|Body And Neck:
Fender’s Squier have always been one of those brands leading the pack when it comes to a quality budget instrument – and their bass line is no exception. Especially when you take a look at their Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass, which proves that you don’t need to spend over the odds to get a good 5-string bass, as we’re about to find out.
There are certainly more adventurous-looking 5-string basses on the market, although this model holds the timeless, no-nonsense style that Fender pride themselves on. It features a classic 34” scale length double-cutaway Jazz Bass body made from solid alder, that comes in a choice of either black or brown sunburst finishes. These color choices aren’t the most inspired, but do the job and fit that Fender look very well.
As does the bolt-on neck, which is the classic pairing of maple with a rosewood fretboard and 20 medium jumbo frets. This neck features a modern C shape, and feels sleek in the hands – generally it’s quite comfortable to play, even though it’s also quite a heavy bass.
Corners have to be cut somewhere to sell such a good bass at such an affordable price, and these corners are the set-up – it’s likely to require a little attention out of the box. Otherwise it’s a solid performer, that feels pretty well made.
Like the body, the hardware on this bass is classic Fender – nothing more than you really need, and all relatively solid. It comes with two Jazz Bass V single-coil pickups at the bridge and middle positions, with shielded cavities to alleviate any unnecessary interference. These two pickups are controlled by an individual volume control for each, along with a single master tone control.
The top load bridge allows for individual adjustment of the saddles, and is plated with chrome – as are the tuning machines and control strip. So while there’s nothing spectacular, it’s a decent display from Squier, with no complaints from us.
The Jazz Bass V sounds pretty good thanks to the two single-coils – both are quite powerful and punchy, with a mellow sounding neck pickup and a little more edge from the bridge. There’s also good sustain on offer thanks to the weight of the alder. Worthy of stage performances? That depends on the stage, but in general it’s definitely suitable providing your amp is up to scratch. The overall sound impresses, and outperforms some in slightly higher price brackets.
Don’t let the Affinity tag put you off – it shouldn’t. As with all Squiers, this model proves a very low-risk investment for any beginner, or even an experienced bassist looking to try a 5-string model for the first time. It works well for any style of music and, after a good set-up, it’s very playable with tones on par with something more expensive.