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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lawjazz1, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. lawjazz1


    Sep 7, 2013
    I am thinking of adding another bass to my gear. I have a Kawai F2B with active pickups, and a '72 fretless P bass. I am thinking of a newer Fender fretted bass though I'm not sure P or J yet.

    My question is: What are the differences in quality between U.S. or Mexican or Japanese or wherever built basses? Is it worth it to spend the xtra $$$ for American made and why or why not? I am an adult in a cover band for fun and a few $$$, and we all have professional gear.
  2. lilcrate

    lilcrate Tortdaddy

    Sep 9, 2013
    St. Louis
    Here we go...
  3. I'm a fender guy and have MIA, MIJ, and MIM basses. Have bought most of them over the Internet. Primary player right now is a MIM Road Worn P bass. Next bass I buy I'm going to hit the stores and play 'em all and find one that speaks to me, regardless of brand or where it was made.
  4. The general consensus is American - Japanese - Mexican. The Chinese models seem to be of very high quality (especially the Modern Player models). That's the theory..

    In practise, the best thing you can do is try as many as you can. Sometimes the quality control can be iffy, there's exceedingly good instruments and lemons at every price range. If a Mexican model speaks to you, then it's worth more to you than an American equivalent.

    American models do has more features (rolled edges, graphite rods in the neck, lightweight tuners, string through bodies...) but whether they're worth almost twice as much as the MIM models is something only you can find out through playing them.
  5. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN

    Play 'em and buy the one that feel the best.
  6. LeoTender


    Aug 19, 2013
    very generally that is what most people here say, yes. i have a cij and a mia jazz bass and i personally prefer the cij and you may personally prefer a mexican model. you best go and try as many as you can but my advice is to keep your eyes open for a cij or mij.
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    You do realize Fender makes other basses too, right? I'm not a Fender guy by any means, but the new Dimension bass looks pretty sweet.
  8. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    In general, you get what you pay for.
  9. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    I also own MIA, MIJ and MIM basses. My #1 happens to be an MIM Standard Jazz. Have not had the opportunity yet to check out the MIC Modern Player series, but some folks here seem to be very pleased with them.

    As others have suggested, play as many basses as you can. And then — and only then — will you be able to answer the “is it worth it” question for yourself. Best of luck in your search.
  10. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I have an MIJ Classic 70's P bass that I'm very, very happy with. If I didn't buy that, there's an MIM Standard P bass at my local music store that I would have grabbed in a second. Plays every bit as good as some MIA's out there. I've also played some MIM's that were....okay, but the mentioned one in particular is outstanding.

    Just try all that you can find.

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78! Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    Generally American Fenders are better. How much better? Really depends on the instrument.

    I know that does not help but like others said, you need to go to a shop play some American Standards and Mexican made instruments. I personally can feel/hear the difference right away. It is not always that big of a difference.

    I really liked the new American Standards I have tried at shops. Very well built and sound great. I grabbed a Standard (made in Mexico-NOT American Standard) and I thought it felt pretty good and also had a decent sound. The American Standard was just flawless and if I had to choose that day it would have been the American.

    I personally like 60's style Fenders. I own an American made '62 reissue and I don't play it much lately because I can't put down my Mexican made Road Worn series Fender.

    So there ya go. I suggest trying some out and then you will be able to answer that question. It's just not a simple answer IMO.

    Good luck with your quest!
  12. a_ribbon


    Apr 10, 2008
    it's hilarious you spent the entire time talking about how much better american fenders are compared to mexican fenders and then end it with ". I own an American made '62 reissue and I don't play it much lately because I can't put down my Mexican made Road Worn series Fender." :rolleyes:
  13. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    lawjazz, I see that your join date is brand new, but with all due respect, there is such a plethora of information available on here regarding this issue, that you could read for a week straight and only scratch the surface ... I will often toss out in the multitude of 'country of origin' type theads, that speaking in generalities really does not work very well .. there are so many models and varieties of Fenders that have been offered, that it makes a world of difference to break it down as far as you can, and then compare specific models/years/etc, and then try to further match them to YOUR personal situation and preferences ....

    ... after you have been reading a while, you will more than likely determine postings and posters that tend to best meet with your scenario, experiences and preferrences ... I have my 'favorites', and there are many on here that seem to have been around a bit more than most ... I see their postings and opinions and tend to give them a great deal more attention than the many that always throw out the 'what I have is best, get THAT' crowd on every thread .... you will get more opinions than you probably ever wanted on here ... there is also a wealth of knowledgable, experienced folk here, some of the best in the entire bass world ... but a great deal of discernment is often your best friend ... especially since NOBODY can completely understand YOUR situation and needs ...

    A quick (yet not meaning to be evasive) reply to your inquiry, would be that there are models available/offered from all three of the countries of origin that you are asking about, that would fit the bill of professional level gear suitable for ANY stage in the world ... now its just a matter of figuring out which of those is best suited for YOUR situation .. enjoy the hunt .. and welcome to TB :)
  14. wickedlowendbas


    Aug 2, 2009
    Got this from Fender regarding the difference between the American made and the Mexican made basses

    The main real differences between the two are the cut of wood and the components.

    We use the same trees - just a different section. The USA bodies are cut from higher in the tree where grain structure is tighter. Honestly though, it's hard to hear the resonant differences.

    Our USA models will generally feature different components such as a different bridge assembly and pickups (obviously).

    Other than that, with the factories being only 4 hours apart - both follow the same QC procedures and are amazingly made instruments.
  15. Susqmike


    Nov 15, 2011
    I'd recommend a custom bass by David Certain. He built me a 'Pre CBS' jazz bass for 900.00. It is light years better than any USA fender I own or have played.
    I play a lot of pricy, high end basses and this stands right up with them! Incredible tone too. Got all black jazz w black pickgaurd, maple neck w white block inlays. I would have paid double in a heartbeat! Phenomenal bass-Great price!!
    Check out Certain Basses. He lists on eBay as well..
  16. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    my approach was to get an alder early 80s japanese jazz and add a threaded bridge and alleva c pickups, just wasn't feeling the american standards necks, and the highway one's didn't sound warm enough for me, but that's just my opinion based on playing six or seven basses, please try a bunch, there are great american and mexican basses out there
  17. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I have had my eye on these as well. However, I got the impression that he pretty much just bolted parts together which I can do myself. Not trying to dissuade the OP from David Certain but I'd have to know what I was paying for was well worth it. To me, it all starts with the neck. I love the neck on my MIJ Steve Harris Bass. Yes it's like a baseball bat. It's very different than My RIC but they are equally fantastic basses. Two of the very very best and I've owned 100's of basses.

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