|Body And Neck:|
While choosing to play bass over a six-stringed guitar may seem like an easier choice, it can still be a physically demanding instrument for beginners – especially those with smaller hands – due to the thicker strings and longer neck. This is why a shorter scaled instrument, such as this Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS from Fender’s budget subsidiary Squier is such a great bass for beginners. Let’s check it out.
Beginners playing this bass don’t have to worry about whether it looks good – as the name blatantly says, it’s a Jaguar, with the timeless and instantly familiar curvaceous body shape. The body is made of agathis, and finished in glossy Black, sleek Silver, or – our favorite – the cool Candy Apple Red.
As well as good looking it’s also comfortable to hold, whether sitting or standing, if a little on the heavy side. Beginners will really benefit from the length of the neck, which is shorter than your usual bass (a 30” scale length instead of the usual 34”), meaning it’s easier to get up and down. Moving around is also helped by the neck’s polyurethane finish, which is fast and smooth.
The neck itself is bolt-on and made from maple, with a comfortable C shape, and a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets, all of which are very accessible. Despite its affordable price tag, this Jaguar feels made to last, and doesn’t need much set up out of the box.
This bass is loaded with the classic Fender PJ pickup configuration, with a split single-coil Precision Bass pickup at the middle position and a single-coil Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge, giving you plenty of versatility. There’s no pickup selector switch, but the two plastic volume knobs (one per pickup) allow you to select between the two.
There’s also a master tone control just below these. The rest of the hardware is pretty standard at this price range: the headstock features four chunky open-gear tuners, while at the other end you’ll find a standard four-saddle bridge, keeping your tuning pretty stable.
There’s also a black plastic pickguard and a synthetic bone nut. Nothing outstanding here, but everything does the job.
There are better sounding pickups in this affordable price range – especially the bridge single-coil – but the two on offer on this affordable Jaguar certainly give beginners enough clarity and punch to sound good. A decent range of tones are on offer, and the short scale lends itself to a nice fat low end.
It’s all you really need for practicing, and would certainly work if you wanted to jam with friends or even take on small gigs. Battle of the bands at school? No problem!
For around $200 it’s hard to complain about this solid offering from Squier. Its style, price and playability make it a favorite with beginners, but it’s equally as suited to more experienced bassists (or even guitarists) wanting to try an affordable short scale model. Its quality build also provides a good platform for upgrading pickups and components. Traditional bassists may not be too keen on this one, but they aren’t the target audience!