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MIM Sight Unseen

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ladros2, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    Ok, my parents got me a keyboard for xmas, but it just sat in my house for a while, I wasn't really motivated to learn it properly. SO we returned it today for store credit. This store's selection of basses is pretty much limited to fenders, SX's, which must be very different to the american ones, as these are absolutely horrid, and epiphones. I intended to order a fender MIM fretless jazz, but have heard about their hit and miss quality. Just how much of a miss can they be, keeping in mind that it'd be pretty hard to mess up a fret job on a fretless? What else can go wrong, and how much of it is fixable?
  2. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    I figured the same thing and got a fretless mim off ebay. It rocks.
    There's my experience with it. Sure, the p'ups aren't the most amazing, but it still has loads of tone and cuts through in a band situation better than my old Rich bass that cost over 5x as much.
    Like you said, hard to screw up a fretless fretjob, and it's real easy to get a sanding block and flatten the fretboard if something's really nasty.

    So if you ask me, I'd say go for it.
  3. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    Yeah, I'm very much leaning towards going for it. It'll be my first fretless. Is the fretboard finished, and how careful do I have to be with my strings to avoid damage to it?
  4. I bought my Fender Deluxe V used on eBay, but I had never played or seen it in person (obviously). I even bought it locally, so I didn't have to pay for shipping. I've been quite happy with it. I haven't noticed any dead spots yet, and it looks decent, plays well, and sounds pretty darn good.
  5. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005

    Can a fretless have dead spots?
  6. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    yeah, if there's a dent in the fingerboard there'll be a dead spot there. I'd be surprised if you got a fender with a deadspot though frankly, their QA is at least that good.

    Finishing: If you do any sanding on it, be careful. Rosewood dust isn't too good for your lungs. Wear a mask (cheap one for painting is fine) and sand outdoors. For finishing, rubbing it with a little lemon oil is often recomended.
    I doubt you'd need to do this though.

    As for strings, I'd highly suggest that you get some flatwounds (or tapewounds). Roundwound strings will put dents in your fingerboard really quickly.
  7. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    I got two MIM Jazz basses sight un-seen. Both were perfect! The Standard MIM Jazz Fretless I got from MusiciansFriend.com and the Classic 60's Jazz (which is MIM) I got from Music123.com.

    The funny thing is, the Fretted MIM Jazz I got from a store, that needed some work!
  8. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've owned three MIM's and all were good. The MIM Fretless I bought wasn't the most vibrant sounding bass, but it was good. I wouldn't be too afraid to buy sight unseen.
  9. RunngDog


    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Dead spots have nothing to do with dents in the fingerboard -- they're a matter of physics -- and it is very unlikely there won't won't be a dead spot.

    Here's Gary Willis's comment on dead spots: "I have to tell you that every bass that's ever been made with a wooden neck and a metal truss rod has dead spots. From the oldest Fenders to the latest Willis basses, they all have dead spots in about the same places." Roger Sadowsky says something similar on his website: "Dead spots are a fact of life, especially on 34” scale bolt on instruments." I own a half-dozen Fenders, have owned many more over a lot of years, and I can honestly say I've never found any without dead spots.

    The question with dead spots is really where they are and how severe they are. On a 34" scale Fender, the "where" is pretty much a given: it'll be between the 4th and 7th fret on the G. So the question comes down to how severe, and you won't know that without trying out the bass. In my experience buying used basses, everybody tries to downplay the dead spot. So if a seller tells you there's no dead spot, you can expect it's fairly mild, and if the seller tells you there's a mild dead spot, watch out. Though of course you might just have found a scrupulously honest seller with good ears.

    A word of warning: a lot of fretless playing tries to take advantage of sustain, so that the same dead spot that is mildly annoying on a fretted bass will be really painful on a fretless.
  10. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    Hunh. Interesting, I'm going to have to do some critical listening tonight.