Fender Standard Jazz MIM vs MIA specs?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by djddanman, May 8, 2018.

  1. djddanman


    May 2, 2018
    I'm planning purchasing a MIM Fender Standard Jazz this week with the intent of gradually upgrading it. I noticed on the Seymour Duncan website that the bridge pickups for MIM and MIA are different sizes, so now I'm wondering what else is different? When I make upgrades, what else do I have to watch out for MIM vs MIA designed? For example, I'm also planning on putting a HiMass bridge on at some point, but would this change the string spacing? Would this affect the pickups I should be using? Thanks!
    Warhawk likes this.
  2. I think there was a time when the MIM Jazz used the same size (length) rail for both pickups. MIA used a shorter rail for the neck pickup to accommodate the slightly narrower string spacing closer to the neck.

    I think that MIM Jazz basses made after 2009 (when they kind of re-tooled that model) have different sized pickups like the MIA. On my MIM Jazz the neck pickup is 3.5 inches and the bridge is closer to 3.75 inches.

    As for replacement bridges, yes, you might end up with a different string spacing if you're not careful. But the actual spacing on the replacement should be documented for you. I don't see your aftermarket bridge impacting your pickups all that much though. It could impact the way you have to do your set up if the bridge plate is thick. FWIW, IMHO, you should rock your new Jazz with the standard stock bent-L for awhile, there is much debate about whether a high-mass bridge actually makes a noticeable positive difference.
    Warhawk, craig0316, pudgychef and 2 others like this.
  3. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    For starters, there are a wide variety of models, with very differing specs that have been produced in both Mexico, and USA over the years ... identifying or evaluating based solely on country of origin will quite likely lead to a bit of confusion, and usually inaccurate statements ... there are components and specs which are interchangeable on models from both countries over the years, as well as components/specs that are specific to each as well ...

    With regards to your pickups inquiry above, Fender MIM Standard Jazz basses produced from the early '90's up through mid '01, utilized pickups that were the same size, and used in both the neck and bridge position ... for the '02 model year, that practice was changed, and Fender began utilizing conventional Jazz pickup sizing, of bridge slightly longer than neck position ... that is where some aftermarket manufacturers will market replacement sets utilizing two different options, conventional and both neck sized ... because the options are a bit limited for the same size option, if one wants to try several varieties, and may be worthwhile to modify the bridge routing to accept the slightly longer pups, or just purchase a bass which already has the conventional routing, which would be virtually any US made model ...

    The other difference you are inquiring about, is bridges ... the main difference here, is going to be standard 5 -hole top loaded Fender configuration, or 3-hole string through body (STB) ... with regards to string spacing, there are models of basses from both countries of origin that come stock with threaded (or spiral) saddles which offer choices for string spacing ....
    Warhawk, George Himmel and mikewalker like this.
  4. djddanman


    May 2, 2018
    Thanks for the info! So I should be fine with the SDs designed for the MIA standard. And I'll see how everything on the bass is before I make major changes like a new bridge.
  5. Measure your pickups, and get the measurements for your replacements. That's the only way to know for sure.
  6. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    Precise measurements for each pickup are on their respective pages: just click the 'Dimensions' link.
  7. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    What a stupid cost savings measure which shows you just how bad fender was at the time. Even more stupid was using two of the same pickups instead of RWRP so they weren’t him canceling. I got a 93 jazz bass MIM from a thrift store and “saved” it. Just looked and sure enough I routed out the back pickup cavity a bit wider. I used a dremel lol. I put some split coils in there and was quite surprised when I found the original pickups had the same polarity.

    The great thing is there are many MIM based on the used market to choose from.

    Even an “upgraded” MIM won’t necessarily be the equal of an American standard IMHO. There’s the posiflex graphite reinforcement in the neck for example. Also, the attention to fret detail or paint finishing/polishing may not be the same.

    The “upgrades” I do like are the threaded bridge barrels and alnico pickups that were in the original design. You can get them in say a 60’s MIM bass but you pay a lot for it.

    Anybody know a cheap source of threaded barrels (also for telecaster)?
    dab12ax7ef likes this.
  8. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    ... Some folk may not consider Posi-Flex rods an 'upgrade', me for one ... because in order to have Posi-Flex rods you get a heel adjust truss rod, and the neck profile that will be slightly thicker front to back with Medium Jumbo fret wire, none of which are my preference ... ;)

    There are a few aftermarket companies that sell threaded saddles alone, but a threaded saddle vintage bridge complete can be had for $25 range ... also, the 58358/9 set of alnico pickups used in the MIM Classic Series 60's Jazz bass can be around $50 ... so not expensive at all ... the 58294/5 ceramics in the MIM Standards sell right around there themselves ...
    Warhawk and craigie like this.

  9. I have a MIM Fender Jazz bass deluxe which came with US made Fender pickups and a preamp. You might find one second hand like I did.
  10. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    Here is pretty much all you need to know regards the pickup sizing in MIM jazz basses.
    Fender's final word on different pickups in MIM Jazz?
    Short form is prior to 2001 standard MIM J basses had 2 of the same size pickups. Deluxe models, prior to 2001, at least the examples I've seen, had the neck and bridge length pickups found in MIA basses, which is what is found in all MIM basses built from 2001 forward. As for any MIM reissue J's, I would imagine they would have whatever pickups the bass they are a copy of had but I don't know for sure as I've never owned a reissue Fender of any kind.
    One of the areas where Fender saves money on standard MIM basses is pickups, they are serviceable, but I find them to be a bit anemic. No prob though since any standard J bass set will fit the newer MIM basses, there is an unlimited selection of pickups to replace the stock units with. All the MIM J control plates I've seen were loaded with 250K CTS pots and an 047 brown disk cap. I don't know the origin of the jack but I've never had one fail on me.
    As for bridges, the aftermarket is lousy with Fender specific five screw top loading bridges so like pickups, shop til you drop. You can replace the plated brass saddles with threaded rod saddles for around $15.00 or you can get really crazy and spend more for a bridge than the bass cost new off the rack, or anywhere between those two end points, or you can leave the bridge alone and just play it for a while.
    I really like MIM j basses because I can get a good used one for less than four hundred bucks, drop in some nice pickups and some fancy hardware, have the neck edges rolled and a top shelf fret job, even refinish it and still have less in it than what I'd spend for a new MIA standard J.
    Warhawk likes this.
  11. keto


    Mar 3, 2016
    Tuners...MIM have a different sized hole, so better tuners are available but not stock FenderUSA tuners.
  12. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    ... yup, good link to the Fender response to the inquiry from a TB'er ... I saw that when first posted, but a few things that the response did not mention is that it is typical for Fender to make their model year changes mid year, so when they keep referring to '2001', and 'prior to 2001', it happened mid year, so May/June would be the transition, so you will see MIM Standards with 2001 serial numbers that have not made the transition, like 5 months worth of production!, so do a little extra homework to verify before purchase if the serial # is in the 'transition' period, I usually tell folk that an '02 serial number is the safest ... then the response also referred to the 'raised pole pieces', when it is actually only the A and D pole pieces that are raised, I have had a few folk ask me if theirs is correct because of this ... the post above comments on the output jack, so to clarify, the output jack (part #47329) was not affected by the mid '01 'transition', and was used in both the eras of MIM Standards ... interestingly, it was also the output jack used in some MIA basses (Hwy 1/One Series and others), but not the same jack as used in the American Series and American Standards (#21956)... thanks for bringing the link back up, I had forgotten about it ...;)
    fhm555 likes this.
  13. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    Thanks for reminding me. I got so bogged down in trying to cover all the bases regards pickup variations i completely forgot to mention the two most important things when shopping for an MIM J bass and what the pickup config might be.
    1. Bridge pickup = 3 11/16 (3.69)”
    Neck pickup = 3 9/16 (3.56)”
    2. Six inch scale.
    This removes any doubt and does not require access to any S/N database or history of the company.
  14. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    I have a MIM 2000 from the mid 2000s. Physically for me it's a nice thing, it's my 3rd Jazz, the first being a 76 which was nice, then another MIA in the 90s (I think) which was awful I wish I'd never bought it then my MIM which is very like the 76 in feel. If you get the opportunity to try a couple before you buy then do, just make sure it fits you.

    What can you say about that bridge? I put a Hipshot Kickass on mine, a big improvement, I also changed the tuners to Hipshot and the pups for Seymore Duncan QPs which aren't everyone's cup of tea but I like them, I also changed the pots for CTS with an orange drop cap. Now it's a really nice bass, an expensive exercise you may argue and perhaps I'd be better off with a MIA? No I couldn't find a MIA that I liked and I'd have made the same changes to that too with the exception of the pots.

    Shop wisely and you can get yourself a very nice instrument

    Gratuitous picture of my Jazz

  15. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    So long as the stock bridge intonates, save your money and keep it. Replacing the bridge will not change the sound of the instrument. Take that money and put it towards a preamp if you went to get wild with it. Or even have the thing Plek'd if you really want it to play at its best. Short of changing the pickups/electronics and strings, most upgrades don't really change anything about the tone of the instrument. Some things that will change the tone: install a push/pull pot for series/parallel switching, install a push/pull pot to invert the phase of one of the pickups, or even just change potentiometer values (higher=brighter). Everything else is mostly cosmetic or in your own head.
    Warhawk and djddanman like this.
  16. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    The Graphite rods for neck stability are the main difference. My MIM on the other hand has one of the most stable necks I've seen so there is no need for the rods on mine and I'm totally happy with the neck. I did change pickups but that is sort of a personal preference thing I think. I did not change bridge or anything else which as far as I could tell was not needed and would do little from the mods. Oh. I did have a series/parallel switch installed for a while, but then decided I didn't need it and took it off.
  17. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    That is beautiful! I also have a CAR jazz bass. Yours looks great with the binding.

    My one experience with ‘90’s MIA was a jazz bass in a shop. I thought wow what a great deal until I tried it and took a close look and then I thought what a piece of crap.

    Yet my 97 MIM jazz bass body is so resonant I’ll never get rid of it (at least to my ears which is the only important thing). As far as quality of that bass I can’t say because it’s just a body waiting for another incarnation.

    From what I’ve seen just looking in shops fender quality seems more consistent this millennium bit I’ve still seen a few things like uncut nuts! No idea how that makes it past QC and out the door.

    Me I like used instruments and just happened to find a MIA that was a great price and a great instrument that I loved the look so I decided to treat myself. Otherwise MIM is great for me. Just depends on what you can find.
    Christine likes this.
  18. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    If someone isn’t happy with a MIA bass %100 then why buy it IMHO. No point to pay for “custom shop pickups” and “high mass bridge” if you’re going to mid anyway. So from that perspective it makes sense to find a MIM that is great quality that you like and make it something you love.

    I do notice that with ghs flats with the purple silks that are really high tension my jazz with the rods has no problems but my mate Mendel P neck can’t handle the high tension. Apart from that it’s just all in my mind.

    I also don’t think a series/parallel switch is that useful—wired it on one bass. Now on a guitar it might be.... have just been thinking about modding a Tele to have phase reversal and series parallel options.
    Christine likes this.
  19. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    Thank you, I inlaid them myself, I got away without having to pull the frets too which was handy but it took an extra day's work so not convinced I'd do it that way again. I painted the headstock too in CAR with a aerosol kit from Northwest guitars in the UK, it was a lot easier than I thought. left the original decal and lacquer underneath just in case I ever want to change back.

    I hear a lot of bad stuff about MIM bases but I can't find fault with how it is now and the neck is a joy, I've not played another jazz neck that suits my small fingers as much as this one. I actually bought it used off ebay, it was a few days before Christmas and I think everyone was spent up so I took a chance as the price was sooo right and I got lucky.
  20. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    I have to disagree with that, I noticed a sizable difference in sound when changing from the bent piece of tin that Fender supplied with mine to the Hipshot. The sound was noticeably darker with greater sustain, I've actually put the old bridge back on a couple of times to demonstrate the difference to friends
    Stilltryin likes this.