Purchased from: 2nd hand
Features — 9
- 2013 model, made in Indonesia - Basswood "offset contoured" body - Maple neck, rosewood fretboard, 9.5" radius, 21 jumbo frets - Binding & block inlays - Vintage-style "Kluson" tuners, RWRP middle pickup - 3 "Special Design" Jaguar singlecoil pickups - Master volume- & tonepot, all passive - 3 pickup selector switches (on/off) + master "bass-cut" switch - Floating vibrato - Pivoting Jaguar bridge with single-groove saddles - High-gloss polyurethane finish (body & neck) - Comes with a a cardboard box, foam and a wrench.
Sound — 10
I play music, ranging from deep-soul, to rock, to country. And I do those things on a guitar as well as a bass... The VI looks like a guitar, and shares a tremendous amount of parts (including pickups) with the guitar, but it is a bass, and it sounds like a bass, if you run it through a bass-amp... Or if you run it through a guitar-amp, it sounds like a guitar. Albeit lower and more mean. So I'm going to divide this section in two. In general: no issues with hum or unbalanced output across the strings, it's just alright. As a bass: played through a regular bass-amp (like the Ampeg SVT), this thing absolutely can stand it's own, and sure can cope in terms of low-end, tightness & punch compared with a normal bass like a Precision or a Jazz. The 3 pickups, and 7 tonal combinations allow it for extreme versatility. From deep, almost Gibson EB-like tones on the neckpickup to a Jazz-bass-like "burp" on the bridgepickup, the VI's got it covered. The shorter scale combined with the shallow angle over the bridge and the guitar-pickups give the VI a special, "musical" timbre. Not as focussed as a P or J-bass, but a bit more "dzinggy". The narrow, guitar-like stringspacing is awkward in the beginning, and you'll find that you'll miss your strings quite often in the beginning, but it takes half an hour to get used to it, and after that: rock on! As a guitar, this thing really shines. Arpeggio's and jazz-chords sound REALLY expensive. Full & mellow on the neck pickup, and nice & tight on the bridge pickup, the VI allows for a wide arrange of sounds, although in the lower register, full chords over the 6 strings will sound smeary & muddy, it's better to play triads. In the higher register, the longer scale & thicker strings allow for a warm, lush, & full sound totally not comparable to a guitar played regularly. The bass-cut/"strangle" switch cuts the bass-frequencies, giving the VI a thin, nasal sound, perfect for overdubbing guitarlines for that great spaghetti-western sound.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Fit & Finish: perfect! I can't understand how they can make an instrument of THIS quality & with this level of detail for that price (the block-inlays are tighter than "That G-brand from Kalamazoo"). Since I bought it 2ndhand, I can't speak for the set-up out of the box, but I heard from the previous owner it was okay, without buzzing. The VI, like all offset guitars (Jaguar, Jazzmaster) are kinda tricky to adjust, with the floating trem, the tilting bridge, shallow string break angle. But it's doable, and when you reverse the bridge (thus making the screws point backwards), you can get all your strings intonated properly. Only issue I have here are the stock strings: they are too thin, thus giving it a bit of a "floppy" feel, especially when you're a hard-hitting gentleman, you can knock your strings off the saddles of the bridge. But no worries, a thick set of LaBella Flatwounds is on the way. The faux-tortoise guard looks like somebody has vomited, they took a picture of the result, and printed it on plastic. It's ugly, but hey, what can you expect for 350€, and it's just a piece of plastic right? Even the Fender Japan VI, which costs 1200€ more, has that printed motive.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will take serious punishment and still get you home, and the finish looks bulletproof. Okay, they've cheaped out a bit on the potmeters & caps, but that's easily replaced, and the lack of "trem-lock" on the floating vibrato unit can be a worrying thing if you're not careful, but apart from that, I can't see any issues arising in the (near) future. It can be gigged without a backup for sure, it's not that the electronics are dirtcheap and unreliable. The tuners are of the vintage-style (with the hollow axle, that "locks" the string into place), and keep their tension VERY well. I hardly have to re- or detune, even after some serious trembar abuse.
Overall Impression — 9
AAAAAAAAH, the Bass VI. After lustring for one for ages (and couldn't afford one, because only three-ish were made and sold in the sixties, and the Japanese version could not be exported without serious bribery at the customs), and the new Fender PS didn't cut it with it's "upgrades" like a stratswitch, no chrome and a humbucker, Squier came to the rescue with a fairly faithful reproduction of a late-sixties VI, including chrome plates, correct 4 switches, 3 Jaguar pickups. And I guess I'm not the only one, since the initial run sold out in what? Seconds? And there is now a waiting list waaaay into 2014. If it were stolen, I would hunt down the person who did it, and do nasty things with him that includes a spoon, a piece of MDF-board and the outtakes from Miley Cyrus' latest album. And after that person is left bleeding, I'd retrieve my VI and cherish it even more. I play bass & guitar, and this VI allows me to have that great country twang (Glen Campbell), deep bassy licks (Brian Auger's Trinity) and everything in between, with the vintage looks, without having to sell any kidneys. Now if they only would make a "Squier Electric XII"... Hinthint ;) + amazing value for the money + it's a VI... that's awesome by it's own standard. + extremely versatile, if you can wrap your head as a bassplayer around the narrow stringspacing. + it's vintage correct-ish (4 switches, chrome plates, jag pickups,...) - a trem-lock would be very useful, to increase tuning stability, especially when using it as a regular bass - thicker stock strings, these one don't really cut it. - better availability, since they're sold out everywhere - MOAR COLOURS!!! Black, White & Sunburst is kinda boring, especially for a model that's known for it's custom colours. Where's the Candy Apple Red? The Foam Green? The Ice Blue Metallic?