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Questions to MIM Jazz owners

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NJXT, Apr 5, 2001.

  1. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    I'm still thinking about buying my first fretless and still torned between a Yamaha BBN4F and a MIM Fender Jazz.
    The possible upgrades on a MIM make me think it could be the right choice.
    But it seems that a lot of MIM owners have tried several ones before buying.
    So, how many have you tried ?
    How do you recognize the "good" ones ?
    No dead spots ? Where are they generally ?
    No hum ?
  2. The not good ones generally feel like crap to play, or hum like a beehive, or have the bridges mounted wrong, sometimes so wrong that the strings are almost off the neck.

    With my fretless, I picked it up and played it, and instantly "knew" it was the right one. Like it was made for me.

  3. Nathanael,
    I looked for almost 2 months before I found the right MIM Jazz for myself. It's difficult to say what exactly it was that wasn't right about those that didn't 'pass my test' . It was really a combination of things, but I can tell you that most of the MIM's that I tried failed the 'feel test' ie. they didn't feel right to me. So, I pretty much discounted them before even hearing what they sounded like. And, by 'feel', I'm not referring solely to setup, but to balance as well. They're all different (and I don't buy into the argument that this is an exclusive MIM problem, as I see the same thing with MIA models). The way I went about it was, I'd find one I was attracted to (looks), pull it off of the wall and strap it on (feel), then play it (setup & tone). Most of the rejects were, more than likely, a result of extremely bad setup - action wrong, too much/not enough neck relief - sloppy (hasty) assembly. Most of these problems could be corrected easily at home, but, why bother? My MIM Jazz was almost perfect. The only 'problem' I saw was that the G-string was too close to the neck-edge, again, as a result of sloppy saddle adjustment.

    Hum? Again, in my opinion, a much slandered feature of MIM's. Mine had no audible hum (neither did many of the rejects I tried). Yet, many did. But so too did a number of MIA's that I tried. I was at a local store yesterday and the salesman showed me a MIA Jazz - "quiet as can be", he said. He proceeds to plug it in to a Peavey amp, and, lo and behold, no hum. I switched it over to a Bassman (that I am looking to purchase), and the thing hummed like crazy.

    Bottom line (IMO), take your time. You'll find the right one eventually. But, more importantly, lemons are 'grown' in many countries, not just in Mexico.
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'm not convinced that you can generally buy a bass for under $300 and not get dead spots. I have problems with them. But, some claim that dead spots can be "shifted" to places less likely to create problems.

    I bought mine based on its feel, its unamplified tone, and the color. It's not a bad bass, just doesn't sound like my several-thousand dollar Spector:confused:...

    If you're buying a MIM, figure out why you want it, and if you ARE planning on making mods before you even buy it, are those problems you can potentially encounter likely to be fixed by your mods?
  5. Hmm... where are these dead spots? All the notes on the neck on my MIM jazz are fine.
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    That may be. I can't argue what your experiences are. But, all the MIM's I've played had 'em. Unfortunately, they're not in the same place.

    Case-in-point...the one I bought has a real obvious dead-spot on the 8th fret of the G-string. The one sitting right next to the one I bought in the store had a dead spot about the 4th or 5th fret of the same string.
  7. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    I thought I heard once that a whole lot of Fenders have a dead spot at the 6th fret of the G.
  8. i had a couple dead spots on the G and D strings at the frets nearing the middle of the neck. got it setup at the guitar store, no more dead spots. i don't think it's a big deal, although the one YOU pick up might be very different.

    the A (and sometimes E) string makes a terrible noise. i think it's because the nut has a problem or two. the string is literally vibrating against the nut making the bzzzzz sound when plucked. reading some posts here, i loosened the string, put in some scotch tape to make it fit more snugly. the tape is working great for now. when i have some more money i'll get a new nut put in.

    those the are the main problems (and the loud pickups, of course). i don't really mind, considering the price.
  9. When I bought my MIM, last July, I went to my favorite Music store, Sam Ash. It was a zoo in there
    on this particular day, so I went across the street to Manny's, which was not nearly as hectic, but busy enough so the salesmen don't circle 'round you like buzzards. I took a Fretless off the rack (without knowing it was a MIM) and liked it right away. When I looked at the price $329.00 I almost passed out! That's when I looked at the headstock and saw Made in Mexico in small print under the Fender logo. Me and the MIMs got off to a good start. After 45 minutes, I decided to buy it. When I finally got a salesman to take care of me, he said,
    " I'll see if we have a fresh one for you downstairs."
    This is the first time this happened to me. Usually when I buy a bass, the one I check out is the one I buy. He came back with a factory sealed box, we opened it to check for damage, and other than plug it in for about thirty seconds just to make sure it worked, I took home a completely virgin bass. To be honest, it sounded and felt the same to me as the one on the rack, but when I got it home, I realized that Mr. Hum would be living with us too.
    I bought a new cable, then a few days later I bought a new amp! He wouldn't leave. I said to myself --- replace the pickups. Have I done it? No.

    So, to answer your qustions:

    1) I only tried one, so I couldn't tell you how to recognize good ones. To me if it's brand new in an unopened box, it's good.

    2) Yes, mine hums like crazy. I haven't opened it up yet, but, I bet it's got no shielding.

    3) Mine has a dead spot on the G string from about
    C# to D. I can say the same thing as Dave Siff, I read somewhere that Fender Basses are notorious for dead spots on the G string anywhere from the 5th to 9th fret.

    I know it's not the smartest thing to buy a bass without checking it out, but, I live in NYC, and just have to hop on the Subway and I'm back at the store.

    Mike J.
  10. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Thank you all for the answers.

    To RAM : I don't plan any mods right now, but it seems that improving the sound on a MIM JB is easy. And my current 5 string fretted has Barts on and sounds very good to me. So I might replace the stock pups on a MIM with Barts.

    Anyway, I "toured" the shops in my town (Lyon, 2nd or 3d biggest city in France) and no MIM fretless at ALL to try !!!
    I may give up on the MIM since I can't try before buying.
    Crap !
  11. Starrchild


    Nov 10, 2000
    The Bay.
    my mim j is alive meaning no dead spot's.there pretty good if U can find the right one,I played 3 at gelb music in the San Fran bay area and i wanted that blue j but it didn't feel as good as the white one I got.not a bad bass overall.
  12. dblbassted


    Mar 21, 2001
    Memphis, Tn.
    My experience has been that most fender style instruments have a dead spot around the c-c# on the g string. I asked around and found out from some pretty reputable people that having all 4 (or 5) tuners on one side of the headstock tends to accentuate these dead spots. One luthier told me that nearly all fenders have one, it's just that some are in-between notes and are rarely noticed. BTW, rumor has it that this is why Leo Fender moved the g string tuner to the opposite side of the headstock when he designed many of the MM and G&L basses.

    My P, my MTDs, and my Reverend all had this dead spot until I put Fat Fingers on them. After that, they were barely noticeable at all.
  13. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    After reading all these posts about people having found dead spots on their Fenders, I believe you must be one of the luckiest people around!;)

  14. Me too! Me too! I'm lucky too!

  15. Wooohooo!!! :D:D
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Me, too ;)
  17. I don't have the dreaded dead spots either.

    Actually, I must confess, I don't think I've ever played my G string. :D This is BASS we're playing, people. What are you folks doing that makes you leave the E? Those 3 small strings on a 4-string bass are just there for looks.


    P.S. Seriously, I don't have the dead spots on my MIM Jazz or my Korean Squier Jazz. I use roundwounds and my action is pretty high, if that matters, which it probably does.
  18. I'm convinced it does. I don't buy the argument that 'dead spots' is a Fender problem. And (dblbassted) I cannot for the life of me imagine how having the tuners on one side can possibly result in dead spots. Who are these reliable sources of yours? You would think that if this were true, Fender would have corrected the problem by now. As to Leo Fender moving the G tuner to the oppositte side on the MM's, that was a design preference (I don't have facts to substantiate that statement, but it makes more sense to me than the alternative view presented here). My view is this - if you have dead spots, your strings are too low or your neck is bowed or you have a fretwire height problem or any combination of these (there may be other causes, but having the name "Fender" on the head isn't one of them).
  19. dblbassted


    Mar 21, 2001
    Memphis, Tn.
    Xavier, I can see why it's easy to assume that design preference led Leo to change the headstock/tuning key configuration. The man that I studied with during my undergrad told me that this redesign had distributed the headstock mass so that less resonant spots (dead) would occur at much lower frequencies. It makes sense to me since the most common way of fixing them is to add mass to the weaker side of the headstock. Granted, some instruments show no sign of dead spots, and I love these instruments. FWIW, Leo probably had more on his mind than redesigning the popular Jazz and P basses after his company was acquired by CBS. I don't have any proof other than what the most knowledgeable people I know have told me. Great thread, though.....
  20. You've raised some interesting points, Ted. I'm not entirely convinced though, but my interest has beem tweaked to where I now feel compelled to do some research and get to the bottom of this 'dead-spot' issue. I'm going to dig around and see if I can find some more information on the subject.

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