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Brand Squier used to be a synonym for poorly made Fender copies which would sometimes be awesome, but other times pretty disappointing. Those days are long gone, that is for sure. These days Squire makes pretty solid guitars across the range, which also includes some that are definitely capable of going head to head with its immediate competition.
Squier by Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV is a perfect example. Active bass with solid build quality and great tone that can be had for less money than you'd expect. It's definitely good enough to be on our short list for best models in the $500 range.
The body on this puppy is your standard Fender shape that comes in a nice vintage sunburst finish among other options. Unlike the Fender, tonewood Squier went with is basswood. No matter how much negative stories are circulating about basswood, it's a solid wood of choice when you need to cut down on the cost of the end product. The neck is a standard C shape maple piece with a 12-inch radius and an ebony fretboard.
The hardware on this model is a bit ahead of your standard vintage style flush unit. Schecter Stiletto Stealth 4 comes with an S-Tek bridge that uses a lot more rigid principle of operation to adjust the intonation. The main advantage of this type of design is more stable tuning and setup in general. The tuners are Schecter brand die cast units, which are standard, unlike the bridge. With that said, they work perfectly fine and hold the tuning efficiently under normal use.
Since it's Squier we are talking about here, you can expect that regular Fender design everywhere including hardware. Flush vintage style bridge with four fully adjustable saddles is what keeps the strings in place, while a set of die-cast tuning machines takes care of the rest. The hardware is chromed, and does a decent job at holding the tuning as well as intonation. If you don't push this bass overboard in terms of how you play it, you shouldn't really experience any issues with the hardware.
Seeing a Squier bass guitar with a set of active electronics is something only a few people are used to, even after all this time. There are two Jazz Bass active single coils available, and they are downright amazing. The pickups are controlled using a Master Volume, Tone, three-band EQ knobs and a slap switch. This unusual feature is pretty self-explanatory, and it does help when you need to slap or pop some strings. Overall, the electronics package on this Squier is pretty impressive.
The sound is by far the best thing about the Squier by Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV. It's perfectly fine to not expect something on this level from a Squier bass guitar. There's range, hot output and versatility everywhere. You can dial in just about any type of tone you want, and the guitar will keep up with you. That slap feature might sound gimmicky, but it actually does boost those trebles a bit, giving you an extra dose of punch. This thing is definitely among the more flexible and capable models in its class.
Here's a demo/review video of the same model in Natural color: