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best bet for cheap legit p-bass tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tranceFusion, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. I want to get a cheap beater precision and I am not sure what the best options are?

    I was thinking of getting a Squier and then upgrading the bridge and pickup..

    Is the build quality on the VM, Specials, and Classic Vibes comparable?

    Anything else I should be looking at?

  2. redstrand


    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    The VM and Vibes are pretty cool. Definitely upgradable...I like the Vibe...but I'm a single coil fool some days.
  3. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    A stock SX will be right in there with the tone of a 70's P bass.

    Sixties type P bass tone is just a p/u swap away.

    The advantage over the Squiers is a propper alder body like a Fender vs. substitue woods on the Squier.

    Solid, gigable, inexpensive, and upgradeable if you feel so inclined, but not really needed.
  4. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    Classic 50's Fender P-bass.

    They sell for around $579.00.
    Nice neck, big P-bass tone.
  5. I like the VM P-Bass (white w/ black PG). I played one at GC recently and almost dropped the mere $209 they were asking for it. If you can find a used MIM Fender P that plays well, I recommend installing Seymour Duncean Quarter Pounders for about $60. I use these in my '84 Squier P and it sounds awesome.
  6. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006

    I wouldn't recomend 1/4 pounders unless you knew what you were getting your self into. That's a fairly hot p/u.

    Not exactly the classic P bass tone. Good, but a bit differnt than what I would consider classic P.
  7. I am not so worried about the pickups at this point.. right now I am looking for more of a jamerson tone, but really the whole reason I want a beater is so I can mess around with different parts without feeling like I am damaging something of real value (or leave it in the trunk, or whatever)..

    More important to me is upgradability.. Are the SX alder bodies pretty much accepted as better than the agathis on the VMs or basswood on the 60s classic vibe?

    How are the necks on the SX?

    I basically just want a decent body and neck that are already finished.. (although I guess learning to finish an instrument would be kinda fun too)
  8. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!!

    Feb 10, 2008
    Any Squier Precision I've played sounds ilke a Precision should, to me. The contruction seems to be the sacrifice, not the tone.
  9. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Early 80's Ibanez Roadstar P-Basses.

    Rock solid and sounds like a USA P-Bass.
  10. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006

    The neck thing is going to come down to personal prefearance and what you are used to.

    If you are used to a Vintage Fender type neck, then the SX will feel fairly familiar. Gloss finished like the Vintage Fenders with a flatter fingerboard radius. Some people who are used to modern basses don't dig the gloss finish. Doesn't bother me a bit 'cause I came up playing what are now "vintage" Fenders. Some people will take Scotchbrite or fine steel wool to the back of the SX necks to give them a satin feel if that;'s what you like. Tone wise, stock they sound very much like a 70's Precision. JimmyM did a side by side blind tone test in a thread a while back. They sound very similar.

    If you prefer the feel of a satin finished neck ( I typicaly don't untill they've REALLY been played in for a few years) then the Squier neck may be more to your liking.

    Regarding alder vs. substitute woods. Alder and Ash are what American Fender Precisions have been made out of since day one.
    Basswood, Poplar, Agathis etc, are what gets used on some of the lower end Fender imports, and many Squiers. Not that there's anything wrong with those, but to me, a propper P bass is either Alder or Ash. The SX is availble in both Alder and Ash. Alder is usually lighter, and my personal preferance in P basses.

    The SX is just as upgradeable as any other Precision type bass. The pickguard will requier a couple of minutes worth of filing at the neck pocket if you wanted to swap for a Fender one. Everything else is pretty much interchangeble with a Fender.

    For the record, I own and gig a vintage Fender, a lightly modded SX SPB62, and a brand new American Standard Precision.

    The SX can make a fine "workhorse" type bass on a very limited budget. More gigs on mine than I could ever remember.
    Sometimes I use the American Precision as a back up to the SX if you can believe that. ;)

    P.S. The Duncan 1/4 pounder would be my last choice for Jamerson tone.
  11. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama

    Yeah, I'm a big champion of the SX line, but I'd love to have me one of these. I played two and they were excellent...no need for any upgrades IMO.

    In fact, I probably woulda put one in layaway, but they only had Fiesta Red and I wanted the Honey Blonde. Then I moved..
  12. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    I own the vm p bass and love it. I put the duncan quarter pounders in it and hated the tone. on its own its not a very good pickup. But paired with sjb3 at the bridge its amazing. I would recomend the vm p bass and nordstrand np4s. I got the exact tone I wanted, Its fat punchy and sounds like a p bass should. If you do get a vm squire make sure you buy new strings. The stock strings are really bad.
  13. I don't really care about satin vs glossy neck.. I like the satin, but I played a 75 RI Jazz for several years so I am perfectly fine with the glossed neck as well.

    It seems like I can get an SX, replace the bridge and pickups, and still come out cheaper than the squiers.. Do I need to change out the pots? How much does that run?

    How are the G&L SB-2 Tributes?
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Used Yamaha with the P style pup. Can't remember all the model numbers, but there are a few - and they can be hard very inexpensively. Not only that, I use a Yamaha as my main bass. They are great instruments.
  15. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    Can't really speak on the Tributes, but the American SB-2's are great basses and a bargain used, but again, it's got farily hot pickups with more bottom than a traditional P bass.

    I gigged my SX with the stock pots for about 2 years before I replaced the volume pot for a differnt value. Went to a 500K over the 250K. Gigged it for just over 3 years before replacing the jack, and did the tone pot while I was in there. Didn't need to replace it, but I was in there anyway, so I upgraded. Pots only cose $4-5 for decent ones.

    The stock bridge is plenty functional, although it's not the highest quality piece you'll ever see. Again, no real need to replace it as it works just fine.

    I wouldn't go replacing anything just for the sake of replacing stuff if I were you. The stock p/u is pretty good if you like 70's Fender type tone.

    You could buy the SX, and have the frets done up to the level of something much more expensive with a level crown and polish (not necisssary, but nice. :) ), and still come in under the price of a Squier VM.

    Here's a shot of mine out working.
  16. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    Old USA Peavey Fury. Can be had for around $120 and absolutely nail P tone, and have a nice thin neck. Beats SX for sure.
  17. +1...i've gotten great tones out of an $80 ebay auction special, even...

    had to fix frets and do all kinds of things to get it to play good..but it sounded really quite good...
  18. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Lots of good advice above. I'll add a +1 for a used Peavey Fury. They have a neck that is more like a Jazz neck than a P, and they are well made basses. I wish I hadn't sold mine!

    I just picked up a Used Peavey Milestone II for $80, and it's a pretty nice little bass, too. It's not MIA, but it seems to be very well constructed. I like the relatively thin neck and the fretwork is excellent. I'm not sure what the body wood is, and there is no shielding in the electronics cavity at all. The stock pickup sounds pretty good, though. With a little work, I'm thinking I'll have a pretty nice bass.
  19. somehow I am just having trouble accepting that I can purchase an acceptable instrument (the SX) for $109..
  20. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    The Vintage Modified and the Classic Vibe series would be where I would look.

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