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For the same price: Squier or Fender?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by activa44, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. activa44


    Dec 17, 2018
    Hi, guys and gals.

    Once again I'm thinking of getting a(n original) Precision bass and I'm wondering if, for the same price, it would be better to get a Fender or a Squier. The most obvious answer would be Fender, yes, but I've read, for example, of the cheapest Epiphone Thunderbirds beating even the highest of Gibsons, so nothing woulde surprise me, really.

    A few side notes: obviously I would buy it in the used market and it will be a bonus if I can get one from the 80s, but I guess that any Fender from the 80s would cost a fuckton.. my budget would be 400-650. So, for that price range in the used market, would a Fender be better than a Squier? Also, example: 80s Squier > modern Fender or nah?

    Tell me about the MIA vs MIM vs MIJ thing too (although I guess that MIAs are faaaar out of my price range).

    Thanks in advance!
    BOOG likes this.
  2. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    MIJ Squiers from the early-mid 80's are excellent, but not better than modern US Fenders. Early 80's Squiers are MUCH better than modern Squiers.

    I think you can find an American Standard Precision from the 90's in the high end of your price range. Those are very high quality instruments and underappreciated by collectors. So far.
  3. I'd buy a used Mexican made (MIM) Precision standard, from 2008+.

    The upper Squier ranges (Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe) are worth a look too.

    If you don't mind a bridge pickup and are set on the 80s thing, a MIJ Fender Jazz Special (aka The Duff McKagan bass) would probably be in budget.
    Artman, hintz, nolezmaj and 2 others like this.
  4. The general though is that in terms of quality and price: MIA>MIJ>MIM>Squier. However, 80s Squiers rival MIAs and MIJs of the period and late model Squier Classic Vibes and Vintage Modifieds rival MIMs. Heck there is even much love for the Squier Affinity series (lowest level Squier). Note also that the Classic Series MIM basses are generally considered a cut above most MIMs. Granted there are good and bad in each level. Best to play as many as you can (at all levels) and buy the one that "feels" the best noting that strings and pickups can be switched very easily.

    I own a MIM Jazz and Squier CV 60P and they are gems.

    I will note that if you are willing to pay up to $650 and are very patient, you may find a used MIA in that range. This is not to say that that $650 MIA will be better than a $450 MIM or a $300 Squier. Play as many as you can. You will find a keeper.
    StrangerBasses likes this.
  5. activa44


    Dec 17, 2018
    So far I haven't even tried a Precision because there aren't near me which I can try, but I'd like to. Also to see what the neck feels like and how heavy they are as instruments, but, concerning this, I've read that it depends a lot from model to model. And I've heard that MIJs have the best, fastest necks.

    My aim, by the way, would be either a Squier Precision SQ (the MIJs of the 80s, but they're fairly rare where I live) or any cheap Fender that feels good when I try it. I want only the P-pickup, by the way.

    About the Affinity series uhm.. I've read only terrible things, both on facebook posts and here on talkbass threads, so I'm not very trustful about those.
  6. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    I would look for a MIA p bass from the mid-late 1990s. They are not yet commanding vintage prices and can be found in the $600-$700 range if you spend a little time looking. Try the GC used gear page or right here in the TB classifieds.

    MIJ Squiers from the 1980s are good and will be a little cheaper as will MIJ Fenders from the 1990s.
    Corevalay likes this.
  7. activa44


    Dec 17, 2018
    I would, if I were american.

    Living in Italy, it's a lot harder to find fair prices on cool gear.
    I keep looking, almost daily (if not, indeed, daily), by the way.
    Mamband Mark likes this.
  8. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    As for the best fastest necks...
  9. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    I have an American Standard Precision from the early 2000s, right before they incorporated the S1 switch. It is a great bass.
  10. PlatoFunFactory likes this.
  11. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    I was going to say, the Squier CV series has an excellent reputation, and the VMs also.
    PlatoFunFactory and jezyorkshire like this.
  12. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I wouldn't read too much into Epiphone putting out better quality gear than Gibson. It is not a fair comparison. Gibson has one of the worst QC departments in the business, possibly only rivaled by Rickenbacker. People like to talk smack on Fender but they are leaps and bounds above Gibson when it comes to QC.
  13. BigBear77

    BigBear77 Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2017
    Can get a really nice, new Squire VM or 70’s vibe for less than $400. Every 70’s vibe I’ve played has been great.
  14. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006

    There are several models from each country of origin, and within those you will find some substantial differences … to categorize by country of origin alone might not be the best inquiry …

    When it comes to P's in general, I don't usually think it terms of 'fast' neck … but then, I am more comfortable on a Jazz spec, 9.5" board neck … within the P's produced, you will find a variety of neck profiles, some with (A) 1.5" nut width, the 1.65" is the most common, but you will also find several as wide as 1.75" … front to back variances as well, and the Fender with the Posi-Flex rods, heel adjust, will be different from the headstock adjust profiles …

    The 80's MIJ Squiers have gone up substantially over the last year or two … the $3-400 days of grabbing them seems to be gone … I actually saw one listed recently for $900, not that 'listing' price means anything, but it seems to be a trend … they will still be feasible to find within your price range …

    With regards to MIA out of your $$ range, in USA anyway, one of the best kept secrets are the early (made in USA) Highway 1 series … I have seen them sell (in the USA) in the $500 range … the later Hwy One and American Specials can be found in your < $650 range … the earlier Hwy series P will have a bit slimmer neck profile, 1.65" nut, and headstock adjust truss rod, the later Hwy and AmSpecials utilize the Posi-Flex rods and are heel adjust … all 9.5" radius boards, medium jumbo fret wire … there are American Standards (pre 2000's), the American Series (up to mid '07), which is where you may possibly find a little lower pricing, the very top of your $$ range possible, especially after the S-1 was added mid '03-mid '07 as they don't seem to have much appeal on the P-bass, and then the post '08 model year return to the 'New' American Standards (which you are not likely to find used in your $$ range) … all three will have some differences in components, and all the AmStands and AmSeries came new with different style hard shell cases (when figuring pricing)...

    Post '01 1/2 MIM Standards will have a neck profile very similar to early Hwy 1 series, and share the headstock adjust truss rods and although weight can be all over the board on MIM Standards, especially on the very early poplar bodied (90's) and early alder bodied up through the mid 2000's, you will find post 2008 consistency is much better, and a P in the 8-8.5 lb range not all that unusual … price ranges for these used in the US are $250+/- for earlier, to $450+/- for the later, and worth it in both cases ..

    The Fender MIM Classic Series was mentioned earlier in the thread, they are excellent and seem to be very consistent … just be aware, the neck profiles on the Classic Series 50's P is a wider 1.75" at the nut, 7.25" radius board, with vintage fret wire (same on Road Worn P) … they seem a bit thinner front to back as well …

    In your OP, you refer to 'better' … keep in mind, better is completely subjective, and you may find your responses a bit tilted by which ever crowd happens to be doing the responding … doing your homework on differences and particular specs/components will go a long way to determining which is more suited for YOU ...

    I included your comment regarding the Squier Affinity above, to further attest to the subjectivity … we opened an outdoor show last summer for a nationally touring blues act, they did well over 250+ shows a year, and the bass player for the act played a Squier Affinity, completely stock, right down the tiny, enclosed rectangular machine heads … his tone/play sounded great through the FOH … after a back injury, I put my Fenders away last summer as well, opting for my $150 (used), 7 lb, early Squier VM '77 Jazz … I made more money with that bass than with any of my Fenders worth 5 times that, and never felt I gave up anything in terms of playability or performance …

    'Better' and 'best', are completely subjective terms … (along with the use of the word 'upgrade') ;)

    JMHO's, as always …
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  15. FishDub

    FishDub Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    For me and numerous people its going to come down to the feel of the neck...gloss, satin etc. The best Precision neck FOR ME is and always will be the Squier classic vibe and vintage modified series. Jazz necks and P necks tend be either love em or hate em, and the Squier fits the bill because its almost like a combo of both necks in one.
    Aside from the feel of the neck, a straight up P bass is what it is...simple and fits in with every genre of music. I agree that if you are patient, you will come across a MIA in your price range, but if you are particular about neck feel you may be disappointed. So my advice since you cant try many Pbasses out would be:
    If you want a thinner gloss neck- Squier Classic Vibe
    If you want a thinner satin(unfinished) neck- Squier Vintage Modified
    If you a thicker, wider neck-MIA P.
    I know this doesn't complete EVERY detail but its a start--Good luck:thumbsup:
  16. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Squier/Fender Precision shootout:

    nerkoids likes this.
  17. Nothing wrong with Squier VM series except for the name. I owned a VM jag, but I had gear snobs look at me funny. So I sold the jag & bought a Fender P
  18. activa44


    Dec 17, 2018
    tjh, I get what you're saying, but I can't try many P basses unless I want to travel across all Italy just with the purpose of trying them and then taking a decision and THEN waiting for a deal. But I would totally do as you said, if this wasn't the case. Also, about ''better'' and such, indeed, subjective terms, I'm talking about the marjority of what I read here on talkbass threads. Okay: it's true that the majority isn't always right, I'm the first to state that, but still, there have to be reasons why an opinion is shared by so many people... and it could be they are indeed good (and here, with ''good'' I mean: good manufacturing quality, good sound/pickup, etc.), as well!

    About the SQ sellers raising the price, it's probably just America.
    All the SQs (few, but I saw at least 4) I saw were in my price range, no crazy 900€ ones... those are the JVs.

    About the neck, man, I'm really not sure, I mean... I looked on the internet what are the specs of my bass and compared it to some Precisions I was considering... I don't see such a BIG difference as people say, but that might be because of different neck profiles too. Again: I don't know because I haven't tried any. I wish I could.
    My bass ISN't a jazz bass, but I'm guessing it's jazz-type... and people praise it for its fast neck as well (Ibanez tend to do fast necks, indeed, as far as I know).

    And FishDub, I know about those and I was considering them, at first, but then I decided I want just a single P-pickup. Just plain and simple... volume and tone control is more than I'll ever need. I can tweak the rest with pedals, amp settings, etcetera. And if one day I'll want completely another sound, I'll still have my Ibanez (it's been/it's my first bass, so I won't get rid of it so easily)!
  19. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    I think you're saying that you need to make an opportunistic purchase. In other words, maybe not the first P bass you lay your hands on, but after you've tried a few you ought to consider buying one whenever you happen across one with good sound and feel at a price that meets your budget. From that standpoint I'd say cast a wide net and don't get too caught up on particular models or country of origin. Just go and buy a P bass when you find a good one.
    nerkoids and Dean N like this.
  20. i sold an mia 2000 fender pbass here on talkbass for $600. 10 years ago.

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