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Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass TB Telecaster


Mark Schmieder

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I'm reading great things about this bass, which has humbuckers and is different from most other Fender basses. I may just pick one up as a low-risk buy if I can't find one to try.

 

It is especially said to be ideal for reggae, having a very solid low-end and highly controllable treble. The humbuckers apparently help with this, along with its non-standard pickup placement.

 

I may also try a Squier Classic 50's Precision Bass, if I can find one. OIt seems the Tele Bass is the unique catalogue entry that would give sounds not necessarily attainable on other basses.

 

These new Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified guitars and basses from Squier are quite impressive, I must say!

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 have seriously toyed with the idea of getting one of these basses. I love those old school Telecaster basses with that big-ass humbucker. But when I tried one out I was really bothered by the bad fret dressing.

 

Be that as it may, I actually have a plan to turn one of these basses into something cool. The plan? Buy the Squier Tele bass as part of a project. The neck, tuners and bridge would be the first things to go.

 

The replacement parts? A Tele bass neck with a rosewood board and nitro finish. Hipshot ultra-lite tuners. A Badass II bridge. And a Duncan stacked J pickup in the bridge position, with stacked knobs controls for individual pickup volume and tone.

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I have one and I like it, but it is different. With the Humbucker mounted right at the neck, it does have some real low end. I cleand up the fret ends, rolled and smoothed the neck edges, added D'Addario Chromes and did a good setup. The fit an finish is very nice, the neck is fat but comforable, it plays as well as any US Fender but many will not like the smooth jazz low end sound.

Rocky

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I tried a bunch of basses today as well (this is a holiday as we didn't get New Year's Eve).

 

I despise every MM model in the house, more than any basses I have ever tried. I find MusicMan necks way too slow and bulky. The only exception is the new cheapo Ray34/Ray35 that my housemate's young bassist picked up recently.

 

The Squier Vintage Modified P-bass seemed OK but nothing special. This was NOT the Telecaster version, which no one has. The Classic Vibe 50's P-bass has a nice maple neck but a very boomy tone with little personality and almost no tweakability (single pickup). The Classic Vibe 60's P-bass had a sloppy/loose/splatty feeling neck, and was tonally too aggressive as though it had EMG active PUP's (it doesn't).

 

YouTube videos reinforced my rankings, once I got home, and kept the Telecaster Bass on my list of interest as those videos mostly sounded the most tonally rich and had the most control of treble (such as for reggae) of any P-basses in the Squier line.

 

As far as J-basses are concerned, I hated all six of the current production line Fenders that I tried, and preferred the Squiers. The Classic Vibe 60's J-bass was only so-so with an OK neck. Not as versatile or rich as my Jaguar Bass from Squier. The 70's Vintage Modified J-bass had a maple neck but it is quite fancy and actually felt pretty good if a bit stiff (typical of maple). The tone was so-so but more convincing than the 60's model. It might be worth trying a few of these though as there will always be some variation between individual basses.

 

They had the Vintage Modified Fretless J-bass back in stock, but my used one arrives Wednesday. Nevertheless, when I tried it out unplugged and plugged, it seemed to have the widest range of tone and the most authentic J-bass sound of any of the Squier J's at hand. So I'm happy that I made that purchase, even if as a placeholder until getting a Lakland or a Fender Tony Franklin fretless J-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 the feedback on the Squier Tele Bass. I know some people like to swap the neck for a J-bass neck. I think it's worth trying one of these out for $250 and seeing what my guitar tech thinks about some mods.

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 actually view buying the Squier Tele bass as if it's a finished body with an awesome pickup. I'm just not crazy about the neck or parts. Some of this is personal preference. But some of it is based on legit concerns.

 

As for the personal preference? I prefer a rosewood fingerboard. And that's mostly for it's tonal qualities. I'm hoping a Warmoth neck will be a considerable upgrade. Cleaner fret work, a solid truss rod and a well tooled nut are important elements for a great playing bass.

 

And then there's the bridge and tuners. The stock parts on that Squier are on the cheap side. I really disliked the tuners. If you're going to go cheap on parts, don't do it with your tuners. It seems like you're asking for trouble. And a more massive bridge is usually welcomed by most everyone.

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I too prefer rosewood fingerboards (or ebony if it's a fretless), but I'm starting to think it might be good to have one maple fretboard bass around, for truly vintage tone. All of my first basses were maple, until 1989 or so (when I briefly married active EMG pickups via the Guild line -- both a 5-string fretted and 5-string fretless model with rosewood fretboard). Once I moved to California in late 1991, maple became a thing of the past until my purchase this morning of a Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster (guitar, not 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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I'd like to pick up the Tele bass too. From what I've learned about it, it's kind of a one-trick pony but it does that trick rather well. The through-body string routing is a nice touch, even if it is on a cheesy bridge.

 

The main thing to remember about the Squiers is that they are what they are- a respectable entry to mid-level instrument. Everything is not high end, but they aren't $1100 either.

 

My next bass purchase I plan to pick up the VM fretless. The only things I might do to that are put a better bridge on it and maybe a pick guard. I like the sunburst look, but the absence of a pick guard makes it look a bit too naked to me.

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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FWIW a friend of mine back east uses a plectrum and flat-wound strings with fretless basses, so they may have made a bad assumption that fretless models shouldn't come with pick guards. :-)

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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