sounded a bit thin, which is clearly not what
this bass is about.
Like the man it’s named after, the
Manson JPJ bass may be rooted in
tradition, but it’s firmly in the present.
Staring down its $3200 price tag can
give pause, but this is an all-around
great bass that certainly does jus-
tice to Jones’ legacy—which is still
being written, by the way—without
screaming that it’s a signature model.
Unlike many signature basses, which
are slightly modified and renamed
versions of stock instruments, the
Manson JPJ is the first bass from
someone who could’ve had a string
of signature basses by now. It’s also the
product of 15 years of design refinements
by a luthier who has built electric instru-
ments for John Paul Jones for over 30 years.
If you’re looking for a high-end 4-string that
has a strong character all its own while being
versatile enough to do whatever you ask of it,
the Manson JPJ is a killer. And no less than
John Paul himself will vouch for that.
you’re looking for a rock-
ready 4-string that will never,
ever be lost in the mix.
you like thick necks, complex
tone controls, flyweight basses,
or passive-only instruments.
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texture that plays nicely into the mahogany’s
capacity for dark tones. But judicious use of
the treble typically brought out the details in
the JPJ’s natural sound in whatever pickup
configuration I was toying with at the time.
In general, the EMG pickups are quiet and
a little less aggressive than some of their brethren. Cruising the two-octave fretboard, I was
able to conjure some very workable, popping
slap tones. But I wasn’t always crazy about the
single-coil option—after experiencing the fullness of the EMGs, the back-pickup single-coil