Should I upgrade my bass, or just buy a better one???

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by clay49, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. clay49

    clay49 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Fender Squire Jazz Bass, bought it for around $300 (new on Ebay), and it's a pretty decent bass (I'm a guitarist by trade).

    I am also a chronic "tinkerer" and always am upgrading pickups and electronics on my guitars, so I'm wondering if it would be better to replace electronics and pickups in this guitar to improve the sound, or maybe just flip it and buy a more expensive model that I won't have to upgrade.

    I'll have around 1K to invest, so let me know your thoughts, and what I could get on the used market for 1K.
     
  2. tjontheroad

    tjontheroad Supporting Member

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    If you like the way your Squire plays, then just upgrade the pups.

    Get yourself over to TalkBass you'll get lots of ideas.
     
  3. clay49

    clay49 Silver Supporting Member

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    I'll check it out, thanks for your input.
     
  4. Jay Ralston

    Jay Ralston Member

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    For under 1k, you can get a lot of really nice things. Music Man's in almost new condition, tons of MIA Fender basses and many other things. For that money, I would look at a nice used Stingray or Bongo.
     
  5. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

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    I'd say try experimenting with upgrading the electronics first. If you can't get it to be the bass you want, then put the original electronics back on it and sell it. Your upgrade parts can then be used in another bass.

    For a Squier, I'd be inclined to rip out all of the electronics, since the pots on Squiers tend to be cheap. For pickups, I recommend the split-coil type that give you a good vintage Jazz sound with hum cancellation (I like Lindy Fralin Split-Coil Jazz pickups, but they're pretty expensive -- Fender Super 55's are a good cheaper alternative if you can find them).
     
  6. Larry Mal

    Larry Mal Member

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    I'd never sink that kind of money or any kind of money into that guitar. Spend the $1k and get yourself a new guitar.
     
  7. ldizzle

    ldizzle Supporting Member

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    $1k can buy a heck of a used bass- if you want to sink the hobby time in, upgrade.
    If you want a solid bass off the cuff0...lakland/Warwick/fender active- no big deal- I just got a Warwick std corvette v off eBay for $600 and it's an amazing bass.
     
  8. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass. Highly recommended.
     
  9. clay49

    clay49 Silver Supporting Member

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    all great input guys, I appreciate it!
     
  10. jcs

    jcs Member

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    I don't know what you have for an amp or speakers but make sure they are up to snuff.

    Which exact model is your bass? The classic and vintage mod Squire are killer basses.

    If you are patient you can absolutely find great bargains on used bass gear..... I lean towards USA Peavey basses because they rarely need any upgrades....USA Eden & GK amps are my favs used for the money if you need an amp....but I digress!

    Otoh, any kind of Fender P bass type is easy and cheaper to mod than the J bass.

    That said, I would consider keeping the J bass and buy used upgraded parts that you could resell later if you return the bass to stock.

    Then go buy yourself a good P bass used....USA Peavey Fury are killer for the money in a P bass with a J style neck, particularly the 80's versions under $200.....needs no upgrades.

    I would first assess the amp and speaker part if you have 1k to spend.....there are some killer used bass amps out there for low dough used right now.

    As you can tell, I lean towards good cheaper bang for the buck guitars and basses but insist on killer amps & speakers!!
     
  11. georgestrings

    georgestrings Senior Member

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    Buy used - an '08 or later Fender American Standard Jazz with an S1 switch added would serve you quite well, and last several lifetimes - they can be had for around $700 on the used market, in excellent condition...

    A real sleeper for your stated purposes would be a MIM Fender Deluxe P Bass Special: Jazz neck, P Body, P/J pickups, and a very versatile preamp - they can be had for around $400 used...

    I wouldn't put any more money into the Squier, btw...


    - georgestrings
     
  12. treeofpain

    treeofpain Supporting Member

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    There are a lot of very cool basses for under $1k. It would be very surprising that your Squire would hold up against them, even with upgrades.
     
  13. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    For $1000 you could get a used, recent American Standard and probably still have some money to upgrade your Squire.
     
  14. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Member

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    As many of us know, any money you put into upgrades will never be returned. I used to upgrade my cheapo instruments, and I soon discovered that a $250 guitar with $300 worth of pickups and new wiring would readily sell for $250.

    On the other hand, if it's just something that you do for a hobby, go for it.

    Just be aware that you'll never end up with an instrument superior to what you would have if you had bought a better bass.

    I started out playing guitar and swapped with the bass player when he wanted to scare everybody on guitar. As a result I had no idea what a really good bass was until I got a gig as a full-time bass player. I fairly quickly went through about 3 instruments until I got a really good Classic '50s Precision, which exactly suited the band I was in.

    These days I have a StingRay 5, two split-coil Ps and a single-coil P and I have no desire to play one of the lesser basses I used to.
     
  15. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    If you have the $$, just buy a better bass. Nothing against throwing a couple hundred at a Squier to upgrade the electronics and bridge, but getting a used American Jazz bass would be significantly nicer.
     
  16. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    There are different levels (quality) of Squier basses, some really good, some not so much. Looking long term I would recommend that you find a nice American made bass, new or used, that you like and trade your Squier and that $1K for it.
     
  17. scottymc

    scottymc Member

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    In the last month I bought a cheap used Squier Bronco because I wanted a short scale. I modded it completely. Buffed out the finish to make it matte, installed new pickup, new electronics, badass bridge, new tuners. The works. Set up with flatwounds.

    A month before that I bought a USA P Bass. I played the newly modded Squier for about 5 minutes before picking up and comparing to the P Bass. Haven't picked up the Squier since. With all the new work it doesn't sound terrible, but there's a reason a USA Fender costs what it does. There's a tone and feel that you won't be able to replicate even upgrading.

    So, from experience doing this many times (not just this bass), take that 1k and invest in a professional instrument. You won't regret it.
     

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