Bass Number 12 – Squire Jazz Bass Fretless

This bass is a new Squire Vintage Modified Jazz Bass® Fretless and becomes number 12 of 101 Basses.

Squire, as you likely already know, is currently Fender‘s budget model brand.  Most of the models you can get from Fender are available in lower end models from Squire.

In previous years Fender had  lost a lot of business to companies that would produce cheap copies of their high end instruments.  So having the Squire brand makes a lot of business sense for them.

Overall, what I see with Squire instruments is that they are pretty good, however, they are somewhat inconsistent in their quality.

I’ve played the same bass in two different stores and found them to feel completely different.  I’ve also played some basses where the neck laminates simply weren’t completely sanded and made the back of the neck rough on the hands.

So if you’re going to buy one, you need to play it first.  And maybe all it needs is a setup (and new strings).

The back of the headstock is stamped with “Designed and Backed by Fender – Crafted in Indonesia”.

This bass is fretless and one of the issues with fretless is that combining roundwound strings with anything but a really hard fret board means a lot of wear to the fretboard over years of playing.  The original Fender fretless basses came with a rosewood fretboard.  But in those days most bassists played with flatwound strings so it really wasn’t an issue.  These days most players use roundwound strings, so many fretless basses use ebony as a fretboard.

I suppose ebony is too expensive for this budget bass so Squire has decided to use an “…Ebonol fingerboard with white celluloid lines…“.  I don’t know what the heck ebonal is but it doesn’t look like wood.  In appearance, it seems to be a type of glossy black plastic.  Regardless, assuming Squire knows what they are doing, this bass comes with roundwound strings so we’ll see how it does with time.

For me, the real test of an instrument is to play it in a room with a full band with lots of volume and competition from all the other instruments.  I played this bass at a band practice with six other people and I’m not really sure if I like it a lot or if there is something lacking.  I was playing it through my Ampeg SVT-3 and 410HLF.  At first I thought the sound was a bit thin, but as I played through the night it seemed that the sound cut through all the other players pretty well.

With the lined fretless I soon forgot I was playing fretless.  Except for the odd time when I was playing off the markers.  But somehow you can hear the faux-pas very well and you get right back on track.

Overall this is a pretty good bass.  I’m not really sure if I like the ebonal and I wonder if the bass would benefit from some better pickups.  These pickups are “Duncan Designed”, which would indicate they are made by Seymour Duncan, but maybe a lesser grade.

From an aesthetic standpoint, I kind of miss the pickguard.  I looks incomplete without it to me.  I wonder if a regular Jazz Bass pickguard would fit?

Not bad for a $300.00 bass.


Pricing: MF $299.99 USD

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5 Responses to Bass Number 12 – Squire Jazz Bass Fretless

  1. Peter says:

    Very cool Terri! Yep, for the money, they definitely can be a great fretless and as fretless might not be everyone’s #1 bass, it’s good to have an affordable option for a great colour to add to the palette.


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