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Question: How bad are the MIM Fenders?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GT_NZ, May 14, 2017.

  1. GT_NZ


    May 14, 2017
    Hi, new TB member here. A fairly novice player, I currently own an Epiphone Standard IV (I love the long scale and great balance, if a little heavy and lacking in punch).

    I have been offered a 2007 Made-in-Mexico Fender Jazz V for a very low price, and wanted some advice on whether it is worth considering it as a first five-string bass?

    I've read comments that these suffer from an under-performing B string, so want to ask if anyone here knows how bad this problem really is, and if there is any case in which you would recommend one, or should I stick with my Epiphone for now.

    Of course, if they can be easily modded to sound better, any advice there would be appreciated too!

  2. It all variest instrument to instrument (as every guitar goes...) but MiM Fenders are very fine instruments. I would suggest playing it before buying it, but I have had nothing but great luck with Fenders.
    sharkbait130 likes this.
  3. I own and gig with two mim 4 string P Basses that I wouldn't trade for the world. I have played a couple of mim P basses that I would happily use for firewood if they were mine. Some are great and some are garbage. Most are OK though. If you can try it out and are happy with the sound and the performance of the B string , I say grab it.
    If the B string sounds like crap , pass on it. Some of the B string problems can just be string related and some of them may be the bass. The only way to tell is to play them. Hope this helps.
    edit: For the record , I have played a couple of American made P basses that I did not like at all. Most were great though.
    AlexanderB likes this.
  4. GT_NZ


    May 14, 2017
    Thanks for the advice sharkbait130 and CoopCooper87. The seller lives out of town so I'll take a road trip to try it out.
  5. I did not like the B on the MIM Jazz V's I've played. But maybe I needed to work with the bass a bit and try different string types and gauges. Instead I turned to a 35" scale Peavey Cirrus and my search stopped there.
    drewphishes likes this.
  6. seang15


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Goodness, they're not bad at all!
    StyleOverShow likes this.
  7. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Yes, I own a 2002 mim jazz V. First thing you need to know is that 2007 is right on the cusp. Fender Basses including MIM underwent a serious upgrade in fit and finish about 2007. Ones before that (mine) tended to have Meh B strings (not horrible but not excellent either) I hated the pickups on mine and it had a bit of hum in spite of the paint shielding. So it was all about modding upgrades. First I foil shielded it. Hum went from just a minor amount to none. And I reworked the whole setup and nut and the B string came to life. And finally I replaced the MIM "noiseless" pickups with Fender (since discontinued) SCN pickups and that bass just turned into awesome! I will remark that the main difference between high dollar MIA Fender MIM Jazz and the MIM version is that the MIM (mine) has a body made with 12 pieces of alder glued together while the MIA is a standard alder body (not sure how many pieces but much few then 12). And In my opinion that difference makes absolutely NO difference in the bass tone and looks are same because MIM top is covered with alder veneer so it looks like a 1 piece body. Also the MIA has superior pickups (which is why mine was changed to what the MIA used back then). That made a huge difference in the bass. And the final difference is that the MIA has carbon fiber stabilizing bars in the neck the MIM does not. But in my case my MIM neck (after nice setup) is one of THE most stable and nicest playing necks ever! Does not need bars. So will your neck be stable? Can't say. But it will probably be no worse than any other non-reinforced wood neck.

    And I'll point out that at the time I got mine, I was looking for a Fender-shaped-headstock and tried ALL the Fender basses within road trip distance of here. I had picked out a nice used MIA Jazz V which was NOT cheap, when I found my like-new MIM (at GC of all places). Even as a 2002 it was good enough for me to go with the lower price MIM. Have not been sorry.

    With a good price I would certainly recommend one as a nice way to step into the world of 5 string.
  8. I'm quite fond of my MIM Jazz V, but I think quality varies from instrument to instrument more than MIA Fenders. String gauge makes a significant difference on the quality of the B string, but beware the dreaded dead note around C#. I wouldn't buy one sight unseen, but don't dismiss it just because it's a MIM.
    Maureen M likes this.
  9. qbury

    qbury Supporting Member

    May 20, 2008
    Left Coast
    I took one in trade a while back with the intent on selling it but I've decided to keep it because it's such a nice playing bass. The Pups aren't my favorite but they work.
  10. ScarfFace

    ScarfFace Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2014
    La Crosse WI
    I have some nice basses. Some fairly expensive ones at that. If my house is on fire, the bass I'm saving (after getting my kids and wife out safely) is my MIM P Bass. I should say though, that the pickups are non-original.
    Attym likes this.
  11. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I own a 2007 MIA Jazz V that suffers from an over performing B string. The durned thing is a cannon..."For those about to rock...FIRE!"

    It isn't a function of being MIA. It is just how this bass is. The MIM's in general aren't going to have under performing B strings, but some will.

    So...as others have said, play it and see what you think.
  12. Hit and miss. Gotta try before you buy.
  13. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    my 04/05 MIM Jazz kicks butt and is a keeper...neck feels good ..I've had 3 brands of flats wound strings on it (currently Labella DTFs, the picture is with Fenders)...they all sound great...I put on the pearloid instead of the scratched up white/off white it came with ...

    try it out first though as always

    Last edited: May 16, 2017
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  14. roskuski


    Oct 25, 2007
    My 1999 MIM Jazz bass V (see profile pic) has a good B string, pretty well balanced with the other strings. Body resonates nice also. Pickups could be better, but all in all I've been happy with it.
  15. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    I would suggest considering a high-end squier instead. (Classic vibe or Vintage Modified). It's essentially the same quality, yet less expensive. MIM is just extra money for the Fender name.
    Trayster2 and Yahboy like this.
  16. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    Don't forget the dead note on B#.
  17. Some are good some are bad. Play it and make sure the neck is straight.
  18. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Known MIM issues: A five in line headstock puts the B string machine very close to the nut. Not all B strings will fit without the risk of breaking the string. The plastic sleeve that the truss rod bullet spins in can bind up thereby preventing adjustment. I've seen a rosewood fretboard crack right at the nut directly over the truss rod. It has no stiffening rods in the neck. This bass (in a five string version) can be a dicey choice. I've worked on basses for decades, this has been the worst five string I ever came across. If you find the right B string for it, use lighter gauge strings and keep the fretboard oiled, you can make it work.
    Helix likes this.
  19. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    I would say that if you like the way the bass sounds, and the price works, don't worry too much but the B string. This can be improved by upgrading to a heavier Mass bridge and getting a heavier gauge B string. Maybe a .130 for the B? If I needed a 5-string and found a great deal on a Mexican Fender five, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it because a couple cheap upgrades in terms of the bridge in a thicker B string will give you a decent sounding instrument it will hold its own in a band setting. My two cents anyways, good luck! (Also, I find that many five strings really benefit from a decent preamp especially on the B string in terms of beefing up the fundamental of the note through the amplifier.)
  20. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Hilarious, Felk...

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