In this post, I will share some subjective criteria which could make the jazz bass the right instrument for you. Or not.
Road To Jazz
I played jazz basses before, obviously. Later on, my GAS journey took me through a lot of well known basses over the years. Each bass had its distinct perks and place. Crossing the threshold of “no dissatisfaction“, basses are simply different, not better.
In my current position, I play in various projects; covering a variety of genres including jazz, latin, Brazil, pop, rock, blues and ambient.
Considering the fact that I like simplicity; P-Bass might seem to be the answer. However, I like the Marcus slap & Jaco growl too; which it seems to lack. I also believe in minimalism and limit the number of objects in my life; so one main bass and one “stunt” bass should be enough (YMMV).
Well, if that’s your situation as well, a simple passive jazz bass might be the answer.
How is the sonic variety achieved? Check Jazz Bass EQ Guide (VVT) for some guidance.
There are basses specializing in one or two roles. There are also basses which provide much more variety by active / passive / humbucker / single / series / parallel / etc switches. However; a passive jazz bass seems to have the perfect balance of the following (subjective) criteria:
- It supports minimalism because one can get by with a single bass
- It provides a wide sonic versatility
- It is simple enough to keep one playing instead of fiddling
- It is a widely accepted industry standard
I could suggest installing some noiseless pickups to prevent hum; but I have yet to find one that sounds as organic as single coil pickups. Until then, one might just keep the pickup volumes balanced until the song starts.
Why Not Jazz Bass
Where the Jazz Bass fails to be the ultimate bass is the lack of thump. Precision Bass has a natural, low-mid oriented tone; which simply can’t be reproduced by any other bass. If your ear is used to it, you got to have the P-Bass. A Jazz Bass can get close, but won’t sound like that. Check my comparison here: Precision vs Jazz Bass , or listen to it.