Squier Contemporary Active Cacophony

I just discovered this forum and am impressed. I’ve been a guitar player for many years but never played bass seriously. I intended to change that and just bought a new Squier Contemporary Active Bass. It is a crazy sky burst blue and looks surprisingly lovely. The roasted maple neck plays like a dream. I love it and am excited to actually learn to play bass.

The problem is something seems drastically wrong with the electronics. When I plugged it in it just distorted, screamed, and squealed. I know it is active so I tried multiple batteries. That did not fix it. I also tried various cables and two different amps. I get the noise at all levels but turning up the volume makes it worse.

I am disappointed that I will need to return it but wanted to see if there was anything I was missing first.



Great to have you here @SoLowCrow
Sounds like something is very wrong.
Where did you but it from?


Thanks, John.

ProAudioStar. It was a cyber Monday deal. No indication that it was defective. I have purchased from them multiple times and had no issues. I was thinking very much along the lines you are but was hoping I was missing something obvious. I think it will need to go back.


That is probably a bad ground and definitely needs to be addressed.


Ya that was what I was going to guess.
I almost bought that one too!
It was a “B-stock” special.
Another member here bought the black/gold Paranormal and it came with a huge ding in the body.
They offered him $50 to keep it.

You have a couple options here:

  1. call them and tell them you want to have it looked at and they can repair it (they might not go for it)
  2. use Fender’s warranty program (quite a hassle but doable, IF they will do something about it)
  3. return it

My guess is the preamp is done for.
If you are handy, you can see if you can find any loose connections but to me what you are describing sounds more like a fatal failure of the preamp.
That kind of noise is not a grounding issue, that would be just hum.


Thank you all! I should have known I was taking a chance but I’ve been so lucky buying online that I didn’t even consider it. I would be over the moon about this one if the electronics worked well. Given these assessments and my lack of repair skill this will have to be returned.

Glad to know I was not alone in being drawn to the flames of that sale. I hope the return is as easy. I would still like to try another one of these but I think the only active approach is unwise.

Thanks again. I’ve never received such fast and friendly responses on a forum.


Welcome, @SoLowCrow. Glad you’re here. Ask and it will be answered.


I too bought one each of the contemporary. Both arrived yesterday but I didn’t even have a chance to open it yet.

What you described it sounded like a wiring issue. Could be the jack cable or some of the cable got knocked out of the solder.

If you’d take some pictures of the back cavity off all of the wiring maybe we can figure out before you have to even do returns. $200 is a great deal.

Just checked my jazz hh out. It was ok the sounds and finish were great. Unpolished frets a bit sticky feeling body and just dusts for the most parts.

It could use some setup and intonation. I’m quite impressed. There’s no fret sprouts and all of the controls seems tight. Pickups sounds nice and modern. It has slight compressed feel to it. Heel carved neck is definitely a nice touch. Can’t wait to check out the precision tomorrow night. ( I should be busy at my daughter’s tournament all day tomorrow,lol)

It actually looks pretty good without the pickguard

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Thank you, @Al1885. I’m really happy that your Jazz arrived in great condition. I’ve not yet connected with PSA so I’ll pause my plan and provide some photos. I would love to be able to find a way to keep it. I’m also wondering how difficult it would be to upgrade the preamp if that is the issue. As you said, $200 is an amazing deal. I love it otherwise so I could upgrade it and still end up coming out ahead on this with a little patience.


Yes the good news about your situation is the constant symptom, so technically it should be easy enough to detect the problem. Pictures and short video would provide great references for the next person who runs into the same problem.


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I took off the backplate and everything looked crammed in there. I forgot to mention that in addition to the horrible sound, the double boost pot was extremely loose. I tightened that down initially thinking that might be the cause. Once you had me rethinking just returning it I decided to investigate. That’s when I discovered everything tightly packed. You’ll also see that the wood where one of the plate screws goes in has been broken off. The whole pot for the EQ boost was turned into the side of the wall. I turned that and voila! She works and sounds beautiful.

ProAudioStar did get back to me quickly with options of dealing with Fender, returning it for a refund or exchange, or giving me $45 to keep it. I saw there was only one of these left (in shoreline gold) so I jumped on it before dealing with PAS to make sure I ended up with something. So, now I have to cancel the gold one. Should be one left if anyone is in the market.

Anyway, I’ll try to share the photos. I can only add three initially.

Thank you all for saving me from returning an incredible bass. I’m extremely grateful.


You were right about checking connections and looking at basic wiring. Thanks for that and the assurance that PAS would be helpful. That eased my mind and let me step back.

@EddieJones Not far off. Addressed! :slight_smile:

@MikeC Thanks for the well wishes.

All the best to you all. I look forward to connecting with you more.




in twelve hours! Love it :blush:


Well done. Now you really have a steal!!


Welcome @SoLowCrow !


That’s an establishment that I’ll never do business with. Anyone who takes time out of their day to be intentionally annoying just doesn’t cut it in this day and age.

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For the price I paid for my last few items with pro audio stars, I’m willing to take certain amounts of BS from them. Unfortunately, I have not offered the chance to prove myself yet, lol.

They have been very good with their customer service.

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I have no reason not to purchase from them. They handled this situation well and the bass ended up being an incredible deal. My other purchase was my Squier Paranormal Toronado. That was another steal and is a freaking beast that should not be anywhere near that good for a sub $300 (purchase price) guitar.

I understand not returning business if you have been burned. We have too many options.


Did they kick the $45 to you?


I don’t understand what they did wrong. They offered to replace it. Or did I misread that?