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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by metalbass101, Jul 6, 2004.
How good are made in Mexico basses and amps compared to Korean and US made?
I have an MIM Fender Deluxe Zone bass. It is a very fine guitar. Much better than Korean and other non USA builds. I read on the Fender site that the wood and components were cut in the USA and shipped to Mexico for assembly and finishing. It has very good hardware, pickups and neck. If there is any problems, I have not found them.
My opinion is that they are right up there with the USA models.
Ok.I just got an Idea.I know this is about basses but SWR has fused with fender and now their Workingman's amps are made in mexico- in the same place where the MIM's instruments are made.(I'm getting a Workingman's 4004 head and 410T cab)So the real question is:are the parts of the amps American-but put together like the MIM fender instruments???Or are they 100% Mexican.Cuz dispite the change in '03 the price list hasn't changed a bit in these amps.
That would be a good question to ask Fender!
The MIM are getting a good rep with those buying them up now, they seem safe.
All I can say is, I'm VERY happy with my MIM Standard Precision Bass. Very playable, with great sound. I understand older MIMs were of inconsistent quality, and I did run across one MIM P with a noisy volume pot before I bought mine, but apparently the quality is consistently good these days.
I'm getting ready to buy a Jazz Bass to go with my Precision, and I've already found a Geddy Lee Jazz (made by Fender Japan) that I like a lot, but I'm waiting to buy until I can compare the Geddy with a couple of MIM Jazzes that the same store has on order.
I've had several MIM Standard P's and J's and I would take a Korean made Squier "Pro Tone" over any of them. The MIM signature, Zone, and Classic Series basses are generally very nice and compare to the MIJ Fenders. But in my opinion, none of them come close to most of the USA models.
I had an early 90s Mexi Jazz and it was a fair deal for the price at around $260. If that's your price range I'd say it's a good option.
To answer your question, I think they are a better bang for your buck than the MIAs but are clearly of less quality. No experience with the Koreans.
Truth is, the quality control on the Fender MIM instruments is VERY hit or miss. If you get a good one, you're going to love it. Just make sure you play any MIM bass BEFORE you buy it.
Agree totally with McHack. I used a borrowed MIM Precis for a month or two that was loaned to me from a dealer who hoped I would buy it.
While it didn't measure up to a nice US Precis, it was very nice, had the Precis sound, and beat out a number of US Precis's I had tried that just didn't do it for me.
If I could try out a lot of MIM Precis's and found "that one" that was something special, I'd buy it.
But I would never buy one through a catalog/online dealer where I couldn't try it first.
The Korean stuff is out of this world if you're buying a particular brand that has to pass incredible scrutiny by the US maker who puts their name on it after it is assembled in Korea........namely, Lakland Skyline.
While I don't put a lot of stock in Bass Player magazine's opinions, they always seem to rate Korean made basses very highly nowadays, in terms of bang-for-the-buck. I agree with them on these almost all the time, now.
As for amps - give me US stuff. There are European amps that are fantastic, but the size and weight just jack up the shipping costs too much for me. Plus, now that the costs of inspecting shipping cargo has gone up due to terrorist threats, the costs have risen even more.
Generally, Mexico < Japan < USA, but this varies widely. The MIA have the most consistency and best parts, but MIJ's are very consistent and have similar features for a lower price tag, although they are harder to find. MIM's can be good or bad, depending on the individual bass. Some just play and sound better, and some believe they can be better tha MIA's. I've yet to find an outstanding MIM but yes, some will be better than others. Korean basses, however, are hard to pinpoint. My guitarist's Ibanez is Korean and it plays and sounds amazing. A lot of old Squiers are Korean made and they are much better than the ones made today. And Lakland Skylines rival MIA for their quality.
Managing a Fender shop for 5 years allowed me to get my hands on hundreds of Fender basses from all of the plants. While the general consensus that quality increases from Mexico to Japan to USA, finding the difference between a good and great instrument requires trying out several individual basses. It won't take 100s, but finding that truely unique instrument requires more than simply mail ordering a bass. Overall, all Fenders are good instruments (even the Squier, which is better than most of the garbage being sold when I started playing), and you can find a great instrument by just taking time and trying out a bunch of basses.
Case in point, I found a sweet made in Mexico Standard P bass at a GC yesterday that played better than ALL of the US made Fenders on the wall (That said, a descent set up would have remedied most of the others on the wall. I digress as the "GC never sets up their instruments" rag belongs in another thread).
No, the MIM Fenders aren't on a par with the MIA models, except for rare exceptions; nor would I expect them to be. For one thing, the MIMs and MIAs generally use different electronics, and the electronics have a significant bearing on the sound of any electric guitar or bass. But the MIMs generally cost only about half as much as the MIAs, and I consider currently-produced MIMs much better than the price difference would suggest.
If i could have afforded to buy a Fender MIA Precision when I started, I certainly would have, if only to support American workers. But I couldn't, and I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the MIMs I played (with one exception) were much better than I expected them to be.
Granted, I'm not a working professional and don't need the higher quality of MIA Fenders (or any of the "super-Fenders" made by Lakland, Sadowsky, etc.); but for a bedroom player, casual jammer, garage-band member or even a semi-pro weekend gigger, MIM quality may be more than adequate. Just the same, i expect to own at least one MIA Fender P or J someday; bass players under the influence of GAS are often quite creative when it comes to justifying their purchases.
in my experience (and I've owned a few dozen Fenders over the years and played dozens more) that is true with ALL Fenders, including Custom Shop basses and USA basses as well as MIM and CIJ. they all have duds and gems.
had a $1300 Victor Bailey for a few days, the pre-amp buzzed like crazy (some sort of grounding problem or wiring problem). talked to Fender about it and they said "thats just the way that bass is built, theres nothing we can do about it". completely unacceptable to me
there are good MIM basses out there
How right you are! I may have posted my experience with two local stores on TalkBass in the past. The first store setup its basses to Fender specs (more or less), and I found a nice MIM Precision there that ended up coming home with me. Later i took advantage of a coupon-special at the second store -- half-price strings, installed free and with a free basic setup. The new strings made a noticeable difference in the sound, but the improved setup made an even greater difference in the instrument's playability! I was so impressed I now make that store my first stop whenever i'm looking for anything music-related.
I've never found a Fender instrument at the local GC that played or sounded quite right (I've never tried any other brands at GC). I'm sure they could all be improved with a good setup; but if they're so "wrong" that I can't be sure how much a setup can improve them, I'd rather not take a chance. My "go-to" store may charge a little more than GC, but I have never found a poorly setup guitar or bass there.
Advice to newbies (and everyone else): unless you buy from a store that you know does good setups on all its instruments before they're offered for sale, expect to pay a good technician $30 to $50 for a basic setup ... or learn to do it yourself. I always rely on my favorite store's bass tech initially and then do simple intonation adjustments myself as needed. (I always go back to the store's tech for truss-rod adjustments, since I'm too impatient and ham-fisted to do those properly.)
Best new Fender I ever played was a Mexican. Played better than ANY American Bass I've played.
Guitarist friend of mine has seven Strats. Six Americans and a Mexican. Guess what his #1 is...?
MIM(exico), MIJ(apan), MIA(merica), MIK(orea), MIC(hina), MII(ndonesia)...a lot of people seem to think the lines have been blurred quite a bit these days. Thus, I'm a little thankful I waited until these days to pick up the bass, because I can't afford many MIA basses. The one I did find, that I could afford (MM S.U.B.), I quickly snagged up.
As for MIM, personally, I had found one really sweet MIA Jazz at one of the local shops, and I didn't think I was gonna be able to find an MIM that would get close. Actually, I didn't find one at that shop. However, at the next shop (a GC even) I found a beautiful MIM Natural Ash, that got more than close enough! Especially considering the MIM was $450+ cheaper!
As for Indonesian instruments, I'm very happy with my Peavey Millenium 5 AC BXP. There are only a couple of obvious construction flaws in it; a scratchy blend pot, and a rough spot in the neck finish, just underneath the headstock. It's built like a tank overall, though. I busted a can of Coke on the pickups (don't ask), and despite having soda drip from the pickup saddles, it survived without a single scatch and more incredibly, no damage to the pickups or tone. Speaking of tone, I'm beyond happy with it, there. It growls better than anything else I've tried, in the price range.
As for Korean models, I played a Spector Performance model and an Ibanez BTB the other day, and I was impressed by both, especially the BTB. Both were amazing quality instruments, but the tone on the BTB was ungodly, for the price range! Also, before I had the op to play one, I saw a fairly recognized local band, who's bassist played a BTB 405QM next to a Stingray or Sterling 5. He used both basses about equally during their set. After playing one for myself, I could see why. A BTB will probably be the next bass I shoot for. They can be had at around $300 used sometimes, and at that price, I don't think there is another bass that can stand with it.
The only new MIJ's out there (Geddy Lee and Marcus Miller four string) have, IME, been better than all the MIA's played playability-wise -- both are based off of 70's jazz basses, whose necks are thinner than the newer ones, the Geddy especially. Soundwise, ONE of the MIAs (a jazz) beats the Geddy, but the playability was poorer, it hummed a bit (Geddy was dead silent) and the neck was chunkier. The MIM basses (only two or three, unfortunately) have been of comparable quality. The MIM guitars that I've played have all been of VERY variable quality, but the best one I've found is a white MIM tele for $500 CAD and beat the MIA teles in the store...except for the vintage one, but that's a whole different story.
EDIT: On second thought, I seem to recall those flower tele basses being MIJ...they were poop though .
I think part of it is that you don't feel as bad "lettin go" and beating on a MIM made instrument...as the investment is less, so the instrument ends up being viewd as "less precious"
funny thing tho... you then realise this instrument is MORE than up to the challenge of warding off your abuse, and you start to realise this thing is built like a friggin tank, and sounds good, why on earth would I want to spend more?
And that's when I say "exactly".
I've been gigging a MIM P-Special for over 6 years, on literally 100's of gigs, and I've NEVER had a problem.
And the comment that things are hit-or-miss with ANY bass is a more than perfectly correct assessment.
I currently have only one US made bass. a 76 T-bird. Never leaves the house.
But my Korean made Epi-Rivoli bass, and my Italia Maranello and MIM P get the gig constantly. And they never fail. Did I mention they were all second hand (save for the Italia) and I got them ridiculously cheap?
So, a good bass is a good bass is a good bass. Quit worrying so much about where it's made... and worry about whether it's the right bass for you.
LOL, no ****, huh... If it looks good, feels good & sounds good... then its good. My comments were only meant to indicate that SOME folks have had problems with thiers & as such, make sure you play ANY instrument first.