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MIM Fender Deluxe P & J: Active pickups still have the "classic Fender vibe"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PhilMan99, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. PhilMan99


    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    I'm looking to get a Fender P or J in the $400-$650 range (USD). I'm looking closely at the Deluxe P and the Active J 5, both with active electronics and (I believe) active pickups.

    Do Fenders with active electronics still have the "classic Fender vibe". That great sound that "just sounds right"? This would be my second bass, purchased for the authentic Fender sound. Generally, I prefer a 6-string. I'm worried that if I get away from passive pickups, I'll be corrupting the Fender mojo (and perhaps generally comitting "sacriledge").

    Obviously I'll be trying-out basses at the store, but I can only tell so much "test-driving" basses at the store. I need to "live with" a bass before I can really "understand" it.
  2. i don't own an MIM deluxe, but I'm pretty sure they just have active preamps, NOT pickups
  3. T-34


    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    Every active MIM Fender I tested was disapointing, lacking "fender mojo". Maybe, I just don't tested enough.
  4. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    The basses you're considering have active preamps, but not active pickups. In my opinion, the active pre kills some of the classic Fender sound, at least in that price range. I think it takes a top flight preamp to preserve the inherent passive tone of a bass, and you need to spend more to get one.

    I learned this when I bought a '99 American Deluxe Precision a couple of years ago. Panned over to the P pickup, it sounded like a very good facsimile of a P-bass, but it couldn't match the pure, open, classic tone of my passive '94 MIJ Foto Flame P. In a band, it didn't have that supportive, "sits great in the mix" quality of the best P-basses. But it did record well, and some folks loved its tone. It just wasn't my thing.

    That said, the MIM active Fenders are decent basses at their price points, so if you like one, go for it.
  5. bob04


    Aug 5, 2005
    Stourbridge, U.K.
    i got the deluxe p-bass for christmas, i love t, the range of tones you can get is pretty good. I dont see a problem with just the p-pickup, it sounds as close to an ordinary p-bass as any audience member will ever notice (unless they are an audiophile too lol), and the jazz p/up just further enhances how much i love mine lol. Just be sure to test before you buy as the MIM qualities vary greatly.
  6. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I have the MIM deluxe JV, with the vintage noiseless (passive) pickups and the 3-band preamp, and I like it a lot--it's extremely useful and effective. But it doesn't have a really distinctive voice--it doesn't holler "vintage" or "geddy lee" or anything like that--if anything it has a slight marcus millerish tendency, but very slight. It's not unfair to describe it as a little bland if you're playing it solo, but it also sounds more compressed, which can be a good thing, especially live. But IMHO that's what's good about it. The pickups are very much like fender single coils but a little fuller sounding: they're quiet and really well balanced from string to string. If you use it with care you can get 95% of a passive fender sound--for example, cut the bass and the treble a little, and there you go. The blandness turns out to equal versatility. If you use the preamp with care, it's great. If you go blowing in huge amounts of boost it sounds lousy

    I'm really impressed with it--it's great value for the money, and it really works. It doesn't really capture the full vibe of traditional passive single coils, but it gets most of it. You know right awaty that it's a j-bass. And why buy a five string if you want a completely traditional sound?