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 Post subject: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 13th, 2019, 2:55 pm 
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Joined: March 14th, 2008, 1:45 pm
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Location: Huntsville, AL
I thought I would take a minute to do a quick review on the new classic vibe jazz. For years I have been wanting to get a cheapo for a backup and to use for some of the sweltering outdoors shows that pop up here in the south. I preordered this bass from Sweetwater and it arrived last week. I was immediately yet cautiously impressed as soon as I took it out of the box.

Poplar body, maple/maple neck w/ 9.5 radius. Indonesian made.


Pros:

The state of the setup was practically a war crime, but I was able to correct that with a few truss rod tweaks. The first thing that impressed me was the quality of the fretwork. The fret ends are smooth and rounded off and I can't feel a difference between the fretwork on this and my American Professional Jazz. The neck overall feels just killer. Beautifully bound and blocked with a gloss finish (thankfully). Neck edges are rolled nicely- again, comparable to the American Professional. It plays super fast and comfortable and the action is easily set floating right above the fretboard. The neck itself is straight and true. No disparity in relief between the bass & treble side (this is what probably shocked me the most, but in a good way). It's a little on the weighty side for those of you that care (I actually prefer it this way). I haven't weighed it, but I'm pretty certain it's in the 10 pound range or less. I know we've all pretty much had it with black as a finish option, but damn. This thing is just badass looking. Oozes 70's coolness, right down to the nice take on the headstock decals of that era.
The pickups were surprisingly good sounding. Good output. Clean and smooth tone. Neck was just under 7K ohms, and the bridge was just over 7K. I was surprised to see cloth wiring. Lots of bottom, lots of highs, but stingy on the mids. Personally, not my thing so I replaced them with Fender Pure Vintage 74s, which are nastier sounding and have higher output. But again, nothing wrong with the stock pickups, just a personal preference thing. Really good sounding.
Paint job all around looks as good as any quality production instrument. Cavities are shielded with shielding paint.


Cons:

The negatives are what I expected, but fewer than I expected. They mostly involve the hardware, which frankly is hot fucking garbage. It's all that flimsy, chrome coated crap, and you can tell the chrome will eventually flake off over time. At least that's what it looked/felt like. The bridge has allen adjustable saddles, and I had to use 2 different sized small wrenches to tweak. :| I imagine it'll do the job, but I had a Fender 70s RI bridge, so on it went. The tuners... well 3 of them worked at least. I replaced those with a set of Hipshot HB7's. I even replaced the control plate with a heavier one you'd find on the USA models. The control knobs were mounted on solid shaft pots via set screw, so they are good quality. I was expecting crappy split shaft pots and push-on knobs.
The nut slots were too high and the nut edges were sharp enough that I managed to slice a knuckle while stringing. :lol: Easily fixed by the friendly neighborhood repair guy.
The electronics were passable, but the jack had stripped threads. In went a new harness, so along with the pickup replacement, this thing has a whole new power plant and sounds great. I even replaced the string tree with a better one. Luckily I had most of these parts in my spare stash, so I spent minimal cash on upgrades.

So I think that covers it unless I forgot about anything. As far as longevity and reliability go, that obviously remains to be seen, but at $350 USD, not a bad gamble. Highly recommended, and you can probably get by with minimal upgrades. So far, with one gig and one rehearsal under its belt, I can see this as being not just a backup, but a bass I'll grab off my wall just whenever I feel like playing a show with it.

Highly recommended, and has seemingly great potential for pro use! My experience with Squier is very limited, so this buy was a very pleasant surprise so far.

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Last edited by Matt R. on April 13th, 2019, 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 13th, 2019, 3:00 pm 
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Joined: January 9th, 2009, 1:34 am
Posts: 1730
Location: The Netherlands
Looks great! I've always liked the Vintage Modified 70s Jazz too (after they switched to gloss finished necks). The previous, Chinese made, Classic Vibes were very highly regarded. I wonder how they compare.

Enjoy!

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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 14th, 2019, 8:07 am 
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Joined: March 9th, 2008, 7:46 am
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Location: West Orange, NJ
Great review, thanks Matt!

I've been drooling over these since they were announced as well. This totally looks the part. Why Fender can't put a TV logo on their lefties is beyond me. I had the older natural finish classic vibe J, and that was a great bass for the $, so I'm curious how these compare tonally. Very glad to hear about the rolled frets. I've actually had the opposite experience so far with my Am Pro P bass. It's not that the frets are sharp, they're just that higher, thinner fret Fender's using now, and they just sort of end at the edges vs. a true roll off. I'm not a fan. And how's the shielding?


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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 14th, 2019, 8:26 am 
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Location: Huntsville, AL
I guess the shielding is fine, the bass isn’t noisy or anything.

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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 16th, 2019, 7:43 am 
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thanks for taking the time for writing up the review. Great observations! Dollar-wise how much would you say you dumped into the bass in addition to the initial buying price?


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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 16th, 2019, 7:46 am 
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Joined: December 9th, 2014, 5:27 pm
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Location: Boston, MA
Great bass for the price!


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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 16th, 2019, 8:03 am 
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AzWhoFan wrote:
thanks for taking the time for writing up the review. Great observations! Dollar-wise how much would you say you dumped into the bass in addition to the initial buying price?



Most of the parts I already had. I just spent money on pickups. It’s possible to make a minimal investment in upgrades and still have a killer bass.

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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 17th, 2019, 5:35 am 
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Great review, Matt! Thanks :)

This new series sure looks the part. I can see why this bass will be screaming for being more than your back-up bass.


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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 18th, 2019, 8:14 am 
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Location: West Orange, NJ
Slightly off topic, but does anyone know if these necks will fit on a MIA J or P?


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 Post subject: Re: 2019 Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz Bass
PostPosted: April 18th, 2019, 8:35 am 
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Joined: March 14th, 2008, 1:45 pm
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Location: Huntsville, AL
pjmuck wrote:
Slightly off topic, but does anyone know if these necks will fit on a MIA J or P?


I know the older Vintage Modified ones did. I’d bet that hasn’t changed.

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