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Squier Vintage Modified Jazz question...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ForeverForNow, Apr 21, 2017.


  1. ForeverForNow

    ForeverForNow

    Jan 21, 2015
    Wa state
    How's it going, everyone? Had a quick (hopefully) question that I'm looking for input on.

    I've heard great things about Squier's VM series basses for affordability and value, and since I'm on a tight budget right now and need a 5 string, I've been looking at the Jazz V.

    I'm perfectly capable of wiring and soldering, installing hardware, etc, and as I really enjoy modding guitars, my question is how much can they be improved with incremental upgrades? Don't get me wrong here, I'm not expecting to pay just under 400 bucks for a bass and throw some new stuff on it and have it play like a Warwick. But more along the lines of 'how far can I take this as basically a platform body/neck guitar that I'll upgrade everything else over time?'

    For style of music, I do everything except country and its variants, really. I'm mostly in the progressive/metal space, but I'll regularly go for blues, rock and funk as well.

    Thanks in advance for the input, and if you've got suggestions, I'm definitely down to hear them.

    - Jay
     
  2. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Yes
    There tons of "fender style" parts that will bolt right on with little or no modification
     
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  3. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    From what I've seen and read, Jimmy's right. If there was a "Fender Compatibility Gauge", the VM's would rate pretty high. It's conceiveable that you could completely gut a recently-made VM and replace just about everything with Fender licensed parts.
     
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  4. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I did exactly that. My #1 bass was a stock VM Jazz when I bought it off the shelf....then i replaced the neck because I wanted unlined fretless, then I replaced the pickups because I wanted DiMarzios, then I replaced the strap buttons because I wanted straplocks, then I replaced the hardware because I wanted black, then I replaced the body because I wanted a highway one body.....I think the neck bolts might still be original Squier VM.

    Just like my great-grandpa's hatchet, handle's been replaced three times and the head twice, but it's still great-grandpa's hatchet
     
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  5. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Is this thing on!? Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    Seems to me the VM's are a perfect modding platform. I have a J5 and P5, both modded to the point that the only stock parts are the neck and body. Off the shelf, they're good instruments. Switch the hardware, they become really good to great. I swapped electronics as well, but honestly, the stock pickups are perfectly fine, may want to switch the pots and jack to taste.

    I've been gigging both of mine, at least twice a weekend, for the last year to year and a half, with no regrets, and no problems.
     
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  6. ForeverForNow

    ForeverForNow

    Jan 21, 2015
    Wa state
    Awesome! Thanks for the responses, all. Stoked to pick one up and get to work on it. Gonna be nice to finally have a 5er, and something different from the ESP 4 string I've got. Been looking at a Jazz V for a while, but can't afford a US outright anymore. So I'm glad this is an option :)

    Cheers
     
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  7. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    If you want to get even more "adventurous", check this out… ;)

    Unveiling IV: Squier "No-Guilt Jazz V" Parts-Bass
     
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  8. ForeverForNow

    ForeverForNow

    Jan 21, 2015
    Wa state
    Malak, that is absolutely sick, man. I might have to cop that no pick guard idea. Looks sleek.
     
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  9. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie

    Mar 24, 2006
    NoVA
    I have a 2014 5-string model that came with Fender-designed pickups (older ones came with duncan-designed pickups).
    I replaced the bridge only because I like high-mass, solid bridges. There is nothing wrong with the stock bridge if you like the vintage-style.
    I also installed a 2-band preamp I had laying around and modded it to have an active/passive switch and passive tone control.
    The last thing I did was replace the pickups with Duncan Quarter Pound Jazz pickups, only because I like them overwound. The originals sound great and have a cool hi-mid sizzle to them, but they are a bit too bright for my tastes. The QP's have a lot of low-mids and a lot of growl. The neck pickup in particular sounds like a mix between a J and P.
    All other hardware is stock. I absolutely love the VMJV as a whole, but especially love the neck profile. I did exactly as Malak did, and put a VMJV neck on an Affinity body.

    IMG_4581.

    IMG_4582.

    089EFC8F-3BF9-41EB-AFA6-6409B3D72B5C.

    Affinity with VMJV neck (and other mods)
    A723783C-E83E-40F1-943D-D84436019289.

    Oh, the VM basses have a huge pickup route under the pickguard. You cannot run it without the PG, unless you want it to look madd-ghetto.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  10. I can't add much to what has been said already, I generally agrre with it all, but I would add, give the instrument time before you start modifying it out of hand. You might be surprised to find it won't need that much upgrading right away. I would say maybe only change out those things that you find really annoying at first. I myself have one of the older VM 70's Jazzes, the one of the ones with the satin finished necks, and the only changes I found "necessary" were purely cosmetic ones. Oh, and I changed the saddles to Fender threaded ones to better align the strings with the pickup poles, but that's it. I feel it doesn't need anything else.
     
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  11. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    That was what I had in mind when I put together that "Affinity/Modified" Jazz-V. The urge to turn it into a full-on modification project, much like @eastcoasteddie did, was very strong, but the idea keeping it's cost as low as possible, combined with it's surprising level of pre-existing quality, kept me from pouring a ton of money and energy into it.

    Mind you, I'm not saying modding the poopie out of it would've been a bad thing. Far from it, in fact. In this particular case, the "low-cost" angle was one of my primary goals. :greedy: ;)
     
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  12. ForeverForNow

    ForeverForNow

    Jan 21, 2015
    Wa state
    Oh, that's right - he mentioned he'd used an affinity body, so the routing is different. Got it. Yeah, ghetto rad is not what I'm going for.

    Those SD Quarter Pounds are what I'm aiming at as well. So much punch...
     
  13. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    @ForeverForNow; What kind of neck finish are you looking for…glossy, satin or does it even matter to you?

    Around 2013, at the same time VM's switched from "Duncan Designed" pickups to "Fender Designed", they started giving their necks a glossy finish. Before that, it was a satin finish.

    In the case of my "Affinity Modified", I wanted a glossy neck because personally, I think they look and feel better to my eyes and hands. Plus, I like the idea of a nice, nearly bulletproof finish protecting the neck. So, when I was snooping around for a VM to part-out, I paid close attention to any pictures of the pickups. If they said "Duncan Designed" on the pickup covers, it wasn't what I was looking for, but if there was no branding visible, it was a good bet it was a 2013 or later model.
     
  14. ForeverForNow

    ForeverForNow

    Jan 21, 2015
    Wa state
    I actually prefer a gloss finish on the neck. I know a lot of guys hate them, but it feels nice to me. I don't have an issue with my hands getting stuck or dragging on it. Satin finish is fine as well - if the instrument feels good to me, I don't mind either. I tend to lean towards gloss if I've got my say, though.
     
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