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Hmmm...another Fender thread

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Andy Daventry, Feb 24, 2001.

  1. I played an early 70s jazz bass today. It had been improved with a badass bridge and active pickups.

    It didn't sound like a Fender. If people want basses with active pickups and high sustain, tone soaking bridges, why do they convert Fenders? Why not get a bass that does all this in the first place?

    I am ridiculously old fashioned when it comes to Fenders. I have yet to play an active Fender I liked. I love the classic Fender bridge and the big ugly tuners. I think the passive pups on the MIA models are excellent...and I have been through Barts, Seymour Duncans, Dimarzio. I still think that Fender pickups sound best.

    Meaningless drivel, or does anyone else agree with me?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    No :D
  3. I know exactly what you mean Andy, my MIA P is everything I could ever hope for, Im not going to change it at all, its already perfect.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, perhaps I should elaborate. I'm simply not a Fender guy at all. If I had one though, I wouldn't refrain from upgrading it according to my needs. I wouldn't ruin the bass by making irreversable changes, though...

    Fender just isn't my thing tone- and constructionwise. There's much better stuff out there IMO
  5. jazzbass1


    Dec 2, 2000
    Andy, it's like putting better tires on your car to increase performance, or upgrading your computer via more memory, faster chip, whatever. It's merely taking something basic and upgrading it's performance. Some people like their cars, guitars, etc. stock and some people like to tinker with them.
  6. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Just cause you don't like it, don't mean it ain't no good.

    Not all people like passive pick up's. I have a '79 P-bass w/EMG P/J's & a BadAss II in it & it is the best Fender I've played. It's in clost ot mint cond & I got it for $400.00!!! You wanna get a good old Fender not upgraded, I hope you have some cash.

    I'm not saying one is better than the other, but passive isn't for everyone.
  7. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    I have no intention of changing my MIA P bass or my Geddy Lee, tho the Geddy is actually "changed" before you buy it, badass and 60's pups. My next bass, however, will probably be a MIM fretless and I'm thinking at the very least J-retro for that one, because I want it to sound different. I don't know what other bass for the $$$ would get me a very similar sounding instrument and I like the feel of the Jazz, body contour, neck etc.
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Just don't like 'em - probably a birth defect :D
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Unlike putting better tires on, which will probably make a car handle better, the mods Andy speaks of affect tone, which is highly subjective. There is no skidpad for tone.

    When you "upgrade" a Fender, you do indeed change hardware. That's not always a positive thing. I don't consider them upgrades, I think they're modifications. Big difference.

    I prefer my 68 Jazz stock over having a high mass bridge installed.
  10. If I had a real American Fender, I probably wouldn't have upgraded bridge and pickups (Badass2 and Dimarzio DP123's). I could only afford Mexi, so the upgrades were just bringing it up to the American level. I know it's not exactly the same as an American Jazz from the 60's, but it's better than the stock Mexi.

    Although I definitely agree on the passive-pickups-only thing. :D

  11. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I dunno, Andy, have you tried Thomastik-Infeld strings, or are you sticking with the Fenders? :D

    Just kidding. I play a MIJ Precision, so I don't know about the US pickups. I put a SD SPB-2 in mine and it's nice. I tried a BA II bridge, hated it. The "bent-steel" Fender bridge sounds much better, IMO. Also, since mine's a MIJITSO 60's, the tuners are pretty cool, with those big fat non-tapered posts. I guess I like "plain" Fenders, too.
  12. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I'll cast my vote for the passive, thin-bridged, "mostly" unmodified MIA Precision. Mine has a StewMac Tortise Shell pickguard and a "push/pull" volume knob for an all controls by-pass to make it, if anyhting, more passive!

    It has sound for days!

  13. This is actually an extremely good point...the TIs I use don't sound like Fenders..So clearly I am not so much of a purist after all.

  14. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I'm just giving you a hard time, Andy... didn't mean to trigger any heavy soul-searching. ;) I have TI's on mine, but the Fender 9050's, while certainly different, run a close second in my book.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I love my factory modified Geddy Lee, but I also love the flexibilty of active electronics.

    So when Uncle Sam sends me my refund, I will be putting a J retro preamp in it, of course, that is a modification that is very easily reversed, as it doesn't involve routing the bass or anything.

    And for looks:), I will be putting a pearloid guard on it.

    Of course, I will be keeping the original control plate, pickguard and knobs. I'll never sell it, but it is nice to be able to undo the modifications if you want to.
  16. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I recently picked up an American Deluxe Jazz 5 and really like the on board actives. I wouldn't play a Fender without actives. Ah, but diversity is the spice of life, isn't it.

  17. The thing I don't like about trying to mod fenders is it's always a crapshoot. When you buy some new pups how do you know they are going to sound good? How do you know you are going to like a badass bridge? You can't return most pups after you solder 'em in. Are you going to take the advertiser's word for it? Are you just trying to copy your favorite player's rig to get his/her magic tone?<p>
    It's a long hard process to find the components that you like... Even if you played another bass with those parts there is no guarantee they'll sound good on your bass, unless all the variables are factored in. Just like strings you have to try them all.
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That's very true.
  19. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Right on Andy! Fender doesn't do active very well and when they put actives in a P or J ( or the owner does it as an upgrade) it no longer sound like a P or J.So why not buy another active brand in the firat place?
  20. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Well, I'm split on this one, but consider these thoughts...

    I agree, that if you're going out to purchase a MIA Fender, chances are, you're going to buy one because you like the feel and tone. If not, you're probably just wasting your money. They're not all that cheap!

    But, on the other hand, I bought a MIM Jazz this weekend for two specific purposes:

    1. To keep at my fiancee's apartment for the next 10 months until we're married, just to have something. But, I didn't want to spend even $300, and I got exactly that: a bass with a fairly decent feel to it but horrible sound.

    2. Since I didn't buy it for its tone, I really don't care about playing it live, at least now. But, I also bought this bass specifically to be a project bass. I'm not stripping off the finish, but do plan on changing the electronics and hardware.

    I'm not necessarily going for the best tone in the world: I'm convinced that I have that in my Spector. But, I bought it for reasons other than to have a Fender. I don't think, by the way, that I would have found ANYTHING I really liked for under $300.

    Getting back to my original statement, however...I wouldn't have spent more than that on a bass, ANY bass, that I was planning on modifying. Including a Fender!

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