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Did I get ripped off???( MIJ Jazz question)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BrandonBass, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Heres the story:

    I bought this MIJ jazz bass for US$450 around 3yrs ago. It has 'made in japan' written on the headstock, and the serial number written on the back of the neck. The bolt-on plate is blank.

    About 1yr after I got it, I removed the pickguard and sold it and pasted alot of stickers on it. After removing the pickguard, I started to slap the bass more often. However, I find the that its much harder to slap without the pickguard(due to the increased gap between strings and body) but I try to work my technique around it. I still prefer my yamaha or stingray for slapping.

    Just now, I went to this sessioned bassist's place to try out a thunderbird Im interested in buyin.... in the end it wasnt the sound im lookin for so I told him Ill pass on the deal. He has a good collection of basses hanging from his wall, and he allowed me to try some of them(nikki sixx thunderbird, rickenbacker, warwick). Finally, I asked him if he would allow me to try his american jazz on the wall, he agreed.

    I notice that the jazz didnt hav any pickguard on, but the distance between the strings and the body were much closer than mine. *I can put my 4fingers into the gap between my bass' strings and body*. So I told him about the big gap between my fender MIJ, and he told me that should not be possible. Because according to him, the distance between the strings and body for all MIJ and MIA fenders should be the same. He told me the previous owner must have changed the stock MIJ body with a warmoth one.

    What do you guys think? Btw, this guy seems to have an extensive knowledge in bass equipments eg. and hes a really nice guy, I would find any reason for him to BS me. And his fender jazz had a pickguard on before he removed it. Thanks for readin the wall of txt....and help!
  2. Ski3223


    Mar 27, 2010
    Norman, Oklahoma
    FOUR fingers??? Small hands?

    Kidding, can you put a picture up so we can see it better?
  3. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    Take the neck off and see if there is a Warmoth logo stamped into the neck pocket.
  4. All those assertions are pure speculation.

    +1 on removing neck and looking for the Warmoth brand.
  5. You can change the distance the strings sit from the body same as you can from the fret board. This is not an indication that it is or isn't a Warmoth body.
  6. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    I wanna take a pic, but dont hav a camera with me...lemme try and figure how to get my webcam to take a pic*goes to google*

    I would like to take out the neck....but i'll hav to hunt for a screwdriver that size...plus the is if safe for an untrained individual like me to jus unscrew the neck out?
  7. stiles72


    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    +1 The bridge should allow for adjusting the string height of each individual string. Perhaps also your truss rod may need adjusted.
  8. just make sure you remove or at least loosen the strings first. otherwise ... *rrrriiiiiiiiipppp*
  9. 1. If you don't know what you are doing, do not remove the neck. Take it to someone who knows what they are doing.

    2. If the action was good before removing the pickguard, suggestions to lower the string action are not going to help. Yes, lowering the strings will bring them closer to the body but will also bring them closer to the fretboard and screw up the action, probably making it way too low.

    The only problem I see is the bass feels different with the pickguard off. There is no cure for this other than to adjust to the new feel over time. I had a bass that I played without a pickguard for a long time. When I put a pickguard back on it, it felt way different when I slapped. This is the nature of the beast. It's like the difference between wearing your shoes with or without socks. They will feel different.

    If you like your bass sans pickguard, just take the time to get used to the new feel.
  10. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    You do have a point... but I wonder if the warmoth body will be inferior to the original fender's body limiting the potential for a good sound??
  11. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    Until you get someone with some basic and competent guitar-bass repair and adjustment skills, besides being able to tell a real Fender from a cobbled together parts job, to have a good look at your bass, none of us here can tell if you got ripped off or not. As for Warmouth bodies, they are considered to be good quality replacement bodies in general. Until your bass is looked at by somebody who does know 'shinola from b.s.' your situation remains a mystery yet to be solved. I'm not insulting you, I'm only making suggestions based on your post, and what info you have provided so far. You may very well have a genuine Fender bass merely in need of some setup work to get it to your liking. However if it's a bass that needs the pickguard back on it to make you happy with your slap technique and tone, it may be the way it's got to be. It's too early in the game to make make any declarations without any supporting evidence yet.
  12. Hugh Jass

    Hugh Jass

    Oct 10, 2008
    Canada eh
    If anything, a Warmoth body will be higher quality than a stock Fender one. Wont be any worse.

    The comment that guy made on string height makes no sense. The height of the strings off the body depends on the setup more than anything. It's probably the stock body and there's nothing to worry about.

    Edit: THumpbass1 beat me to it.
  13. Johnius


    Dec 5, 2007
    Slap is made more difficult by not having a pickguard? I cannot see how the two are related. If you're slapping, your fingers are usually curled in anticipation of the impending pop. I don't do any resting on the pickguard when I slap. Care to elaborate?
  14. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Because with that much space for your fingers to roam, its easy to over dig. As in, you dig so far that your finger joint gets into the string...

    As for my setup, its as low as it can go without any significant buzzing. And both my bass and that guy's fender has about the same action. The way I see it, his neck is definitely slotted into the body 'deeper' than mine, for a lack of a better term.
  15. +1 I have played my Warmoth basses against several extremely expensive Fenders from old days and got nothing but compliments. Once I played my Warmoth against 67 Jazz in the guitar shop in Helsinki. The salespersons came to ask what instrument sounded so much better than their jewel and they were quite surprised when they got my answer - the Warmoth (hollow body passive with Antiquity II pickups). :)
    Besides, having had all kind of Fenders I can say that their dimensions can vary a lot.
  16. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    Another issue is that the comparison is being made between an MIJ J-Bass and an MIA. There have been some spec differences between Fender of Japan and U.S. made basses in more than a few areas.
  17. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    I have swapped Fender necks and the distance was not the same from bass to bass (I currently have a MIM P-Bass with an older MIA neck, and I had to adjust pickup height and action quite a bit after the switch.)

    I used to have a MIJ fretless Jazz bass I played without a pickguard and I found it a little easier to slap with it that way. There was a little more room for my fingers under there... of course all players are different, and with no frets, it might have caused the strings to sit lower. That bass would have benefited from a Warmoth body for my uses for sure. The original body was basswood and was damaged very easily and the screw holes stripped out. It sounded great, but gave me a little trouble.
  18. Eddie and thumpbass are absolutely correct, specs vary slightly depending on where and when a bass was made. Yes, they are supposed to adhere to one set of specs, but the reality is, when you start to measure MIA versus MIM versus MIJ, or even the same bass from different manufacturing eras, you will find slight differences. When you go switching parts around, you often find they just don't line up and fit together the same way.

    And to answer Johnius, many slappers (including myself) make contact with the top of the body with their plucking hand while slapping, especially during popping where you bring your fingers under the strings. This naturally results in your fingers touching the pickguard or body. The thickness of a pickguard is enough to give a very diffferent feel. IMHO, that's the extent of the issue here. I seriously doubt it's a Warmoth body, and the difference between OP's bass and his esteemed associate's bass is the common variance in specs Eddie, thumpbass, and I alluded to above.
  19. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Thanks guys for the help. Guess, at the end of the day its the tone that matters right? lol

    Anyways ill prolly, just ask my luthier to remove the neck to see whats underneath....

    What if the body is blank? Does it mean its a fender?
  20. TripleDouble

    TripleDouble Guest

    Aug 5, 2008
    Put a clear pickguard on it to keep the look you like. And yeah, have a pro do the neck removal the first time, but ask to watch, it's not hard or anything but could cause trouble if you're not careful in re-assembly.

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