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Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Fretless Electric Bass Guitar - Opinions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wishface, Feb 15, 2014.


  1. wishface

    wishface

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Is this a worthwhile guitar as a fretless?

    They are sold with roundwound strings on an ebonol fingerboard. Is that wise? Will the roundwounds eat up the neck regardless? Flatwounds are nearly impossible to find and frankly I'd rather not bother with the expense if that's whats required.
     
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Don't buy one sight unseen, every single one I have seen doesn't have the fret lines radiused down to the fingerboard, so you essentially get little frets making a good setup impossible. I, like many, had to radius the neck on mine just to make it playable. Thankfully I happened to have a couple radius sanding blocks at home. Apparently some people got them smooth from the factory, but I have seen lots and they all had the issue. Once I made it playable, it was alright, nothing special but not terrible.

    The fingerboard will hold up to rounds pretty well.
     
  3. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC Area
    I don't know why they come with rounds, which also make small irregularities in fretboard smoothness much more noticeable.

    Lots of flats and tapes are available to fit that bass. Check out www.bassstringsonline.com for possibilities. It's a standard 34" scale bass.
     
  4. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2000
    Location:
    Melnibone
    I am a flats player on my fretted basses. IMO, rounds perform better on a fretless.
     
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  6. jerrod

    jerrod

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    I had the exact same experience with the fret lines.
     
  7. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC Area
    I think it's easier to get the fretless "mwah" with rounds, while flats or tapes on fretless lean a bit more toward an upright bass sound.
     
  8. wishface

    wishface

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Are there any alternatives then? I tried one in the shop and I didn't notice any problems like that. There was some buzz on the G but that was likely because it was really low.
     
  9. wishface

    wishface

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Can you show me some more evidence of this? I've not heard anything of this in the research ive done so far.
     
  10. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Location:
    Cincy, OH
    Had one and it was OK. If you keep an eye on the classifieds and Craig's list you can find a used MIM fretless for about the same price. A much better bass IMO.
     
  11. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    I sold mine long ago, but it is a very common problem. Go to the store and rub your hand along the fingerboard. Heck there is a guy in this very thread saying his had the problem, there are other TBers I know of who had the same issue. Do some further digging, there are lots of negative reviews under all the glowing ones. TB had a thread a while back of "whats the most disappointing bass you've played" and the VM fretless was one of, if not the, most mentioned basses.
     
  12. wishface

    wishface

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    What is MIM?
     
  13. wishface

    wishface

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    This is very disappointing. It seemed pretty good when I played it. I didn't examine the fingerboard in this way.

    A shame, I should like to get into fretless playing and the price seems good. Perhaps I was right to trust my instincts and hold off to come here.

    It does have a fair few decent reviews, including people on youtube who seem to be doing ok with it.

    Do you know of any alternatives at that price?
     
  14. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Find a used MIM as Aproud said. MIM is what gear nerds say to refer to a Fender Standard, it is short for made in Mexico. Used Carvin would be another good bet. I hear good things about Vintage's Jaco styled fretless but I have never played one or even seen one in person.

    I bought mine sight unseen from an American retailer based on all the reviews, it wasn't until I got mine that I realized there were lots of negative reviews as well. Returning mine was not an option, so I just made mine playable. I happened to be comfortable doing this kind of work, most people wouldn't, and I don't blame them.
     
  15. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC Area
    There aren't many new alternatives in the $300 range. You can go much cheaper with an SX from rondomusic.com, or spend about $400 for an Ibanez SR370F (rosewood fingerboard). A new MIM fretless jazz is about $600, so a used one for $300 would be a good find.

    There were more complaints about raised fretlines on the earlier Squier VMs than there seem to have been on current production examples. I think that if the one you are looking at was made in the past year, and the fretlines are fairly smooth now, chances are pretty good that you won't have a problem with it.

    Back to your original question about roundwounds on the ebonol fingerboard: The rounds will dull the fingerboard after a while (especially if you vibrato side-to-side instead of the "proper" fretless up-and-down), but the wear shouldn't affect playability until it has had many, many hours of playing time (years?). At that point, you could get the fingerboard resurfaced, or replace the neck with an aftermarket one with the fingerboard of your choosing.

    Rounds will scar up rosewood, too, but not so much with ebony. Many fretless players who prefer rounds also get their fingerboards epoxied (which makes it a plastic surface - much closer to ebonol than wood).
     
  16. wishface

    wishface

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    A fender standard will be very expensive surely.

    The Vintage model is something I have no access to playing. In fact I only know about the squier because I saw it and decided to try it. I'd never heard of it before today, though I must say I'm struggling to find comments beyond those above that are equally negative. Maybe it was a duff batch off the production line?

    Are there any other issues with it?
     
  17. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC Area
    Not really. The current Squier VM line has been very good.

    I got a very good deal on a new Squier VM fretless jazz last summer (the body had been previously damaged in shipment). I can barely feel the fretlines on it, no more than I felt the fretlines on a new MIM fretless Jazz I checked out at a reputable local music store. I also found a Squier VM Precision body in excellent condition. Since my goal was to have a fretless Precision with the narrow Jazz neck, I put this together (with flatwound strings) and it's been a very good player:
     

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  18. basspedaler

    basspedaler Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    RDU-NC
    i had one as my first fretless. that ebonol board was super smooth. mine was prob. a 2011.. it had d'addario nickles which I pulled and replaced with d'addario tapewounds. it cranked! the only other thing I was going to do was replace the $1.29 worth of pots w/cts' and let it be..
    if you found a good one you like and it is fairly priced, dig in!
     
  19. TorontoAlex

    TorontoAlex

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
    I grabbed one used for $150 yesterday. I don't think you can go wrong with that price. I don't have the raised lines with mine. Looking forward to playing this one. ImageUploadedByTalkBass1392497330.389365.jpg
     
  20. wishface

    wishface

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    I'm always a bit suspicious of the phrase "you can't go wrong for that price"!

    There are very few fretlesses on sale in the shops anyway, and without being abel to try I wouldn't risk it.
     
  21. TorontoAlex

    TorontoAlex

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
    Fair enough, obviously you'd have to take a look at the bass to see if it had/has any major issues, but I'd like to think I could turn around and sell the bass for what a paid for it, considering it's in good condition. IMHO.
     

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