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Dean Hillsboro J Bass Guitar

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Product H09834
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The Dean Hillsboro J Bass represents a new spin on the classic J bass style and includes active electronics for maximum tonal control. The basswood ...Click To Read More About This Product

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A bass with cool design and active electronics.

The Dean Hillsboro J Bass represents a new spin on the classic J bass style and includes active electronics for maximum tonal control.

The basswood body is light with modern curves and features a flamed maple top. The maple neck and fingerboard are solid-feeling and comfortable to play.

The pickups feature active EQ that can shape the Hillsboro's tone to match any style of music.

Basswood body with flamed-maple top 
Maple neck and fingerboard
Active electronics
Flame Maple Top 
Basswood Body
34" Scale
Bolt-On Maple C Neck
Maple Fingerboard
Black Dot Inlays
Die-Cast Tuners
Chrome Hardware
Die-Cast Bridge
Dean Jazz Active EQ Pickups
Finishes: Trans Black, Trans Blue

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
DeanHillsboro J Bass Guitar

(based on 2 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 2 customers

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(7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)


Doesn't break the bank!

By The Bass Playin' Trucker

from Hanpton, GA

See all my reviews

Comments about Dean Hillsboro J Bass Guitar:

I was pleasantly surprised with the feel and sound of this bass. Some people are what I call "bass snobs". If it's not American made & you didn't spend $1,000, it's no good. Well, this bass proves that wrong. I'm like most folks and am on a tight budget with very little money to spare. You gotta make your dollar count. I would recommend this bass for anyone to at least try out & consider. The closest comparison I can make would be to the Vintage Modified & Classic Vibe series from Squier. The Squiers are heavier in weight, but I like that the Hillsboro will be better on my back. Dean offers more color/finish options too, and I think that lets you make a more personal choice. It's a great bass for the price & if it gets beat up a lot, I'm not out a whole lot of money. First thing I'm doing is putting D'Addario half-round strings on it, after I buy a case for it.
Features I like: A few finish color choices. The shape of the body is slightly different. Almost has a Rickenbacker (sorry if I misspelled) look it. 3 band EQ. Pearloid pickguard & it's different design/shape. Output jack on the bottom edge of the bass. Fender style tuners. Fast neck. I like how the neck bolts on, not with a neck plate like Fenders, Schecters, and some Epiphones. The weight of the bass is good. Not so heavy that it'll wear your back out, but not too light. The bridge is much better than what comes on a standard MIM Fender (and some Amersican Standard Fenders) or the Vintage Modified Squiers. In my opinion, better bridge = better tone & sustain.

The only feature I would've liked offered is a rosewood fretboard option for these basses. Maybe it was a cost cutting thing with Dean, I don't know. Usually I prefer a rosewood fretboard so that's why I didn't give it a 10. For a bass in this price range, I feel the features are pretty darn good.
The downside: I believe my bass was a returned bass. I bought it used, but it's not a 2nd or B stock. Anyways, the bass was dead when I got it. No sound at all. I changed the battery first, & still nothing. I suspected an output jack issue. I took the jack cover off and the output jack prongs were both touching the tip of the cable pin, thus not completing a circuit. You know, you gotta have one prong on the positive side & one on the negative side. It was an easy fix myself just by bending the prong that was out of place into the correct position. I just feel that a messed up output jack should not have made it through quality control. OK, that was fixed and everything sounded just fine. Not a huge issue, but I had to take off for that. As with any bass in this price range, the strings that come on it are pretty bad. They will tune & you can play them. I just don't like the feel or tone of the stock strings. Again, not an expensive solution. I do wonder if the battery compartment door will stand the test of time. It seems that it may be made of cheap/weak plastic. I will just try to be very careful with it when changing batteries.

The upside: I have the Trans Blue finish and it seems to be pretty good. I could find no runs or blemishes in the finish. Because my was a return, someone missed trying to jam a cable in the output jack & put a ding by the output jack. It's deeper than I would like, so we will see if the finish starts to crack or get worse in the future. I am very careful with my basses so I think the finish will hold up well. The neck has no clear coat at all on it. In my opinion, this makes it faster to play.

One last thing: The new Dean logo on the headstock. I like the shape of the headstock. Very similiar to a Fender or G&L. I just don't know what to think about the rather large logo! :-) I can live with it. I guess I'll take a more neutral position on that. I probably would have made it a smaller. Kinda looks like a big moustache! :{)
I'm giving it a 10 because in this price range, it's a great deal. The features & options that come on this bass for $300 is surprising to me. Go play one if you find one in a music store somewhere & see for yourself. It may not be for everyone, but I think it's that way with almost any guitar. I think Dean proves that you don't have to break the bank to get a good looking & good sounding bass! They are a bit cheaper than the Classic Vibe Squier series & come with more features & options.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


Great Instrument


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  • Fun To Play
  • Good Feel
  • Good Pick Up
  • Good Tone
  • Solid Electronics


    Best Uses

    • Jamming
    • Practicing
    • Recording
    • Rock Concerts
    • School Bands
    • Small Venues

    Comments about Dean Hillsboro J Bass Guitar:

    This is a great bass. The controls allow you a wide range with a really punchy sound or you can turn it down and make it really growl. The neck is smooth and fast, easy to walk through the scales or jump around. The finish is beautiful and the maple top really shows through and the Dean Logo headstock is an eye catcher; amazing at this price. The factory strings were junky, but when replaced with some EB Super Slinky strings it was perfect. The set-up of the bridge was spot on out of the box with mine. The electronics work great, the active pickups have plenty of power, the fret work is nice, and it has really solid tuners. This is really an instrument worth twice the price. My only complaint was with UPS leaving a box with a giant Dean Guitars logo on my porch, luckily I was home and found it quickly. So make sure you're home or have somebody pick it up for you. I give it a 4 instead of a 5 only for the sake of comparison to more high end USA made models. If like me, you can't afford the thousands for a top shelf USA made bass guitar, I don't really see how you can do any better than the Dean Hillsboro J Bass!

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