MIM, MIA, MIJ.......Who Cares!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alembicfive, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. alembicfive


    Jan 17, 2003
    What is the big hang up on where your Fender is made. Hey, bottom line, if it is a good product that meets your needs who cares where it is made. What, it is not a REAL Fender if it is not made in the US. Case in point....I just purchased a new Fender Standard Jazz. It not a MIM Jazz or a Mexican Jazz...it is a Fender Standard Jazz. First off, this bass is awesome. Super comfortable neck, great action and a great punchy tone. It played and felt way better then some of the other more high price Jazz basses the store had. Now I realize you will have some good and bads one. But this holds true to both ends of the price line. I have played some basses well over 1k that played like crap!

    Now what brought all this up....well I was at a open jam the other night and I was telling this dude about new new 4-banger. He seemed eager to check it out after I told him how great this bass was. Then the big question, is it Mexican? I said, who cares! He kept asking so finally I said yes, it was made in Mexico. He then seemed disappointed and not interested, heck it can't be a real Fender like my US P bass!

    With that line of thought, I guess my VW GTI is not a real VW since it is made in S. America!

    Ok, bottom line I love my new "Standard Jazz"! It fits the bill to a tee! Yea, I could have spent more on one. But I don't care where the "Made In" says! In the future if anyone asks where my Jazz was made....I'll say, "In a Fender Factory!"

  2. I agree 100%. My old Fender MIM jazz fretless was a great bass.............huge body though, hence why i sold it.
  3. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    uhm because the general concensus is that MIM are poorer quality,(which is normal, the price is lower to, they are marketed to a different audience) where as the American ones (and Japanese ones) have higher "standards" if you will and arguably more quality control. Case in point, I'vre tried MIM and MIA's and didn't like either... :ninja:
  4. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Big difference in tone when it comes to the USA made Fenders and Mexican ones. The USA ones use a better tone wood for the body, have better electronics and pickups, and overall better quality.

    If your MIM is fitting your bill to a TEE then thats great! I owned a MIM Jazz Dlx 5 string for years and it fit the bill fairly well. But nothing like my MIA Dlx 5 did. Its all subjective.
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Where it made doesnt matter. I've owned two Americans and two Mexican Fenders and all have been phenominal instruments. I tend to gravitate towards the Americans a slight bit because of a slight difference in feel, and I find the Americans tend to have a more rounded out sound.
  6. IF you wanted to buy the best Fender has to offer in every possible detail of their instruments, you would not be buying Mexican, Indonesian, or Korean, and in some cases, you wouldn't' even be buying Japanese. THAT my opinionated friend is the difference.

    Cassanova has it right - The basses that bear Fender's name that are made in these countries are not the same instruments that come from the American factories. Try to rationalize it all you want but the discerning ear and discerning eye can tell the difference in a lot of the cases. This is not to say that you can tell the difference in ALL of the possible comparisons between basses manufactured by Fender from all of the countries they have built instruments in. But you can be assured that these comparisons are correct:

    - A standard J or P from Mexico has lower grade hardware than an American standard J or P. Same is true of the pickups.

    - Pots used in the American instruments are much higher grade than those used in overseas instruments.

    - Fender Japan instruments made for export rival American instruments in their quality 95% of the time. This extends to fit, finish, and hardware grade. The other 5% only lose out because of lower grade hardware choices - the rest of the build is top notch.

    - Fender Japan instruments made for the Japanese market don't rival the American product in quality - IMO, they are indistinquishable from the USA version. Except for some characteristic marking differences, there isn't anything to tell them apart.

    - Early Mexican instruments had QC problems. The fact is well known and not arguable. They have gotten better but the record is not perfect. The legacy lives on and won't die easy.

    - The basswood used in the lower priced Fender instruments is not the acoustic twin of alder.

    Try and think like a Fender exec for minute here. How much business sense would it make to him to offer two instruments from two different countries (and marked as such) in two different grades of quality, at 2 different price levels (1 5x more expensive), if there weren't a difference when it costs much more to produce the American version than it does the Mexican version?

    The point is that you cannot buy precisely the same Fender instrument from overseas that you can here. No way, no how. You can, however, buy an instrument that perfectly suits your needs from anywhere. That's the true difference. It depends on what you want in it and on it in the first place.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I have a MIJ Jazz fretless from 94ish and a MIA Jazz from 92. While they're both nice instruments, the MIA is definitely a better constructed, better sounding and feeling instrument. It also feels a bit sturdier. It was also about 300 bucks more than the MIJ. The electronics in the MIA basses are much better...that's where Fender makes their price break. And I'm not talking about just the pickups...the wiring and the pots in the MIJ were awful. The pickups were boomy and muddy without any tightness or definition on the low end.

    My suggestion? If you like the bass, then good... play it as is. I ended up having Lindy Fralin wind me a set of '1963' pickups for mine and changed out the rest of the electronics with good stuff. It turned a mediocre sounding bass into an excellent sounding bass.

    Same deal with the MIM Fenders. (at the time of my MIJ, Fender had 3 tiers of product, US, Japan and Mexican, nowadays, they run US, Mexican and Korean/Chinese...as the CIJ are non-export guitars).
  8. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Huh, MIM have basswood bodies? All this time I thought my basses were alder . . .
  9. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    I would take an MIA Fender over a MIM any day! IMHO they lack major quality in comparison to MIA. Im not going to get into all of the tonal and sound differences between the two but .......yea definately MIA over MIM from my experience I have never played a MIM that I actually liked , BUT MIJ on the other hand are a different story. I honestly cant even compare a Mexican and a American , and I also ask the same question when refering to any Fender instrument its the first thing out of my mouth.
  10. alembicfive


    Jan 17, 2003
    The Standard Series are Alder. Look at the specs on the Fender web site.
  11. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    alembicfive, in terms of sound, if you have a good bass, you have a good bass. I've never had a MIM Fender, but I've had a number of overseas basses, both cheap and not so cheap. I've also played a number of MIM's that I thought were just fine. I had a MIJ Precision that was a bit dark-sounding, and I've had some MIA's, including my current '04 Am. Ser. Jazz. The reason I bought this one is that it sounded the best of all the Fenders I played (including other MIA's). People in the audience who don't know anything about equipment will not care where your bass was made, they'll care about how your band sounds.
  12. apollo11


    Aug 19, 2004
    New York
    Agree with everything said about the Amer. and Japanese being superior. I've had the Geddy Lee, and it was an incredible bass. The finish was at least equal to the US made. The tuners worked fine but were a lower grade, and the pickups lacked slightly in output. Other than these two things, it was 100% as good as a US Fender.
    I've owned one MIM, a fretless. I sold it after 6 months. Next to the Geddy and US Precision, there is no comparison, at least from the one I had. It was purchased off the wall new, and was in mint shape, but the tonal qualities were nowhere near a US or Japan Fender. The finish was nice, but the finishing touches lacked when comparing to the US and MIJ.
    For the money, a MIM is a great instrument, and I'd recommend one to anybody who wants to spend under $500 and buy a new bass. If I was on a budget, I'd look around the local shops and pick up a use American Standard or Series. They can be had for between $550 and $650 often times, in you local, non GC, stores. Those are the true bargain instruments.

    Fender and Fender Japan can really be considered on a par in most aspects. MIM, even though they are decent, cannot.

    One more thing, a positive for MIM. Lately I've seen a few natural grained Tele's and Strats, with the 70's style gold and black logo (like the Geddy Lee). These look fantastic, and on a par with the fit and finish of a MIJ/MIA Fender. They are gorgeous in all aspects, so much so, that I almost walked out the door with one. By far, the best looking and best built MIM Fender instruments I've seen. Hopefully they'll continue this trend with the bass line.
  13. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I tend to lean more toward the MIJ's because they are a better value. The MIA's are no more consistant in quality control and there resale SUCKS! I just sold an MIA Deluxe jazz four, it was about 6 years old and in excellent shape, after 7 mounths of consighnment I finally bit the bullit and went ebay, 550 for a bass thats sells at GC for 1200 new! M Millers and Geddys sell for 7-800 new and sell consistantly on the bay for 5-650!, you tell me! To me it makes more sense to look for a good Japaneese one, you can always upgrade the hardware. As far as workmanship I've seen quality problems even with the custom shop. Fender has made more great basses then any one in history, but untill they improve there quality control ( not likely to happen when GC is there main dealer) I will always look at other options, Skyline, Valenti and in the High end, Metro's.
  14. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    People who have chimed In here do have a clue what they are talking about. I own 14 Fenders, 7 MIA, 4 MIJ, 3 MIM. All the hoopla about MIA basses compared to MIJ and MIM basses does hold water. Like mentioned here already when you buy a MIA bass it needs nothing! MIJ basses come sometimes with aftermarket parts and some MIA pups but may be week in the tuner and electronics dept. Craftmanship of MIJ basses is superb but materials and options ie stb option, side to side string adjustment, colors, maple or rosewood necks for the same basses, are not on the same level with MIA basses. With that being said MIJ basses do have an excellent feel and playabilty. MIM basses have come a long, long way. These basses are ready to play out the box and are designed as a good entry level offering by Fender. These are the basses that all the aftermarket parts in the world will fit without modification. The three I own are all modded, 2 p-basses have pup changes and the j-bass dlx has a badassII bridge. With MIA basses you get what you pay for, Now whether you think that price is fair that's another story. MIJ-CIJ basses are much cheaper but they don't come with cases and do have their limitations when it comes to colors. Just for those of you who care, my 75RI jazz and my FMT v with neck binding has this binding covering the ends of the frets making the binding into the fret a smooth transition. Now my Geddy Lee jazz the binding stops at the very end of the fret board leaving you to feel the fret ends on the neck. These are the little things between MIA and MIJ basses that people don't notice! Fender makes basses in different price ranges for people with different incomes, that's the way I see it.
  15. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Could it possibly be that the Marcus Miller and Geddy Lee basses are harder to get in some places. Look at the prices you have listed, they look pretty close and are both in the 550, 600 dollor range meaning maybe people are bidding with their wallets and not with the real values of these instruments! If I could only raise 600 bucks I might go for a used MM jazz, as for a Geddy thats a little steep (I got mine new for $599). You just sold the older version of a DLX jazz (9 volt) and with the older pups in it. Those basses are not that sort after, I know I have a 98 dlx I payed Sam Ash 650 with case for! E-bay is not a good example for what something is worth but only an example of what someone is willing to pay!
  16. And you have misquoted me completely. My statement did not say "standard series". My statement clearly said "lower priced", which included various overseas Fender products.
  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Let your tone do the talking for you! A good bass is a good bass. It's not always what you have but what you do with it.
    In my younger years I would sometimes judge and even dismiss other players based upon their equipment. This stopped when I saw dudes completely wreck house with what I would consider absolute CRAP!!!
    If you've got a MIM fender maybe you shouldn't be talkin' it up if your'e not 100% secure with your purchase, or 100% prepared to have people yawn at you. Plug-in and let your bass do the talking for you!!
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    IIRC the standard series lines are poplar. The website may say alder, but I think they are wrong. If you read about the MIM Deluxe Active Jazz it says something about it having the same features as the standard series, but has the MIA electronics and pickups. This leads me to believe that the website is inacurate as to the body woods of the standard series.

    I also know that the standard series used to be made from nothing but poplar. I dont see why they'd suddenly change the body wood in them to alder while leaving the MIM Dlx Active poplar. Somethings just not adding up.
  19. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    The MIM series has had alder bodies since aproximately 2002.
    The dlx jazz bass shares the same body and neck as the standard model (unlike the MIA's down sized body with a 22 fret neck)
  20. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    havent read any post in here, but answering the tittle: if were talking bout electronics i would deffinitly choose MIA but just because fender uses their "best" stuff on MIA basses.

    geddy lee JB is an exeption to that opinion.