5 Best Squier Bass Guitars – Fender Quality on a Budget?

Updated on by Ross McLeod | There may be affiliate links on this page.

Squier basses are the perfect alternative for musicians on a budget, in search of the legendary Fender quality. In recent years, Squier's range has improved significantly in terms of tone, feel, and playability.

Made by Fender themselves, these affordable bass guitars are simply made with less expensive materials. In many cases, it’s difficult to tell them apart from Fender models, but for a few finer details.

The Best Squier Bass Guitars  

Since it originated in the 1960s, the Fender Jazz bass has continued to inspire bassists to this day. In the decade subsequent to its creation, the J bass blossomed into a wonderful instrument with a uniquely warm tone and inviting mid-range.

With the Classic ‘70s Jazz, Squier has recreated that much-loved model, quite convincingly. There were some notable modifications made to the Fender Jazz bass during this period, which have all been highlighted by Squier.

Firstly, the installation of a smooth maple neck with a C-profile shape provides the authentic J Bass feel. With the classic, long-spanning 34” scale length, this bass is great for syncopated playing with plenty of groove.

Then, there's the inclusion of dual Alnico single-coils. Punchy, articulate, and immersive- these Fender-designed pickups extract the pure tone from the Jazz bass, and in truth, sound remarkably like a genuine '70s model.

The Jazz bass is renowned for its comfort, and thanks to the uniquely designed offset-waist body shape, this Squier replica ticks the box. Combined with the slim neck, it makes rapid transitions around the fingerboard effortless.

Speaking of the fingerboard, Squier has again utilized the smoothness of maple for the 20 narrow-tall frets. Block inlays add a distinct touch, as do the genuine bone nut and vintage-style tuners. Three controls for the bridge, neck, and master tone round off this impressive J Bass.

  • Dual single-coil Alnico pickups, designed by Fender
  • Thick, warm J Bass tone
  • Smooth C-Profile maple neck
  • Classic Jazz Bass playability
  • Unsuitable for heavier styles of rock bass

Considered by many to be the most inventive and creative period in recorded music history, the '60s was the decade when the bass guitar came into its own. Spearheading the 4-string movement was the brilliant Fender Precision bass or P Bass as it's commonly called.

The Classic Vibe ‘60s Precision condenses a decade of bass into an affordable instrument. To produce the fat, thick and powerful tone, Squier has installed Fender-designed Alnico split single-coil pickups.

There’s also the addition of a vintage-style, 4-saddle bridge, which enhances the authenticity of this P Bass tribute. Not just for aesthetic purposes, the bridge ensures that the intonation remains rock-solidly reliable.

The body shape and design of the Squier Classic Vibe ‘60s Precision uncannily resembles that of the original model, made from gloss-finished poplar. The tuners are styled in a vintage manner, and the Indian laurel fretboard is a joy to play.  

  • Solid poplar body
  • Classic, natural-sounding P Bass tone
  • Thick and versatile output
  • Reliable intonation
  • None

The Affinity Series Precision is a brilliant entry-level bass guitar that blends authentic tone with playing comfort. With an understated, all-black body design, this P Bass has a classy appearance.

One of the best things about the Affinity Series basses by Squier is that they include both Jazz bass and Precision bass pickups. This combination allows you to explore the tones of both of these legendary Fender bass guitars, without having to spend a small fortune.

Each of the aforementioned pickups is armed with an individual volume knob and master tone knob. This allows you to adjust the presence of each one until you find the ideal mixture.

The fast-playing neck is made from solid maple and is accompanied by 20-frets composed of smooth Indian laurel on the fingerboard. The top-load bridge makes this Squier bass feel more like a genuine Fender model and adds to its stability.

  • Smooth and fast playing maple neck
  • Combines J bass and P bass pickups
  • Top-load bridge
  • Volume control for each pickup & master volume control
  • The body feels thinner than a genuine Precision bass

Squier’s Contemporary Jass V is so good that it is a genuine competitor to Fender's editions. It takes the classic J Bass design and refreshes it with some interesting new features. 

The neck has been specifically designed for comfort. Slim and fast, the C-shape profile is ideal for technical bassists who use the full span of the fretboard. With 5-strings, the Jazz V provides you with more options than your average bass guitar.

Whether or not you’re familiar with 5-string basses, the Jazz V makes it easy to transition from a traditional 4-string. With a 12” fretboard radius and contoured body, it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of having an extra string at your disposal.

For that beloved warm Jazz bass tone, Squier has installed a pair of SQR ceramic humbuckers. These pickups bring the best out of the instrument, extracting all of the low-mid drive and gentle treble-end to create the perfect soulful blend.

  • Exquisite 5-string J bass
  • Refined satin black design
  • Thick and warm ceramic humbucking pickups
  • Modern-style bridge adds resonance
  • None

Small-handed bassists or young aspiring musicians just starting will love the Mini Precision from Squier. A scaled-down version of the popular P Bass tribute, this bass guitar is the perfect instrument to learn your craft on.

To create the authentic P Bass look and feel, Squier has used a solid poplar body finished in gloss, and a condensed maple neck which measure just 28.6”. This size is perfect for younger players who can’t stretch across the frets of a full-sized model.

The neck is a standard C-shaped profile, commonly found on other Precision basses. It's finished in satin urethane, ensuring smoothness and comfort underhand. The fingerboard is also highly playable. Made from laurel, it features Pearloid dot inlays which add a nice touch.

The tone of the Mini Precision bass is impressively powerful and well-rounded, considering its reduced size. With split single-coils, it retains clarity across the frequency range.

  • Perfect for young bassists
  • Comfortable short-scale maple neck
  • Powerful split-single coil pickups
  • To state the obvious, this bass is only suitable for those with small hands

Squier vs. Fender: Is There Much of a Difference?

In recent years, Fender has put a lot of effort into the Squier range of guitars. The main differences are apparent in the tonewoods used, and the quality of the hardware.

In terms of comfort and tone, Squier and Fender's basses are a lot more comparable than they once were.

Fender has been very wise to recognize that not every bassist can afford to splash out on one of their instruments, which are not exactly cheap.

That's why Squier is so popular – it allows musicians to experience Fender quality without the hefty price tag

Squier Bass Guitars – What to Look For

Squire has largely been responsible for the shift in perception that has occurred amongst musicians regarding affordable bass guitars.

They’ve consistently proved that you don’t need to use the finest components to make a high-performing instrument that looks the part. Here is some essential information on Squire basses.  

Materials

Squier’s bass guitars are made from a small selection of wood materials, which correlate to their pricetag. High-end models, like the Contemporary Active Jazz Bass, employ maple for the neck and fingerboard, which provides a smooth and solid feel.

The entry-level and intermediate Squier bass guitars still benefit from a maple neck, but their fretboard is commonly made from Indian Laurel, which is less costly.

In terms of body materials, flagship Squier basses are often made from reliable and classy tonewoods like ash, while affordable options are likely to feature poplar.

Interestingly, there are many similarities between the materials used to construct Squier bass guitars and Fender equivalents. The differences become apparent when you get into the upper echelons of Fender’s bass guitar catalog.

Squier Pickups

One of the factors which will largely determine the tones you’re able to create with a Squier bass guitar is its onboard electronics. Squier uses a variety of split single-coil, traditional single-coil, and humbuckers depending on the style of the instrument.

The popular Classic Vibe ‘60s Precision Bass, for example, benefits from having a Fender-designed Alnico split single-coil pickup. By using Fender’s pickups, Squier ensures that they stay true to the original vintage tone they’re attempting to recreate. 

In addition to using Fender pickups on their basses, many are also made by Squire themselves.

Although they perhaps don’t produce the same results as Fender’s pickups, Squier produces some particularly impressive ceramic humbucker for bass.

Finishing Touches

We’ve established that Squier bass guitars offer good playing comfort and tone, but for many musicians, another reason they opt for a specific brand is due to its trademark features and small details. 

Squire’s intentions are quite clear regarding their basses – they are attempting to recreate classic Fender models while keeping cost to a minimum.

Part of the process of making these basses look authentic is using the designs that Fender bassists are familiar with.

An example of this is the common use of components like a 4-saddle vintage-style bridge, vintage-style tuners, and knurled flat-top control knobs.

The hardware is often finished in nickel, and tortoiseshell pickguards cement the Fender-like appearance.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a Jazz or Precision style bass, Squier has got you covered. These instruments look, sound, and feel exceptional, considering the cost. Whichever you choose, I’m sure it will enhance your bass playing immeasurably!

About Ross McLeod

Ross McLeod is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His most recent project is named Gold Jacket, and he is the frontman and bassist of the garage rock band The Blue Dawns with whom he has released 4 EPs and toured extensively.

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