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Heres my new 04 MIM J -- now what?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by artdrtr, Feb 27, 2008.


  1. artdrtr

    artdrtr

    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Before_After.

    It is tough to find a lefty fender in my price range -- MIAs :bawl:

    And one that is not just Black or Sunburst...I prefer the natural look. So when I found this FSR I jumped on it. It should show up in a week.

    I know there are some that keep it stock and there are some that mod the hell out of theirs.....(I already have the Badass II and the black pickguard ordered), if I were to do anything more, what would I be looking at to mod this for the (subjective) better?

    What I've read about:

    Tuners -- any issues with the stock tuners staying in tune? If so, can right-hand ones be swithed to lefty?

    Pick-ups -- how are the stock ones? Is there a hum issue? Suggestions for replacements, and how difficult is it to change? (jazz, classic rock)

    Pre-amp -- what is this? The bass is passive, does it make it active? (go easy, I'm a noob)

    Nut -- what is the stock nut made out of? is it good?

    Thanks for any advice and please go easy
     
  2. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    First off - sorry about the lefty thing! Makes it a challenge huh?

    That's a nice looking natural Jazz! I think the Badass 2 and the black pickguard are a good start and maybe all you end up wanting to do.

    The tuners should be fine but you'll have to see if you like them or if you want to replace them. Any tuners that would fit a righty MIM Jazz should fit your lefty MIM Jazz.

    The nut is plastic - a Tusq nut would be a great replacement but not necessary unless yours is badly cut, etc.

    The pickups are passive and it won't have a preamp. A preamp is a battery powered set of controls that gives you boost and cut of bass, treble, or mid frequencies. You might decide to install a preamp, and there are some very good ones specifically for Jazz Basses, but many Jazz Bass players prefer a passive sound.

    You'll have to decide whether you like the sound of the pickups or not. If you get hum when a pickup is soloed you should shield the control cavities and the back of the pickguard - it's pretty easy to do yourself and should cut dowon on hum considerably. If you don't like the tone of sound consider replacing the potentiometers with better quality ones - that usually makes a bass sound better. Another option is to put better strings on. Replacing the pots and strings can take an ok sounding bass and make it a great sounding bass without changing out the pickups.

    Don't get ahead of yourself, though. You might not want to change anything! Wait to see when the bass arrives. If you don't have a good amp take it to a store and play it through a good one. I've made the mistake of blaming a new bass when it was my crappy amp to blame.

    If you have questions about wiring or shielding I can definitely help you out. If you don't like the pickups I can help you pick and install replacements as well. I've done it all! Jazz Basses are mercifully easy to wire since there are only about 7 wires total!
     
  3. artdrtr

    artdrtr

    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Thanks fourstring -- I really apprieciate the advice and I'll look you up for any additional advice -- if needed.

    I've been able to play a MIM J bass at Sam Ash and it sounds great to me. And I'm sure at my level it will be awesome. I must just be so excited to get it, my mind is racing off reading some of the mod posts... :hyper:

    Yes, the lefty thing is a drag -- I nearly wet myself daily seeing all the righty options posted here just not available to me. Since I just can't collect tons of basses, when one does come around it get a lot of attention from me....

    Forever GAS'ing :crying:
     
  4. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    Now that's a neat-looking bass, congrats! Stupid question: did you get a custom lefty pickguard or are replacement pickguards made so they can be used both on righty and lefty instruments?
     
  5. Basshappi

    Basshappi

    Feb 12, 2007
    Tucson,AZ
    Artdrtr,

    Welcome from a fellow lefty!

    That looks like a great bass you have coming to you!

    Fourstring really covered it all very well. My advice would be to not worry about upgrades right now. Get it and play the hell out of it, once you become more familiar with the bass and your particular tonal desires, then consider modifications.

    MIM Fenders are usually very good right out of the box. Put your favorite strings on it, have a good setup and you should be good to go!

    Cheers!

    P.S. - I will admit that I like the black pickguard better than the white one. MIM hole patterns are different than USA models.
     
  6. artdrtr

    artdrtr

    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    The pickguard is made for a lefty -- I got it off ebay -- Chopper Music online store

    30_1_b.

    You'd think they would design them so the hole patterns line-up, but they have a disclaimer that you may need to drill new holes... :meh:

    Any suggestion on strings since I'll be replacing the bridge...?
     
  7. awall

    awall

    Oct 30, 2006
    I just got one of these on Monday. Theperfectbass had one in transparent blue. I think you will like it stock. I want to get a pearl white guard for mine. It is a jazz bass in every way. I just got back from band practice at my church and the comments were great. People said the band sounded fuller and richer. The only difference was my new bass. I think I love it.
    Al
     
  8. Basshappi

    Basshappi

    Feb 12, 2007
    Tucson,AZ
    Strings are a very personal thing and you may want to try different sets each time you need to change them until you find the ones that really bring out the particular "voice" of the instrument.

    On the otherhand many people use the same strings on all their basses.

    But to start with, you mentioned classic rock so just about most medium guage (.45-.105) roundwound strings will do. Keep in mind that nickel strings are not as bright and aggressive sounding as stainless steel.

    Some that I use are:

    DR Lo-riders (I have these on my Jazz and they sound good)
    DR Black Beauties - Cool string! not only are they black (polymer coating) but have an aggressive sound similar to Rotosounds.

    Elixer nanowebs - These have a clear polymer coating on them which really evens out the tone and they last forever. My Jazz wore these before the Lo-riders and I may go back to them. HOWEVER, they are expensive. I have them on my Warwick and my fretless.

    D'Addario 170XL - I have these on my 5-string

    RotoSound R66 Swingbass - Used these for years. Bright and snarly used by many famous bassplayers like Geddy Lee and John Entwistle.

    Lots of players like Ernie Ball Slinkys but I never have, one nice thing is they are very affordable.

    Surprisingly, Carvin's branded strings are good sounding (I believe they are made by La Bella) and are very affordable.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. artdrtr

    artdrtr

    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Blue and pearl would be awesome. I can't wait for mine.

    Question for all: I play an active Ibanez SR500 now, what is the difference going to be playing a passive bass? -- Besides not having to stock up on 9v's :cool:



     
  10. artdrtr

    artdrtr

    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Basshappi -- Thanks for Strings 101! I am going to print and save that info.

    I have factory Elixer strings on my SR500. I like the feel of the coating and the sound is nice, but the coating is flaking off...looks and feels weird
     
  11. Basshappi

    Basshappi

    Feb 12, 2007
    Tucson,AZ
    Yeah, they start to look a little fuzzy after awhile. :eek::D:D
     
  12. awall

    awall

    Oct 30, 2006
    I went from a Yamaha RBX374 which is similar to the Ibanez. The passive jazz is way louder and far more sensitive to your hands. I had to make some adjustments on my amp and with my technique. I really need to mute a lot more.
    Al
     

  13. I've had the same exact MIM J bass you do for about 4 years already(except righty), even down to the same exact white to black pickguard conversion(gives it more balls IMO). Recently i swapped out the stock pick-ups for a pair of Fender CS 60's pups and i cannot be happier with this upgrade. Good for that old-school jazz bass growl, esp with the tone all the way up and bridge pickup solo'd, really cuts through the mix nicely in a band environment in my experience with them.
    If you are ok with the stock pickups i wouldent touch them,they were not bad by any means, and for a more full/modern bass sound/tone i would not go with the CS 60's as the output is definitely not too boomy. Anyway, just my .02, good luck,

    -Paul
     
  14. artdrtr

    artdrtr

    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    If they have to drill new holes for the aftermarket pickguard I wonder how close they would be to the old ones and if they fill them or leave them open?
     
  15. Basshappi

    Basshappi

    Feb 12, 2007
    Tucson,AZ
    If they aren't too close just leave them, they won't show. If they are going to overlap, fill the old holes by glueing in a piece of dowel rod before drilling the new hole.

    I had to fill a couple on my MIJ for the new pickguard.
     
  16. joelb79

    joelb79

    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Those are great basses! Really they are for the money. I've been very tempted by them.

    Black PG looks great.
    BAII is a nice bridge.


    Since you have ash wood, i've found that if you go passive that pickups wound to around 8000 ohms sound best. I would focus on the electronics.

    Oldschool Tone:
    New Pots
    .047uF tone cap (orange drop or hovland)
    Full Shielding job

    I would choose from the following pickups:
    Duncan Antiquity II if you want some thump
    Nordstrand NP4 if you want a universal vintage pickup

    Modern Tone:
    Nordstrand NJ4SE for growl
    Nordstrand NJ4SV for vintage tone
    Audere Two Band Preamp
     
  17. lefty007

    lefty007

    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I had one of those not too long ago. I put Bartolinis in it but didn't like them much. I would put someting like Dimarzios Ultras or Js if I had to do it again. I also tried Duncan Antiquity IIs on another Jazz and wasn't impressed.

    If you have the money, Nordstrand might be the way to go.

    BUT, the original pickup are not all that bad! Trying first. There is hum when the pickups are not full on, like any other passive single-coil Jazz. No big deal.

    The tuners are just okay, no need to spend money there. I really like the black pickguard thing (mine had tortoise).

    I would would put money aside to get a nice setup and fret leveling and polishing. Mine had a few high frets, but nothing major.

    I would not bother with a preamp.

    These are great solid basses, and the body is resonant and light, which is a plus. Great bass to mod.

    But be careful how much you spend. Fender just came out with a new American Series Jazz lefty for $1200. I'd say don't spend more than $600 on the MIM with the mods.

    Enjoy.
     
  18. Crabby

    Crabby

    Dec 22, 2004
    Nice! here is my lefty with similar mods. I went with Dimarzio Model J pups and love them. I also had the frets replaced with rosewood strips. The neck is fantastic and the bass plays like butter. By the way, Mine in an 04 model and it had very nice quality USA made pots and wiring inside.

    You may want to replace the pickups at some point but the stock ones were actually pretty good. I think these MIM lefty jazz basses are a great deal. i am envious of your natural finish. I had no idea lefty's were available in that color.

    gearpics08-02-15023.

    gearpics08-02-15026.

    gearpics08-02-15027.

    gearpics08-02-15029.
     
  19. artdrtr

    artdrtr

    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Joel & 007 -- thanks for sorting out those electronics -- it will help to know what some options are if it every came to it....and I agree, 600.00 is my max budget -- so says the Mrs..

    Happi -- thanks for your pickguard background. Wonder if MIM and MIJ hole patterns are different? I'll let you know how my pickguard install goes...

    Crabby -- that bass is a thing of beauty -- thanks, I now have GAS pains! I was very happy to find the natural MIM...Question for all, is it easier or harder to play fretless?
     

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