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Seeking advice: SX vs Squier Affinity vs Squier VM

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by saurion, Mar 21, 2019.


  1. saurion

    saurion

    Mar 21, 2019
    Buenos Aires
    Hey guys, I just joined after lurking for a long time. Maybe this has been answered before but I couldn't find it anywhere.

    Im looking to buy a classic style PJ bass, on a budget. My current shortlist consists of 3 options:

    • SX SPJ62 used for $8000-10000 ARS ($190-240 USD)
    • Squier Affinity PJ used for $10000-12000 ARS ($240-285 USD)
    • Squier Vintage Modified new for $19000-21000 ARS ($450-500 USD)

    As you can see, they're quite pricey in my country. A brand new Affinity PJ goes for 15-16k so it makes no sense when put against a VM. There are no used VMs up for sale anywhere. Alternatively, I could buy one of the generic Pbass clone basses that can be found for half of what the SX costs and mod the hell out of it, but the end result will probably still be bad.

    Two questions arise:
    1) I could borrow some money and go for the brand new VM, but is it worth the huge price gap?
    2) Let's say we take the VM out of the question. Between the Affinity and the SX, which one is better quality?


    Thanks!

    EDIT: I'm eyeing at least half a dozen of each of the three basses I've listed, that's why I put price ranges. All the used ones are in mint (or near mint) condition, with no visible damage, worn frets/fretboard or busted truss rods. Im going to pick my favorite ones and try them out personally before deciding. My question is more oriented to the overall build quality, reliability and longevity of the basses. While they're entry level instruments, it's a huge financial effort for me (especially the VM) to purchase any one of them and I don't want to throw money away if I'm going to have problems in the long run. I know the VMs are better, but since they cost twice as much, are they twice as good?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  2. CallMeAl

    CallMeAl

    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I have an affinity from 2005. It needed new pots and a jack, but I think its because it was old and someone wired it wrong. I did other stuff to it, but honesty would have been fine with just that.

    I tried some new affinities recently. The big thing I noticed was the neck was rough. But if you're willing to sand and refinish, easy fix. The pickups did sound a little weak, but honestly I didn't spend a lot of time tweaking them. Even so it's an easy fix too, and not something you need to do straight away.

    I love the VM line. A jazz I played was particularly spectacular. I was hunting for a VM p bass, but ended up with a squier standard (out of production, pre cursor to the VM line)

    Don't know SX well, but they get a lot of love here on TB.

    Good luck!
     
    saurion likes this.
  3. wraub

    wraub

    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    I have a 2017 Affinity PJ.
    IMO-The neck is satin smooth, the fit and finish are very good, and the pickups are typical PJ but seem pretty evenly matched. The hardware does not look expensive, but is well made for the price point and effective- it holds tune for weeks and setup is easy. Fretwork is good-not great, but no sharp ends and well shaped. The body is allegedly alder, and the bass is light. The fingerboard is Indian Laurel, and is a fine substitute for rosewood, although a little "clacky". It looks, sounds, and plays very well, and I would gig it anytime. It is made in China.

    I have very limited time with SX basses, but they have always seemed adequate.
     
    TheDayMan, alanloomis1980 and saurion like this.
  4. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty

    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I'm inclined to go with the VM - to get the Affinity comparable, you would have to spend additional money on the pickups as mentioned by somebody already, I found them a little on the weak side myself. Also, the Affinity in question is used, how worn are the frets, how's the neck and truss rod? It may be cheaper being used, but you also want to make sure you're not buying a bass with issues so if you go that route, you may want to check everything on it. I'm assuming there's a factory or store warranty on the VM that will cover you should there be something wrong with the VM bass.
     
    alanloomis1980 and saurion like this.
  5. saurion

    saurion

    Mar 21, 2019
    Buenos Aires
    I'm eyeing at least half a dozen of each of the three basses I've listed, that's why I put price ranges. I guess it wasn't clear enough so I'm gonna edit the OP. I've already discarded all the obviously worn/damaged ones and I'm only looking to buy mint (or near mint) condition (except the VMs, which I can only find brand new). So truss rods and worn frets shouldn't be an issue.

    It's true that buying new gives me a warranty, but at the same time the VMs are twice as expensive as the SXs and Affinitys. Is it twice the bass?
     
  6. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    No contest...Squier Vintage Modified.
    Sure, the other two can get the job done but you'll do a better job with the VM.

    I've played quite a few Squier Affinity basses, some good, some bad, some very good, some horrible. Quality is all over the place with them.
    SX? Never tried one, completely off the radar for me, but a lot of people seem to like them.
    As for the VMs, only better Squier is the Classic Vibe.

    Now, if you're talking about trying out a dozen or so basses, you should do okay. If you're talking about buying online without being able to feel and hear what you're buying, it's always a gamble. That's why I'm recommending the safe bet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
    alanloomis1980 and saurion like this.
  7. saurion

    saurion

    Mar 21, 2019
    Buenos Aires
    Yeah, I'm buying through FB marketplace and mercadolibre (local version of ebay) and i will try out a couple of them before deciding. The VM is the safest bet, but it's also a huge financial effort for me. It's twice as expensive, is it worth it?
     
    jd56hawk likes this.
  8. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    I suggest get the VM PJ.
    She has pretty similar neck profile to CV 60P ~ Jazz like neck but little rounder/fatter along with P bass nut width.
    Awsome Comfort and easy to play .

    My VM fretless share same VM PJ neck profile .
     
  9. CallMeAl

    CallMeAl

    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    IMO/IME, it comes down to this: are you willing to do your own upgrades and repairs? All Affinity basses I have come across have needed at least something altered, fixed or upgraded for me to be happy with them. VM basses are usually ready to go.

    If you have to pay a tech to do it, that would probably break your budget and make a VM the better choice.

    Trying them out in person is huge, you can assess yourself what they need, if youre willing/able to do that work, and if it bothers you or not.
     
  10. saurion

    saurion

    Mar 21, 2019
    Buenos Aires
    I am, to a certain extent. I have no problem with basic stuff like setting up my truss rod, action, intonation and all that, but im quite reluctant to mess around with the kind of stuff that could ruin the bass (or be very expensive to fix) if done wrong (fretwork, electronics, etc).
     
  11. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    To confuse matters more, I have the complete opposite experience with Affinities vs VM.
    My AFN P has the sweetest neck I’ve ever seen of any bass in this price point.

    Being that I have too much time on my hands (or money to waste), I took it to a luthier because I wanted the neck perfect.
    He told me I’d be wasting money because, although not perfect, it’s pretty close.
    This was a “used try before buy" deal.

    But my VM Jaguar was new, bought on-line, and had the sharpest fret ends I’ve ever seen.
    I would NOT have bought it if I had tried it first.
    The good news is, after having the frets fixed, it’s one of my favorite basses.

    The AFN P sounded and played good stock, but I modded the holy crap out of it (back to too much time/money),
    and this is the bass that turned me into a Mod-Aholic.
    But honestly, the only thing I absolutely could not live with was the cheap 1 ply PG.

    I’ve heard horror stories about Affinities, and have no reason to doubt them,
    But I haven’t seen those problems, with my AFN or my two Bronco's, all "tried before buy" though.
    Maybe I’m just lucky.

    BTW, Welcome to TB.

    057912
     
    saurion likes this.
  12. dougjwray

    dougjwray

    Jul 20, 2005
    One thing to know: SX basses have "chunkier" necks and flatter fingerboards than Squiers. I like this, personally.
    Among various Fenders (models ranging from 1971 to 2015) and a Music Man Stingray 5, I own two SX basses and a 1988 Korean Squier II Precision Bass. They all sound and feel different, and are all fine.
    I think it comes down to the individual specimen. Sorry, I know that's not helpful if you're buying before trying...
     
  13. wraub

    wraub

    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    I will add that I have played many Affinity basses over the years, and imo they have ranged from average-bad to shockingly good, stock. (IME this is true of most things Fender related.) All may have benefitted from setup and strings to come alive, who can say..?
    Mine is a recent one, and seems to have benefitted from improvements higher up in the Squier line (apparently better PUs, alder body), so, if possible, I'd advise finding the newest one you can if you go that route.
     
    saurion likes this.
  14. CallMeAl

    CallMeAl

    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    That sounds like "setup" which I consider different than " repair." Just about any bass you get will need a setup.

    I recently taught myself fretwork and soldering, because a) I'm on a budget, b) I wanted to know how my instrument functions, and c) I didnt want to run to a tech everytime I needed small repairs.

    I layed out under $100 USD for tools (fret leveling kit, flat file, fret end file, soldering pen) so it is an investment, but I'm SO GLAD I did. I learned a lot, and can now fix up just about any bass that comes my way.

    Just something to think about. I get that its intimidating, I felt that way at first. All you need can be found on TB and YouTube.

    EDIT not trying to convince you to do repairs if you're not into it, just sharing that it worked out for me. FURTHER, It is totally possible for you to find an affinity that is good to go!! Reiterating that getting out there and trying them is the best thing you can do! (Which you mentioned.) Some may have minor flaws that you can live with, and fix down the road.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
    wraub and saurion like this.
  15. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty

    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Oddly enough, a VM Jaguar I bought some years ago brand new also had abnormally sharp fret ends. (almost enough for me to swear off Squier VM basses for a year - I can understand basses needing a setup but they were really sharp and wondered if it somehow bypassed Quality control) but VM Jazz and P basses I've had were fine so I wonder if it's model specific in this case.
     
    ejaggers likes this.
  16. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I really regret selling this one.
    Played over a dozen jazz basses before buying it, Squier and Fender, and this one was the only one that had me reach in my pocket for my wallet.
    I eventually went a different route, but I have been looking for a Squier CV Jazz in Inca Silver...no longer being made and getting harder and harder to find.
    Regardless, with some patience and luck, you might find a nice Affinity bass, but it would be better to try them out first...same for any bargain bass.
    [​IMG]
     
    gepettus and EatS1stBassist like this.
  17. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    Smart move!!!

    My AFN P above was my “Mod Guinea Pig”. I replaced the electronics myself at first.
    I knew where all the wires went but soldering them was really ugly.

    It actually worked, but I’m to anal retentive to leave it that ugly under the hood.
    Maybe I’ll buy an iron and practice, but my tech doesn’t charge much to solder.

    Some Bourbon talked me into doing some fret work one night.
    Long/Short don’t ever listen to Bourbon.

    Since that night I’ve done some minor fret work using lesson learned from that horrible night,
    and now I feel comfortable enough to buy a complete leveling kit.

    057912
     
    wraub and alanloomis1980 like this.
  18. CallMeAl

    CallMeAl

    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I bought the "Thomas and Ginnex" fret leveling system. IDK if TB would approve, but I was happy with the results, and the price was right.

    I also got the stew mac fret end file, I love that thing!
     
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  19. I own and can rely on my 2 Vintage Modified P-basses. Bought both used, but mint condition. They sound like a good Precision should. Parts are interchangeable and can be found everywhere. If reselling it down the road is a concern, the VM will sell easiest. Not so with SX.
     
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    In the long run it's cheaper to buy the best one first. That way you'll only have to buy one.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 16, 2021

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