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MIA Jazz Bass Deluxe Vs. Musicman Sterling

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Pietzsa, Nov 19, 2000.

  1. Pietzsa

    Pietzsa Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Orange, Texas
    I have the chance later this week to get a Sterling, or a new Deluxe. Pros or Cons? Which in your opinion is more versitile? How would you describe the tone running flat, or which do you most prefer? Thanks ahead of time!
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I'm happy with a pair of 97 MIA JD5's, I checked out the newer models and they were okay. My basses came alive after I re-strung them and set them up. I've played a few Sterlings and they were nice so...

    I've been no help whatsoever;)
  3. The Sterling is a much smaller bass all round, so you have to consider that. It is better quality wood and manufacture than the Fender, but this is not necessarily very important. The overall feel is your prime concern. Can you get to try them both?
  4. I own 2 jazz deluxes right now. It was a toss-up between it and a Sterling for me, too. My, recomendation is never buy a bass before trying it first but here are my observations on the fender and Sterling:
    Pros:lightweight body, vintage good looks, nice flat c neck, smooth pre-amp(never harsh), familiar sound.
    Cons: Cheesy plastic feeling tuners, boring straight-grain neck

    Pros: Cool looking birdseye neck, nice satin finish on neck.
    Cons: Preamp is really noisy; hisses a lot, neck is fatter than j-bass.

  5. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Does this necessarily mean a bad thing?
    I think the nicest neck I've ever played was the fat "baseball bat" one on my friend's Warwick Corvette. I really dug the feel of that one.
  6. Both basses are 1,5" at the nut. The Sterling is a bit thinner back to front, not that "rounded" the way a Jazz is.
  7. TonyS


    Dec 13, 1999
    I have one of each. The MIA Deluxe Jazz is IMO a fair comparison to the Sterling. The quality of construction is resonably close between the MIA D Jazz and the Sterling, with an edge going to MM for intonation and solidness. The necks are very similar on my instruments. In the overall size dept. the Jazz is a little larger instrument.

    The Jazz also has a phatter sound. On the other hand the Sterling seems to have the typical MM ability to cut through a mix ... the EQ in my Sterling is not noisy and has a nice wide variety of tones. I give the edge to MM on the Eq.
    Each axe has it's own mojo. (IMO they have more in common than meets the eye.)

    As in most of theses cases there's only one way to find out ... try both. Your considering two very nice and versatile instruments. FWIW the Sterling is my main axe.

    Best Wishes
  8. maestrox


    Oct 8, 2000
    I owned a Sterling that served as my only bass for years. I found that the Sterling could do a passable (but not real convincing) imitation of a j-bass (single-coil setting), but there is no way in hell a J-bass will sound like a music man. So it depends on what tone you want. If you really need a j-tone, and also like the sound of the front and rear pickup solo, get the Fender. If you tend more towards liking the music man tone, and can live with a sort-of j-tone, get the Sterling. The J is probably more versatile, but if the tones don't send you, it isn't worth it.

    In general, I think you'll find the workmanship to be better on the Sterling. The percentage of "good" basses coming out of the Ernie Ball factory is higher than those coming from Fender.

  9. Oysterman:
    No, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a fat neck.
    I like 'em too.

    the J-deluxe is a lot thinner than a normal J-bass. The sterling's necks feels a little rounder than it...but not wider.
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    My 97 Jazz Deluxe 5's are both flawless, excellent glassy finish, great neck pocket, dead quiet active electronics, well placed EQ, holds setup very well. The Fender and the Sterling are just different, here comes the cliche':

    It depends on what you like. Sad but true.

    My Jazzes are capable of a very "big" sound that demands space in the mix. I can only imagine what people who are getting lost in the mix are doing. I think that the fact that the Jazzes aren't super-refined adds to their character. Rudeness has it's place:D
  11. Ok CROZ, if I want a Jazz then it must be the MIA D Jazz Im looking for. I love the thin feeling of my Sterling, and a Jazz I tried out at the store felt like a club(maybe it was MIA Standard?) But before I got my Sterling I really liked THAT neck. Strange.. but I think its ok to change sometimes. One day (when (IF) I feel the need) Ill get a Jazz too. One day... :) But until then Ill stay with my Sterling.

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