I’m downgrading. If you’ve already read my review on the Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster you’ll know all about it (and if you haven’t read it yet, why not?). I’m selling my expensive guitars and replacing them with cheaper models leaving me with just one guitar and one bass. I need to release the equity held in my collection to top up my depleted Christmas coffers.
As a bass player and music lover I have built up quite a nice collection of kit and currently have some beautiful bottom ended, slap happy basses. I have a Fender MIA Precision bass, a Fender MIJ fretless jazz bass, a Tokai 80’s P Bass, an Aria Pro 2 Mab40 active bass and a nice custom built acoustic bass. Not a huge collection by any means but a tidy sum has been spent on them none the less, and they’re all being sold.
The Classic Vibe line got such great reviews it was already a given that one of the line would be my low budget replacement, and only, bass. I chose the 60’s precision because the look of the 50’s model didn’t inspire me and although I love the design of the jazz bass and it’s served me well for some home recording, it just doesn’t have that rounded bottom end you get with a precision bass. The only colour available in the UK now is fiesta red which would never be my first choice of colour but with the tortoise shell pickguard and the minimal, vintage styling, the colour is an apt choice and well suited. It looks different in different lights, deep red, bright red, pink, you can never really tell what shade it actually is, but it’s what Pino Palladino used and that’s good enough for me.
So, the bass arrives, the box is torn open, and there it is, shiny and new but convincingly vintage. Squier really have nailed the vintage look with the Classic Vibe line, I mean the precision bass hasn’t really changed in 50 years, but this really does look like it’s just walked in from 1960’s Carnaby street, understated yet cool and knowing. It’s surprisingly light and just like the Classic Vibe Telecaster I got, it has a hang tag detailing action height and setup date showing just how much care and attention has gone into it. The action is incredibly low and the faintest touch of fret buzz on the first couple of frets immediately disappeared when I restrung it with my favourite flatwounds. The neck is a joy to behold, wider than a Jazz neck but slightly narrower and thinner than a normal Precision neck, it plays beautifully. Shifting around the fretboard is a dream and it is easily the most enjoyable bass to play that I’ve owned. As for the electrics and the sound, well, it doesn’t get any simpler. A single coil pickup, volume and tone knob are all you need to effortless shift from a very round and dubby bottom end to a crisp top end capable of pleasing any modern day slapper.
The fit and finish is superb, no rough edges, no loose ends, the lacquer impeccably smooth and the electrics hum free. The Precision bass is the original Motown machine and the Classic Vibe model delivers everything you’d expect and more. To my hands and ears this plays and sounds better than my MIJ Fender and is the equal to my MIA Precision, yes, there is a slight tone difference between them but the difference in sound is so minimal it would be lost once you throw some drums and a live environment into the mix. There is no way I could deem such a small difference in tone as worthy of the £1000 difference in price tag, especially as the Classic Vibe Precision plays just as well as it’s American cousin.
Squier have created a fantastic range of guitars with the Classic Vibe series and I would choose one over the current line of Mexican built Fender’s every day of the week. The sound, feel, fit and finish are far beyond anything you would expect from it’s price and personally I think it out performs any of the basses I currently own. It’s a bold statement, but justified. I really wouldn’t be surprised if this range becomes the stuff of legend and are still highly regarded and prized instruments in twenty years time. Without doubt the Classic Vibe 60’s Precision Bass is a high end instrument that belies it’s branding and budget price.
Find out about the whole of the Squire Classic Vibe series on the official Fender website