Playing for change?

I just rented with the option to purchase a M.IM P Bass
. Traditional burst finish with a Maple neck, white pick guard and some time in its life the original pickup was replaced with a quarter pounder Seymour Duncan.

You know it sounds nice and all the moving parts are in good condition.
The thing is I find a P Bass a very different instrument to play compared to the basses I have now.
So why do I push myself to play it?
No clue really other than my heart feels good to hear that tone.
My Birthday present to myself is to play the bass that built Motown and pay respect to the players who studied hard to do so.
They say do not play an instrument that is not comfortable to play. I say ( who is they anyway?) maybe it is I, who has to change.
Have any of you ever played a bass that challenged you?


Sure. The first bass I played challenged me the most. It was uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and my fingers couldn’t find where I wanted them to go. With practice it became familiar, and in time fit like a glove.

I have a new bass, a Charvel. It sounds terrific, but I’m not completely comfortable with the neck yet. But I love the sound, and I am commiting to playing it. Which means I restarted B2B, and am going through the lessons (at a faster pace). Sooner than you think, the Charvel will feel fine.

Give it a week or two. Work out the handling of a very different neck. You may learn to love it’s charms. And the Quarter Pounder sounds like a good upgrade. My only dig on MIM Fenders is their pickups are a bit bland. (all of this is personal taste)


I think there’s a distinction between “challenged” and “didn’t enjoy”. I haven’t found any of the instruments I have owned to be materially more challenging than others. I have however found instruments that I really wanted to like, but simply didn’t; others that I loved but had to be honest with myself that I wasn’t going to play much. And I had zero problems selling those and would sell them again in a heartbeat.

Life is too short to force myself to enjoy something that I simply don’t, especially when there’s lots of better choices out there for me.


The Charvel neck and bridge challenge me, in that they put me out of my comfort zone which is my Black Stream. The positioning of the bridge is closer to the end of the body, so my arm position to do palm muting is different, which throws me a little off.

The neck is very mono chromatic, the dots are not high contrast, and it has 20 frets. It is also thin. So it throws me off a little.

The shape of a P bass neck is different, and I can see how it could throw you off. A week or two should tell whether its simply new or disliked. But in my opinion, you need to work through the discomfort. And I find old B2B lessons the best way to come up to speed and find out.

Warwick Streamers are a bass I really wanted to like. And there’s a lot to love about them; they have the best bridge system and best nut system I have seen yet.

My first Streamer was an LX5. I had been playing for about a year to a year and a half when I bought it. J/J and 5 string.

I owned it for about six months. I learned two things with that bass - I don’t really like 5 strings due to the string spacing, and I don’t like the J/J pickup configuration very much. So I sold it in favor of a Streamer LX4, a P/J.

The Streamer’s neck felt great, and the string spacing was the same as my other bass that I loved. The P/J sounded great to me. But unfortunately the bass still just sat wrong with me. I figured out that due to its layout, its neck was about 2cm to the left of where I would normally prefer. This did not make playing it more difficult in any way, but it did make playing it feel distinctly odd to me, and I never ended up liking it. I converted it to BEAD, but eventually sold it too.

I had no problems playing either of them, it’s just that there’s plenty of basses out there that I do enjoy playing. No reason to force myself to like something I didn’t.

So what is the challenge? Is it the neck? That seems the most likely guess. If so, there are quite a few P basses on the market with a fast neck, even Fender makes them with Jazz necks.

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This would be the route to go if you don’t like the neck. There are many options.

this is funny. Not your post but the title. There is a group called Playing for Change and I love some of their covers. I thought this was a post about one of their songs! :laughing:

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I thought this was a post about busking :laughing:


:laughing: Indeed. So many interpretations. At least it got our attention!

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my Xcellerator X64 is a big, heavy, 6-string. It was certainly challenging to play at first, and still is. I’ve come to realize I’m probably happiest on a 5 (specifically a Schecter 5), a nice balance between 4 and 6 for me. I’m the same on guitars, and like a 7-string the best.

The thought of a 7-string bass other than the Ibanez narrow 7s that are as rare as hen’s teeth is daunting. It’s basically the 7-string version of the SRC6, a 10.5mm spaced 30"

curious if you’ve been able to try a “wide 5” at all?

five seconds ago i posted in the friday music thread something from notreble by playing for change. i was really confused for few minutes after seeing this, such a co inky-dinks.


how wide is wide? My Streamer had 17.5mm spacing.

That’s already wider than a lot of 16.5mm 5s. Well damn. I want to say that 18mm and 19mm 5s are out there, though. I think 19mm is pretty standard 4-string bridge spacing?

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Yep 19mm is standard.

The warwick bridges are awesome because you can adjust the string spacing - but even maxed out, I still kind of just disliked it on my 5.

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Thanks for your replies every one.

The P Bass is a whole different instrument in terms of ergonomics, set up and structure.
Although thirty four inch scale Leo designed the Whole unit to be compact thus easier to carry than an upright.
The best way to describe the bass is it is like playing a sixty three key piano.
Just does not feel right.

So why take the challenge?
This Fender is also called a one trick pony. It does only one thing but it does it very well.
I have also heard the same reference to a Stradivarius.
Both are very plain instruments in structure and still are able to pull the best out of the player.

I want to see how far I can take take this.

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I don’t find this as a differentiator in my P vs. J vs. MM bases.
I find design varies greatly across brands and matters more.
I have an ESP with a lot of body past the bridge, so overall bass hangs differently, etc.
Although a Fender Jazz compared to a Fender P is about 3/8" longer, this length is in the headstock, which has no effect on play.
Neck length and nut to bridge are identical on the ones I just surveyed here at home.

They don’t set up any differently than a Jazz bass.
Body shape is different for sure, more wood/weight on a jazz.
The biggest differentiator in P vs. J other than tone(s) is the neck width, with Jazz being thinner. This is usually the thing you either love or hate or don’t care about between the two.

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Agreed with all of that, @John_E . . . I’ve had both P and J basses, and the body shape and weight between the two are noticeable.

I do like the slightly slimmer neck width on the Jazz! :slight_smile:


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…thus your handle @Jazzbass19 :smiley_cat:

I would also add that besides the nut being wider, 38mm for the Jazz and I believe 45mm for the P, the profile of the neck itself is different.