Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LeftyLB70P, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. LeftyLB70P


    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    Ok, I know that people have really strong opinions on this but hopefully this won't get stupid.

    I have never been much of a Fender guy, but I am not dead set against the possibility giving a Jazz in particular but maybe even a Precision a go for awhile.
    With that in mind, I am curious about the variations with instruments made in different localities. Can I get some input based exclusively on what you have experienced (so not just "They stink because they aren't Made in the U.S.A").

    Do you think that basses made by Fender in 1 of these 3 places are consistently better? And if so, why? What is 'better' about them?

  2. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    My MIM Fenders are rock-solid. I've only ever had to adjust the truss rod on my fretless jazz once, and never on my precision. Mine are built like tanks, so solid and reliable. The pickups on the jazz are pretty weak, I'll swap those out when I have money. The stock pickup in the precision is great, imo.

    Of course, I hear things about inconsistency in the MIM Fenders. So naturally be careful about what you buy.
  3. I'll agree on that

    I've got 2 MIM jazzes, they are brill basses (my first was a MIM and is still my fave after 5 years of playing)

    I've got a MIJ jazz too, now...

    I don't really know how to say it, it somehow FEELS more solid - its a completely different animal though (laquered neck, been re-painted before I got it... so i don't know if it was once sunburst (i.e. SOLID BODY) or not, and the body seems slightly bigger...) maybe they left the old finish underneath? - I dunno, but it feels a bit heavier and more solid anyway...
  4. I bought a MIM fretless jazz a week ago, and its not like things are falling off or anything. The neck is good, and it was set up fine (might have been done at the shop). The intonation and action needed some tweaking, but after that was done, the bass plays as good as it can with the electronics involved.

    Now I am shopping for new pickups, because the stock ones are dull. I tried different strings (I didn't try TI flats, too expensive for me), Im having GHS flat wounds (I think its 0.040-0.105 gauge) and while not anything spectacular, they are ok.

    Was looking at aero pickups, but I think Ill go for Lundgren vintage jazz pups, since its less hassle to order from sweden, and I liked the sound of their guitar pups.

    I might change the gears as well, I find stock ones (old style) to be too heavy for my particular bass, since it has a bit of neck dive.

    Most of the people change bridge as well and go badass, I was thinking of schaller, since I don't fancy filing it myself. But atm it is not hight on my prio list. Pickups first.

    I think japanese basses feel more solid, what exactly it depends on, I cannot say. American basses have generally better electronics in them, so they play much better off the shelf.

    I am looking at about 300-400$ worth of upgrades, maybe more if I decide to epoxy the fingerboard.
  5. The biggest difference I think is the body woods and the electronics. The MIA and CIJ usually use ash and alder while I believe most of the MIM standards use poplar (although I think there are some high-end basses that use poplar cores - for instance, I think that Manring's Zon uses a poplar core). Poplar of course is a lighter wood, less expensive. Obviously the cost of labor is also lower, so they can sell them for less. The MIM Artist series, however, often use better woods and more American components, like MIA PUPs and MIA hardware. Nonetheless, I have played with several guitarists that have had really nice MIM instruments even without upgrades. I think upgrades are in order though on some, which may mean that it becomes a wiser investment to get an Artist Series MIM like a say a MIM Reggie Hamilton, which uses MIA PUPs, electronics and hardware.
  6. Elliot Smith

    Elliot Smith

    Apr 29, 2005
    I support MIJ. I just got my aerodyne and the construction is flawless. Really comfortable.
  7. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    If you're lefty, good luck finding those MIJ's. Although, they do pop up in lefty models here and there. Also, I think Fender is making an American P, again.
  8. I own an MIM, and I love it. Like previously stated the stock pups are nothing to shout about, but the bass itself feels amazing and sounds great despite the dull pups. Altough I've never tried a MIJ, I have tried out a few MIAs and I have to admit, I really haven't been to impressed. I may have just gotten some bad apples, but then again I have played some very blah MIMs.
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've owned a MIM Precision that was the best Precision I'd ever played made in the past 10 years, threw on all good hardware and it was a beast. Still regret selling that one.

    Had a MIM Fretless Jazz that I got rid of because of a HUGE lack of mwah, it was dead and thumpy, just wasn't what I was looking for. Was heavy and the tone was okay. It was a '96 so swapping electronics was also very difficult.

    Currently using a CIJ Marcus Miller with CIJ '57 Reissue Precision bass neck as my #1. Phenominal bass, great electronics, great build quality, no complaints at all. One of the best Fenders I've ever played.

    My '78 Precision is also a great instrument, however VERY heavy... but thats how they were in the '70's.
  10. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I have owned all three and currently have a MIA (1975) and a MIJ (1996)

    My preference in consistent quality is MIJ, MIA then MIM.
  11. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    MIM Fender bodies are alder, not poplar, just for the record.
  12. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    Glendale, AZ
    I prefer the MIA over the MIJ, over the MIM. The MIJ are pretty good, but they lack the graphite reinforcement that the MIA has. My MIM's neck twisted in a short period of time. IMO, bass necks need reinforcement unless it's at least a 5 piece with some really stiff woods. I'd stick with MIA.
  13. strummer


    Jul 27, 2005
    I had a US made P for a while, and it was a good bass. The "s-1" switch was, to me, useful, and the bass played real good.
    Now for the not-so-good part. I spent some days playing all the US P available in my home town at the time (about 20 of them) and in the end I had to choose from one that had some paint checking on the body (probably due to fast-dried woods and/or humidity changes) and one that had some grain tunouts in the neck. I choose the one with the body defects.

    The wood selection isn't what I'd call good, so look carefully at the neck and body.
    Soundwise the US P is good, and I really liked the reinforced neck.
  14. Lefty MIJ Jazz 62RI

    Not for sale :D
  15. You are right, my bad. If you look on the specs at Music123, it says poplar, but on the Fender website, it says alder. Go figure.
  16. LeftyLB70P


    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    Excellent info guys...... thanks :hyper:

    What is CIJ??
  17. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    CIJ means "Crafted In Japan", which is what it says on the heel of the neck. I think they started saying that instead of "Made In Japan" around 1995. I really am a Jazz guy, and my favorite ones were the '70s MIA ones, but I like the MIJ/CIJ ones just as much. The MIM ones are good enough, but like has already been mentioned, can be made better with replacement pickups, bridge, etc.
  18. JMW


    Mar 25, 2008
    I recently acquired a Fender Precision to add to my collection of basses, which include premium brands like Music Man. I visited my local music store and tried 6 Precisions. Three of them were MIMs. One MIM didn't work properly (faulty jack input). Each of the remaining 6 Precisions sounded distinct. Some I liked, and some left me indifferent.
    One MIM sounded punchier and more "interesting" (how's that for a subjective term?) than any of the MIAs. It provided the sound that I was looking for- along the lines of late sixties live Who. My sense is that the stock pickup on recently-manufactured MIM Precisions is somehow hotter than the pickup on MIAs, even a bit harsh when the tone control is set to full treble.
    A week later, I tried a seventh Precision- an MIA 60th anniversary model.
    In the end, I purchased the MIM Precision that gave me an approximation of that “Who Live at Leeds” tone.
    Another bass player trying out the same 7 instruments might have concluded that some of the MIAs were more suitable. One, for example, provided a perfect 70s Fleetwood Mac tone. Nothing wrong with that, but it was not what I was seeking.
    I have a Bartolini precision-style pickup installed on an old Fernandes, and most would consider such a pickup an upgrade to my MIM Precision, but the deeper, more "refined" tone that it would deliver is not what I am looking for from the Precision.
    The bottom line: don’t assume that an MIA Precision will be “better” for you than an MIM Precision. There is far too much variability from unit to unit to make any generalizations.
  19. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    If you shop around and "try before you buy" I think there is good value to be had in all the Fender lines. Remember, a well set-up and solid $350 MIM bass will play and sound a lot better than a $900 "problem child" MIA bass.
  20. Since aout 2002(?) I believe. I think early ones were poplar.