Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JW56789, May 13, 2020.

  1. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    So I bought one of these (Thank You Chicago Musical Exchange !). Got a great deal, and doing my best to stimulate the economy in my small way, pulled the trigger.

    Squier Contmeporary Active Jazz Bass HH V five-string.

    Squier Jazz Five.jpg

    Ash body, weighs in right at 10#. Neck is my preferred 'flatter / rounder' profile, and it's a flatter feeling fingerboard (big radius) so it fits me to a T. A hair fatter than I'd prefer, but fine, and never a bad idea with that big B riding on top. Satin finish. Indonesian production.

    I was fuzzy about the controls (volume / fader / tone / active bass+treble on a stack pot), until I tried it. The tone is just as you'd expect, but the active T + B are additive only: Whatever you've got, it will add more bass or more top end. Different, but it works, and you just keep it dialed back to zero if not needed.

    Squier Jazz Five Body.jpg
    That sort of 'smoked black' hardware, similar to that look Ibanez uses. Hardware just fine. 4-bolt neck, truss rod adjust at the nut, and Squier included the proper Allens for the bass. Ceramic pickups and tone circuit as quiet as any other good active bass I've played, and the back pickup solo'd get's that thinner, woody back pickup sound without trying hard at all. The black paint on mine was just perfect.

    Squier Jazz Five head.jpg
    For some reason, these axes have gotten short shrift, as if Squier was getting too uptown or it's noisy, bogus pickups, whatever. I don't get it. To me, this axe is a damn steal. Plays great, sounds great, built well, and for the money, I'd be hard pressed to find anything else like it in its price range. Wasn't sure if I'd like black with the maple fingerboard, but you don't see that every day and it works. For a 'budget Modern Jazz', nothing else is in this monster's ball park. You read it here: This thing just WORKS.

    I now have the Squier James Johnston Signature Jazz Bass, the Vint Mod Precision Bass Five, and now this CAJBHHV, I'm in all three for a little over a grand. I won't pretend they're gonna replace 2-grand axes, but I could not be happier for how much fun they are, and what unbelievable values they are for so little money.

    Whoda Thunkit?

    Contemporary Active Jazz Bass® HH V | Squier Electric Basses

    (I bought this from Chicago Musical Exchange as a 'mint/used', and everything was exactly as advertised, delivered on time, and was an effortless, painless transaction. Got this and a great Fender gig bag for less than a new one . . . . but I basically GOT a new one. Thanks, CME !)
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    wow, what a looker! pretty amazing instrument/features for a nice price --- and i think it looks great in black. congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
    nixdad likes this.
  3. Problem is that very few of these have ever made it to actual stores, so very little people can actually try before they buy.
    I have 5 (that’s right, 5) GC’s in my area within a 10 mile radius, and not one of them got a Contemporary Jazz.
    A few members got some of the early 2019 basses and found some poor QC in the fit and finish of them. They sort of became a flop.
    If yours shows evidence of good QC, great!
  4. bhendrix


    May 2, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Congrats! I really like the look - hope it plays well. CME is great to deal with - my last acquisition was from them.
    nixdad likes this.
  5. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    I could never find one in the flesh either, but I've been around long enough to where I can read the specs and have a rough idea what I'm going to get. All 3 Squiers I bought online without ever having one in my hands, and so far, so good.

    I'm not one of those guys that sweats string spacing, weight, neck, etc. If it's a reasonable neck, reasonable weight, not too tight / not too wide string spacing, I'll usually get along with it. I'm fortunately never been a victim of the 9 Volt Anxiety Syndrome either, so I'm good. I've had all kinds of axes over the years, and as long as it's reasonably well built and sounds good, I can live with the differences, and tweak the fine points.

    It confirms a suspicion regarding fives and the B-string response: Pickups are one thing, but I'm convinced when it comes to coaxing that B out of the ether, harder is better in the woods. Like my Elan, this is an Ash body and a hard maple neck, and the B is just right there. Couple that wood recipe with these ceramic pickups, and it's that 'Modern Jazz' tone for days.

    QC wise, the black paint is perfect, and 'Piano Black', gloss black, is hard to get right, and this is. My other question was would I like the pickups / tone network, and it's fine: Lots of variation, and quiet. I'd read the neck profile was 'Modern C' with a big neck radius (flatter, which I prefer), and I figured I was in the neighborhood.

    I really think that for me, this is easily as good if not better as a purchase than the Squier PBass Five. To me, this is just about perfect, and nobody is more surprised than me just how much I like this one, and how good it is for so little money, relatively speaking.

    I'm sure they don't want to hear this in Corona, but this is ANOTHER Squier that makes me wonder why in the hell would I shell out a LOT more money for a 'real' Fender. They're off the hook here as there's no MIM or American version, but if I were gigging tonight, I'd throw this in the car without even thinking twice and I'm sure once I found the room Q, it would be more than sufficient.
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  6. Honkey tonk

    Honkey tonk Turn it up Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2019
    Lower 48
    That's not one bit of shabby ...
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  7. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    Is this how the electronics are on sadowsky basses? If so, that's super cool.
  8. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    So I've been playing this thing for several hours a day since Wednesday, a few more observations:

    It stays in tune really well: Arrived de-tuned somewhat (I hate that), pulled it up to pitch Wednesday afternoon, and I've had to barely touch up not all the strings. Nut cut better than my other two Squiers.

    I was quite ready for the pickups / tone network to be a little wonky, but they are surprisingly good, and even more importantly, very quiet. This is one Squier where changing out the pickups is a non-starter.

    The fingerboard is a flat radius and the fingerboard (1 7/8" at the nut by 2 3/4" at the last fret) suits me to a T. The neck profile is a bit rounder than a typical Jazz, a bit more towards a P Bass feel, but it really kind of straddles the two. Maple with a separate maple fingerboard, no stripe, satin finish.

    The tone layout is different but very useable. It's Volume / Fader / 'passive'-like tone, than a stacked pot for active bass and treble that is additive only. One of my favorite tones from the Yamaha days was that back pickup, vaguely fretless tone. With this it's a breeze and the first 'other' bass I found that would dial in that back-blade-pickup Yamaha tone I found. Dial in mostly back pickup and then turn the active bass up to suit, and bang! it's right there. Leave them both off, it acts exactly like a very good passive bass.

    With the ash body it's a double edged sword: Mine's 10 lbs and feels bigger than a typical Jazz (that sense you feel if you've ever spent any time on a Roscoe Beck Five, though I'm sure it's not quite that big), but between that and the maple neck, it will sing on low C's and D's.

    I'm totally convinced that for whatever reason (you don't see them in stores often), this thing is an absolute sleeper and totally overlooked. I thought it could be a good one (I ordered mine sight unseen), but am still bowled over how good it is. I seem to remember some initial QC concerns, but mine has none, and the 'Piano Black' paint job would do Chip Foose proud.

    This really is the 'Modern Jazz' that Fender needs.
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  9. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hell Paso Texas
    I'll be honest and state that I am not a Fender fan which of course also makes me a non Squier fan as well. However I also have to admit that I just recently noticed the Contemporary Active Jazz Bass in Flat white with the black pick guard and I cannot stop staring at it. And the videos I have seen on them are not helping any. I just may end up with a Squier in the very near future. Very nice looking basses. Congratulations.
  10. wild4oldcars


    Jan 22, 2012
    Garner, NC
    I had the opportunity to work on one of these a few months ago, and it felt very solid. I can't say it was for me, but modern squiers really are nothing to scoff at, even compared to 10-15 years ago
  11. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    I've owned a lot of axes over the years, all the way up to a pair of Alembic five-strings. Like most, I'm dumbstruck at the choices out there in the '$500-and-Under' price range, from a lot of manufacturers.

    I come to Squier by a little different route as I'm older. I owned one of the landmark MIJ Squier Precision Basses from the mid-80's, the ones you see changing hands for in $800 range these days for a good one. At the time (for $279 MSRP) they were simply the best traditional Precision Bass that Fender sold. I also owned one of the black ProTone PJ's from the early 90's. So I knew that when Fender allowed the budget and engineering talent to get it right, they can be giant-killers.

    After a health crisis with my wife required selling my Alembics, and budget for serious basses just wasn't a real possibility, I thought about Squier. Of course, the Affinitys are beginner axes, and just not a long term choice for me. And you have to remember I've been at this a long time and know what I can live with even with less money to work with, I'm a pretty good judge of how solid or useable an axe is.

    So over the last two years, I bought the James Johnston Signature Jazz (I was a sucker for that matching-headstock Lake Placid Blue finish), the Precision Bass Five, and now this CAJBHHV (what a mouthful of a name !), I'm in all three for around 1200 bucks, and I could gig with any of them box-stock right now. I have no illusions that they're as well-built or highly spec'd as basses 5 to 10 times their buy-in, but I'm absolutely convinced they are exceptional values and entirely solid and sufficient for my needs and then some. And for a little over a grand, I've got three nice basses that are a lot of fun, and make me feel like playing again in these crazy days

    I can't ask for any more than that.
  12. EmuBass


    Jan 24, 2018
    Vienna, Austria
    That pickguard and NO controlplate looks odd - same as the other way round ...
  13. tubatodd


    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    Sweetwater has these in several exclusive colors. I've been considering getting one.
    acidmilk, nixdad and Dr. Cheese like this.
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I made a couple of videos of these a while back and they are fine basses. I Know veteran TB member, Brad Johnson, a couple of times said he preferred these Squiers to Sire. The boost only preamp is a nod to Sadowsky although I am sure Fender/Squier will never say that.
  15. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    I just got one from sweetwater ! With a roasted maple neck !
    jeff7bass, acidmilk and nixdad like this.
  16. Benko


    Dec 16, 2014
    Tokyo, Japan
    Can you post some pictures and give some impressions?
  17. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    Very nice. Gorgeous actually. I started a thread on the 4 string version but it didn't get much action. Having HH's eliminates the noise when you pan over to the bridge or neck pickups.
  18. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    Please show pic!
  19. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    That flat black model is sure something.
  20. Bunk McNulty

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

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Bought one of these a little while ago. Since my band is out of work for the foreseeable future (I live in New England--outdoor shows are pretty much done), I thought I'd make this my winter project. After logging a few hours, the most pleasant surprise is the neck. Low action with no buzz. I was sure it was going to take more physical work to play, but not at all. I often dig in on my 4-strings. This invited a light touch from the very beginning. Will I ever have enough 5-string proficiency to gig with it? I figure I have six months to find out.:D
    Blues Bass 2 likes this.