The three-ply scratchplate
(black/white/black), domed
knurled controls, synthetic
bone nut, lower horn thumb
rest and black front and side
position markers complete the
package perfectly and overall,
it feels like the real deal. In
fact, if the branding hadn't
been present on the headstock,
you could be easily fooled into
thinking this was an example
from Fender's own range, as it
certainly feels substantial and
worthy of the road.
SOUNDS AND PLAYABILITY
W ith an acceptable overall weight and balance, and a bright
response from the heavy gauge strings, acoustically the Squier
sounds incredibly familiar, with a strong basic character: at this
point, its sound is the sum of its parts. However, it falls a little
flat once plugged in. The bottom end sounds a little insubstantial
and the rounded 'grindy' thump that Precisions deliver seems to
be missing. The tone is lacking in terms of raw power and punch:
basically it's not hard-hitting enough, which means you have to
work your amp harder to achieve some solid sounding familiar
Precision-like tones. Switching between pick and fingers does offer
some light and shade to the proceedings, however, and the tone
control does its job acceptably enough.
Overall the limitations in sound are obvious, but it's not
clear whether this is down to the pickup, the timbers used, the
construction or a blend of all three. Nevertheless, this lack of frills
and bells and whistles is reflected in the price. Precisions have
never been resplendent in tonal finery, but the basic fundamental
tone of any useful bass has to be strong and full, you'll agree.
CONCLUSION
We're left with a bit of a conundrum. The bass has that classic look, is
comfortable to wear and plays pretty well, but sonically it just doesn't
stand out from the crowd. At £429, I expected a better performance.
A signature model should always offer something a little extra
from the standard models: placing someone's signature on the
headstock simply isn't enough to warrant blowing any trumpets. The
specification suggested that some design features had been included
to set it apart, but I don't think these add anything to the tone or
overall sound. As a first instrument for a new bassist, this Squier
could certainly get them out there, but I can't see too many players
choosing one as a second bass or standby instrument. If, on the other
hand, you're a fan of Matt Freeman, at this price it isn't a huge outlay
- and if it gets you playing on a
regular basis, that can only be a
good thing.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
P R IC E I £429
M A D E IN I China
B O D Y Basswood
N E C K I Maple
N E C K JO IN T I Bolt-on, four-bolt
attachment
N U T W ID T H |
41mm
F IN G E R B O A R D |
Maple
F R E T S | 20
P IC K U P S |
Custom Precision Bass split-coil
e l e c t r o n i c s |
Passive
c o n t r o l s |
Volume, tone
H A R D w A R E |
Squier 'Hi-M ass' chrome
bridge with brass saddles, chrome hardware
w e i g h t |
4.5 kg
c a s e / g i g b a g i n c l u d e d ? |
No
l e f t - h a n d o p t i o n a v a i l a b l e ? |
Yes
WHAT WE THINK
P L u s |
W ell constructed, classic vibe, great
playability
M IN u s |
Lacking in tone and a
disappointing sonic display,
slightly pricey also
o v E R A L L |
A w ell put-together instrument
that suits the market it's aimed at, but falls
short of being a recommended bass
BGM RATING
BUILD QuALITY
sound quality
value
0 6 2
b a s s g u it a r m a g a z in e
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