American P-Bass or Mexican + New Pups?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by crazyphil, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. So if things do not work out with my Rockbass I'll be looking to bite the bullet and get a Fender. While I don't like the look of the Fenders I know they are great sounding instruments.

    I've read that the main differences between American and Mexican P-Basses are the electronics. Would it be a good idea to get a Mexican one (half the price) and outfit it with, say, those DiMarzio pickups that people are talking about, or get an American P-Bass and leave it as is?
  2. jpwinters

    jpwinters Guest

    Aug 22, 2002
    Norfolk, Va
    It's not just the electronics. The Americans have graphite stringers in the neck for extra strength, rolled fingerboard edges, the wood used is better quality, better craftsmanship, better tuning machines, better bridge with strings thru-body. There are alot of differences. I'd go American. Oh, wait, I did when I got my Jazz.
  3. BigTed


    Jul 1, 2002
    San Diego
    I have an MIM Jazz that I've added Dimarzios to. It sounds great-- 100% better that the stock MIM elctronics, but the playability is not what I've experienced with the the MIA Jazzes. Ive gone through tons of different setups, and I cant get the same feel as I do with an MIA off of the rack.

    Also, make sure that the MIM P-Bass pickups aren't a slightly different size than than the Standard MIA's. You may need to do a little routing (as I did on my MIM Jazz neck p/u)

    If I'd had the cash I would have gotten the American. But my MIM Jazz kicks-ass for a $350 bass.
  4. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    You should run a search as the Mexican, Japanese, American differences in Fenders has been dealt with extensively. My .02 is save the bucks and get a US made. Much better resale value.
  5. First let me preface this by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the MIM Fender Basses. For the money, and even if they cost more than they do, they are a very good instrument. I've owned several over the last few years.

    However, I've also owned, and still do, a number of MIA models, J and P, as well as special ones. The overall quality of the MIAs is quite a bit higher than the MIMs. The wood, fit, finish, frets, electronics, hardware, etc., are all quite a bit better than the MIMs. It's not to say that if you shop carefully, and probably for quite a while, you won't find that diamond in the rough MIM. They're out there. But the good MIAs are much easier to find.

    I would save my money if I could and buy an MIA. But, each to his own. There are many players who own MIMs and swear by them. Play a number of both and make your own mind up. Then, whatever you do, you'll be a lot happier with your choice.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I had an MIM Jazz and it was fantastic for the money. However, I replaced it with a MIA Jazz and the MIA is superior in most respects. The paint job on the MIM was a little better looking (believe it or not), it was like a mirror. The pickups in my MIM Jazz were excellent sounding, I replaced them and it sounded no better, only different. The quality and fit and finish was completely adequate, and I liked the bass.

    If you're on an MIM budget, though, I think that you should seriously consider an Essex from instead. Probably near the same quality for a much lower price.
  7. pbassfreak


    May 2, 2001
    long beach
    just play the mim..then play the mia..youll defintely feel the might be able to get a great sound after putting the other pups..but you cant change the feel..good luck
  8. I have a 2001 MIM P with a Duncan Hot P pickup installed with the stock volume and tone pot.

    The stock pickup had more percussiveness to my ear, than does the Duncan. But, the Duncan is louder and seems to be heavily boosted in the mids. This tone isn't for me, so I picked up a DiMarzio Will Power Middle to replace the Duncan.

    There is a noticeable difference in feel between my MIM and several MIA P's I've played that belong to other bassists. Mine isn't bad, but the MIA has a noticeably nicer feel to the neck.

    MIM P's are great players and hold their resale value well. Mine let me tinker with playing a P at a reasonable cost. Now that I've played the P long enough to know for sure its a permanent member of my bass harem, I'll eventually replace it with a custom Warmoth P (with no resale value).
  9. Go for the Gold! :D Or should I say Red,White,and Blue? :)

    If you can afford it and it is going to be a bass you play quite often....go MIA all the way!You can get a used NM condition MIA for less than you think.Do some comp shopping.The pup in my MIA P puts out a wonderful tone.I am 100% happy with it.

  10. OK, if you're not keen on Fenders how about a Korean Spector???? The MS2000/Q4 or Q5 in case you want a 5 stringer!

    I got a Korean REX2000/5 and it is an amazing instrument!

    As to your Fender question, my input is this - go and play as many as you can before you part with your hard earned cash. Get the one that plays the best! Pickups, bridges, tuners etc can all be changed at a later date if they need to be - but the feel in the instrument is something that you'll be pushed to change!

    Someone already mentioned this, so I'll second that motion!
  11. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I would hold out. They look the same hanging on the wall but the quality is noticeably better in the MIA once it gets into your hands. Playability is an important factor, as much in my mind as the sound. Comb the used market. MIA P's run around $400 on ebay.
  12. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    the winner hands down is a MIA used. great bang for the buck and super solid bass with super solid P tone. no upgrades necessary.
  13. i myself love the sound of feel of mim jazz basses. ive owned 4 of them. last year when i was looking for a MIA jazz...i played it...and i just liked the feel of the MIM jazz i bought two of those for the price of a slightly used MIA. haha..oh i love my jazz basses.
  14. This is really a case of getting what you pay for. The MIM is your basic BASS. It will sound like a P bass and it will play and stay in tune. You can have it set up to play relatively well and it will DO THE JOB. The MIA uses better materials to start with. It can be setup to play easier than the MIM. More attention has been paid to fit and finish. (fret dressing etc.) This adds up to a better sounding playing bass to start with. I don't think that changing the pickups on the MIM will bring it up to the value of the MIA. I would save my money and go for the MIA P bass. I have one and I love it.