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Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazz Bass Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Marcus, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. A while back I posted in threads about the Classic Vibe 60s Jazz that I would eventually give a detailed review after messing around the bass for an extended period of time. Since it has been around a month since I have bought one, I think it would be a good time to share my thoughts.

    I will cut right to the point that most are probably wondering about – I certainly think that this bass is worth $300.00 and yes, I do believe Squier basses have been getting better in terms of value and quality control.

    I bought the bass the day after trying it at a music store and I compared it to a quite few other Fender (as well as a Squier Vintage Modified) basses. No, I do not think this bass is better than an American Fender, but for the money, one cannot expect it to be.

    The first thing that surprised me about the bass was the weight. It is fairly light (around 8 pounds) and is very resonant. I was skeptical about the basswood body (my other bass, a Tetsu-model GrassRoots bass, is also made of basswood and is HEAVY) and was pleasantly surprised when I picked it off the wall.

    Next thing was the finish and setup. It was nicely setup and looked aesthetically pleasing, especially the tortoiseshell guard. I did not notice the bridge saddles at first (supposedly brass) but looking at them now, I think they make the bass look fairly unique (for a mass produced bass that is).

    Plugged in at the shop, it sounded like a decent Jazz bass. It could ape the standard slap tone, the thick neck sound and the Jaco-esque bridge vibe. After buying it, I was really excited to play it through my amp and cabinet (Little Mark II, GK Neo 112) ... sadly, this is where a couple of issues arise.

    I could not tell at the shop, but the bass really needed some shielding. How I missed it, I have no idea. Perhaps it was the Fender combo amp that I was playing through (and possibly the fact that I just kept mucking around the thing), but at home, the pickups produced an annoying hum.

    I was also a little disappointed with the tone of the stock pickups. While they are not terrible by any means, they certainly are not very inspiring. Like I mentioned before, the bass could mimic the tone of other Jazz basses decently, but that is where it ends. Personally, “decent” is just not my thing. I am not the type to go modification happy, but after about three weeks of humming and overall bland tone, I swapped the pickups for DiMarzio Ultra-Jazz pickups (courtesy of Best Bass Gear) and had the cavity shielded. After getting the bass back, I was fairly pleased with the sound of the Ultra-Jazz set. While a lot better than the stock set, the bridge pickup does not cop the exact aggressiveness I am looking for. For now though, I am really happy with the end result. No hum and improved tone is always good.

    Another annoyance (which I relieved with some mild work) was the stiffness of the tuners. Swapping out the stock strings (of unknown origin), it took a Herculean effort to tune the thing back up. Not a huge deal since it appears to hold in place well, but still worth mentioning.

    One last complaint is the finish on the back of the neck. At first, I was happy at the sight of no “skunk stripe.” After a while though, the almost radioactive-looking orange tint started to be a bit of an eyesore. It is not that bad, but it gives the bass a cheap appearance (which I suppose is fitting, given the brand and price).

    In spite of the issues that I brought up, I still very much think that the Classic Vibe 60s Jazz is a nice bass. It feels nice in my hands, can produce “Jazz” sounds and a big plus for me is the fact that it looks great in person.

    To sum it up -

    Pros – Looks great, is light weight (though that may certainly vary from bass to bass), sounds decent (even without modification, though shielding may be required) and carries a price tag of $300

    Cons – Pickups may not be suitable for some, may have some grounding/hum issues, may have stiff tuners, some may not like the finish on the back of the neck and it carries a price tag of $300

    Obligatory photos of the bass -

    A full shot of the bass. Nothing too out of the ordinary for a Jazz style bass.

    A closer shot of the body – the “brass saddles” on the bridge can be seen a little better here.

    A shot of the headstock for those that were curious about how it looks. The gold lettering is a little cheesy, but hey, at least it's not the old boring black text of other Squier instruments.

    Here's a shot of the neck. The lack of the “skunk stripe” is very appealing to me, but the finish screams “this came out of the same factory as an SX bass!” It is alright, but the wood itself does not have a very attractive appearance.
  2. Nice review. I've been wondering how these basses stack up to the VM series. Sounds like the pickups are not so hot. Not surprising though. They had to cut corners somewhere.
  3. Kramsey


    Feb 9, 2008
    Denton, TX
    do you have that bass in an incase?
  4. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    So they're about the same or are the VM pups better?
  5. Polk Salad

    Polk Salad Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2007
    I played one of these in the shop the other day and really liked it. Looked nice in person and the one I had was very lightweight as well. Very comfortable neck.

    Thanks for the review!
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Marcus, you hit the nail on the head! There is nothing more deceptive than getting that positive response at the store only to take your new baby home and realize that it has some real shortcomings once you plug and play at home or your rehearsal space. Your Squier experience is just more proof to me that you just have to be ready to spend a little money if you want some quality, especially if you are buying new.
  7. I am glad this thread is of some help. The CV60s Jazz does indeed have its issues, but like the Dr. mentioned, you do get what you pay for mostly.

    Recently, I also removed the finish from the back of the neck and now it feels a lot better. In all, I am really enjoying the bass.

    I plan on getting a different set of tuners at some point. I am hesitant though because I am not sure which would fit.

    Here are some other threads about the CV60s Jazz bass -

    Squier and Sadowsky comparison part 1
    Squier and Sadowsky comparison part 2
  8. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    I pretty much agree with your assesment on this bass because I purchase one for mainly due to its price and like most was supprised by how good and felt for $299.99 + tax . I'm sure with better pickups it defiantley would sound better,however I chosed not to go this route because it is what it is a good sounding inexpensive Jazz Bass,but I'll be honest with you I had a $2500.00 Jazz bass that couldn't get the Jaco tone at all , but it was supposed to be a Jazz Bass :meh: .
  9. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    I'm in need of piccys of this bass without the scratchplate...
  10. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    You could try the DiMarzio Model Js, they're stacked humbuckers so they have some noise cancellation.
  11. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I have had DiMarzio UltraJazz pups installed on basses twice, and both times they were noisy, even with both pickups at the same volume.
  12. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    Great looking bass for 300 bucks. I like the early Telecaster like, naked brass bridge saddles. I'd slap a set of Duncan Antiquities in that bad boy, along with a sheilding job if it were mine. Looks like a great bang for the buck J-Bass as it is.Congrats.
  13. I'm willing to bet your Ultra Jazz experience was 5 string pickups yes? Both the Model J and Ultra *4* string pickups have been extremely quiet IME - but the 5 string versions have not - MIGHT be due to the 3+2 coil split, as oppsoed to the even 2-2 in the 4 string version...who knows...

  14. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Thanks for the review. It's great to get more than just "it kills" or "it sucks" like we read here on TB all too often. :)

    It sounds like you are having a lot of fun with your $300 bass. Probably money well spent!
  15. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
  16. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Good point - I have them in my fretless Squier, and they're pretty quiet. I didn't have a noise problem with the stock pickups however, but that was with a different amp - not sure if that would make a difference or not.
  17. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    Oops for the bump but I need to check if the wiring for the neck pup is channeled or proper (hidden).
  18. Pictures of the bass without the pickguard -



    With the slightly "worn" pickguard -



    Copper shielding tape is not stock, for those wondering.
  19. The following would set this bass off:

    Badass II (I'd say that's a given)
    Improved Tuners(with Squiers,it's a must with Hipshot / Schaller being my recommendation)
    DiMarzio UltraJazz (try and get them in cream to give your 60's bass a 70's twist)
    Copper Shielding if you like the bare look of Jazz basses
  20. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    Thanks for the pics Marcus... prob lack of proper routing has put me off this bass.

    Looks sweet with the guard though but.

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