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New Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass -- good value!


Mark Schmieder

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On Jeremy's advice, I've had my eyes out for a Jaguar Bass for a few months now. Much to my surprise, they had one at Gtr Ctr in El Cerrito CA tonight -- though it's the new Squier Vintage Modified model.

 

Well, like other recent Squier Vintage Modified series instruments, this one is very good value, and most importantly has an incredible neck! It feel like a really good Jazz Bass, but plays differently being a Jaguar.

 

I never thought I'd buy another four string fretted bass, but I just had to have this one, and walked out of the store with it. For $260 one can't complain.

 

The neck has a perfect radius to width ratio. The bass feels tight, so is great for funk and even 60's rock and Motown. I haven't tried it with my own equipment at home yet (due to the late hour) but just finished practicing my entire New Year's set unplugged and think this will be my bass.

 

I did do a brief comparison (unplugged) vs. my Yamaha BB-415, and suspect that is a better built bass and more versatile, but once I do a fully electric comparison of these two against my Dingwall, I'll know more about how each will be assigned.

 

This is a GORGEOUS bass -- black body with large square pearl inlays in the rosewood neck, and a maroon tortoise-shell pick guard. And only $260 out the door; though I also bought a quality Jazz-Bass case for a tight fit with the extended horn.

 

Tomorrow I'll be buying the Squier Vintage Modified J-Bass Fretless on eBay (I'm sure I'll win the auction, but I've been surprised before). When I went back to Gtr Ctr last week, the Tony Franklin used fretless had sold, and as I at least will NOT break my rule about active basses (adopted a few years ago), the pickings are slim, and I've tried one of these before and feel it is a good placeholder that will also help me decide if I want to get serious about fretless again (I played primarily fretless for almost 15 years).

 

I must say, these new Squiers are better than most Fenders under $900, if not even beyond that price range -- especially the Vintage Modified series, which goes after the $2000 price range Deluxe Fenders and Custom Shop stuff. Obviously, compromises are made, but the playability and range is so much greater than with most lower-end Fender-branded stuff.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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My friend bought a fretted VM J Bass last year, I tried it out and it felt and sounded at least as good as my MIM Jbass. So much so that I'd consider buying one, and if I found a lefy VM fretless I'd definitely want to buy it.

 

I'm hoping the new Squier Pbass comes out in lefy, the reviews were very favorable and I'm looking for a quality Pbass at a low price.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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Congrats! I keep reading good reviews of this Jaguar. $260 is a great price too.

 

I like how it seems much less complicated than a regular Jaguar - never could figure out all those switches and whatnot. How's the weight?

"Of all the world's bassists, I'm one of them!" - Lug
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Good weight balance, not prone to neck diving like so many Fenders. I notice that more than actual weight, but being a four string, it feels light to me anyway.

 

I got a markdown due to the Xmas sale; regular price is $300.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Awesome tone! Very versatile bass, and it takes really well to dynamics.

 

I rehearsed with the Dingwall, then the Yamaha, and finally the Jaguar, for the entire New Year's set list, and the Jag wins by a country mile. Even the Yammie beats out the Dingwall for getting closer to a true vintage vibe, but I'm surprised how different the Fender-like BB-415 is from the Squier as it has the same pickup configuration and a similar neck design.

 

I will still use the Afterburner for the two dinner jazz sets, but when we switch to the Motown/Disco segment of the party I'll bring out the new Jaguar Bass, and keep it strung on for the follow-on Elvis Presley set at the bell toll segment.

 

Did I mention that the Elvis impersonator is Taiwanese? It definitely adds to the festive/party mood as it leaves no question that this is anything but camp!

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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I just did some checking, and the Fender Jaguar released in 2006 has been discontinued. There are as many similarities as differences with this Squier model.

 

The fender model was active with passive bypass available, had two J-Bass pickups, and used the traditional Jaguar knob and switch layout.

 

The Squier model is passive only (my preference), has a bridge J-Bass pickup and a neck P-Bass pickup (just like my Yamaha BB-415), and has two concentric knobs.

 

As near as I can tell, the inner knobs are volume for the respective pickups and the outer knobs, which are detented for ten click settings, are tone. There's a significant range even though it's passive (it's a treble cut at zero), so I suspect they were trying to simplify the Jaguar switch layout while offering similar options for sound sculpting.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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The Wiki page gives some useful information on Jag Bass history and differentiation, even up to this new Squier model that I just bought:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Jaguar_Bass

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Thanks for your reviews, Mark! I would really like to get one of these Squier Jags but both the misses and the budget say no :) Guess I need more paying gigs to fund this! Plus they are a lot more expensive here. I think most of the Vintage Modified basses go for EUR 400+ here in Belgium. But I have to admit I have not been looking very hard for the above mentioned reasons :)

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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??? cat whip? I don't get it. I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake today. :idk

 

Mark, congrats on the new bass and yes they are very nice. Squier is doing a great job with their product line these days. So lets see some picks 'cause no pics = no bass! :)

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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Um, it's pretty obvious, if you realize it's referring to the wife dictating the budget when it comes to life essentials such as bass guitars. :-)

 

As another hint, think of the lead female character in a particular James Bond movie starring Honour Blackman (from The Avengers) and Sean Connery.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Sorry about no photos; all my camera gear was stolen last year and I'm waiting until Full Frame Digitals (from Nikon) come in at the under $2000 mark (probably by FEB 2011) to start over from scratch. I have a cheap placeholder point-and-shoot, but it's crap when it comes to photographing instruments. I might shoot one soon anyway.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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OK, so at last night's and today's rehearsal, I REALLY put this bass to the test by playing jazz standards and latin. Latin isn't it's bag (except for Bossa Nova), but that's fine because that's an area where the Dingwall really excels (amongst many of its strengths).

 

I think this is going to be my main Jazz Standards bass now, as I felt the most inspired I've ever felt away from Upright Bass when it comes to bothering to take solos. Everyone loved the tone and wanted me to solo forever!

 

The funny thing is, I miss the low B string slightly less than the extra four frets! 20 frets isn't very many... but I suppose keeping it to four strings and 20 frets is part of what gives the Jazz neck its distinctive sound. Once a bass neck gets bulkier, it probably isn't capable of producing that grind when you dig into a note?

 

On r&b and disco, I'm finding less need to slap/pop, as different finger pressure does some miraculous things on this neck that I've never experienced before on any other bass!

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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OK. Remind me where to post them? I know I did this last year for my Dingwall Afterburner. I don't have a hostable computer, so I can't add a photo to a forum topic as it has to be linked locally and be on an always-live computer, correct?

 

I'll take the photos while someone gets me past my forum ineptitude... :-)

 

OK, pictures are taken, but are low-res and low-contrast -- my apartment is fairly dark and the automatic camera doesn't have much flash power. Maybe it's better to take pictures in daylight tomorrow and post then?

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Haha yeah guess I am a bit PW. But who here is not? C'mon, be honest.

 

I am sort of waiting on a friend of mine to sell his Squier VM Jazz to me for a 3rd or a 4th of the price. He bought it on a whim but never actually bothered to play it. I played it when I explained him the basics of bass, and it felt and sounded really nice ...

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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My VM Jazz Fretless should arrive in a few days. I hear the fretted version is quite nice as well. I'll post a review of the fretless after a couple of days with it.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Mark,

I load my pics to Photobucket and then transfer them to the lowdown in a thread. There are four links under each pic posted in PB. Use the one that says image (img) and it will transfer.

 

Ken,

What did you pick up tonight?

 

David,

PW. :grin:

Visit my band's new web site.

 

www.themojoroots.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the reminder about Photobucket; I'll give that a shoot when I have a chance (am fairly pressed on new Year's Eve gig preparation these next few days).

 

Yep, I'm wondering which of the three basses being discussed is the one Ken picked up as well. :-)

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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