Bass guitar review – The Classic 1960 vibe jazz bass, the budget version of the Fender Jazz
One of the time-honoured control settings beloved by
all Jazz Bass players involves simply winding both Volumes and Tone up
to maximum. Do this on the CV and it gives exactly what you’d expect –
a lively sound with lots of harmonics and a pleasingly snarly crunch to
the lower open strings. This is what Jazz Basses do best… give a superb
full-range tone for all seasons. Move up the fingerboard and you’ll
find a snappy clarity with plenty of body: it’s funky.
reassuring evenness of volume when you solo the bridge pickup. In sonic
terms it’s a more lightweight affair, and though there’s that familiar
burpy Jazz Bass bridge pickup element, it’s at a level which colours
rather than swamps the sound. Lower registers speak with a clean, tight
snarl and the highs are bright without being brittle, and although a
little more width wouldn’t go amiss, there’s an underlying warmth that
makes this offering nicely versatile in terms of contemporary pop and
Next, the neck pickup. Though the Precision is more commonly
associated with rock and retro styles, the earthy sound of the CVJ’s
neck pickup is definitely in that same zone: a gunning thud with a
slightly rubbery core in lower registers. It sounds totally
appropriate, and while the D and G strings have a pleasing acoustic
zing, they’re certainly not thin. Overall, we’re talking full-range
practicality – a tone which works especially well in retro soul, rock
Chopping the tone knob right back to zero sounds, as
always, like you’re playing bass while loitering on the ocean floor.
It’s pretty unusable, but easing the Treble pot just a shade away from
full cut gives a silky, sweet sound that’s cool for dubby fundamentals.
Twin-pickup mode on this tone setting is warm and clean – an excellent
neutral recording sound – while the neck pickup sound is thuddy and
weighty but still with the rasping quality we love. The bridge sound is
equally silky, but too much treble roll-off affects the level too much
to make it practical.
Moving the Tone control up to around halfway
(the only other real variation available) is a better option, removing
the excessive zing and adding a guttural quality to the bridge pickup.
Likewise, a moderated level of treble on the neck pickup gives a clear,
earthy, acoustic quality – a lovely sound that’s the nearest the Jazz
Bass gets to, well, jazzy. Twin pickup mode is also just a little
livelier, with highs that sing rather than snap and just enough
edginess in evidence at the bottom end.
The Classic Vibes have been heralded in some quarters as the best Squiers since those lauded UK-edition JVs of 1982. Maybe but of course theyre not their equals. The old JV basses, poly finishes aside, were light, vibey and astonishingly vintage-correct with great US-made pickups and nickel hardware. Nevertheless, this Classic Vibe is an excellent effort: it doesnt attempt to be as close a reissue and our example is a little heavy, but its an excellent Jazz with cool looks, a good neck profile, thoughtful detailing and, most importantly, all the tonal elements we know and love at a really competitive price.