Is this Fender Jazz MIJ a good deal?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thor, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I ran into a MIJ 1980 Fender Jazz, not that I was looking, from a small local store.

    I haven't followed the market on these, is
    $299, no case, for a MIJ J in very good condition, black, maple f/b, a reasonable deal?
    It appears stock, with no mods.

    Also, I noted that the headstock has Fender logo and a serial number on it. Should I be looking for any specific markings to verify it is MIJ?


  2. That's a very good deal, assuming the bass is in good shape and everything works as it should. If you look on the back of the neck where it joins the body, you'll see a "crafted in Japan" decal.
  3. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I spoke to Gard, he thought 250 might be an acceptable offer...

    I'm gonna go look at this in about 3 hours, any other input on this?


  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    $250 sounds good from Gard, but if you ask me, if it's in as good condition as you say, it'd we worth all $299. But try to work 'em down a little :p
  5. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Ok, I went and played it last night at the dealers, it felt ok.

    There is a serial number on the headstock, but there is a scratched out area under the serial number.

    There is no sticker or decal that says MIJ on it.
    Acc to the dealer, it is an "80's" MIJ as far as
    he can tell.

    If I get the serial number off of it, is it possible to authenticate it as MIJ as opposed to MIM? Or Frankenstein?

    He cut the price to 249 + tax. 267 total.

    I noted some bow in the neck, he said he would do a truss adjustment if that's what it took.

    I would of had to spend 50 for a setup otherwise to take care of that.

    What do you all think, given this development?

    I like it, but I don't love it. Yet it seems like a good deal, and I certainly could defret it, if nothing else.

    Sometimes the deals pop at you when you are not mentally ready. I just have second thoughts on it. Especially the scratched out area disturbs me.

    The dealer is a multi unit chain, I have never bought a bass from them, though, just picks, cables, books and strings.

    I had been looking at a MIA Jazz Deluxe, new, but my luthier is down on their preamps.The price, at 700+, is too stiff this year, with 2 in college.
    This seems like it would work, IF IT IS MADE IN JAPAN.

    Help me do the right thing here ...

    Where's Funkster when you need him ....?
  6. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Do you have the serial number? There are sites on the Internet that can give you an approximate year of manufacture based on the serial number. Here is one that I use:

    As for the price, I would tell them to adjust the truss rod. If they can get the bow out of the neck, then you are getting a decent bass at a good price. Even a MIM Jazz is worth over $200. So, as long as it isn't a fake, it is well worth the $250.
  7. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I will get it, either from the sales person, or just go over there later today.

    That was the kind of thing I was hoping for.

    I was under the impression that Fender serial numbers in general were a total mess, unlike the Gibsons where you can track them fairly well.

    Thanks for the tip. Once I run it, and if that looks kosher, the deal is pretty good, I think.

    It will, of course, be contingent on being satisfied with the neck adjustment.

  8. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I got it, it was G 025639
    According to that site it is 1987-1988.
    Made in Japan.

    The guy put a capo on the bass at the second fret, took off the tension, unbolted the neck and
    made an adjustment. He said the action was lower,
    that he didn't crank it too hard, but it looked better. [ it really wasn't THAT bad to begin with... ]

    Guess I'll pony up.

    Pics later, per TB tradition.
  9. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The scratched-out area under the serial number is where it used to say 'MADE IN JAPAN'. Obviously someone scratched it off.

    Yes, I do think it was a good deal.
  10. You got a good deal...ENJOY!
  11. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    I have an 89 MIJ Fender Jazz. Black White pickguaed. The serial number is E9xxxxxx though. Good deal for $250 even if it's not MIJ. I have seen MIJ's close to $380 at the bigger stores. BTW I put Dimarzio Ultra Jazz in mine, so sweet. I almost sold it off a year what a mistake that would have been.
  12. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I picked it up Friday. I played it until I had
    blisters on my right index finger.

    I was hacking around with my son, he was playing Lou Reed on his guitar, 'I'm waiting for the man'
    or something, a D to G thing, and I started banging it out.

    His comment after the song was, ' Dad, what was that Jazz odyssey you went on it the middle there?', so I guess it has a pretty nice sound.

    The neck was adjusted when I got there, and all went smoothly. It was actually at Guitar Center in Warwick, RI and it came out to 266.43 with tax. They are a little bizarre there but it was pretty painless except for the money.

    I sent pics to work to post, but our email is down
    and they never came, they are in cyberspace, so, pics tomorrow.

    { As if you guys have never seen a J before ...}

    Any way, thanks for all your help, pics soon.


    PS td 1368 I'd like to hear more about that DiMArzio mod if you get a chance.
  13. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Here's the used MIJ, rosewood F/B, black body.
    Stock 87/88.

  14. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    here's the body

  15. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Closeup of the bridge. The allen screws are too long, and are ripping up my palm. Funkster said, 'Buy new screws, shorter'

  16. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    Ah Ha the copper ground strip. Why didn't you say so. I'm no expert but I think that's pretty typical of the Japenese Fenders from the eighties.

    The DiMarzio's are a direct drop in. Unlike MIM Fender's the pickup rout is the same as the American jazzes. If you can do a little soldering it's an easy replacement.

    The pickups have low output I turn up the volume but a preamp would help. Blending the volume on the pickups realy gives a lot of tonal variation. Best of all no hum from the single coils when soloing pickups.

    Here's my crew.
  17. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    Thor, that bass looks very good givin the fact it's so old (almost as old as me, in fact) :D

    Nice find!
  18. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nice crew TD, let me display that for you with
    the function:

  19. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Cool, td - I had both an Heir and an old MIJ J in my arsenal for awhile. Sold the Heir, but I'll have my MIJ J (actually a Squier) until the day I'm dead and gone.

    Good acquisition, Thorkasaur! I bought my Squier new around '86 or '87 for about what you paid.

    Anyone know when the Japanese J basses were first introduced? When I bought my Squier it was my first, or almost my first encounter with MIJ Fender basses.