Ps with Jazz necks if that’s your concern


I just put a JB neck on my Precision for the same reason.


That’s cool, I’ll have to look into that. Thanks.

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Will have to check that out. I haven’t tried a short scale neck yet. Trying to stay away from the “Candy Store” because of GAS! (LOL)

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If you look, the Schecter Banshee is a nice shortscale P


I can totally understand people not liking the feel of P-bass necks as much, but I would not be afraid of hand size being an issue. You won’t have a problem most likely.

I’ve gotten to prefer the 42mm P-bass modern C neck over 38mm J-style, myself.


I like 40mm myself, hard to find

and I’m done looking


Yeah that’s fun. I like it the other way around in general. Jazz bass with P neck.

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40 is great, my SBV is 40mm and feels awesome

38mm is great for me. No problems at all. I like my 41.3mm EBMM, too, because of its thinner profile than my J. Don’t need or want any wider necks.

To make a jazz bass sound like a p-bass put in a 4 band Audere preamp. Audere Preamps (