#1
So basically, I'm trying to get into playing bass. I've played guitar for a couple years so I know that when you're choosing an instrument it's more about feel than anything, but I'm not sure which kind of pickups would be best, or the most versatile. I'd like to explore all kinds of genres with my playing, thats why I'm looking for the most versatile.


So how did you guys know which pickups were right for you out of the jazz bass setup, p bass setup, and then humbuckers? and which one do you guys think is the most versatile?

Thanks for any help.
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#2
A Precision bass has one sound but that one sound is right for everything.
Jazz configurations are more versatile.
Humbuckers depend on the configuration but I feel most basses with humbuckers sound kind of bland. Stingrays and such don't count here.
#3
Well, i can only talk about my experience. P bass pups just don't cut it for me, at least the P pups i can afford. it seems to me it is not versatile, punchy, but kinda sterile. i can't tell you how a humbucker may sound, since i tried some, and they were pretty different one from the other. i tried humbucker freaturing basses which didn't cut it, but still, i own a humbuckered bass, with active 2 band preamp, and for me it's the most versatile (also it has a push pull so you can use them as single coils). I also own a jazz and it has the sound i like the most, it is more round, less punchy, and with the two pups you can get a good variety of sounds.

I'd like to state that at least for me it isn't really possible to isolate the sound of a pick up, as all that i said is what a whole bass sounds like, that has X type of pup. Still, you get the idea that each pup has it's tendencies, but it isn't much of a rule, and can vary from model to model, and from bass to bass... IMO

Good luck!
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#4
By owning every bass there is at some point. I play precision basses because of their no-fuss, on/off personality. To many options and I start to fiddle rather than play.

Versatile goes to ways:

Jazz Bass Versatile: Can make tones to fit all genres.

Precision Bass Vestatile: Makes one tone that fits all genres.

Its a matter of choice really. Its hard to go wrong really. If you have any clips with the tone you want then we can easily point you in the right direction.
#5
I also couldnt decide so I got myself a combo bass with both pickups,threw in some DiMarzio P-bass pickups and left the jazz stock, now I can have a bit of both.
#6
Quote by Spaz91
By owning every bass there is at some point. I play precision basses because of their no-fuss, on/off personality. To many options and I start to fiddle rather than play.


This sums it up, you have to spend some time with different basses to get a feel for what each has to offer--same goes for preamps and other such features.

After all that, a lot of people end up with multiple basses just so we have different pickup configurations ready to go. Right now I have a p bass, a j bass, a couple basses with (very different from one another) humbuckers, and another bass with a P MM combo.

I use them all in different situations, but I've also found things I don't like and avoid over the years like most soap bar pups and active preamps. There's no real way to figure things out other than just playing a wide variety of basses.
#7
To be honest, I'm still sorting this out But trying a bunch of basses will get you a long way in the pursuit of happiness.
#8
Quote by Spaz91
By owning every bass there is at some point. I play precision basses because of their no-fuss, on/off personality. To many options and I start to fiddle rather than play.

Versatile goes to ways:

Jazz Bass Versatile: Can make tones to fit all genres.

Precision Bass Vestatile: Makes one tone that fits all genres.

Its a matter of choice really. Its hard to go wrong really. If you have any clips with the tone you want then we can easily point you in the right direction.

wow I didn't realize the jazz bass was that popular. maybe that explains why the majority of my favorite bass players play one

What are your experiences with humbuckers basses like the sterling by musicman ray34, or the g&l l-2000? are they as versatile as a jazz or p bass?

EDIT: I'm talking about the lower end Sterling by Musicman and G&L Tribute of course
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Last edited by JAHellraiser at Mar 31, 2012,
#10
I couldn't decide either. I've ended up with one Jazz bass, one P bass, one PJ bass, one bass with soap bars if that still counts when it's being sold, and I'll soon have the MM I'm building from parts. But I'm using the Jazz bass most often at the moment.
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#11
Quote by GAPendragon
I couldn't decide either. I've ended up with one Jazz bass, one P bass, one PJ bass, one bass with soap bars if that still counts when it's being sold, and I'll soon have the MM I'm building from parts. But I'm using the Jazz bass most often at the moment.

how much tonal difference is there between a standard p or j bass compared to the j/p bass?
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#12
My Jazz bass is from the 70s. '76, I think. So it has a warmer, more rounded vintage tone, the Jazz pickup on the PJ bass is brighter and less rounded, and of course there's only one of them so in comparison it maybe sounds a little weaker until balanced. It still has the stock pickups though and they could be upgraded to even it out a little more with the P pickup.
Quote by FatalGear41
Bassists don't hover on the forum day and night like guitarists. We've got lives to lead, music to play and whiskey to drink.

Quote by Ziphoblat
I'd rather go at my hands with a hacksaw than play lead guitar, and I'm only slightly exaggerating.
#13
Quote by dullsilver_mike
This sums it up, you have to spend some time with different basses to get a feel for what each has to offer--same goes for preamps and other such features.

+1.

Another thing to mention: while there are certain general characteristics associated with different pickup types, there's a lot of variation among pickup models and manufacturers. And there's other considerations to take into account besides what kind of pickups a bass has. Two basses can have the same pickup configuration and sound very different.

EDIT: My primary right now is just a passive P, but I've found everything has it's place. If money and space weren't an issue I'd have a passive P, a passive J, something with a humbucker in the sweet spot, and an array of fancy basses with various pickups in soapbar shells with lots of fancy preamps and unnecessary switching options.
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Last edited by Tostitos at Apr 1, 2012,
#14
I've owned P basses, Jazz bases, a mustang and a Bronco.

I keep trying jazz basses but feel underwhelmed. I honestly cannot say why, maybe it's the fact I played a P exclusively for half my time playing? I don't know why the thinner neck and extra bridge pickup don't intrigue me. Also I have a hard time hearing a giant difference in the neck pickup and a P pickup, but the P bass just has something to it.

I also like my bronco's pickup, but it's a strat sized rail humbucker, but it gets fat, or biting and growling grinding well perfectly.
#16
My bass is just a single pickup soapbar with an impedence selector. It goes with the vintage feel that comes with all Jack Casady Basses. I like it because it's simple and really easy to get a great tone out of it. the only places it really doesn't go are metal and Funk, but I have my younger brothers warwick for that.
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