GEAR EXPO SUMMER 2022: Active basses are very much on the agenda for 2022, with a significant chunk of our line-up for the year relying on a built-in preamp. Elsewhere, we’ve got limited edition takes on classic basses, high-end low-ends and budget-friendly builds…
Squier Contemporary Active Precision Bass PH
£459 / $499
Squier’s Contemporary Series places modern twists on Fender classics, including this Active Precision Bass. It’s loaded with a 9-volt preamp with volume, blend, tone and bass/treble boost controls, which is paired with Squier’s high output SQR ceramic pickups.
Other touches include a sculpted neck heel (for easier access to the upper frets), open-gear tuning machines and a chunky modern bridge, which should make for a better transfer of string vibrations to the body. There’s also a five-string option available.
Fender Active Meteora Bass
$1,199.99 / £1,149.00
The Fender Meteora body shape first debuted as part of the brand’s limited edition Parallel Universe in 2018 – a rare brand new body shape. This year it’s been moved into the permanent line-up, as part of the Player Plus range.
The Meteora bass has a 34” scale-length, an alder body, maple neck and a pair of Fireball humbuckers. There’s a toggle switch for moving between active and passive modes, plus controls for master volume, a three-band EQ with boost and cut, plus a pan pot for pickup selection and blending sounds.
Sterling by Music Man StringRay Ray34
Music Man offshoot Sterling has refreshed its full line-up of the iconic StingRay for 2022. We’re particularly taken with this single-pickup Ray34.
There’s a choice of roasted maple neck (with a choice of rosewood or roasted maple ‘board), an alnico humbucker with three-band active preamp and a choice of dazzling sparkle finishes, alongside the more traditional options.
Solar Guitars AB2.4ON
The AB2.4ON is part of Solar’s suitably-spiked metal-orientated bass range. It features an ebony fingerboard, with a Solar inlay at the 12th fret, alongside 24 jumbo frets, with a 15.74” radius.
There’s an alder body, plus a five-piece maple/jatoba neck. You’ll find two Solar Tesla Soapbar pickups, with controls for volume, balance, bass and treble. It’s an eye-catching, eye-poking, hi-vis beast of a bass.
Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022 Shortscale StingRay 4 Bombshell
If you’re looking for something a little more special, the StringRay 4 Bombshell is part of the Spring release of Ernie Ball’s limited run Family Reserve series.
It’s a 30” short-scale build with a lightweight ash body, figured maple neck and a single humbucker. That tortoiseshell pick guard is matched with tortoiseshell block inlays and binding along the neck. The edition is limited to just 105 instruments.
Squier FSR Classic Vibe Bass VI
£449 / $569
Fender’s short-scale, six-string Bass VI guitar/bass hybrid has had a complete renaissance over the last decade. Here it’s back as part of Squier’s limited FSR (Fender Special Run) range, in purple metallic and (our favourite) shell pink finishes.
There’s a 30” scale-length, Fender-designed alnico single-coils and a vintage-style floating tremolo. In the same range, the Classic Vibe Late ‘60s Jazz Bass also looks to offer good value.