Squier VM Jazz versus Fender MIM Precision for Blues

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Polish Thunder, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Hello everyone,

    I am looking for some input from any of you experienced bass players, especially if blues is a main part of your playing. I have been following the recent 'First Precision Bass' thread but did not want to hijack it with my question so I am starting a new thread.

    I started playing bass 11 months ago. I am an old blues harp player that wanted something different. Through the recommendation of a friend who plays bass, I bought a left handed Squier VM 70's Jazz bass. I have since put LaBella flatwounds on it and I get a really good sound out of it.

    Since I am about playing the blues, I have been seriously thinking about getting a Fender MIM Precision. I have privately messaged a couple of members on the forum (thanks for your input!), and have discussed this with two seasoned bass instructors/pros who both recommended that I should just stay with the Squier and upgrade the PUPs.

    So I am throwing this out to anyone who plays the blues as to whether you think a Jazz bass (in particular a Squier) suffices for the blues or is a Fender Precision in my immediate future.

    BTW, I currently do not have G.A.S. and I prefer the have one go-to bass that becomes second nature to me.


    Allendale, MI USA
    fhm555 likes this.
  2. I've played blues with both a jazz and a precision. Both work fine. With the Jazz you can use the neck pickup for a bassier sound, or both on full for a slightly scooped tone. Both sit well in blues. The bridge pickup on its own doesn't work so well for this, I find. I prefer the feel of a jazz, so if I had to pick I'd personally go for that. Don't underestimate the effect playability will have on the overall experience..
  3. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Is that the latest version of the VM 70s jazz with the Fender designed (not Duncan designed) pickups? Those Fender designed jazz pickups are VERY aggressive in my experience. I would rather choose a MIM P-bass for blues if my choices were limited to those two basses only.

    Edit: I missed the part about upgrading the pickups being an option. That would certainly be an improvement. The VM 70s Jazz is easily as good as a MIM Fender if you upgrade the pickups.

    You still have to decide on J vs P though. I would personally prefer P for blues but that would be old school blues (and I generally prefer Ps for just about anything, lol). For more modern styles of blues, perhaps a J would be better.

    And then there's the weight... The VM70 maple body is heavy! I've got a VM70 5-string and I could NEVER play regular gigs with that boat anchor around my neck! The 4-string is lighter of course but still... maple body is HEAVY! An alder body MIM should be considerably lighter.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  4. konfyouzd


    Jan 3, 2009
    The VM pickups ARE quite aggressive. I had someone make that exact comment on a recording I made with one. That was the goal in that recording, but I definitely didn't have to try hard.

    You can possibly mitigate that with the volume knobs to some extent, though. You could also just change the pickups.

    All of that said, I think if I were in your shoes, I'd just try them both and see which one speaks to me most when playing a particular style. I have always been a J bass fan. But I recently started playing more hip hop and R&B related tracks with my cousin and I've found that in that context it's all about the P bass (for me). I use my J bass on tracks where my P bass simply doesn't have the lower range I might want (or I'm just too lazy to retune it). Like maybe I'm rooted in E but for a particular line I want to use a D1 or something.

    They make 5 string P basses, but the ones I find I'm just too cheap to pull the trigger on.
  5. Solude


    Sep 16, 2017
    Really just a question of budget and neck finish preference.
  6. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph Supporting Member

    I'd take my Squier VM 70s natural finish to a gig any day over a Jazz MIM, as every one of those I've tried in shops so far we're not up to the Squier's quality and tone. I have very little experience with Precisions, only tried a few in shops, never took one home. But I love the P sound, so I got my Jazzes series/parallel modified to get the best options for me: Jazz playability and tone, plus P-ish sound at the pull of knob.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
    Machiavelli and Haroldo like this.
  7. Sean150


    Jul 18, 2018
    If you’re happy with the Jazz and want to have a single go to bass then I would suggest sticking with the Squier. Having multiple basses causes some weird preferences in my experience. I was in a similar situation to you last year (less than one year experience and wanting a bass for the blues) and ended up buying a Player Jaguar PJ which is now my preference for the blues....... except when it’s not. I am currently learning the Cream version of Crossroad Blues and much prefer the tones I get from a Jazz for it; or even my Yamaha which I mainly use for funky stuff and have stainless steel strings on.

    Long story short the Squier VM Jazz is a very capable bass and you have a lot of flexibility with strings, pickup balance, amp eq etc. to dial in your optimal tone for blues.
    Andy Daventry and konfyouzd like this.
  8. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play...

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
  9. Tommy V

    Tommy V

    Feb 19, 2019
    first and foremost, play whatever you are comfortable with.. most any bass will work with blues, as long as you do your part.
    waynobass, 4StringDave and filmtex like this.
  10. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    I play Blues with both these basses, a P and a J, they both fit In really nice... E700C89F-3F1C-4F99-8C20-3690D186E051.jpeg
    4StringDave, Tommy V and Tad like this.
  11. Thank you to everyone that replied!

    My Squier does have the newer Fender Single Coil Jazz pups in them. I have not taken then out so I do not know the exact specs.

    I have messed around with the knobs. For the blues, I turn the neck pickup all the up, the bridge pickup either all the way off or maybe at 10%. The tone knob I roll almost all the way off and tweak from there, just above to where it gets a little muddy. My amp currently is a Fender Rumble 25. I back off the mids and treble, and bump up the bass just a tad.

    I do not think the neck with be an issue. I have baseball mitt size hands so the Precision neck should not be a problem

    My Squier is the natural and does have that vintage look to it. I even threw on some old style black jazz knobs on it.

    Maybe I need to take the three hour road trip to Sweetwater in Indiana to try out the Precision. They have a couple LH in stock.
    JoshS likes this.
  12. I tend to like a P for trio settings and pre-1967 blues.

    I tend to like a J when there is a B3 involved and when it's newer funkier stuff:

    Luckily, my Fender Roscoe Beck sig model does both.
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I played a Jazz for 20 years doing, rock, blues, and jazz.
    Tommy V and 4StringDave like this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    For blues I slightly prefer a Jazz over a PB. I like the somewhat smoother note attack when it’s strung with flats compared to the PB.
  15. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    i've grown to prefer Jazz basses over the decades ...

    but i always install some type of humbucking pickpups so i can take advantage of a variety of tones , minus any single coil hum ...! lately i prefer ' split coils ' ... to me they sound most like singles ... versus dual or stacked coils ..

    mostly recently installed a set of DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pups ... hard to beat for the money ... 20190301_144906.jpg
  16. I am a Pbass guy all the way, but I can’t think of one reason you could not use a Jazz for the blues. I can think of many great blues players that used Jazz basses.
    BillMason likes this.
  17. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Played a lot of blues bass ... and was also a blues harp player first like you. My advice is to pick whatever bass feels best in your hands. Both basses, and nearly any bass, can be made to sound good in the mix. But you'll play better and be more inspired with the one that feels best to you.
    danster, blindrabbit, Tommy V and 2 others like this.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    try a 5 string bass for blues
  19. user362432

    user362432 Guest

    Dec 27, 2002
    Consider Squier CV P (black one), while still you can find it. Many stores still have it, check it out.
  20. MichelD


    May 19, 2014
    I saw Albert Collins in 1969.

    His bass player played a Fender jazz bass.