Squier is a longtime maker of budget-friendly instruments for beginners, but pro players have also taken to these basses and guitars as gig-friendly alternatives to their prized vintage axes. Do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find many who’ve modified these musical templates to suit their needs or simply celebrated them as value-heavy workhorses. It appears Squier has taken notes on user impressions of their instruments, resulting in their latest line: the Contemporary Series. This reimagining of classic bass and guitar designs gives the original formula a kick in the pants though fresh looks and modern tonal capabilities. One standout offering in the series is called the Contemporary Active Jazz Bass HH.
It’s not often you see a matte finish on a bass, but the decision to dress the ash body and the matching headstock of our test model in this manner was a good move. The white pickguard and maple fretboard provide an aesthetically pleasing contrast, and the black-chrome hardware enhances the eye-catching formula. (The bass is also available in flat white with a black pickguard.)
If you’re wondering what the “HH” stands for in Squier’s latest, your wait is over: humbuckers! Supplanting the conventional single-coil pickups is a pair of SQR ceramic humbuckers for delivering punchy, modern tones devoid of 60-cycle hum. And manipulating the SQR’s magnets is a 9V preamp with treble/bass boost capabilities and a tone control.
When I receive a piece of gear to review, I usually always take it out for a show or two so I can examine how well it functions under typical playing conditions. Unexpectedly, the qualities of this particular bass elicited enough trust that it underwent one of the most extensive and rigorous review processes. At the time this review was written, I had used our test bass for 34 shows, five rehearsals, and one tracking session. So, how did this “economy” bass become a go-to instrument during the time I had it?