“ Brand: Fender / Guitar Type: Bass Guitar „
My boyfriends 10 year old son has been surrounded by musicians all his life and in the last couple of years he has started to take an interest in playing various instruments and already has an electronic drum kit and has recently started learning to play guitar.
I've played bass guitar for several years and his dad after years of playing guitar and drums in various bands decided he'd like to play bass as well so after a few months of playing one of my basses he
decided to buy one for himself. Ryan went with his dad to buy the bass and due to the fact at the age
of 10 he still likes doing everything his dad does decided he wanted to try bass as well. We thought it would be good for them to learn together as Ryan is quite shy at playing guitar in front of his dad who had been playing for years so this way they could learn at the same time and Ryan could see his dad
makes plenty of mistakes when he is learning as well which will hopefully increase Ryans confidence.
A full size bass is quite long for a 10 year old to handle so although I was happy for him to borrow one
of my basses he was struggling to reach the first frets we decided as a surprise to buy a short scale
bass which is closer to the size of a normal guitar which makes it easier for kids to handle. We decided
to buy a cheap or second hand bass for now just in case it was a passing fad and he lost interest
within a few months.
I was surprised at the lack of choice available in decent short scale basses we were left with the
option of taking a cheap £70 entry level short scale from a local shop which would have required
some work and money to make it play decently as the strings were rubbish some of the frets were
badly finished or buying second hand.
A search for a second hand bass turned up a Squier Bronco on Ebay for £65 as it was only 10 miles
away we arranged to go and see it. The seller was a bass player himself and had bought the Bronco
to teach his youngest daughter who had lost interest after a few weeks so the Bronco was good as
new without a mark on it and perfectly set up with decent Rotosound strings.
The Bronco is made by Squier which is the well known sub brand of Fender that makes lower cost
versions of Fender instruments. I'd heard good and bad about Squier in the past but recently their
build quality has impressed me especially in the Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified ranges which having played basses from both of these ranges I'm not surprised they get great reviews from both press and players.
The bass looks quite cool with looks somewhere between a mini Fender Precision,Fender
Musicmaster and a Fender Mustang.Our Bronco is Black with a white pickguard and maple neck the
bass is also available in red or the special edition Badtz Maru which has the Maru character head as
the pickguard. The bass body is made from Agathis with a black polyurethane finish the neck is maple
with 19 frets instead of the usual 20 or 21 frets on a standard bass. The Bronco is part of the Squier Affinity range which is the cheapest version of the Squiers but the quality of this has impressed me
the body and neck are very well finished and the frets are level with no rough edges.
The bass is finished with chrome hardware the tuners are decent quality and the bass stays in tune
pretty well.The chrome knobs for volume and tone work fine but they aren't locked on with a screw
so can come off easily especially in the hands of a child. The bridge on the bass is a 2 saddle rather
than the 4 saddle found on most basses and although if it was mine I would probably upgrade it
the original works ok on ours with no problems.
The bass has a special design single coil pick up which looks more like a guitar pick up than a bass
pick up this is the one part of the bass I'm not too keen on although it sounds okay and when played through a decent amp sounds better than I honestly expected it to but it's not brilliant. The shape of
the pick up means it would be difficult to find a replacement to upgrade the original although I realise most Bronco owners are never going to upgrade any part of this bass I have seen some really cool upgraded modified versions being played in bands in the past but the cost of the upgrades was nearly more than the bass itself.
The bass plays very well for the price but we were lucky the previous owner had the bass set up
perfectly by a guitar tech friend so the action is nice and low and there's no fret buzz anywhere on the fretboard obviously this was set up after he bought it so I can't comment on how good or bad the set
up was when it first arrived.
For a child to start out on bass the Squier Bronco is perfect with the lighter weight and 30" scale
making it closer to the size of a normal guitar most kids will manage to play this easily when they
would probably struggle with a full 34" scale bass. Since getting this a couple of months ago Ryans playing has really improved he even manages to play some things better than his dad which has
given his confidence a huge boost.The neck width at the nut is 38.1mm which is the same as a
standard Fender Jazz which is good for when the time comes to move on to a full scale bass as
there's no difference in width it's just a case of getting used to the longer neck.
The only problem we had with this was finding a gig bag to fit it nobody seems to make gig bags
for short scale basses most guitar bags are too small and standard bass bags are too big. We
eventually found a Warwick guitar bag that just fits it with a bit of a squeeze after trying every bag
in the shop.
I'm used to playing full scale basses but I really enjoy playing this occasionally and it has made me
want a short scale of my own although I probably wouldn't buy the Bronco unless I had the spare
cash to upgrade the bridge and pick ups I still think it's a great bass for anyone starting out.
This would also be good for anyone with smaller hands or anyone who is used to playing guitar.
It's a good instrument which plays well and although it won't make them a brilliant bassist
overnight it won't hold them back either unlike some of the cheap basses available which
due to high action, fret buzz, and cheap strings are nearly impossible to play and will hamper
even the keenest beginners progress.
The Squier Bronco can be bought new for around £150 online if you shop around or if like us you're
worried they will lose interest there are plenty of second hand ones available for £60 - £80 which
you will probably get back when the time comes to sell it on.