When the first precision bass was unveiled in 1951, it was an event that changed music history. Bands used amped electric guitars to run the melody during this era, causing the acoustic stand-up bass lines to get drowned out in live sessions.
If there’s one thing about music, it continues to evolve. Enter the PJ bass, which delivers the warmth of the classic split-coil pickup with the jangle and mids for a jazz bridge pickup.
You can still go for a straight precision, jazz, or hybrid PJ when learning to play the bass. Is one option better than the other?
Do You Want Volume or Tone for Your Music?
The issue with the PJ-style bass guitar is that the split-coil pickup is louder than its single-coil counterpart. Its position near the neck contributes to this outcome nearly as much as the design differences.
If you want an even blend of precision and jazz tones, you’d need to set the P pickups to a lower volume. Although this approach sounds simple on paper, it can be difficult for new bass players to manage.
Your PA system or stage also dictates what works better for playing. Volume levels are often set at the board, so you can’t always make the necessary adjustments to find that balance.
Despite the difficulties, you’ll find that your audio technique will improve as much as your playing when you get started on a PJ-style bass guitar like the Donner DPJ-100. By training your ear to find the precision and jazz tones while playing, you’ll eventually get to a point where you can change things on the fly.
Features to Look for on a PJ-Style Bass Guitar
A precision bass with jazz pickups needs a solid bridge construction that won’t take away from the resonance of each note. You should have excellent sustain with a solid strike while having some forgiveness through audio absorption with the instrument’s materials.
You want the electronics to pick up your vibrations with accuracy while reducing the hum levels that the instrument creates. It helps to invest in a high-quality amp and cabling to minimize the background noise that some PJ-style bass guitars produce.
The Donner DPJ-100 gives you extra stability and strength for virtually any playing style. It delivers smooth sounds while putting all the adjustments you need within easy reach to ensure your tone and quality meet or exceed expectations.
Hum is an issue on virtually any passive electric or bass guitar. You’ll notice plenty of versatility with the PJ style, even though the precision bass design hasn’t been changed for nearly seven decades. When you want to split the warm sounds with something a bit punchy, adding the jazz element will spice up your playing.
If you’ve picked up a PJ-style bass and still encounter problems, try placing your plucking hand closer to the bridge. You can also add EQ and delay pedals, experiment with picking styles, and even different playing positions. When you’ve got an instrument like the Donner DPJ-100, you can do the fun work of finding your sound.