Fender MIA - Worth it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CiaranQ, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. CiaranQ


    Jan 23, 2018
    Hey all,

    I have got a nice array of Fender basses (I've also got a Yamaha BB735A, but that's not part of this conversation). The basses are;

    1998 MIM Standard Jazz bass - modded the crap out of it, deleted the neck PU, bridge PU is now a MM, with an aguilar OBP-2, it's effectively a Flea Jazz but with boost and cut.
    2007 CIJ Mustang Bass with comp stripes.
    2014 MIJ PB57 with USA pickups.
    2017 MIM RW Jazz.

    Love all the basses, they all do exactly what I want them to. But.... part of me wants to add a MIA to the collection, and I have gas for either a Am. Performer PJ or Mustang. I don't have a PJ in my collection , and I like to try to only have one "type" of each bass, no double-ups. So, a PJ would fit nicely.

    My question is, is a MIA bass really worth the extra $$? The MIM RW is frickin amazing, and I've played both MIA AP's (P and Mustang) in store. I like them, They feel nice in the hands, and have a very consistent and considered tone. Not sure I dig the greasebucket tone, but that can be removed relatively easily. To me, the MIM RW and MIA AP feel of a similar quality. So, is it worth the extra money for assembly in Corona, rather than in Ensenada?

    Thanks, Ciaran
    zon6c-f likes this.
  2. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Your appreciation of Japanese-made Fenders is readily apparent. I'd say check out a Fender Aerodyne Jazz first.

    Another option would be a Fender Reggie Hamilton Signature Jazz, much like this one available in the TB Classifieds. (No, I'm not the seller and no, I don't know if they'd even ship all the way down to Oz or not.) I modded a Jazz bass into a P/J with the same pickup placement and it turned into something quite special. :thumbsup:
  3. Biffa

    Biffa Inactive

    Apr 16, 2019
    County Durham, UK
    I've never played a US Fender, I've owned a Japanese Fender and a Mexican Fender, and since it's all about the label anyway, they did the job very well. If you are happy parting with a wad of cash just so you can hold your head up high and say, "I've got a USA Fender" then go for it
  4. CiaranQ


    Jan 23, 2018
    I think that's the point. I'd only be doing it for the sake of it. Maybe I've answered my own question.

    That, or I'll wait for a used one at the right price. Let someone else take the bath on the resale.
  5. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    I played a couple of mexican fenders in stores, they were nice and I'd probably be happy with one if I were a less experienced player. The MIA fenders are much nicer though.

    I'm not rich, but it was worth the cost differential to me to pay the premium for the MIA basses. If money were really an issue I'd be ok with MIM. I still may end up getting an MIM as a beater bass.
  6. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    I've had two MIM Fender Jazz guitars, one was lousy, other very good. But my AVRI '74 is big step above. Everything is better made, and the sound...
    Sometimes, on smaller concerts, I let my trombone player play the last song, stand in the audience, and enjoy the chest-hitting growl from the subs.
    I am known as a bass-flipper and guitars don't stay with me longer than a year or so, but this one is going nowhere.
    My advice is to ALWAYS check guitars one step above what you have. Unlike with feet and shoes, we (hopefully) continue to grow all our lives and always need room to expand.
  7. BassJuju


    Jul 9, 2016
    I think they are worth. That isn’t to say there aren’t good ones made outside the US and there will be folks that argue this point till the bitter end. Could I make acceptable music with a MIM Fender, yep. I do it frequently. Is it as nice a fit and finish as the MIA Fender’s, nope. Not bad, just not as much attention to detail. To be fair, I’m not a fan of the elite series. I like the Originals and the Professionals. I think it is the pre that I don’t like in the Elites. It just sucks the character out the tone.

    Best of luck... play a few and see what you like.
  8. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Wisebass, Herrick and TheReceder like this.
  9. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    That is for you to decide...
    I'd take a look at CIJ Fender basses first......
    JGbassman and nattiep like this.
  10. CiaranQ


    Jan 23, 2018
    Read my first post, I've got two already. Love them. :)
  11. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    Oh, sorry... way too early for me today... :(
    ELG60 likes this.
  12. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    I'm not telling you what to do, but it sounds like you are setting yourself up for buyer's remorse.
    Machiavelli likes this.
  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Yes, No, Maybe.

    Is a Mercedes worth it? Is a Cadillac worth it? Is filet mignon worth it? Is a Fodera worth it? Is anything quality worth it?

    The search feature is your friend. ;)
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  14. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I have never played an MIM Fender that I liked. I've owned a couple of MIJ Fenders which were very good but they still didn't compare with the MIA Fenders I own.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts


    juancaminos and fretter like this.
  16. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    Save some and get a second hand american elite PJ,this one is worth it,the others im not so sure.
  17. The right one is worth it. Also, they turn up used so much that it's easy to find a steal. I just saw an American Elite P used for just a little more than a new Vintera.
  18. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    I was never impressed with the MIA Fenders I played.

    Well, I’ll clarify: I was impressed, but I wasn’t nearly impressed enough to account for the price difference. The exception was a used JP90 I picked up, which I bonded with immediately. BEFORE I looked at the headstock. Then the price tag.

    Bought it.

    So check one out, OP, but do some research first. The JP90 story is a weird one.
    kodiakblair likes this.
  19. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    With the exception of the pickups I generally find Japanese Fenders to be better quality than MIA so if you've already got a MIJ with USA pickups that's more or less as good as it's gonna get with a Fender IMO. Unless you pay a fortune for a custom shop of course.
    thunderkyss likes this.
  20. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've owned and played both MIM and MIA and see very little difference. I wouldn't go out and buy a MIA just to have it.

    I've only owned one MIJ Fender, a Geddy Lee Jazz, and it was freakin amazing! I've never seen a bass with such a straight neck and perfect fretwork. It played itself, almost :)
    Methaneman, Spidey2112 and LBS-bass like this.