My review: Squier Contemporary Active HH Jazz Bass 4 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HarveyRobertson, Nov 7, 2018.


  1. HarveyRobertson

    HarveyRobertson Lowdown Showdown

    Apr 3, 2018
    Benton Kentucky
    I just received the Squier Contemporary Active HH Jazz today.

    Well I removed the bass from the box which was double boxed from Zzounds.

    And I inspected the quality of the bass as follows:

    Body:

    IMG_20181107_165223178.jpg
    Face of the bass is pleasing to look at. The pups a more narrow than say an EMG but wider than a standard J pup.. easy adjustability w 2 screws low E side and 1 screw high G side. Pickup slots were cut straight and correct size.

    Bridge was not tight, I did tighten the screws after I got out "the toolkit"
    IMG_20181107_164942583.jpg

    The control knobs are nice and smooth turning, felt solid.

    The bridge was a standard Fender style high mass bridge similar to what you may find on a more expensive bass.

    The neck pocket seems tight but the route seemed sloppy cut
    IMG_20181107_164637496.jpg
    IMG_20181107_165234111_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg
    IMG_20181107_165248932.jpg

    The tuners look high quality but the A tuner slipped a little had to tighten up the gear screw.
    IMG_20181107_165030872.jpg
    IMG_20181107_165052338.jpg
    The nut.. well the slot for it looked like a rough cut. It needs the nut slots today be cut a little lower as the strings sit just a tad high in the nut slots.

    IMG_20181107_165106574.jpg
    IMG_20181107_165141675.jpg
    The neck had discolorations like this everywhere:
    IMG_20181107_165123552.jpg
    IMG_20181107_165129447.jpg

    The frets were not bad at all. No sharp frets, no dead spots, harmonics were good:

    IMG_20181107_165151270.jpg
    The backf of the neck felt unfinished and had some spots that felt smooth and other spots that felt dirty like it had no matte finish at all.

    IMG_20181107_165020578.jpg

    Control cavity was cut well and the plate fit tight and had aluminum foil tape backing. The cavity had the typical black sheilding paint.

    The controls were neat I suppose. Not much to them, a very small PCB that was just laying in the cavity.

    You can tell this is cheap electronics.. they were quiet, had good tone but the bass and treble boost had little effect, that's probably a good thing tho.. sound was typical of a passive bass, no noise, but no real ooomph either.. just ok not bad but very meh.

    IMG_20181107_164613193.jpg

    The neck plate:

    Neck plate is basic no frills, however. The screws were loose, I had to snug all 4 down.

    Strap buttons were of the large variety. And tight.

    The chrome on this bass was labelled a smokey chrome.. looks more like faded nickel to me.

    Playability:

    The bass plays well. The frets seem like medium frets. The neck profile is standard slim jazz and immediately comfortable. But like I stated the neck had a cheap feel to it. That may be because I'm one to like glossy neck backs but I have a yamaha trbx 305 and an ibanez SR 500 that have satin necks and this Squier does not come close to that feel. Pickups were solid with no noise and good tones, the pre was weak imho.. not much variation in tone.

    The finish:

    I had this bass and played it for an hour, I was wearing a pair of shorts and a T shirt, no belt.. and already there is a black stain that wont clean up.. so I'm not sure how long this matte white finish will last if I were to take to rehearsals or gigs..

    IMG_20181107_164948957.jpg

    My final verdict is I'm sending it back.

    These things may be considered nit picking by some people, but we're talking $400 here and that's at least 3-4 gigs to me.. I think my good earned money can get a better used or new bass that will have better quality control forbthe same price.. my Yamaha TRBX 305 smokes this bass in quality easily.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  2. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I wouldn't consider it nitpicking at all. I think quite a few people ignore minor problems in the sheer joy of getting/showing their new basses and sometimes give overzealous reviews.
    Surely not every new bass here is "The best bass I've ever played!" and it's more helpful to tell it like it is than to view something through rose-colored glasses.

    Other than that, I like the fretboard flaws.
     
    Frans688, petrus61, StayLow and 6 others like this.
  3. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I think I'd send it back as well.
     
    HarveyRobertson likes this.
  4. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    Thanks for the thorough review -- I've been curious about the Squier Contemporary line. Sounds like the fit and finish is more Vintage Modified-level than Classic Vibe-level, then.
     
    HarveyRobertson likes this.
  5. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Squier.
     
    StayLow, Bikeguy57, JKos and 8 others like this.
  6. scottm

    scottm Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2005
    Virginia
    Good review, glad I read it before buying.

    -ScottM
     
    coolhang and HarveyRobertson like this.
  7. nonohmic

    nonohmic

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Welp. That's that. This will be the top review when people search on TB.

    EDIT: no it won't cause Squire.
     
    petrus61 and TheDominoKid like this.
  8. Bass Man Dan

    Bass Man Dan Endorsing Artist: Ned Flanders' Bass-a-Reeno

    Oct 20, 2017
    Cincinnati
    No. I have a vintage modified and the fretboard doesn't look like it was made from a 2 x 4.
     
    nerkoids and HarveyRobertson like this.
  9. JZQuantum

    JZQuantum

    Oct 12, 2008
    Nice review. I think you get what you pay for *most* of the time when it comes to basses. The flaws you found could be ok with some people, though. I probably would have sent it back too.

    I've learned over the years you get more bass for the money by buying used higher end American made basses.
     
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  10. solderfumes

    solderfumes

    Mar 16, 2016
    My experience with VM guitars/basses is a few years old, to be fair, but I have a VM Jazzmaster and a VM Mustang Bass, and my friend had a Jag SS. They were all incredible for the money and I love them to bits, but:

    - the Jazzmaster's neck pocket is *really* sloppy and there's a minor blemish on the edge of the pickguard, not to mention the bridge, which required a fair amount of TLC to get into functioning condition (this is probably more of a Jazzmaster-specific problem, mind you)
    - the Mustang Bass' neck has sharp fret ends
    - the Jag SS had a bit of a dead spot due to a fret not being completely seated properly

    I'm mainly referring to fit-and-finish stuff, mind you; don't remember off the top of my head whether the grain is attractive or not on them. But with regards to the spit-and-polish stuff, the stuff OP highlighted about the Contemporary Jazz seems about what I'd expect from an Indonesian VM.
     
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  11. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    nothing wrong with a Squier:

    img_20181107_165052338-jpg.jpg
     
  12. ruju

    ruju

    Dec 9, 2017
    Ontario,Canada
    I came across one of these at a local shop.. I had noticed a few of the same things. Mostly the feel of the neck. Unfinished. Rough.
    Hanging next to the Squier was an Ibanez 300e. Tagged about $50 cheaper and is just finished so much nicer.
    I am a fan of Squier but this ones a miss for me. Ibanez and Yamaha have my vote for this price/feature range.
     
  13. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    The SR300E model sounds better than a Squier as well, to my tastes.
     
  14. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    On you review, i think it is worth 400$.
     
  15. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    IMHO it's a shame Fender elected to eliminate the CV '60s Jazz Bass and Matt Freeman PBass from the line. I have nothing but good things to say about mine and others who've played them were also very pleased with their feel and playability.

    I suspect that decision was based on realizing both Chinese manufactured models would need to be priced at $450 or higher and a desire to stay at a $400 price point max in the Squier line. IME most VM models fell somewhat short of the quality levels of the CV series.
     
    lowdownthump and solderfumes like this.
  16. CiaranQ

    CiaranQ

    Jan 23, 2018
    Australia
    I agree with your comment on the OBP. When I played one, I felt that it didn't have any oomph, compared to say, a Musicman style bass.

    It's a subtle boost of bass and treble, and while you can just boost it on the amp, if you're going to bother installing an OBP, it should actually do something.

    Also, I'd rather have too much boost available and run it at 50%, than not have enough and have to have it dimed all the time.
     
    HarveyRobertson likes this.
  17. SpazzTheBassist

    SpazzTheBassist

    Jun 20, 2006
    Here
    Outstanding review. Thank you

    I'm not a nit-picker, but I fully expect reviews to nitpick
     
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  18. HarveyRobertson

    HarveyRobertson Lowdown Showdown

    Apr 3, 2018
    Benton Kentucky
    When a VM is less in $ and has a higher quality build then that makes this bass for me just not worth it.
     
  19. HarveyRobertson

    HarveyRobertson Lowdown Showdown

    Apr 3, 2018
    Benton Kentucky
    Exactly, I was left straining to hear much of any tonal change or boost. I have played basses like the low line Ibby's and squier jaguar basses with bass boost and they're both Overkill but at least they boost..
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  20. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    On the other side- this is just your's review and there will be lots of the different ones, so the hole story is not yet ended.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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