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MIM Standard, American Special, or MIA Standard??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheChip94, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. TheChip94


    Aug 27, 2013
    Hey guys, sorry if this has been discussed before. I just couldn't find a thread that discussed exactly what I was looking for.
    Anyway, I plan on buying a Fender Precision Bass, and I was wondering if the exact model really matters after I make adjustments like a Hipshot A bridge, Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders, and new tuners (if required). I don't want to spend an extra $1300 on a MIA Standard if its going to be the same bass as the MIA once I've made my changes, for example. Yes, I do know that the Special has a slim neck, and I still included it as an option because I haven't decided if I prefer the slim neck or not.
    Sorry for the long question, and thanks in advance for your help guys!
  2. Jookbox

    Jookbox Registered Drummer

    Mar 16, 2006
    USA standards aren't $1300 more than a mim. They also come with a hard case.
  3. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    If you’re a gigging musician, 99.98% of your audience won’t give a hoot what bridge, pickups or tuning keys you use on your P. Point, MIM.

    (proud owner of an MIM ‘50s Classic P, but I like the Standard a lot, too)
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    08'+ MIA Standard. They're great basses. Nice hardware, decent pickups, graphite rods, a nice satin finish on the neck, and the rolled fretboard edges all make for a sweet bass.

    +1, they don't even cost $1300 to begin with.

    I will never understand this line of thinking. Why not just find the crappiest hunk of junk you can find? The audience wouldn't know the difference there either. I could not care less what the audience thinks as long as they think it sounds good.
  5. A contemporary MIM Standard (from around 2009 on) with the mods you mentioned will rival the MIA versions in many respects.

    ...except for the composite reinforcement rods in the neck. IMHO, that will be the major difference, and there is no mod for that.
  6. TheChip94


    Aug 27, 2013
    Where I come from (Australia), MIM Standards are $1200, the MIA Specials are $1900 and the MIA Stands are $2500
  7. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    Agreed 100% on all of the above, and will add that as a gigging musician, *I* like to play the best gear I can reasonably afford...

    Regarding the OP - I recently went exactly this route, and decided to shop for a used Highway One P Bass - that way, I got the rods in the neck, nitro paint, sold off the BAII bridge that came with it abd replaced it with the same bridge that's on the current American Standards, upgraded the pups to S-D QPs, paid for a little neck work, and bought a Fender tort PG for it - and came in at just over $500, for a bass that is much better than the Am Specials or the MIM Standards, IMO...

    - georgestrings
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    MIA Standard.
  9. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    That does make it tougher - I would still recommend buying used, whenever possible, and still believe the American necks are worth the extra expense that you may incur...

    - georgestrings
  10. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    the nate mendel signatures are made in mexico and they already have the duncans and serious tuners
  11. Having owned all 3...I'd go with the MIA Special. Given the option to go with a Classic Series, I'd do that instead. My MIM P Classic 50s is better than any MIA I've played to date.
  12. TheChip94


    Aug 27, 2013
    Ok so the MIA Special is out. Damn near gave me carpal tunnel just demo-ing it. So now its down to whether or not the graphite truss rod (and what I heard to be a slightly clearer and brighter tone) on the MIA is orth paying twice the price of the MIM
  13. Graphite support rods, not truss rod.
  14. queevil


    Aug 6, 2009
    If it were me and we were taking about the J bass I'd say find one that just speaks to you no matter where it was made and buy it. However, if I were to buy a p bass I would want those rolled fret board edges but that is my preference.

    You say the special was uncomfortable? Keep in mind that you could go to another shop, play a special and love it. That's because it could have a better setup. I love Fenders but I find that for the price even many of their more expensive basses leave the factory with horrible setups and music stores rarely give their instruments a a good setup before they put them on the floor. With a great setup the special may speak to you yet.
  15. onefallinghope


    Nov 25, 2012
    Groton, CT
    My vote? MIM Classic 50's P

    -or- Squier Classic Vibe P and use the cash you saved to buy a used station wagon or pickup to haul your gear around with!

    ...I know, no one asked me. :)
  16. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    I bought my '08 MIA Standard P5 cola/maple here on TB classifieds over 3 years ago. Its made me park 5 other basses and sell off two other basses. I really enjoy playing my P5.

    I've used it in funk/soul/Motown/blues/country bands past couple years. And its now going strong in a new classic rock/Stax era cover band. And since I put D'Ad Black Nylon flats on it a few months ago; its a dream to play more than ever.

    It worked very nice with Chromes on it too but just loving those Nylons now. And I waited 35+ years to own my first P bass; sorry I waited so long. Good luck OP
  17. jazznrick

    jazznrick Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    Woodlands, Texas
    Guitar Center still has a few of those USA Special Honeyburst satin precisions. I owned owned one for 2 months and made ,ade a misguided trade that I quickly rectified. Buy one and slap a black pickguard on it it. It is hands down the best non modded P ove ever played.
  18. I have owned a MIM and a MIA Precision. The MIA's sound is more pleasant, cuts through the mix better and is more sturdy. The MIM had lots of technical problems, screws kept coming off, the neck couldn't be straightened out anymore, the knobs were playing tricks ... You can do a gig with a MIM, but in the long run I think you're better off with a MIA.
  19. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    My romanian continental bassmate is absolutely right...

    I had the three of them, even if Jazzes, not Precisions:
    the OP got it right with the American Specials.
    Unworthy their price, they're not widely ordered over here anymore and they sell with sensitive discounts, whenever they starve in stock

    As said: totally in line with what stated between MIM and MIA.

  20. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Truthfully, the difference is so subtle between those necks that I find it difficult to believe that it:

    "Damn near gave me carpal tunnel just demo-ing it"

    I'm beginning to wonder if this is just another of the many lame "the MIA's aren't worth it" threads...

    - georgestrings