Best value base bass to upgrade

What would be a good quality starting platform for a P/J style bass if intending to change out the bridge, pickups and possibly tuners?

Squire Affinity or Yamaha TRBX174? Others? Are either of those below minimum quality for wanting to put significant cash into upgrades?

I’m looking for the lowest cost starting point where it’s not actually so bad I’ll be disappointed with the playability of what I end up with.

I was wondering if getting a Squire Affinity and running it through the Plek machine wouldn’t make it as good as a $600-$800 bass in terms of finish quality?

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I think there might be too much of a difference in quality for the Affinity to be worth the upgrade. If you’re lucky and get one where the wood finishing is good enough, maybe.

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I toyed with the idea of upgrading a “cheaper” bass with select hardware, but was generally dissuaded by almost all people I discussed this idea with.

Of course, if you like tinkering in general, and want to learn about making such upgrades, it is a perfectly fine idea. However, don’t under estimate the cost of good replacement/upgrade hardware, and what bass you could get if you took all that money and added it to the cost of the base bass.

My biggest worry about a “cheaper” bass would be the quality of the neck and then perhaps the fingerboard and fretwork.

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If it were me I would get a used Fender Player and call it a day.

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The regular Squier is ideal. But I have so far steered clear of the Affinity line.
It’s a shame they don’t have a PJ in the regular Squier lineup, only Affinity and Jaguar.

@Al1885 might know some good options.

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Id suggest getting good woods. Then electronis are easily replacable.

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That’s exactly what I have. I’m not really wanting to start changing out hardware from that price point. It seems like I could start lower if I’m going to change hardware. I think I have too many $$$ in the Fender MIA name at the moment.

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You can get used Affinity basses for close to $100.
Go try one at a GC, then buy a used one?

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I have a Squier Affinity Series PJ and I have installed DiMarzio pickups, Performance Music high mass bridge, CTS pots, drop d tuner, and La Bella flatwound strings.

I find the neck, finish, etc. to be entirely acceptable, although I don’t have an expensive bass lying around to compare it to.

The nice thing about starting with an inexpensive bass is that I can take a Dremel tool to it without an attack of nerves. :smiley: If I totally screw it up I’m not out much - I can get another one and start over.

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Good to hear. This is very helpful!

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the Squier Affinity series is not bad, but I would go for the regular series for this kind of project. easy to recognize : a Squier Affinity has a black Squier logo whereas the others Squiers have a yellow/gold logo.

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Perfect. Thank you!

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Not PJ, but I bought a Squire Affinity years ago new for just over $100 new. When I bought my MIM Fender P last year ($800), I replaced all of the electronics (PuP’s, pots, wiring) with higher grade components and then took the components I removed from it and put them into the old Squire Affinity. As for the bridge, when I replaced the bridge on my Yamaha TRBX304 with a Hipshot Kickass, I put that bridge on the Squire. To be honest, that cheap ass Squire is one of my favorite go to bass’s for playing all kinds of music outside in environments when the humidity is bad or when I’m traveling in the motorhome and camping…and I don’t wanna expose my more expensive bass’s to the elements…. Damn thing sounds really good and plays really nice…

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My Squier Affinity Jag H has gold lettering for Squier, while my Squier Classic Vibe 70s P has black lettering for the logo

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I have 3 Squiers, never would have thought. My Affinity Jag H has a single MM style humbucker, a really nice neck, and is really fun to play. I upgraded the pickup with an EMG MMHZ, and it sounds really nice. The bass is really light, has some neck dive, all around is a nice instrument.

My second Squier is a Classic Vibe 70s P I picked up for a couple hundred dollars. I modded it with a Kickass bridge and a EMG Geezer pickup. I love this P. The neck is more like a Jazz neck, and is easy to play, it feels nice, the frets are smooth.

My last Squier is a Paranormal Jazz bass. I upgraded it with Seymour Duncan Apollo pickups, and this sounds fantastic. It has a great neck, smooth frets, everything fits. This may be my go to bass. What I really like about it are the controls - it has an individual stacked tone/volume for each pickup. Just tooling around with it the tonal possibilities are tremendous. I have a kickass bridge for it which is not yet mounted.

Two ways you could go here. One is to get a a Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar. It is medium scale, which is fun to play, and has the same stacked dual tone/volume controls as my Paranormal. This is really fun, but the prices seem to have gone up recently. My CV P and Paranormal are just as good as my Player Jag and Jazz without plek’ing. There aren’t many models with the dual tone/volume controls.

An alternative is to get a used Affinity Precision bass and through in an EMG Geezer PJ set. This would be easy and cheap. But it would not have the feel of a Fender Player, but it would be hella fun.

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Affinitys also have “Affinity” in cursive on the headstock

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They currently don’t make a “regular PJ”. Only affinity and Jaguar. Not sure about used/older.

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My affinity Jaguar H headstock. Gold, doesn’t say Affinity

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As I understand it Jaguars aren’t Affinity series

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Fender is playing mind games

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