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Is there any real difference in quality between the new Affinity basses and...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by petrus61, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    ...the vintage modified series? It seems to me that the newer Affinity basses appear to be equal, with the added bonus of having Alder (albeit, assuming multi laminate) as a body wood. I'm in the market for a backup bass and the LPB Affinity J looks to be every bit on par with the current VM's, but a bit cheaper. More concerned about basic build quality then pickups, as I'll be completely gutting the bass anyway. It appears they've also switched to standard open gear tuners, as opposed to the cheesy little closed back jobbers they had on there. What say you?
  2. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    - alder... obviously multi laminate, yet alder... so the typical warm sound we know and love
    - open gear tuners... again, obviously somewhat Hipshot HB7 lookalikes and nothin' more, yet you know where we came from...
    - pickups... well... no: vintage modified series sported Duncan Designed singles which were nowhere near to proper Duncan's pickups, yet hot nonetheless; now they sport Fender designed
    ones that are honest pickups, maybe not that shinin', but sure
    better than Affinity series entries.

    you guessed right
    Price is lesser for electronics and chinese manufacturin' costs, QC is there and instruments are good... go get one if you dig!

  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I am a big fan of the Affinity J-Bass 5, but the one big difference between the VM and the Affinity I have noticed is that the VM is better shielded. Copper tape is cheap, but it is nice to buy a bass off the rack that is fairly quiet.
  4. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    How do the necks compare? I noticed the VMP5 had the same neck specks as the VMJ5, but I did not like the P neck at all. Are the VM and Aff. 5 necks similar?
  5. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    So... We have MIA fenders... which MIMs are sometimes better than... which Squier VMs and CVs are sometimes better than... which now affinities might be sometimes better than? So basically... Squier Affinity can be possibly be better than American Standard? :bag:
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    All Fenders use the same shielding regardless of it beng a Squier Affinity or American Standard. Fender just puts in a splash of conductive paint that does absolutely nothing, their job is so piss poor they might as well go back to pre-2008 and just not bother with it at all so they can save the $2 on paint.

    The only silent Fenders I have played that were silent from factory have all been active basses. I have never seen a silent VM (or Affinity). The VM's have better pickups than the Affinity in my opinion but tone is subjective so you might prefer the Affinity. The Affinity pickups are hotter but I personally do not think that makes them better pickups.

    Affinity's are cheaper wood with cheaper hardware than the VM. They are great starter basses but in my experience they require a lot of man time to maintain the setups on them. The VM series is better but far from rock solid.
    Tunaman likes this.
  7. Jookbox

    Jookbox Registered Drummer

    Mar 16, 2006
    I've tried one of the newer Affinity basses (lake placid blue) and the build quality seems just as good. The tone/volume knobs were cheaper but the tuners were similar quality. I agree the cost savings is most likely from the materials used.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I could hear the difference in the amount of hum. I also have not experienced my Affinities quickly losing their set ups. I know my Affinity has been easier to set up than the Lakland I currently have. The easiest bass to set up I have at the moment is my Peavey Millennium.
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The Affinity and VM fives have the same neck profile which the same as other Fender Jazz V basses.
  10. My drummer recently purchased an older Affinity Precision off of CL, one of the best playing basses I've picked up in a while. PUPs sound like a P-bass, nothing more nothing less.

    If the new ones are on the same level as this one then I'd say they're excellent.
  11. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    The main thing that has me intrigued is the use of alder. I've found a few places online where people stripped them and there was pretty much exactly what you see under a solid color MIM std. I like the idea of horribly mis-matched alder better than horribly mis-matched basswood or agathis underneath, at least for a Fender style instrument. All of the VM's I've tried or owned seemed to fall just short of the typical tonal characteristics of their respective instruments, though that's likely pickups.

    As far as the VM5's all sharing identical neck shapes...maybe on paper, but not in practice. The VMJ5 and P5 I owned were worlds apart with the J being slimmer front to back toward the nut and center of the neck. Never measured, but it was enough to make me sell my P5 in less than a week. I think I'm going to grab one but can't decide on the J or P (a discussion for 14,000 other threads.)

    I haven't tried an Affinity in at least 10 years but it certainly appears they've been improved upon. I guess anything would have been an improvement on those though.
  12. T-34


    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    My new VM P5 has very good shielding, all the cavities are thoroughly painted with conductive paint. No hum whatsoever.
  13. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    That's encouraging. I found a few on my local CL, but they all seem to be the older style with the smaller tuners. I'm looking for one with 11/16 peg holes so if I like it enough, I can swap with some old parts I have, maybe vintage tuners.
  14. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Both the VMJ5's I owned were relatively silent. The P5 was also quiet.
  15. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    again: you got it

  16. I tried a white Affinity PJ back to back with a Sunburst VM PJ the other day.

    I preferred the feel of the matt finish on the Affinity neck, but in other ways, it was lacking. Fretwork wasn't as clean, pickups were noisy, neck didn't feel quite as substantial. My biggest beef was with the PJ blended tones. IMO, it sounded decent with the P pickup solo'd, but I thought the VM pickups were better balanced.

    I could see buying the Affinity if I was planning a pickup swap anyway, but otherwise, I think the VM would be worth the extra $$$.

    Still, they were surprisingly close, enough so that I initially thought they were both VM's. They were both amazingly good compared to the junk I started on.
  17. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I picked up a barely used Affinity P off my local CL last night for $60. The truss rod needed about 4 full turns to bring the relief where I like it, but after that it played great. The control cavity reveals two 500k Alpha mini pots. Since there was a bit of intermittent cutting, they're coming out. I will replace them with Bourns. Also, the cap was a .068...I suppose to counter the ceramic pickup and brightness of the 500k pots? I'm just wondering if 250 or 500k will suit these pickups better...is there a reason for those horrible little 500k pots and weird cap value?
  18. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I have a VM Jazz and it is solid alder. Probably 3 pieces glued together.
  19. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    I often try out P basses in guitar shops looking for a back up for my MIA P, whether CV, VM, MIM or affinity. Out of the ones i've tried recently i haven't yet found a VM without some fret sprouting or sharp frets. Same goes for maple necked MIM's. Where as i have played a recent affinity with a great finished neck and frets. CV's also seem good with necks. In fact my local guitar shop told me they've had loads of issues with MIM Fenders, both basses and guitars with really poor fret jobs in the last yr or so.

    I tend to just look at the necks these days as i'd just swap out the PU and electrics.
  20. Which model is this? I don't recall any VM Jazz being alder.
    In fact, all the models on the Fender site are either Maple, Basswood, or Agathis.

    Now, the Affinity series has alder bodies...

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