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Thoughts on the Squier P-Bass Special as a backup/project bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by phxlbrmpf, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I've had GAS for a cheap (lefty) P-bass for a while now and came across this Squier:


    Anyone have experience with those? SXs are difficult to get hold of here. Exactly how junky are they? Thanks in advance.

    Hehe, "hard skirt maple neck". I somehow doubt that's proper English. :D
  2. i have a squier p bass (single p pup not like the one in the link) and one thing i will say for them is they stand up to a hell of a lot of abuse! but when you get it i would re-sheild the cavity and check the grounding as that is what i had to do
  3. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Exactly what did you use to shield the cavity and how did you glue it to its walls? My father, who claims to be good at electronics and all that, once told me using glue ruins the shielding effect. I'm not really sure if I can believe him. :eyebrow:

    Looks like this is the exact model:

  4. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    I have a squier precision 5. Bought it new. I spotted mine in a local music store and it was a good one. I used Stewart Mcdonald shielding paint. Put on 2 coats. A lot easier than all of the copper work. The ad states that the can is good for 2 basses but I believe that they left off a zero and it is probably good for 20.
    While you are in there, replace the pots and if you are really industrious then replace the pickups also. My bass has Bartolini Jazz pu's. I also wired the new pots for parallel/serial. Articles and schematics on this can be found on this site. The shielding and pots were an easy and quite inexpensive mod. The pu's cost $120 but the difference was worth it. :D
  5. punkindrublic


    Dec 10, 2005
    I say go for it dude.... Replace the electronics, the pickups, the bridge, and the tuners and you'll have a decent backup....
  6. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    I've got a Squier P for a backup, and sometimes it's the main player for the crappier clubs.

    It's modded with a BA2 bridge, MIA tuners and pup, and a gold anodized pickguard. All parts for the mods were scored from the TB classifieds for little or no money, so I have very little into the Bass.
  7. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    I bought a Squier P Bass Special Edition (mainly because I liked the look). I was quite impressed. I have a bunch of MIA Fenders and comparitively the Squier is really a nice little bass.

    The first one I received (purchased online) was really light (8 lbs 2 oz) and had a nice growl. I returned it though since the chrome pickguard was cracked and Fender just won't swap it out.

    The replacement bass was a bit more solid although it was slightly heavier (8 lbs 8 oz). It doesn't have quite the growl, but the tone is deeper. It looks great too with the matching headstock. For $199, I really wish these deals were available when I was starting out.


    Here's a pic (which doesn't do the instrument justice):

  8. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Hmm, when I read this, I was thinking of getting one of the new Yamaha BBs instead for a while, but as I really want to learn how to mod/install pickups/tuners, etc, I think I'm still gonna go with the Squier.
    Lync, how was the shielding on yours?
  9. Keef


    Jul 3, 2003
    Hollywood, CA
    phxlbrmpf, you're going to get some snarky answers in this thread about Squiers. I suggest you try one in person if you can.

    A few months back I was visiting GC with a keyboardist friend. I merely went along for the ride. Of course, I went to noodle on the basses. I tried most everything in the store, as my friend was taking 20 years trying out monitors, mixers, etc.

    There was one of these Squier P-specials sitting there on a stand. After trying a number of lackluster Fenders I thought "Ha-ha, I'll try the Squier!" Suppressing my chuckles, I plugged her in.

    It was love at first sight. It played great, sounded great! I was blown away, especially considering the price. In my honest opinion, it was the best playing "Fender" in the store. I looked at the headstock to make sure it wasn't a "real" Fender. I tried another amp. I LOVED it. I briefly succumbed to a moment of snobbery. "Buy a Squier... moi?" – but then I realized a great bass is a great bass, regardless of "the decal".

    I bought it on the spot, and have not regretted the purchase once. I shimmed the neck slightly, adjusted the bridge, and now it is one kick-ass axe. It is WORLDS better than either of the two SXs I've owned (I gave away one, and kept one as a knockaround piccolo). Much nicer than any of the MIMs in the store. Nice fat P sound, and a really authentic Jazz tone with the bridge pup soloed. Did I mention that I love this bass?

    I really don't want to "justify" my remarks, but... I've been playing for 25 years, and have owned a Rick 4003, '62 P (not reissue), early eighties Stingray, and a variety of other basses. My main bass is a '68 Jazz. And I would play this Squier P-special on any gig, or on any recording date.

    I'm sure I'll get flamed for writing this, but hear me know and remember this later – this Squier kicks some serious ass!

    If you find a good one, and judge it with your ears and hands, instead of by it's decal, you might just land a very impressive axe at a great price. I sure did.

    ~ k

  10. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Wow, I really want this axe now. o_O
    One question, Keef: I assume there should be no hum with the P pickup soloed, but is there hum if you dial in a bit of the J pickup?
  11. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    They didn't leave off a zero. The "enough to fully shield 2 basses" is if you completely fill the control cavities...;) :D
  12. Keef


    Jul 3, 2003
    Hollywood, CA
    No hum at all with the P soloed. As to the P/J mix, I just tested the settings you asked about:

    It's nominal at 50% dialed in – barely there at all, almost imperceptible. At around 70% it becomes noticeable, at 90+% it's just like a fully soloed Jazz (which of course, it is).

    Give one a try and see if you like it!
  13. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Thanks, I ordered it, lefty basses are hard to get hold of so I'm gonna take advantage of their return policy if I don't like it.

    Will a noise gate help against the hum? My Zoom stomp box which I also use to record stuff has a nice one, I haven't used a bass with single coils in ages.
  14. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    The noise gate might help when you are not playing, but you'll be miles ahead by properly shielding the pickup cavity and control cavity, replacing the pots, and by not standing under that neon beer sign...;)
  15. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Okay, got that sucker. I'm really quite impressed how solid a bass you can get for a bit more than 200 bucks these days.
    I took it to rehearsal but didn't use it for my band's actual songs as they're dowtuning-heavy but used it to jam with my guitar player a bit.


    I finally gave in and got GAS for a bass with a Fender-y sound and looks like I got it.
    The P pickup sounds thick, throaty and lively and the J pickup adds some nice, nasal bite. I honestly didn't expect the to sound that good. Sounds great both fingerstyle and picked.
    The construction and the woods seem solid. The body seems to be solid alder, no cardboard here, folks.
    The unfinished J neck felt a bit weird at first but it fits my hand like a glove, although it seems a bit on the toothpick-y side.
    The pickups don't seem to be noisy or prone to feedback in the slightest, even at high volumes. The single coil hum is very slight, I had to hold it against my amp so it would be noticeable

    The bass is pretty badly set up, action is fairly high and there's some buzz high up the neck. I'm going to try my best to fix this tomorrow.
    The edges of the P pickup feel pretty sharp, you could really hurt yourself on those. I think I'm gonna file 'em a bit.
    Also, the slap tone doesn't cut it to my ears, it sounds too tubby in all settings I've tried to far, but fortunately, I've got a nice Status for that. I honestly wasn't expecting the bass to excel in this department, though.

    Oh, yeah, and the side dot marker for the 12th fret looks off. :D

    Overall, I give this bass a high thumbs-up (I hope the neck's okay, though.) I wish my first bass had been that good.
  16. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Not a bad looking bass. Squier has surprised me a couple of times, because I always pick one up expecting crap, but sometimes you find a really good one.
  17. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Here's a shot of the back (the lighting's better now), some neat-looking wood grain there.

  18. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Hmm, I've discovered that the P pickup likes to make noises when I touch its pole pieces. Will covering them with some transparent sticky tape help?