Squier Affinity PJ Bass Upgrade Journey

I wanted to get the minimum cost value bass with decent bones to begin upgrading from. After all the terrific advice I received on the Best value base bass to upgrade thread, I chose to start with the Squier Affinity PJ ($230 in the US) I’m creating this thread to track and post pictures and sound samples of everything that gets done to it and how it changes as a result. For context, my other two bases are an Ibanez SRMS805 (US $1000) and Fender American Performer PJ (US $1400).

I have to say straight out of the box with nothing other than tuning up, I’m completely amazed at the quality of this instrument for the price. It looks good. It feels good. It’s completely playable. It sounds good. I’ve always been afraid of this price point because I didn’t want to get something that was frustrating or disappointing. I can honestly say that if this were the only bass I had I wouldn’t be disappointed at all in my ability to enjoy playing. I suppose I should be able to find something that justifies more than an $1100 price drop so if I really try . . .

The headstock and neck don’t have as many coats of glossy finish, the headstock not really at all. I actually like the finish texture of the neck better (but that’s not the goal of this paragraph, to like it better). If I run my fingers down the sides of the neck and feel for fret edges I can start to feel them get a little pokey after about the 14th fret and up. I don’t know what’s different about that part of the neck; maybe the automatic machine can’t reach that far or something. I can press against the edges hard and not get a scratch from them. It’s just possible to feel they aren’t nicely polished off the same as they are on the American Performer. I didn’t do a setup yet. Nonetheless, if I capo the first fret, fret high on the neck and tap each fret in between . . . I don’t notice anyone being particularly high or low compared to the others. The frets seem even to me so far. I’ll take a set of automotive feeler gauges to the string gaps at each fret just to make sure. The tone was just a little bit muddy compared to what I’m used to. I usually run the bass knob on my amp at 1:00. Turning the bass knob down to 11:00 and turning up the mid to 1:00 cleaned this up quite a bit and really sounds pretty good to me. After that I sat around a played for quite awhile last night just because it sounded so nice.

I’ll try to get some initial sound samples recorded this weekend.

The first change on this journey will be: D’Addario NYXL45105 Light Top/Medium Bottom Long Scale Nickel Wound Bass Strings - .045-.105

I’m marking all the core posts in this thread with #DavesAffinityJourney so feel free to comment and go topic tangent all you want. Anyone who wants to find the milestone posts quickly can use search to find the hashtag. Imagine that, using hashtags as actual search criteria how they were invented rather than for cute sayings or in place of exclamation points. #ComputerScienceRules #HolierThanThou

I think you can just barely see where these are cut off ever so slightly rough . . .


Nice. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops.


Really interested in how this works out. Was just playing my modded Squier P at lunch, it’s such a playable instrument.


Awesome Dave. Looking forward to following along on your mods.

I agree with your assessment of the Squier Affinity PJ. My fretboard was a little jagged on the top side of the 12th fret, but that is all.

It also has a slight tendency to neck dive, however I’ve bought a new strap for it so that should help and if not I’ll investigate lighter tuning pegs.

All my other bases have a 38mm neck and this one is 41.5mm so it does feel a bit chunky to me, but not ridiculous.

I finished putting in the EMG Geezer’s yesterday and just need to set the height today. Waiting on knobs to arrive and I also might change out the strings down the road. Enjoy!


That is a sweet looking bass @DaveT .
Looking forward to the updates