JMJ Mustang Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jpmcbride, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    This is my second go around with a JMJ Mustang Bass. I let the first one go because I couldn't adjust to the differences in a short-scale, and regretted it, so I recently bought a second one.

    The bass was $649 used from Guitar Center online. This is a good price considering they're $949 new, and typically $800 or more used on Reverb. When I received it, I saw some of the reasons it was priced so low. It had a lot of player wear, above and beyond the original relic job done by Fender, the action was terrible, and there was a huge chip in the neck on the back, around the 2nd fret. The wear and tear is a non-issue. It looks used as intended, and more natural than the original relic job. The action was fixed with a simple truss rod and saddle adjustment that took about 15 minutes. I got the action set to 1.5mm at the 12th fret with no buzzing and its holding solid. The chip in the neck was a little more serious, and I considered returning the bass. But I took it to a local shop that does good work and they fixed it up nicely for $50. The neck is nitro and there was no way to fill in a chip that deep with nitro (it was really deep!). So their solution was to build it up using multiple layers of poly then sand it out. I can see the repair, but can't feel it at all. They did great work! So, for $649 plus $25 shipping, plus a $50 repair, I got the bass into good shape.

    Next came the changes.
    (1) Changed the white pearloid pickguard to tort. Tort on daphne blue is a good look. There's a local shop here in town that makes pickguards for the JMJ and sells them on eBay. It was a perfect fit. Of course I had to scuff it up with steel wool to make it look aged to match the bass. A nice shiny new pickguard on a beat up bass looks out of place.
    (2) Changed the strings from the original Fender flats, to a set of Medium scale Chrome flats. The originals were long-scale strings so the metal part of the string was winding onto the post on the E string. The E string sounded funny to me and I think this was part of the reason. The new strings fit perfectly - medium scale strings are needed because the bass is string through the body.
    (3) I replaced the thumbrest with a low profile version you can buy on eBay. It's a direct replacement for the Fender thumbrest but is half the height. I like a thumbrest, but find the original Fenders too big - always in my way. This one is just right.
    (4) Ordered strap locks, but they're not in yet.

    The playability is off the chart. The short scale makes it easy and fast to play. Things that were a real stretch on a 34" are easy on this 30" bass.

    The neck is thin at the neck nut and has kind of a thick profile. Usually I would prefer a wider nut and flatter neck profile. But this neck feels great in my hands and the more I play it the more I like it. The neck is nitro and I remember the first one I had being a little sticky, but this one isn't. I guess this one is older and was played enough for the stickyness to wear off.

    All the hardware works as it should. The truss rod adjustment is at the base of the neck which is something I don't like. But the pick guard has an access hole to reach it without removing the neck. I don't have one of the stew-mac right angle tools, but was able to get a straight screwdriver in there and adjust it. The saddles adjusted fine. And the tuners feel smooth enough and hold tune.

    The electronics are super simple on Mustangs. One single coil pickup, volume, and tone. The volume adjusts smoothly through the range, and the tone works surprisingly well, with lots of range. People say the Mustang is a one-trick-pony, but with the tone adjustment, position of your plucking hand, and technique, you can get a wide variety of sounds out of this bass. Enough for my style of playing anyway.

    The sound is hard to describe. I always find it hard to describe sound in words. If you're familiar with short-scales and their sound, then you basically know what this one sounds like. It has a lot of low end, but plenty of punch. I would say the sound is somewhat like a P-Bass with the distinct and unique sound that all short-scales have. One thing that has bothered me on every short scale I've played is the funny sound made by the E string on the higher frets. Somewhere around the 9th-12th fret, they start sounding funny. I'm not sure how to describe the sound, other than to say it doesn't sound "right" to me. This bass had that until I replaced the strings. Now its mostly gone ... still sounds like a short-scale, but its a good sound. Now here's the big thing about the sound of this bass ... played solo, its not my favorite sounding bass. I prefer the sound of my P-Bass. But, played with a full band, its sits perfectly in the mix and sounds wonderful. Somehow the sound sits in the perfect sonic space. Its not front-and-center cutting through, but I can clearly hear it, and it sounds like a BASS.

    My overall thoughts on the JMJ Mustang? It looks, feels, and plays great. It sounds great in the mix. This is likely to become my #1 bass.

    vates, jojobear, Orlan and 8 others like this.
  2. Goldmember

    Goldmember Johan van der Smut

    This is the type of review I really enjoy reading. Thanks for taking the time to post your observations. :)
    Orlan, dmt, jpmcbride and 1 other person like this.
  3. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Nice call on the guard... it DOES go well with the daphne blue. Glad that the neck repair was sucessful! A JMJ is the only bass on my G.A.S. list anymore and will likely be the last bass I buy...

    Matt Wilson and Nunovsky like this.
  4. Noble_Rot


    Jul 30, 2017
    East Coast
    Big plus one, I’m wondering how the new Vintera mustang will compare. I noticed it has a 7.5 radius fb compared to the JMJ’s 9.5.
  5. RissKippery


    Mar 3, 2016
    Man, that looks great! Found this thread while looking for a replacement thumb rest for my JMJ. I agree, stock is too big. Any chance you could link me to the one you got? Any maybe a link to the shop that makes the pick guards?
    Orlan likes this.
  6. Orlan


    Mar 13, 2008
    Nice review! I'd also like to change the thumb rest... could you let me know where to find that low profile replacement, please?