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New MIM P-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bgavin, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. I bought a new 2001 model MIM P-Bass off eBay to satisfy a long running Jones for that P-tone. My RB5 is fine for a jazz, but was missing that fundamental thump needed for my weekly blues gig.

    It arrived two days ago and was perfect right out of the box. I can see some sanding marks at the neck heel, which is what I expected for the lower cost MIM models. Big deal.

    The fit and finish are excellent. It's my first experience with MIMs, but the tuners look like MIA quality parts. They replaced the plastic knobs with knurled metal ones and apparently replaced the pots and shafts for 2001 also. The pots are no longer the split-shaft type, but a solid shaft. The bridge is typical MIM cheesy, but I have a Gotoh 201 in the mail as a replacement.

    This thing flat rocks! I love that big P tone. The neck was very comfortable, and the string spacing is the same as my RB5 so it wasn't "alien" feeling. The split-P is very loud and punchy. A well spent $250, for sure. The Sunburst is well done and the finish is first rate.
  2. Stop it! You're giving me G.A.S.! Sounds like you got a very good deal. And you P-bass guys are luckier than us Jazz guys. Why is that? Because you won't get that "drive you up the wall" 60 cycle hum that the Jazz basses get. I have a fretless MIM Jazz, and the only complaint I have is the hum, other than that they're excellent instruments.
    I know I can replace the pups, but, then I start weighing whether or not I should just sell it, and get something else. Forgive my selfish ranting.

    Good luck with it man.

    Mike J.
  3. Mike,

    The no-hum thing was something I noticed right off the bat last night. My RB5 hums like crazy in single coil mode. The P was dead silent. Amazing.

    Frankly, for the music I play, I'm hard pressed to see why I need a Jazz bass at all. I play blues, maybe some country/western, no slap, no fancy crap, and no fretless. Just meat and potatoes dub and the P-bass is perfect for this. As a newbie buyer, I was ignorant and turned off by the simplicity of 1 volume, 1 tone, 1 pickup. Man, THAT was a mistake. Leo had it right the first time with his P design. I'd recommend a P-bass as the first bass for every new player.

    I had a phone call with Bill Lawrence a couple weeks back, and got a first hand lesson on pickup design differences between the P and J types. BL sez the P uses short, large diamter coils, has low flux leakage and is very efficient. The J type is tall skinny coils, high leakage, and inefficient. The obvious design differences must account for most of the tone variation. The split-P design is LOUD, too.

    I'm going to spring for a Lawrence P-46 pickup for the P. I got a Gotoh 201 bridge from one of my buds and it should arrive today or Saturday. I'll save the Fender 7250ML strings that came with it for a reference. I also have plans to string the P as BEAD using the set of TI Jazz Flats currently on the RB5.

    As for the P tone, I've been hunting for it a year now, and finally got it last night. The nasal quality of the J bass wasn't making it for me and even the neck/series mode on my RB5 sounds nasal and hollow. I put TI Jazz Flats on the RB5 and got a big improvement, but it still wasn't what I wanted. I have a J-Retro for the RB5, and will install it and a set of TI PowerBass Magnecore strings and restore the RB5 to being a killer J bass. It sure ain't cut out to do P tones. However, if I can find a 2nd used RB5, I will replace the neck pickup with a BL P-46 split-P to have a killer P5 on an RB5 platform.
  4. I don't know how well the BEAD tuning would sound on a P-bass. My P doesn't sound right when it's down tuned for some reason.
  5. Aha! So you are familiar with that wicked single coil hum, Mr. Gavin. I hate it. I hardly ever play my MIM fretless Jazz because of it. I know I can just swap the pups, but, M/F has a Yamaha BBN4 fretless for $369.00 and I have the fretted 5 string model; absolutely NO HUM. Well, this isn't the biggest problem in life, but, it does tick me off. Now, on to P-bass talk. :)

    Last Saturday, I checked out two P-basses; the 50th anniversary model, and a regular MIA.

    The 50th didn't do anything for me. I mean, it sounded good, but, nothing that blew my hair back.
    And they want $1,049.00 for it. The Steve Harris signature sounded much better IMHO, and it's half the price, though some guys here have said that it is, or will shortly be out of production. Then, I took an ordinary black P-bass off the wall; Oh what a tone! Not as good as my friend's old '65, but, close.
    I like the way Jazz basses sound, but, have to agree with you that Leo got it right the first time; nothing sounds better than a good Precision.*

    Interesting info from Bill Lawrence.I never knew the technical aspect of the two pup's designs.

    With the new pups and bridge your P is gonna sound good squared.

    Let me know how it turns out.

    Go Precision!

    Mike J.
    * A Jack Casady is right up there with it, though it's not a slapping bass.
  6. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    i thought new mim p's were $350?
  7. I scored a brand new MIM P, 2001 model from a charity auction.

    Link to eBay Score

    Fender cut over production to the new style sometime in 2000, as mine has a 2000 serial number. That was a small bone of contention, cuz I asked the seller 3x to verify the serial as MZ1xxxx, and I never head back. Inspection of the photo shows the metal control knobs which are the characteristic of the "updates" applied to the 2001 model.

    It also appears the pots have been upgraded, as they are now solid shaft instead of the split shaft models formerly used. This might pose a problem to somebody wanting to use the Raven p-bass preamp that just came out, as it has split shafts. A guy on another board said to place the knob setscrew into the split of the shaft to increase the holding power. Dunno one way or the other.

    I am curious though, if there are also better tuners on the new MIM P. Mine don't look cheesy at all, and are very solid. There are sanding marks on the neck heel; looks like the finisher used a belt sander across the grain. Big deal.

    The Gotoh 201 bridge just arrived in the mail, and it is a direct drop-in. Beautiful machine work, very solid and massive bridge. It appears to be one step down from the Gotoh used in my RB5. The 201 saddles aren't as sophisticated as the RB5 saddles. I'm holding off replacing it because I want to hook my IOD up to my sound card to see if I can get a before and after recording.
  8. Welcome to the wonderful world of P`s!!! :D

    I think they are some of the best basses out there!
    A true classic.

    Sounds like you got a beauty guy,congrats on the acquisition! :)
  9. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Congrats, I'm glad you finally found a p-bass.
    What do you think of it, other than you like it?

    I've been debating a p-bass myself, just because I like the higher-mid character that they can get. :)
  10. I think every newbie bass player should have a P for his first bass.

    Every music store salesman should understand that many buyers (like me) get scared away by the single pickup, single volume, single tone thing. This can be countered by pointing at a Stingray, even though this isn't really valid due to the switching and preamp. The SR is still a single pickup.

    I plan on hotrodding the MIM P with a Gotoh 201 bridge (on the bench now), a Bill Lawrence P-46 pickup, and a John East BTB preamp for P-bass. I'll have $415 total investment when I'm done. The finish on mine is very nice, as are the tuners. Nobody will tell me for sure if Fender started using MIA tuners on the 2001 models, but these work very well and are not cheesy at all.

    I did some research on Poplar compared to Alder and they are very close in physical properties. Poplar is better suited to solid color finishes because it ain't as purty. I have the sunburst on mine. The hardness, density, and all the other wood measurement factors are very close to alder.
  11. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I'd like to look into doing what you did and would like to know if the bridge is an adequate substitute for the lack of string through the body on the MIA. This would be a cheaper way for me to get a P.
  12. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    I'm a proud owner of a MIA Precision bass, it's black with black pickguard and maple neck. i think tha the P is THE bass, great bottom, usable sound and an incredible feel. i played MIM too and i have to say that they are great basses, i'd love to have one defretted. i love the jazz bass too, as others basses, but i have a passion for the precision. and the guys who think that the precision is one tricky pony are out of way, that tone knob is really effective and the bass is really sensitive to different playing styles. i play rock and nothing can beat the big P.
    welcome to the family!
  13. My RB5 does through-body stringing, if the correct strings are used. The angle of bend is pretty severe, so I don't do this with the TI Jazz Flats for sure. I've run GHS Progressive rounds and the TI Flats on the RB5, both with bridge stringing. The GHS are too short for through-body stringing. Both will sustain for days through-bridge, so I have no inclination to do through body stringing. My buds who own RB5 and others tell me they cannot hear much, if any, difference between body and bridge stringing. YMMV.

    Roscoe Beck was quoted as saying the massive Gotoh bridge did a lot for smoothing things out during the design of the RB5. The Gotoh 201 I got for the MIM P is also a heavy cast bridge. Very thick and Harley Davidson-like. I put it on my beam balance scale, and it weighs 4 ounces. I suspect it is much heavier than this, and the 4 oz is a problem with using a scale designed to weigh fat people.

    I noticed on the first night out, the P is very sensitive to right-hand playing position. Digging in close to the bridge gave me a very effective change.
  14. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    My 97 MIA P on the left, and my newest acquisition, a '78 Musicmaster on the right... fresh from last night's gig. The P is stock except for the pickguard and the push-pull volume pot, and serves as my reference bass tone. I can't make it sound bad.


    The Musicmaster is stock except for a new volume pot, and a 1/16" mahogany shim under the bridge to raise the action so that I can play it and intonate it! Surprisingly, the little single-coil Strat/Tele (!!) pickup packs quite a wallop for bass, and while it doesn't match the P for sheer volume, the tone seems to fit a tad more comfortably between two guitars. Since I got it two weeks ago, my Jack Casady hasn't seen any gig time, (Sorry Michael)... I might break the Casady out for church tomorrow...

    I agree that the MIM bridge may seem a bit flimsy, but it's functional. I like the Gotoh 201 as a replacement for adding a little beef. I haven't played a 2001 MIM, but my friend's '98 lacks a little in the electronics, (the pickup seems to lack nads), but it plays sweet. He only tinks around with it for church and hasn't upgraded anything on it. It does play sweet though!

    Please let us know how the new pickup sounds when you get it in. I have a cheesy body that I'm gonna fit with a fretless neck, and I'd like to try out a different pup...

  15. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Oh, you guys arent talking about p-basses without ME! I say p-basses are awesome sounding basses, at any price level. When you hear a song, you can tell if it's a p-bass. But you still have your own "tone". I hear people complain it just has one "Tone". Yeah, right. i can get my p-bass to sound like anything under the sun. unless its a 5 string warwick with flats. but you get the idea. I noticed, that in a metal band that has low parts and then heavey parts. the p-bass, when played softly, sound very menecing, and , uh, pretty?.and when thrashing, does what a bass is supposed to do. It keeps the low end, and cuts though, without being annoying. THANK GOD FOR THE P. I might be getting a p-bass speical pretty soon here. thought about a spector, but aint got the cash, and i got that fender sound stuck in the nogin'....
  16. mmmmmmm.........

    I adore P-basses, and am thinking of making a Warmoth PJ in several years, hopefully by then I am good enough to deserve one :D

    They just have a great charateristic sound; that thunderous "thump" with high end that cuts through (although i usually cut a little highs out with my bass). Plus there is nothing like the look of a P. For every expensive, exotic-wood bass i see that instantly gives me GAS to the nineteenth power, I see a gorgeous looking custom P-bass that I fall in love with just as easily.

    LONG LIVE THE P!!!!!!!! (i love the J too, but the neck is a little too small):p

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