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Current Mustang P/J vs JMJ sig - some questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AlexanderB, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    A few days ago, I spent a few minutes playing the current MIM Fender Mustang PJ. I felt it was an OK instrument, but nothing special. OK pickups (and the switch was intermittent on a brand new bass), but it was fairly stiff and dead, far from resonant. In the same way, it sonded very "generic", without character and bite. From a technical point of view, the tone and sustain was as expected from open E all the way through the range of the bass.

    So in some ways it was not bad at all, but I did not "click" with it.

    Then yesterday, I got my hands on the JMJ signature model... Oh my... I do not like flats, that pickup configuration and I think this road worn concept is stupid. Still, once I played that JMJ bass, I was very, very impressed! Fat, clear and resonant tone. Big oldschool tone with a tad of dirt in the pickups. Fantastic playability, character by the barrel and still very even and smooth tone all across the fretboard!

    So, would you say this is typical? Are the JMJ basses really THAT much better, or was it a coincidence? I will not buy the JMJ, as I need the modern pickups and I much prefer the modern look.
    On the other hand, if the PJ typically feels and sounds so stiff and dead, I may not get that bass either.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
    Pet Sounds likes this.
  2. Barton Lee

    Barton Lee Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2018
    I can't give an opinion on the Mustang PJ as I've never played one. FWIW, I do own a JMJ Mustang and in my opinion your opinions about the one you played are accurate. I've had a JMJ for a few weeks now and used it at some gigs. The bass has TI flats on it, as while I like flats and use the Fender 9050L strings on my 66 P bass, the Fender strings that came with the bass weren't ideal. I tried a set of SIT rounds on it first but quickly decided that flats were the better choice for this bass. I use a Markbass CMD 121 combo and add a NY121 extension when I need more volume, so that's what I've played mine through.

    The JMJ Mustang pickup and tone control are fantastic. I've never had a tone control on a simple passive bass work as effectively. The low end and sustain are great, and it's loud. I have a 72 P bass with a very heavy, aggressive tone and the JMJ arguably punches harder.

    I needed another Fender bass like a hole in the head but after selling my only short scale bass (a Jerry Jones), I wanted another and even though I agree that roadworn finishes are silly, the Daphne blue, white pearloid guard and lollipop tuners really work for me.

    I wouldn't want a JMJ as an only bass, but I'm happy I've got one.
    MCF and AlexanderB like this.
  3. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Thanks! Much appreciated your detailed reply.
    Anyone else?
  4. @AlexanderB, I agree with your assessment. I snagged a JMJ after comparing it to a PJ and the difference was night and day in my view. I do like flats, though. Strings aside, the JMJ was a far superior instrument, IMO.
    AlexanderB likes this.
  5. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    By the way, the short scale Ibanez TMB30 was (IMHO) definitely a better instrument than the Mustang PJ, regardless price. Then it happens to be priced at about 1/3 of the Fender...
  6. HD007

    HD007 Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    I have a PJ Mustang so can’t compare to JMJ. I think with the lower and mid-range MIMs there is a lot of variation in quality and feel. Plus set up can be way off.
    It could be you just didn’t click with the PJ. I’ve had a blast with mine and played it in a variety of situations. I don’t think they’re inherently drab or anything, though I’m sure there are duds.
    The JMJs look super cool- it’s always nice to find something that’s a pleasant surprise! Good luck
    AlexanderB likes this.
  7. kcolyar


    Feb 28, 2007
    Moab, Ut 84532
    I love my PJ, the bass sounds fantastic to my bandmates. They prefer it to my jazz bass, BUT... the PU selector switch is noisy, and the PU's dont sound evenly matched to me. The P pick up s good, but the J pick up is weaker. I have raised its height, lowered it.... All in all tho, I love it and its a great bass for the price.
    HD007 and AlexanderB like this.
  8. EitherOr


    Jul 14, 2017
    Agree with your assessment. I swapped the stock strings for labella flats which sound great if you like flats and have a much improved string tension vs typically looser short scale. P pick up sounds good, jazz weak. I plan to upgrade pickups and switch.

    JMJ is definitely a nicer bass, but there is a significant price difference and I don't know it's necessarily worth it, at least to me. I also got the P/J mustang at a super price (less than 1/2 the cost of the JMJ, so that may color my opinion as well).
    kcolyar, HD007 and AlexanderB like this.
  9. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Thanks guys, much appreciated.
    My main concern is not the P/U, but the (lack of) natural resonance and life in the bass. It does not have the quack of a Jazz or the bark of a Precision, and the sustained note was sort of bland, no growl or purr.
    Of course it does not help that it ships with the horrible Fender rounds...

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