"PJ" basses any good?

In your opinion (or experience) is a bass with a PJ pickup configuration a good compromise between a P and a J bass, or rather neither fish nor meat?? Wouldn’t a good PJ bass (especially with various options for pairing/isolating individual pickups) be the best option if you can’t afford both a P and a J bass??


I love them. Nice tonal combination, very versatile. Listen to this BB :slight_smile:


I like P/J basses too. even if it’s not “the real thing” you can get a P sound and get pretty close to a J sound, and even cooler you can dial in between.


So, can you hear the difference?? What makes the “real thing” so much “realer”??

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assuming that the pickups are located exactly like on a P (neck pickup) and a J (bridge pickup - even if all the J basses don’t have the bridge pickup in the exact same place) :

  • you won’t ear a noticeable difference when using only the P pickup
  • same thing on the bridge pickup only, but who uses only the bridge J pickup ?
  • when blending the two pickups you will be able to get close to a J tone, but not identical (because of the neck pickup obviously)

for me the important thing on a real P is the neck ! it’s much wider and bigger than a J neck and it makes me play differently.


That’s a nice sound. I have the BB235, which is the 5 string version of the BB 234.


Ah, forgot all about the neck shape and size!!

Hm, maybe I should start venturing into music stores and just trying different basses more often!!

Thanks for the input so far, @terb and @howard


To necro this older topic…

I think it is kind of funny that although I originally would have preferred a P/J over just a P, over time and having owned a J/J and P/J by now, I’ve kind of decided… I’ve kind of decided I don’t really like single coil J pickups :slight_smile:

It’s not that they are bad or that I would turn down a P/J in the future - indeed I could easily see myself getting a BB734 someday. It’s just that I like humbuckers or split-coils a whole lot better, both tonally and for noise.

When I look at Fenders now the only ones that really tempt me are the straight up Precisions, not even the P/J precisions. I would probably want a Jazz neck though, sorry @terb :slight_smile:

I like my current P/J, not trying to say they are bad basses in any way, everything in this thread stands - P/J is a very nice, versatile combo. I just think it’s funny how preferences can change like this.


don’t be sorry @howard , I don’t care as long as I don’t have to play it


seriously a straight P with a thin JB neck wouldn’t be something bad, it’s not for me as I much prefer the big wide P neck but for smaller hands or just people who prefer thiner/faster necks, why not.

by the way a lot of Fender P have used a JB-like neck, it’s mostly the case of P/J basses like the japanese model Duff McKagan used with Guns’n’Roses or the mexican model that the bassist of Gouge Away plays. of course it would work with a single P pickup.

then you have the Nate Mendel signature model with a neck somewhere in between the P and the J profile.

about pickups I can totally understand that you don’t like much the J single coils, and I agree, I think this kind of pickup just sounds too thin and weak for the kind of music we play. then for a P tone with more tonal options, there is the P/P configuration …

also even if it’s rare, an hybrid kind of pickup exists. it’s technically an inline split coil with a JB pickup shape and size. in theory it should sound somewhere between a P and a J pickup, with the humbucking effect. might be a very interesting option.


Interesting! I’ve also seen soapbars that actually contain split-coils in various configurations (P, reverse-P, and X-shaped). Those might be interesting too. I think ESP uses some of these these, Ibanez too. Example:


I guess I’m going to find out for myself. My first PJ (a Squier) has a J neck, but the one I am building will have P neck. Everyone seems to prefer the J neck and many want smaller and smaller necks. For me I just don’t know. My fingers aren’t short; we’ll see.


P/J config is my favorite. It’s the most tonally versatile IMHO. Besides, if you like a P bass (for example) get a P bass. Getting something other than a P bass then trying to make it sound or play like a P bass seems counter productive to me.


Just a note… I currently have one JJ config and two PJ configs. Never really cared for the straight P and the JJ doesn’t get played often.


A reason might be that you like the sound, but don’t like a P-bass’ neck. It’s much wider than a J neck. I had a P in the past; I called it “the ironing board”.


not me.


Welp, soon I may be joining you if this works out. My P-bass neck for a Standard P-Bass (MIM):

When I bought the Squier PJ, I had no idea that it would come with a J Bass neck. At the time I really didn’t know the difference.


P/J are indeed very tonally versatile, probably only behind active/passive or series/parallel switchable dual humbuckers there. And probably even more versatile there in some ways - the P and J definitely have different tonal characteristics.

Big selling point for them. It’s a nice safe combination to choose as well.

This is true and a good thing to mention. My P/J Warwick sounds very, very little like a P-bass even when just on the P pickup, and I would not expect it to.

That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying “for this song I want to make my bass tone more like a P-bass”.

Neck feel is more like religion on the other, um, hand :slight_smile:


You try my left hand and then reach the E-string with that 2" pinky on a P, and then we’ll talk further.


I’m finding that the more basses I play, the more I notice the differences (Well, duh). And I think over time, I probably only need two types of basses - a P/J and a pure P. I always thought I’d prefer the pure J, but over time I’m using them less and less - especially in a band environment - it does seem a bit too thin as has been mentioned.

I did notice however, that the measurements are a bit weird across the range. I’ve just measured across the top fret, right under the nut and the spacing I have is like this -

Pure Jazz = 4cm
P/J = 4.4cm
Pure P = 4.7cm

And the other thing is 9 times out of ten, I’ll use the PJ, because at the practice sessions, we might come up with all kinds of different styles and the PJ covers the most range.
But If I’m just relaxing at home with a few beers and I just want to play some mellow blues, I will always use the pure P.

The poor old pure Jazz’s aren’t getting much love at the moment :frowning:


J basses can sound great. One time in a store I was looking at amps and they asked me what bass I wanted; I said any 4-string. They handed me this sweet MIJ that looked and sounded pretty much exactly like this one:

They sound good, IMO just not as good :slight_smile:

That bit at 1:17 or so - and then 2:38 :open_mouth: