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Fender quality over the years? need a second Jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by audiotom, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. audiotom


    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    I've been visiting this site a little while and recently joined up
    great place

    I have a 78 Fender Precision with a Jazz neck (bad@#* bridge and dimarzio pickups, ohsc) that I lucked into
    that has wonderful tonal qualities and incredible playability.
    And this thing never goes out of tune. Whenever my instructor gets his hands on this bass he tells me how incredibly fortunate I am.

    I'm 44, been playing for about a year and have some forearm issues that a good jazz neck seems to cure. My first bass is an Ibanez with berts - the larger neck hurt

    I'm looking for a second fender - this time a Jazz bass
    and have played a number of new Fenders and I just find that very few of them have the sustain, craftsmanship, tone and playability that I'd even want to consider owning
    even the MIA Standard deluxe or Geddy Lee's don't quite feel right

    I see a lot of nice 80's and 90's fender MIA and MIJ on ebay and wanted to hear your comments on the craftsmanship of various years.

    Are there years to avoid or particularly strong years? The newest woods just don't feel the same.

    I'd like to get a decent backup bass without breaking the bank ($600ish)


  2. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    lol am visited the Fender forum today for the first time,and i love Jazz Bass,i think the same as the guys in Fender forum..you think in Fender and you think in Jazz Bass and viceversa,you think in bass and you think in Fender.... :bassist:
  3. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    Well you have many other options as for a Jazz bass you could get , but I seem to disagree with you about "Fenders quality" I recently ( 8 months ago ) went to my local music stoor planning to leave with either a Warwick Corvette or a Music Man Stingray I decided on the sting ray but then I saw a beautiful aged cherry burst MIA Jazz deluxe on the wall I figured "lemme give it a shot" just for the hell of it and it I fell in love IMO it blew bothe the warwick and the MM away!! so thats what I got... Give the MIA jazz deluxe a shot instead
  4. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    ansoltly es,if i buy a new Fender..this will be a American Series Deluxe.
  5. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    If you buy a MIA Fender, get the oldest one you can afford. If possible, get one you can play and examine before you buy. Between 2000 and 2002, I bought four new MIA P-basses online. The parts and the finish on the parts was excellent. But the assembly of the parts was terrible. One of them was so screwed up that I tore it apart and used the pieces for spare parts. On all four of the basses, the screws that hold in the pickups were all put in crooked. Instead of the surface of the pickups laying flat and parallel with the pickguard, they were cocked in a "V" shape. So when adjusting them they wouldn't go straight up and down. Adjusted low they were squeezed together and as they were raised up they spread apart until they were cocked at a weird angle. Fender could have made a simple drill jig that would fit in the pickup pocket which would make these holes straight and perfect every time. But here is how Fender does it. The pickguard is installed over the pickups sitting loosely in the pocket. Then some moron shoves some screws in the holes in the ends of the pickups and rams them in with a power screwdriver at all different angles. To fix them I had to epoxy up the holes and re-drill them with a drill press.

    On three of the basses, the plate that holds the neck on the body was all bent out of shape. The four corners of the plate where the screw holes are located were bent down until they dug into the bass body about 1/16 of an inch. The reason this happens is because they put a real deep countersink in each of the screw holes in the back of the bass body. Then they ram home the screws until the corners of the plate dig into the wood. The correct way to mount this plate is with little or no countersink. That way, as the screws are tightened, the countersunk part of the screw contacts the wood of the bass body first and squeezes the neck and body together slightly before the screw even contacts the steel plate. Then as the screw is tightened the rest of the way it reaches the proper amount of squeeze without bending the hell out of the plate.

    I could go on for hours on Fender "quality control". Loose hardware, sloppy neck pockets, crooked screws, "S' shaped necks, etc. But guess what? I bought two MIM Jazz basses. The parts may not have been as good, but they were assembled PERFECTLY. I recently bought a couple of MIJ Mustang basses and the assembly of these basses seems to be EXCELLENT. If you can't afford a quality old Jazz bass, you might try one of these imports. I know I'll never go back. ;)
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Instead of an MIA Fender, get a Geddy Lee signature Fender. These sound great, play great, and have wonderful fit and finish. The are also $300-400 cheaper than a MIA Fender Jazz. I just put one away myself. I think it is by far the best passive j-bass for under $1,000 and probably bettern than some over $1,000.
  7. I used a '72 Jazz as my main bass for about 10 years. I currently have an MIJ fretless Jazz, a P-Bass clone, a Reverend Rumblefish and a Hamer 2-TEK CruiseBass. I have had a love affair with Jazz Basses for years. Believe me when I tell you that you'd be thrilled with a USA Hamer bolt-on CruiseBass with either a Gotoh bridge or (my favorite) the 2-TEK. They are regularly on e-Bay in the $500 - $600 price range. For a production instrument, you simply won't find anything that surpasses them in quality of materials, electronics, fit and finish. They are truly the Jazz Bass Fender should have made. Others will back me up on this.
  8. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    They're hit or miss. Always have been, always will be. Unless you can play it first there's no way of telling how good it'll be.
  9. while i agree that the geddy lee is awesome... he said he didnt like them
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yep, Fenders have great and crappy basses in every decade of production. But if you don't want to pay vintage, I think 1998 was a banner year for Fender. I have a 98 USA Jazz that I think is as good as any Fender ever made, and I've yet to play a bad Fender from 1998, whether bass or guitar.
  11. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Sorry, didn't read closely enough. Just go through some MIM Fenders, odds are you will find a nice one in the pile.
  12. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    I have an 88 MIJ Jazz Bass that I bought new & it's phenomenal. I ended up dropping a set of DiMarzios in it about 4 years ago, but I always get compliments on its playability & tone.
    From what I understand, the late '80s MIJ Fenders are quality instruments. I wouldn't go as far to tag them as "desirable" but they seem to have passed the test of time & definitely have their fans out there.

    And you can get 'em for cheap
  13. +1 I love mine! I dropped some DiMarzio model J's in it and dressed her up some but she was great out of the box.
  14. audiotom


    May 31, 2005
    new orleans
    thanks for all the insight

    the Geddy Lee bass

    it played okay - then again this was at Guitar Center
    they had an american standard there where the g string was so low it was practically scraping the fret board and buzzing away

    I have a strong affinity to rosewood necks - darker colors
    those pearl inlays and black stripping on the edge of the G. Lee were distractive (probably something you gain familiarity with) but I don't like the tone and slippery feel as much as rosewood. It did have a nicer build quality and good price.

    They also had a Korean made j with 4 tone controls
    that seemed pretty well made and great flame top

    maybe the feel and fit of my 78 just leave too much to be desired from the newer models

  15. dBerriff


    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
    Perhaps the UK dealers I visit only accept good stock but the few newer Fender MIA's I have tried have all been excellent. I accept they do vary, but not that much in my admittedly limited experience.

    As for bending plates and digging into the body wood - I haven't found any of that. OK, pickup mounting is crude. Allignment faults seem to come more from the way the backing foam is stuck on where I have had a problem.

    I would get more excited about the amount of paper Fender can stick in the neck pocket. I've stripped it out of one recent Jazz and it seemed to reduce the effect of a slight deadspot.

    The MIA Deluxe 2002 Jazz, Precision and MIA 'regular' Precision I have bought are all excellent basses. Then there is the Fender Victor Bailey with a slightly shallower neck profile and Koa top - if that is what you like.

    If you want something a little different and perhaps a bit better in some of the details as a passive Jazz take a look at the G&L JB-2. At used USA prices that is good value.
  16. Mr.Phil


    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Go to the store, try a few MIA's... I guarentee that you'll find at least one good one.
  17. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Their quality control varies tremendously. My feeling is if your on a budget, #1 Buy used , look for a used Marcus Miller or Geedy Lee or American standard, If you get one thats built well and has a decent ACOUSTIC tone you can spend the money you saved on upgrades, pre-amps-pickups etc. #2 If your going to spend MIA new dollars I would look hard at Lakland Skyline, Daryl Jones and Joe Osborn, their QC is superior to the MIA Fenders for about the same or a little less money. #3 In the high end 1500+ By used Sadowsky Metro or Lakland US Joe Osborn. They are far superior in consistency then anything Fender in the plus 1500 range.
  18. mksolid


    Jan 4, 2005
    I have a 98 USA Jazz as well and it is awesome.

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