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Squier Classic Vibe 50's Precision Bass - NBD/Review. Astounding.

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Where have I been? I've only cottoned on to Precisions in the last few years in a proper way....and this bass....absolutely killing. 

https://shop.fender.com/en-GB/squier-electric-basses/precision-bass/classic-vibe-50s-precision-bass/0374500501.html

I very rarely gush about instruments. I have owned many very fine and expensive ones, and still do. But I am telling you right now, in a way that is very rare for me, that this is an absolutely astounding instrument. Not 'for the money'. Just plain great. I could easily recommend everyone have one in their collection.

Originally, I was looking at getting a Fender roasted maple neck for a project P bass, then realised I could basically just buy a new inexpensive bass and be content with project one 'as is' for now. Been tempted by the Harley Benton version of the 50s P bass for a while, but didn't want to do any fettling at all....so stumped up £339 on the Squier on the assumption that if I didn't like it, back it would go to Thomann. Was very inspired by this video and its super gnarly tone - linked below for your pleasure:

 

Now all I can say is this bass - or at least this particular one - is killing. It sounds just like the video, which was my main criterion.

The fit and finish is excellent. Two tone burst is well done, I like the vintage tint on the neck, the neck pocket is tight. It looks great. I will take the pickguard off and report whether there is routing under there or not, but reports from others are good on this. 

The hardware is good, not Hipshot, but good. The bridge is BBOT with threaded saddles - I like this and find it perfectly functional. It intonates well and the strings don't move side to side. The tuners are better than those that were on my cheapie SBMM Sub Ray4; they aren't so stiff and they work fine. Tone and volume pots feel and work fine and tone pot gives a fair bit of variability to the sound. I do have a niggle here - the edge mounted jack doesn't feel as 'tight' when I plug into it as it could. I may need to open it up and tweak that. 

The nut and fretwork is frankly unbelievable for this price. I was surprised. Proper bone nut, properly cut; I don't need to file it down at all. Narrow tall frets with no sharp ends and well seated. I can get a setup of my customary low relief (0.003" - 0.005" at 7th fret with capo at first fret and holding down strings at last fret) and 5/64" action on E string 12th fret going up to 4/64" at the G string 12th fret. No buzzing anywhere. This is good quality fretwork in my view - I won't need to consider a fret level.

The neck is a modern C profile and is glossy. I have no issues with this finish. I have plenty of instruments with different finishes on the necks and find it easy enough to accommodate them all. Nut width 42.8mm and feels comfortable.

It comes with 45 - 105 D'Addario nickel rounds. My favourite string brand and one of my preferred gauges. Sweet.

It's a light instrument. I need to weigh it, but it feels just under the 9lb mark I think. I will report back. There is a slight tendency to neck heaviness on the knee, but not on the strap. It's about normal for what I see with most Fenders or Fender-style clones. Unlike the Ibanez Talman TMB105 I bought earlier in the year, I see no need to get lighter tuners. 

Sound. Everyone's hands vary, but I think this bass could cover any style. I played slap, pick lines, fingerstyle, jazz, funk and felt delighted with all of them. This pickup is really responsive to right hand dynamics in a way I haven't appreciated in a while and it has a beautifully gritty tone if you dig in just a little. I see no reason to change the stock pickup. The sound responds nicely to where you place your right hand; I think it by and large sounds best directly over the pickup, especially digging in. There is hum if you take your hands off the strings - it is a single coil - but when your hands are on the strings, I hear no hum. The tone knob is useful. I don't see any need to mess with the pots/electronics, apart from my previous comment about having a look at the tightness of the connection when I plug a cable in. 

It could well be the one I picked up is one of the better ones out there. But this particular instrument is an absolute peach. I can heartily recommend this instrument to anyone, which is relatively rare for me. It's not a good bass 'for the money', it's just plain good.

 

Thanks for reading.

Pete 

 

Nearly forgot...pics or it didn't happen... 

IMG_2312.thumb.JPG.6cad4dc5846a23caac0541bfbf3b4abd.JPG

IMG_2313.thumb.JPG.a4064fdc461a0d5e9d14ccf02bd1ff12.JPG

IMG_2314.thumb.JPG.7b934e07b153be0ca64d74a49ecb9fbf.JPG

 

Edited by funkle
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Interesting Funkle. I had the butterscotch one and it was one of my main players for a long time. Sold it on when I came into some money and decided I could justify expensive kit but recently bought the white version. The butterscotch one was quite light and as per that review - the white version is great but definitely much heavier. 

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I wonder if the white one is made of different body wood?

I am increasingly of the view of Roger Sadowsky. Most of the tone of the bass seems to me is in the neck, a little bit from the body. Pine seems absolutely fine to me. (I was worried it might be too light and get a lot of neck dive as a result)... I love maple fretboards and I am generally finding bigger necks to give better tone. So this bass is a complete win for peanuts for me...

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I also meant to say. As time goes on, although I love expensive instruments, I am finding that cheaper instruments are often just as acceptable to me, as long as there is a certain minimum level of quality. But since the minimum level is met very easily these days, I find there is a huge amount of choice out there. 

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Certainly is, my Squier VM77 Jazz, although not as good as my US Fenders is a very good instrument. The quality of the cheaper instruments is amazing nowadays, in comparison to when I started out in the early 80s.

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2 hours ago, funkle said:

Pine seems absolutely fine to me.

Not all Pine is equal.

 

Eastern white pine is soft and light, Indonesian Khasi pine is heavy and hard.

 

Khasi is 38lbs/ft3 with 3000 N Janka, by contrast Eastern white is just 28lbs and 1690N.

 

FMIC still had those Squiers discontinued when I built my pine 50 else I'd have bought one in a heartbeat.

 

Congratulations on your NBD and your great taste in bass 🙂

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4 hours ago, funkle said:

I also meant to say. As time goes on, although I love expensive instruments, I am finding that cheaper instruments are often just as acceptable to me, as long as there is a certain minimum level of quality. But since the minimum level is met very easily these days, I find there is a huge amount of choice out there. 

Congrats on finding such a nice bass.

There are lot's of aftermarket Pups and of course a @KiOgon loom with CTS to tempt you on an upgrade roadmap.

Check out many of the Bitsa & upgrade threads of Bass chatters who may provide some guidance. For my 2p worth, Jess Loureiro split coil '51P (wired in series) or the Lindy Fralin '51 Split P, both really lovely Pups.

Enjoy 

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@kodiakblair Wise as usual. There’s pine and pine the same there’s ash and ash, I guess!

@JohnDaBass I’ve seen those threads. The Lindy Fralin sounds great - Andy Irvine did a video with an upgraded Squier with it that showed it off perfectly. God knows I’ve modded basses in my time - my 2009 Squier CV Jazz has been my most consistent victim, even now...but honestly, I can’t see the need to do anything here...a first for me.

If I’d bought the Harley Benton version I’d be all over it with mods...a disaster as I already have a dual P I’m messing with and that project eats into my practice time as it is. @KiOgon kindly did a lovely dual V/T loom for that with a series/parallel switch - really great. 

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So the pickguard comes off fine and it looks very handsome. Forgive the harsh lighting - not great to take shots without natural light....

IMG_2315.thumb.JPG.57533845f01543ce33b977660d642705.JPG

 

Looks like a 4 piece body under there. No real bother for me...maybe a bigger deal for other people 

Edited by funkle
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Nice, No route? I'd go with a clear guard to keep the style... [Edit: someone on here had a scratch plate made recently for a bass i think, clear, nice bevel edge - or am i dreaming? I don't like tort... looks fussy] I likes the wood look... Plain 'n simple... Soothing to the eye...

Would also be thinking of an old style twin saddle bridge...

Edited by PaulThePlug

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No mods! lol. I just want to play. I'll think about the pickguard though.

Using right now for reading practice - Standing in the Shadows of Motown book. Perfect

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54 minutes ago, funkle said:

I'll think about the pickguard though.

There a possibility Brian in Glasgow has the PG template, if not he will use the existing one and you'll have a clear PG in no time 👍

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Congratulations! Love it when a bass fires someone up like this. 

Need to get that scratchplate back on though. Looks naked without it. 😉 

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12 hours ago, funkle said:

Where have I been? I've only cottoned on to Precisions in the last few years in a proper way....and this bass....absolutely killing. 

https://shop.fender.com/en-GB/squier-electric-basses/precision-bass/classic-vibe-50s-precision-bass/0374500501.html

I very rarely gush about instruments. I have owned many very fine and expensive ones, and still do. But I am telling you right now, in a way that is very rare for me, that this is an absolutely astounding instrument. Not 'for the money'. Just plain great. I could easily recommend everyone have one in their collection.

Originally, I was looking at getting a Fender roasted maple neck for a project P bass, then realised I could basically just buy a new inexpensive bass and be content with project one 'as is' for now. Been tempted by the Harley Benton version of the 50s P bass for a while, but didn't want to do any fettling at all....so stumped up £339 on the Squier on the assumption that if I didn't like it, back it would go to Thomann. Was very inspired by this video and its super gnarly tone - linked below for your pleasure:

 

Now all I can say is this bass - or at least this particular one - is killing. It sounds just like the video, which was my main criterion.

The fit and finish is excellent. Two tone burst is well done, I like the vintage tint on the neck, the neck pocket is tight. It looks great. I will take the pickguard off and report whether there is routing under there or not, but reports from others are good on this. 

The hardware is good, not Hipshot, but good. The bridge is BBOT with threaded saddles - I like this and find it perfectly functional. It intonates well and the strings don't move side to side. The tuners are better than those that were on my cheapie SBMM Sub Ray4; they aren't so stiff and they work fine. Tone and volume pots feel and work fine and tone pot gives a fair bit of variability to the sound. I do have a niggle here - the edge mounted jack doesn't feel as 'tight' when I plug into it as it could. I may need to open it up and tweak that. 

The nut and fretwork is frankly unbelievable for this price. I was surprised. Proper bone nut, properly cut; I don't need to file it down at all. Narrow tall frets with no sharp ends and well seated. I can get a setup of my customary low relief (0.003" - 0.005" at 7th fret with capo at first fret and holding down strings at last fret) and 5/64" action on E string 12th fret going up to 4/64" at the G string 12th fret. No buzzing anywhere. This is good quality fretwork in my view - I won't need to consider a fret level.

The neck is a modern C profile and is glossy. I have no issues with this finish. I have plenty of instruments with different finishes on the necks and find it easy enough to accommodate them all. Nut width 42.8mm and feels comfortable.

It comes with 45 - 105 D'Addario nickel rounds. My favourite string brand and one of my preferred gauges. Sweet.

It's a light instrument. I need to weigh it, but it feels just under the 9lb mark I think. I will report back. There is a slight tendency to neck heaviness on the knee, but not on the strap. It's about normal for what I see with most Fenders or Fender-style clones. Unlike the Ibanez Talman TMB505 I bought earlier in the year, I see no need to get lighter tuners. 

Sound. Everyone's hands vary, but I think this bass could cover any style. I played slap, pick lines, fingerstyle, jazz, funk and felt delighted with all of them. This pickup is really responsive to right hand dynamics in a way I haven't appreciated in a while and it has a beautifully gritty tone if you dig in just a little. I see no reason to change the stock pickup. The sound responds nicely to where you place your right hand; I think it by and large sounds best directly over the pickup, especially digging in. There is hum if you take your hands off the strings - it is a single coil - but when your hands are on the strings, I hear no hum. The tone knob is useful. I don't see any need to mess with the pots/electronics, apart from my previous comment about having a look at the tightness of the connection when I plug a cable in. 

It could well be the one I picked up is one of the better ones out there. But this particular instrument is an absolute peach. I can heartily recommend this instrument to anyone, which is relatively rare for me. It's not a good bass 'for the money', it's just plain good.

 

Thanks for reading.

Pete 

 

Nearly forgot...pics or it didn't happen... 

IMG_2312.thumb.JPG.6cad4dc5846a23caac0541bfbf3b4abd.JPG

IMG_2313.thumb.JPG.a4064fdc461a0d5e9d14ccf02bd1ff12.JPG

IMG_2314.thumb.JPG.7b934e07b153be0ca64d74a49ecb9fbf.JPG

 

Nice, the tone in the video has a certain bite to it, makes me wonder what a Split coil P middle pickup and a single coil P bridge pcikup would sound like together , I reckon that would make for a super gnarly aggressive tone

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10 hours ago, shoulderpet said:

Nice, the tone in the video has a certain bite to it, makes me wonder what a Split coil P middle pickup and a single coil P bridge pcikup would sound like together , I reckon that would make for a super gnarly aggressive tone

I do see others, including the Fender Custom Shop, have done dual pickup 51 Precisions....not quite as you suggested, but I wonder what they sound like...

https://www.ozbassforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1892 (check the first post - wow)

 https://www.talkbass.com/threads/dual-p-pickups-are-the-best-pickup-configuration-in-existance.1487640/page-3#post-24592646 - also wow. Dual stacked Seymour Duncans.

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/anyone-ever-do-this-to-a-p-bass.1378268/#post-22246017 - Self build. Another dual Seymour Duncan setup.

Found a couple of other builders doing interesting stuff...

https://store.rsguitarworks.net/collections/basses/products/contour-bass-54

http://www.detempleguitars.com/temp/CATALOG_ITEMS/DeTemple_P55_over.php

 

If/when I get a modding bug for this bass...... 

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15 hours ago, funkle said:

So the pickguard comes off fine and it looks very handsome. Forgive the harsh lighting - not great to take shots without natural light....

IMG_2315.thumb.JPG.57533845f01543ce33b977660d642705.JPG

 

Looks like a 4 piece body under there. No real bother for me...maybe a bigger deal for other people 

That looks nice without the pickguard. Never been a fan of the 50s PBass as that guard is such a horrible shape. But like that it looks good.

 

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I think I could see a black or clear pickguard as being ok. But the white one is just a bit too ‘cowboy’ for me...

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I just took arrival of my Squier Classic Vibe 70s P and its awesome and much lighter than I expected. 

I have to say, I love the Classic Vibe series and have 5 in the series. (2x Bass VI, Starcaster, 70s Jaguar, 70s Precision) and other than the Starcaster, all were great out of the box. 

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I certainly like a two single coil P pickup bass.  Recently got this Alpher that I find hard to put down.

599596863_2020100601.thumb.jpg.c10ec5d27e29a153fbf0ec013017d210.jpg

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2 hours ago, funkle said:

Wow!!! That is amazing. What are the pickups, and the spacing?

I asked for a similar build before - you can have what you want (as I asked if he could do 16.5 - the pickups would be custom wound)

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Sorry to be late wishing you a happy NBD @funkle :)

I discovered the Squier CV range a few years back when I got my CV 60's P in Fiesta Red (one of the earlier ones, made in China)
For the life of me, I can't think why I sold it on - must be because I just had too many... haven't I always

Anyhow, Since then I picked up one of the even earlier (first models 2008? 2009?) Precisions, also made in China, in light Powder Blue
And it's my fave P bass ever. US and MIM Precisions have come & gone....but this one is going nowhere. It has become my go-to bass, to the extent that I'm playing other basses less and less

Like @Woodinblack, I previously wasn't particularly a fan of the 50's P bass - perhaps like him, it was partly down to the shape of the pickguard?
I've definitely come around to that shape now though.... but I mustn't start thinking about buying one - Mrs S will NOT be pleased if I acquire any more lol

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Lol. @Marc S I appreciate your congratulations. You may be late but the joy is definitely felt. 
 

@Woodinblack if I ever tried to do something like @ead’s bass, it would be modifying this Squier. I’m not in a position for a while to be going custom...but I think I must resist the urge to mod. This is a great bass as is. 

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13 hours ago, ead said:

I certainly like a two single coil P pickup bass.  Recently got this Alpher that I find hard to put down.

599596863_2020100601.thumb.jpg.c10ec5d27e29a153fbf0ec013017d210.jpg

Do you have to use Brasso to keep the pickguard clean 😂😂😂😂😂😂

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54 minutes ago, JohnDaBass said:

Do you have to use Brasso to keep the pickguard clean 😂😂😂😂😂😂

I've clearly been negligent in my duties :(

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