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american fender VS. made in mexico

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by panazza, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    did someone experience great differences between american fenders and mexican ones? (talking about american standard series)... Apart from things like fretwork, wood quality, finishes, that I believe to be better on american basses, what about the sound? Is it so different??
  2. LowEndLobster

    LowEndLobster Bass reviewer and youtube dude guy. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    Northern MA
    Sometimes you can find a MIM that plays better than any MIA. But, now the MIAs have the S1 pickup system that can switch from Single Coil to Humbucker. Now that's yummier than any taco :p.
  3. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Yes there is a difference. The sound on the MIA bass is much thicker in the mids and bass side, clearer and more defined in the treble side. Also MIA's come with maple or rosewood graphite re-inforced necks, MIM's don't. MIA's come with adjustable bridge saddles w/stb MIM's don't. Don't listen to anyone, go and a/b both basses for yourself. there is a difference!
  4. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    MIMs do have adjustable bridge saddles, just not strings-through-body.

    Beware, there are MIAs out there that are dogs. I picked up a MIA P at the music store the other day with bad fretwork- the frets were sticking out past the edge of the fretboard/neck. Then I picked up an MIA Jazz that was a pretty good bass overall, but not as good as my Lakland Skyline Glaub though :D
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    The Americans are about 10x as likely to find a real gem than a Mexican Fender. But, I have a Mexican Precision that's better than most other basses I've played. Period.
  6. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    I think it goes with out saying for every manufacturer of mass produced instruments - check each bass individually. That said my MIM is an excellent bass but I still want an MIA.

  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Overall, I am pretty happy with my off the rack American P-Bass. I played some comparably priced "vintage" ones. I also played MIM's & MIJ's but the new MIA was the nicest one I found.

    The finish is very good and it has great tone, and is very light weight.

    But you gotta look around a bit to find a "nice" one for you. Your preferences may be very different from mine.
  8. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
  9. What part of the bass DOESN'T effect how it sounds? You just made quite an effective list of reason that the MIA would be a better sounding bass than the MIM.

    Monkfill points out two things here. First, the Fender MIA and MIM in the stores are NOT custom basses and should therefore not be compared to a custom made bass as far as a post like this is concerned. It simply doesn't make sense to do that. Keep the comparisons to MIA/MIM Fenders.

    Second point, most music stores either don't have the time, knowledge, or care (after all, it is just a bass) if the bass on the rack is properly set-up. Most stores are populated by frustrated guitar players, who really don't know squat about the bass. That is something YOU must either do or consider when playing it at the store.

    It took me 3 months of fussing to get my MIA 99 Jazz to feel the way I wanted it. If I was to make the decision from a 15 min playing session in a store, would that be fair to the bass? The same could be said of a MIM bass. Even so, the bass will take a few years until it has "aged" to the sweetness that my 72 P has. Then there is this question; would a MIM stand that test of time?

    I'm not willing to find out.
  10. appler

    appler Guest

    I find that my American jazz is easier to play than Mexicans I have tried because of its rolled fingerboard edges. I think if you look around for the *right* MIM, you'll get just as good of a bass as some MIA's. Just make sure you try a lot of em, since the quality control ain't all that great on the MIM's.
  11. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I'm thinking about going to Rudy's on 48th in NYC today to buy a set of Lindy Fralin pups for 1 of my MIM pbasses.
    There is no need to do that with a MIA pbass.
  12. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    I prefer defn'ly MIA. I got a P and a J, both MIA and never played a MIM that was sounding closer than far to mine...
    I assume not everyone, specially beginners can afford to buy a MIA Fender, but unfortunately IMO there's a huge difference (also in price)
  13. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City

    The Skyline Glaub is not a custom bass :confused:

    The only reason I mention the comparison to the Skyline Glaub is because it is in the same price range as an MIA Fender. I know Talkbass likes to be all organized into forums and subforums and keeping everything strictly on topic, but personally I find it useful to hear other thoughts that are relevant to the discussion.

    I'm assuming the person posting this thread wants a Fender bass and is trying to decide if its worth it to spend more and get the MIA. I'm saying (a) just because it says MIA doesn't mean there aren't flaws and (b) if you're going to spend the money on an MIA, consider something like a Skyline, which is essentially the same bass built to a consistently higher standard of quality-- the discussion is about quality at a certain price point, so I feel my inclusion of the Skyline is relevant.
  14. panazza


    Nov 23, 2003
    hi monkfill... I started this thread but not to decide about buying a MiA or a MiM... I already bought a MiM jazz... I just wanted to know what do you all think about american and mexican basses! Anyway someone knows nice pickups I could put on my bass to make it sound better? For "better" I mean more punch and definition and if possible more power in the lows section...
  15. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    I don't have much experience in the pickup department . . .

    You might start with the Seymour Duncan website. They have a pretty decent selection of pickups, along with a chart that lists the tonal characteristics of each.

    Lakland uses Lindy Fralin pickups in their Jazz and Precision models.
  16. Aaron J

    Aaron J Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    I'll have to second the Lindy Fralin pickups. For a vintage vibe, but with more booty, you can't go wrong with these pups. They are as smooth as butter, but also pack a great punch. Also, check out SMASH's pickup showdown in the pickup section...great info.
  17. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Went to Rudy's today and got a set of Fralins for one of my MIM pbasses. I must say they have a great vintage vibe, they are very clear in all ranges and definately have the oldschool sound going on. All in all a great pup.
  18. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    I have to agree with most of the posts in this thread regarding the quality and sound/tone of the MIAs versus MIMs.

    I also have first hand experience in buying an "expensive" Fender which fell victim to Corona's poor quality control. A search of the Basses forum will find my old posts about buying a FMT 5 string (that's the one with the highly figured body top, lists at $2,400)and finding out that the neck was totally crap - right out of the box. The neck was extremely bowed and stayed bowed, even after I maxed-out the truss rod. Fortunately, the dealer gave me a full refund. Needless to say, I have no confidence in Fender USA's quality control. On the flipside, yes, I've played a number of MIAs that were wonderful basses. I just got a lemon.

    Finally, I'd also like to share how I walked into a local music store and tried the four MIM P basses that were hanging on the wall; and low and behold! I found one that played perfectly. In minutes, I got the action and neck relief tweaked just how I like it. IMHO, the workmanship and finish on this bass is equal to, or better, than most Fenders MIAs that I've seen. The pickups sound decent, but I'm still going to install a set of SD Hot pickups. I'm extremely happy with this bass.

    In my estimation, you're doing the right thing by starting this thread as your personal research on this matter. My only suggestion is to try as many basses as you can. You might luck out just as I did, and find a really great MIM!


    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    well, i have a MIM jazz and a MIA jazz and to me they sound identical, and i actually prefer the feel and construction of my MIM. so in my experience i cant say a MIA is considerably better than a MIM
  20. Wyzird05


    Dec 1, 2003
    South Bend, IN
    The sales guys I have talked to always say if you don't want to spend the money on an American Fender find a great playing Mexican and upgrade the electronics.
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