Lisbon - Portugal (von julien mrt)

"Besides the noble art of getting things done, master the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials."
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Eiffel Tower - Paris - France (von Kamil Porembiński)

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Cape Bailey - New South Wales - Australia (von aussiegall)

QuestionHi! Okay so I've been looking into a new bass recently and decided on a Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass in Olympic White. Normally I am more of a P-Bass man due to the loud and punchy (with lots of treble) sound that you get from one, so going for a Jazz I know I can be more versatile while still retaining a similar sound if I want. So i was wondering if getting Halfwound strings would be a good option on a Jazz bass so I can add to the Percussion sound that I love? Answer



Great news about your bass, I’m glad you’ve come to the Jazz side, I’m really not a P fan myself. I must say I very much dislike them.

I’m afraid to say that any Percussion that comes out in your sound comes from hands and technique, not the strings you use! The brand/type of strings DOES NOT MATTER. It’s all in the hands and technique.

HOWEVER, if you mean percussion as in (in my opinion) the cheap sounding, really not satisfying trebley “clunk” a P bass has, you will NEVER get that from a Jazz bass. EVER. PERIOD. Purely because of the type of pickups and the positioning.

That clunk is usually defined unfortunately by relatively inferior, cheaply manufactured, open pole piece single coil P pickup. Using stupidly heavy round would nickel/steel strings with the pickups set really high, digging in really hard with a pick may get you close but that would be a silly idea.

An EMG P pickup for example would never suffer that sort of trouble because they are properly wax dipped and made well with quality in mind. But then we could also debate about Single coils, Humbuckers, Humcancelling, stacked, Ghost coils etc etc. Main point a single coil pickup usually gives a high treble output which is a relative to the horrific “clunk” I dislike.

BUT quality single coil pickups can achieve this but with less of the unsatisfactory cheap sounding treble and more of a bitey, middy, lowertone. Quality I would say obviously EMG, Seymour Duncan, Lace Helix etc etc. Recognisable single coils are usually open pole piece Precision pickups, there are two types, the single Strat like pickup, (found on the early Precision basses, Sting’s for example) or the later P pickup which we know today as the P pickup, which is in the shape of a Z and is in two separate units, but, it’s only one pickup.

That’s why everyone loves Jazz basses because the Jazz was such an improvement on the precision, it took away all the nasty tones and noises that we couldn’t really relate to bass.

That was Leo Fender’s whole idea with the development of the Jazz bass anyway, he had that many complaints that the P bass didn’t sound all that great, wasn’t versatile enough and didn’t sit right on the body. Sound engineers hated the “clunk” so most of the time bass players had to play with the ashtray mute on the bass, with the treble all the way down and only play with a light touch else it would just sound awful and not sit at all well in a mix, but back then speaker systems and amps etc were all round terrible for the low end of things too. With much thought the P bass had to be improved for bass to actually be BASS and not CLANK. Thus the Jazz was born. So with the Jazz Leo added:

Deeper contours so the bass would sit more comfortably against the body.

Two Single coil Jazz pickups, which would allow musicians to have more choice in what sound they wanted, warm and deep at the neck, bright and twangy at the bridge or a mix of both, with a volume knob for each pickup back then people were astounded. They were looking at space age musical wizardry.

Leo also added improvements to the ashtray covers to suit the Jazz, of course it had a sponge mute at the bridge for that thick thump, but he also believed the ashtrays acted as a shield and limited the magnetic field coming from the pickup, which meant the string vibrations would be sensed louder and would add overall volume. (This is not confirmed).

Sorry about the long winded, history lesson of an answer, but I thought I’d spill some of my brains for you guys on why I’m not keen on the “Clunk” and abit of history about how the jazz came about.

Don’t take my dislike of P basses to heart, they have their place, just not for me. Anyway cheers for the ask!


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Portland - Oregon - USA (von lakewentworth)