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Fender MIA - Can you tell?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lowblues, Apr 30, 2002.

  1. I was having a heated discussion with a fellow bassplayer about Fender Basses. I am of the mind that one can tell the difference between a MIA and a MIM/MIJ bass. For me is is a feel thing. I just prefer the way a MIA bass feels.


    Who is with me, who is against me.


    For thr record:
    MIA = Made in America
    MIM = Made in Mexico
    MIJ = Made in Japan
  2. Steven Green

    Steven Green

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I've always found it easy to tell between the MIA and MIM basses, but with the MIA and MIJ it's not as easy...MIJ are higher quality than most MIM and some MIA...IMHO
  3. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    You da man, lowb. I'm widya.
  4. Yup, I've done a side by side of MIA and MIM Deluxe Jazz V's, and there's a BIG difference. Not so much in sound, but in feel. The MIA's have nicely rounded over fret ends, like a vintage Jazz, and they just exude an air of quality that the MIM does'nt have.
  5. Coudln't say I've never really A/B the same type of bass. I've had a MIA Precision Special (the 80's one) for about 11 years now.

    I just picked up a MIM Jazz Fretless. I like the feel of them both - they both feel like good quality instruments. But they are not even remotely the same, so I can't really compare them the way they need to be compared to answer this question - I'll need to go try it sometime!!!!

    However, all things being equal I bet you get some stonking MIM Fenders and some Friday afternoon MIA Fenders!!!! S whilst it might be a general rule/feeling, I bet it'll be proved wrong from time to time!
  6. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    That's the truth. When I worked @ Sam Ash, there were some MIM's that played & felt alot better then any MIA on the wall.

    But for the most part, the MIA's are of a much higher quality then the MIM's
  7. That is the way I think about it. The MIA that I have check out have a feel to them that is different. Tone wise, I would be hard to pick-on, as I have not had enough experience doing that (testing) to say.
  8. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i can tell it without a doubt if the bass i am playing is american or mexican.
  9. barroso - so what does it for you? the feel or the sound?
  10. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    i have said this before... i honestly think there is no quality control at fender. my mim jazz sounds stinking incredible.i will probably replace the bridge eventually but thats it. i have played some doooooggggg americans. i have played some MIM's that should even be used as firewood. you cant really generalize you really have to play each one.
  11. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I can tell the sound difference of a MIA over a MIM anyday, but it's hard telling it from a good MIJ. Those were some quality instruments. Of course, the MIA is 12 years older than the MIM.
    I can definitely feel the difference, too. Probably partly because of the age and the woods, but I think some of it has to do with the fact that my birthday is 7-16-83, and my Am. Std. Jazz's birthday is 6-16-83. Perhaps not, but I like to think that has something to do with why it feels so great.
  12. I honestly haven't A/B ed them, but, I have A/B ed a few Jazz basses, and it's definitely the feel.

    Not too long ago I A/B ed the 50th anniversary P-bass and a plain MIA P-bass, and liked the regular one a lot better. Felt better and had a mellower tone. I own a $400 Yamaha and a MM Stingray among others, and I think people don't realize how much fretwork matters until you own one of each. I didn't.

    Mike J.
  13. Dr.SixString


    Apr 30, 2002
    I own 2 MIA jazz basses ('69 and '78) and they are much better than any MIM or MIJ [Fender] bass I've tried before.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I have 5 American Jazz basses. I'd love to see a blind test... I'd be willing to bet that most people cannot tell the difference between a nice MIM and a MIA. Real money. I think it's nice to think the difference is that obvious but I seriously doubt that it's true across the board.

    I've heard some damn fine MIM basses (good setup, decent strings). I've heard some so-so MIA basses.

    I regularly hear people saying "I didn't know those basses sounded like that" about several marques that people typically shun.
  15. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    to me is how the neck and fingerboards feel to my hand. the back of the neck is really different to me. so i'd sat that for me it's more the feeling than the sound, with an amp i like mexicans fenders sound good to me.
  16. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I A/B'd an MIA and a MIM Jazz bass, and I couldn't tell a difference in quality. I liked the sound of the MIM better, and it was much cheaper, so I bought it. It could just be those particular basses, and I may have gotten a different result with two others, but that is what I found.
  17. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I wouldn´t take a MIA standard bass over my MIJ Duck Dunn even if you paid me! Thats how good it is.

    Well, it would atleast have to be a pretty large amount of cash.:D
  18. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Course you can tell. Just look at the headstock.

  19. crud19


    Sep 26, 2001
    The MIM that I have had a definite low-mid "honk" that was not present in my old MIA. It's the same kind of "honk" that I've heard on many budget basses. My theory is that manufacturers get pickups to sound like that to compliment poorly-voiced, low-priced practice amps. I replaced the pickups on my MIM with some '62 reissues, and the honk dissapeared - replaced with the more pleasing p-bass growl that we all know and love.
  20. I don't know this for certain, so correct me if I'm wrong, but, doesn't Fender use better "everything" on the Made in America line of basses and guitars? If you start with better wood, electronics and assembly and finsh, wouldn't you get a better product - de facto?

    Mike J.

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