1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Bad years for MIM Fenders?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rusty2867, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Rusty2867

    Rusty2867 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    De Soto,Ks
    I have been shopping around local stores and pawn shops looking at Fender basses for awhile now.I am just wondering are there certain years I should stay away from or things to be aware of when I am looking? I have found a few in the $300 to $400 range,so far the one I am most interested in is a 06 FSR P-bass in natural and 2nd 99 jazz in black.Decisions,decisions!
  2. Rusty2867

    Rusty2867 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    De Soto,Ks
    Heading off to work now,looking forward to seeing replies in the morning!
  3. I think the quality of the MIM instruments has become much better in the last 10 -12 years. I don't think there are any specific dates to avoid. Overall, the MIM's are a great value for the money.
  4. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    I couldn't say when it comes to "bad" years, but IIRC in 2008 the MIM's got a makeover of sorts (as did the American Standards) and the quality and consistency in general went up considerably. I purchased a Standard Jazz and a Standard Precision in 2010, and both were really well made solid instruments.

    I just purchased a Deluxe Active Jazz this past weekend and again, the quality is REALLY impressive to me. I also own an American Standard Jazz and have owned an Am Std P so I know how they compare.

    None of that is to say that MIM's made before 2008 weren't good, just that I have experienced firsthand how good the newer ones are.

    I would say that in general it pays to carefully check out all MIM basses. Overall the QC from Fender is always hit and miss IME, but a bit more so on the MIM's than the American instruments.

    Hope that helps.
  5. MoreBeer


    Jan 5, 2014
    Well, I've heard of some '98 MIM's smelling like enchilada's. :D
  6. I had a 96 mim jazz, it was a good bass. I think the newer MIM's are better but there were never any bad years to avoid.
  7. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    At some point in the late 90s they started using alder instead of poplar as well as using traditional sized jazz pickups. Before then the bridge and neck pickups were the same length.
  8. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    I would guess that there was not a single year in which every single Fender bass was great.
    Whenever you mass produce anything there is a certain percentage (although it may be small) that are just dogs. (Please, no offense to any dog lovers).
    Some years lots of dogs, other years maybe only a few. But be assured there were a few barkers in any given year.
  9. bigscore1000


    Mar 6, 2004
    I remember back in around 1999 i was shopping for my 1st bass... I REALLY wanted an MIM Fender Jazz.....

    This thing was sooooo noisy & buzzy that i was forced to settle for an Ibanez Soundgear.

    I later sold the Ibanez on ebay and ended up with an MIJ 75 RI Jazz that i found in Sam Ash
  10. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    I picked up a used 2004 MIM Jazz last Oct....other that some minor road wear, it is really well put together, has the 2 different sized pickups, not at all noisy or buzzy, I put Fender flats on it and it plays beautifully
  11. I bought a MIM P-bass for my son in the mid-late 90's and i think I played a dozen of them before I found one that I would consider buying. Quality control was spotty to non-existent on most of them. If you are buying used those problems have probably been fixed by previous owners.

    Rick B.
  12. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    ... that was between the '01/02 model years ...
  13. Andy D

    Andy D

    Jun 18, 2011
    Bay Area
    I have an '07 P-Bass, alder, which plays great. When I bought it, however, the original pickup's output was virtually nonexistent. I replaced it with a Duncan SPB 2 and it came to life. I then replaced the tuning machines with Hipshot HB7s, and replaced the stock bridge with a Babicz. I daresay I'd now take her head to head with any American made P. She's that good.
  14. Jazzbassguy


    Jul 18, 2009

    I have to echo edencab here. I recently picked up an '02 MIM Standard Jazz and it's a really nice bass. Minor wear as well, but built solid, also has the two different pups on it, and not noisy at all.

    It had fairly new rounds on it, so I'm gonna leave them on for a while.

    And I absolutely LOVE the thin neck on this '02! I have played a couple of the new MIM Standard Jazz's recently, and I swear the necks on those were chunkier than the one on this '02. And I love a thin neck on a Jazz..
  15. I'd go with a newer one, 2008 and after. I thought the quality of MIM Standard Fenders in the early days was pretty bad to very average. They've improved over the years, though I'm still not crazy about them.
  16. Rusty2867

    Rusty2867 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    De Soto,Ks
    Seems like most of the ones I have found were 99 or early 2000's
  17. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    As far as the standards, I'd say prior to 2001. Back then they used different pickups, and the bodies were poplar. In 2001, they switched to more traditional pickups (e.g. the Jazz Bass had a wider bridge pickup than neck pickup, which is correct), and the bodies became alder. They also got proper knobs, not the strat-style stuff.

    In 2009, they got even better IMO. Nice feeling necks, more appealing finishes - nicer looking headstock logo too. Only thing I dislike is the lack of Jazz V colors.
  18. Chuck King

    Chuck King Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2006
    While the newer ones seem to be better on paper than the older ones, it is quite possible to find a really remarkable 90s MIM Fender. I've had several. Since you're looking at used instruments in any event, I would say, don't turn your nose up at a MIM just because it's from the 90s or whenever---it may well be one of those magical instruments where everything just works perfectly together. Or maybe not, but, the point is, they're worth checking out, especially since often you can get good deals on them.
  19. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    my 90s one had rosewood that shrank a lot depending on weather and an extremely dark tone with the stock bridge, not a bad bass but it was a little too heavy for my tastes
  20. Lichtaffen


    Sep 29, 2008
    Rhode Island
    I bought one new in 1995 that was a dog. Had the strat style knobs. The neck was mounted crooked on the body. Still played ok.