Squier VM P5 vs USA Fender P5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CORBS, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. CORBS


    Dec 28, 2010
    Hello all, what are the differences between the Squier Vintage Modified 5-string P bass and the American model? I've been looking in to getting one, and I could swing a used MIA, or I could spend 1/4 of that and get the Squier and then throw down on a nice P5 pickup, Nordy or Aero or something. I understand it's the same woods, same string spacing, but what else is there?

  2. The quality of every part: the nut, the tuning machines, the controls...
    Get the used one if it feels good. Play it before buying.
    hdracer likes this.
  3. Bobster


    Mar 27, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Actually the body woods are different. The American P5 is alder, the Squier is basswood. The hardware is also better on the Fender but the Squier is still an excellent instrument.
    NicJimBass and jallenbass like this.
  4. darrenmt


    Dec 15, 2004
    Wood type/grade, finishing, hardware, pickups & electronics, fret dressing, tighter tolerances, etc. are what makes the Am Std P5 superior to the Squier.
    hdracer likes this.
  5. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    Try both.
    TonyP- likes this.
  6. CORBS


    Dec 28, 2010
    Not an option, I would have to purchase online. No retailer around me has either of them. Are there any mid-priced P5s aside from those two that I should know about?
  7. Woofer


    Sep 24, 2008
    Schecter Diamond P 5 and MTD Kingston CRB 5 come to mind. Both get good reviews, from what I've read.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  8. Superior is soooooo subjective & overused. When you factor in how much extra you're paying, it doesn't really seem like superior. When you blind test both, there's only a few minor details that stand out as superior on the American, and the rest is all down to personal taste.
    GBassNorth and hopsbb like this.
  9. darrenmt


    Dec 15, 2004
    I'd like to clarify that price difference isn't factored into my comparison. It is a factor of overall build superiority. Yes you are paying more for a higher grade build. A boutique version of this(US Lakland, Sadowsky, Mike Lull, etc.) would again, be superior overall but at an even higher price point.

    I'd like to also point out that I am in no way talking about personal taste or sound preference which are totally subjective. I'm approaching It purely from a material grade, craftsmanship and consistency standpoint. The OP was making comparisons and queried about difference in grade of components, wood and pickups/electronics.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  10. Material grade, I'll give you. Craftsmanship & consistency? Nah. They're both production level instruments produced using the same techniques and I've seen just as many good/lemon Squiers as I have MIAs. Pots, sure...the CTS used in the Fenders are arguably better (and relatively cheap). The pickups? That's personal taste. Some people prefer the Squiers.
    GBassNorth likes this.
  11. darrenmt


    Dec 15, 2004
    So you are saying that Squiers and Am Fenders are made exactly the same way, have their frets dressed at equal standards, same quality finishing and are both produced with equally consistent QC/QA? I'll let you ponder on that and for others to chime in too.

    IMO It most definitely isn't anywhere equal. I have played Squiers and granted they aren't bad, they don't feel anywhere in the same ballpark. Anyways if the differences are minor enough to you that you see no reason spending more money getting an MIA than more power to you.

    Btw i don't own a Fender anything currently. Have nothing invested in debating this. Just sharing my opinion. I play Laklands exclusively because i prefer their 5s.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
    The Nameless likes this.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Keep in mind some things are worth saving the money for.

    The difference between alder and basswood (similar to mahogany) is big. The alder body will be brighter and punchier sounding.

    Noone has mentioned yet that the Am P5 comes with a TSA flight case (used the case might be gone).
  13. Alaotatto

    Alaotatto Guest

    Aug 19, 2014
    Porto Alegre, Brazil
    What we tend to see a whole lot here is this need to say that squiers are up there with the MIA fenders...they are not. It doesnt mean they are bad instruments, they are, in fact, great for the ammount of money you pay for them..and the pups cant be compared in anyways with the current CS ones the AM STD line has..

    Conclusion: squier pride must have its limits.
    The Nameless, RichSnyder and hdracer like this.
  14. hopsbb


    Nov 8, 2014
    I'd go Squier and then do the pickup swap if you wanted too.I personally don't feel the AmStds are worth the money they ask for them.There isn't one single thing about them that imho outshines a Squier to the tune of $800 plus give or take maybe a few $100 less used.That Fender decal cost $350 alone lol.

    Its all a matter of opinion though.Body wood is different.I prefer basswood over alder.Construction is all cnc now which is why so many lower cost instruments are such better quality now as apposed to yrs ago.I don't like the CS pickups at all in the Mia or the necks.Hardware used on most Squiers is comparable/basically the same as what Fender offered before Fender "upgraded" a few yrs ago.I had a thread going about this not to long ago.About how new Squiers are better quality than Fenders from the 90's early 2000's.The consensus was generally that they are.

    There just isn't as big of a gap anymore between lower cost non USA and USA made instruments as there used to be.Which is why so many ppl have a hard time deciding which to go with.
    GBassNorth likes this.
  15. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    I have played both the American Standard and the Vintage Modified P5. If I had $1000 to spend, I would definitely buy a used AM Standard. It is a well made instrument! Now, if I had less than $1000 and needed a P5, the Squier is a fine instrument. The 3 or 4 I've played have been a very pleasant surprise! All were well made and sounded just like a P bass! But on the other hand, the American Standards I've played have been superior in every way to the Squier. Every way! One man's opinion. YMMV
  16. Same consistency? Yes. Fret dressing? Actually, yes. I've talked many times with the BC Fender rep about the processes used by the Squier factories and they use the same processes. I've also seen just as many new MIA Fenders with poor fret work as I have Squiers.

    The differences are minor. There's definitely no $1200 difference that would ever make me justify spending that much money on a bass ever again!
    hopsbb and GBassNorth like this.
  17. tink9975


    Aug 10, 2006
    MoCo, MD
    Isnt the AS P5 spaced at 19mm at the bridge and the Squier at 18mm?
  18. tink9975


    Aug 10, 2006
    MoCo, MD
  19. This thread's about the VM P5, not the J5. The P5 is basswood...which is kind of nice because it doesn't weigh nearly as much as the soft maple of the J5.