MIM Jazz Fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rojo412, Nov 11, 2000.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Owners, please enlighten me with your thoughts.
    I've been noodling the idea of picking up a MIM jazz fretless to fill the void and empty stand left by my recently sold Stingray.

    I've played the bass a bit and was very impressed by the sounds and tones. I figure that I buy it and just use it as a money pit and customize the bejesus out (pearloid pg, black hw, new pickups, etc). But how do these things last? Do most aftermarket parts fit it easily? Any problems?
  2. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I've had one for over a year now and love the heck out of it...

    (She's featured on "Wired" here: http://www.mp3.com/prlj/ )

    But I haven't done ANY mods other than putting roundwounds on her, so I can't help you there.

    BTW, I dropped by GC the other day, but you weren't in...some guy that was helping me was supposed to call me back "before 6" with some info on a Strat for me...that was Monday...hmmmm...

    Anyway...left a message for ya in the computer system...don't know if you got it or not.

  3. I dig my fretted Mexi Jazz 4 string. I put a Badass2 bridge on, no drilling involved, but a little filing on the bridge for string notches. I put in Dimarzio split-coil humbuckers, DP123, a little hand-chiseling on the narrow ends of the bridge pickup route for the regulation size bridge pickup, a couple of little solder joints. No rotary power tools involved on either job. 30 minutes total time.

    Excellent bass. Stable bridge, no hum, good tone and sound. Total investment, $250+50+90=$390 for the feel and performance of about 90% of an American Jazz. A proper fret dressing would probably bring me up to about 98% American feel.

    Bonus: Having a great playing and sounding bass that is not irreplaceable or too expensive to enjoy using regularly.

    I would think fretless would be right in line with my experience. Just make sure it feels and plays right in it's original state. Then make it better.

  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The problems with aftermarket parts are that the pickups are the same size, so a regular J/J set will not fit without at least cutting into the pickguard, you may have to chisel the body a little too.

    The pickguard screw holes line up differently, so you'll have to make some new holes and have some old ones left over.

    Of course, if you replace the pickguard and pickups at the same time, all you will have to do is chisel the body a little to make the pickups fit.
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Thanks for the response guys, I appreciate it.

    Throb, I did the Badass on my P-style and it's good, but I want to try a Schaller or something with a quick release. Variety is the spice of life. Pickups- I'd probably go Basslines or Bartolinis. I just don't trust DiMarzios for bass. Maybe if I had an Ibanez JS1000 guitar... Routing and chiseling: I'll let the repair guy do it for me cheap. I can wire stuff.

    GM, What kind of Strat do you want? And who was the guy who helped you? When were you in? I'm there M-S, any time between 2 and 6, earlier Thursday, late every other day. (And a side note: I was 5th highest for Gross Profit for November, so far. I'm beating guys who have been there for 3 years!)

    Oh yeah, back to the bass. I love the way it plays and I'd be taking one that was new in a box, so Fender would cover any defects. The changes I'd make would be mostly cosmetic and cheap. Pickups will be a pretty penny, but I may just transfer the EMG preamp from my P-Bass to the J and get a glassier tone.

    Who knows? Thanks again.
  6. I've gotta point on the black hardware. I have a fretless Jazz that has a fair amount of black on it and while trying to acquire more hardware to make a second fretted Jazz look the same, I have learned some things:

    First, if you are dead set on black tuners, you will have a hard time finding them. Fender put them on their mid 80's Power Jazz basses and some others but they are scarce and you can't get them from Fender. There are some black Schaller sets but I have seen prices as high as $180 for 4. Stewart MacDonald has a very good set of imported tuners with adjustable tension but the black versions are only offered in a 4 x 4 arrangement so you'll have to buy two sets to get a single inline set. The cost there will be about $35 a set and you'll have a set of lefties leftover. Second is that the mid 80's black tuners have quite a large chassis plate that might require just a little bit of modification to fit some Fender headstocks. My Jazzes are MIJITSO 62 reissues and have a slightly smaller headstock that requires this change.

    Hope this helps
  7. I don't know about the MIM jazz basses, but I have a Fender MIM Strat that I like very much, even though I've made a lot of changed on it. With a few modifications it could be a great working bass. Another good, cheap fretless would be the Yamahas, they have an alder body, like the Fender MIA's. I have the cheapest one, with Bassline passive pickups in it.
  8. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I bought an MIM fretless Jazz a couple of years ago. I tried and TRIED to like that bass. But I could never quite get the tone I wanted, or the action to MY liking...and the hum from the pickups drove me nuts!
    I ended up selling it....found a Hohner fretless which outclassed the Fender in every aspect. My point is...there are other quality fretless basses in the same price level as the MIM. Just give them a try...:)
  9. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I'm not worried about price, availability, etc. I am getting EVERYTHING at cost, unless I can't find it. Warmoth has a ton of parts that come in black and cheap as hell. It would be a project bass for my enjoyment, not necessarily a piece that I would use as a main stage axe or recording piece. It's going to be a replacement 3rd bass. If it ticks me off, I could probably sell it for as much as I will pay.

    As for other fretless basses in the range, we have the Yamaha rbx260 :( , a used Ibanez from the early 80s :( , and a MIJ fretless J with an unoriginal neck that is way too much $ for sound and build quality. I'm waiting a short while for someone to bring in a bass to sell that I'd like to buy, but none yet.

    MIM Jazz Fretless: Final thoughts? Worth $250 out the door? Lasting piece?
  10. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    In spite of my criticisms...yes...absolutely!...:)
  11. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    $250 out the door? Dude, I'd buy two.

    As far as the strat thing, I'm looking for a non-Affinity Squier...late 20OO model, Shoreline Gold or Sherwood Green - Rosewood board.

    The guy helping me took my info and told me that what I'm asking for doesn't exist.

    I told him when he realizes his mistake to give me a call. :)


    There ya go ... the "non-existant" Squier Strat in the desired colors.

    Anyway, no big deal...like I've vented about before, this is about the level of help I expect from GC, Sam Ash, etc, and it's a pleasant surprise when it's anything other than this. That's why I was hoping you'd be there...but after 2 just doesn't work into my schedule that well. You said you're there earlier on Thursdays? Like around 11:30 or so?

    Again, about that MIM Fretless...at $250, I'd be getting two...one to leave virginal and one to slam into the headboard, if you know what I mean. ;) They're outstanding instruments.

  12. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    I think the MIM Jazz fretless got "editors tone award" or something in "Bass Player" mag a while back ...I'll see if I can look it out.
  13. And the Yamaha they looked at scored even higher! :)
  14. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Thursdays, I open that place. I'll be there at 10, but we don't open till 11. (Tomorrow's gonna suck though... we have to "merchandise" and make everything tight as a drum or else we get yelled at.)

    The only debate about the bass is whether to get a Midnight Blue or a Black. The other colors are special order and I can't order them, but that's okay. The black I'd be able to turn into my "Black Beauty" bass. I've always wanted a bass that was all black (or at least really dark). All black body, pg and hardware, but even solid black pickups and tapewound black strings (and maybe paint the headstock). The blue would be a good contrasting color with black hardware and a white pearloid PG. But I'd have to make that call myself :)

    GM, we actually have a Squier Strat in Sherwood Green with a RW board, but it's on layaway. We had it for a week before it was snagged, so we will get more. And spec orders are fine by me, but I have to call and find out if they are in stock. Or I could get one shipped from another store. Whatever it is, we can get them.
  15. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    See ya Thursday...I'll be the obnoxious jackass playing Stairway to Heaven through a Marshall stack...badly.

    heh heh heh...;)

  16. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    can't wait to hear it, man...
  17. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I picked mine up for $180 used and subsequently coated the fretboard with polyurathane. I have a badass II bridge on order and will likely have it on the bass by week's end. I have no plans to replace the pickups so the total cost to me with gig bag for this bass will be around $255. Even without the new bridge it sounds pretty darn good. The $5.00 I spent on the polyurathane definitely helped.

    Bottom line: I don't much like Fender basses, but the MIM Jazz Fretless is one of the best bargains out there: Go For It!!
    (I also love my MIM strat which I picked up new for $219.00 last year --it's so much better than anything else in price range!!!)
  18. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    That the FIRST thing that I would replace. That hum will drive you crazy....:)
  19. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Perfect timing for this thread!
    I've been considering this bass for awhile now. Since I'll be using it sparingly and it's my first fretless, it seems like a bargain. I wasn't too crazy about the pu's though. Any recommendations for replacment pu's for a fretless jazz?
    The one I've been looking at goes for $319 w/case.
  20. hell_awaits


    May 2, 2000
    Perfect timing indeed! I just bought one yesterday, and I'm still working the kinks out of it. Since yesterday, I have tightened the truss rod twice, and I just gave it another quarter turn this morning. I'm going to see if it needs anymore adjustment when I get home from work tonight. So far things look really good. The neck had a -ton- of relief when I bought it, so the action was sky-high.