Number two for the year is my spanking new (second hand) Squier Jazz Bass five string.
I picked this up for a little more than US retail, but significantly less that Australian retail.
For some reason everything costs twice as much in Australia than it does across the Pacific.
Growing up I had been led to believe that Squier products were inferior instruments and kind of an embarrassment to play one when you're past high school.
I was lied to.
Sure they're not full fledged Fender instruments, but when you find a good one, they come damn close!
In my case I think I got lucky. But I also believe that the manufacturing has become more consistent and of a higher quality over the last 10 years or so.
Mine is cream coloured with a white scratch plate.
The body is alder, maple neck and rosewood fretboard.
Even though I often complain that my fingers are on the stubby side, the wider neck doesn't really pose a problem (as long as I play sitting down anyway). The strings on the 5 string are a little closer together than on my Ibanez, and I find it so much easier to play because of it.
The neck is a satin finish, smooth and fast to play.
What I like most about this instrument is the tone. It sounds just like what I think a bass should sound like.
The pickups are stock, but they sound great. When both pickups are full, there is zero hum. This is a great advantage over the other bass I have as my home has severe problems with electromagnetic interference.
So while I love the sound of single coils, if I want a clean guitar sound, humbuckers are the only way to go.
I'd never really played a five string before and always thought they were a little showy. Once I spent some time noodling about, I discovered that the low B is a great substitute for playing lines otherwise reserved for the upper A string. It adds much meat to the mix and leaves those upper frequencies clear for other instruments.
On open notes the B does flap about quite a bit, but I've been told that it is a pretty common thing for five strings to do.
Prior to purchase, I went around to the various guitar stores in town and played both Squier and Fender basses to compare to this one. Quite honestly I think this is pretty damn close to the middle range Fender instruments as far as being comfortable to play. The tone is great and I doubt that I'd be more pleased if I bought a bass for $1000 more. This one is a bargain and a keeper.