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SX vs. MIM Fenders

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dinghy, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. dinghy


    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    I've heard that SX basses, even though cheaper, are better than MIM Fenders. Well, are they? Soundwise? Playability? Craftsmanship? I've got huge gas for a sunburst J-bass and I don't have enough for a MIM. Plus, if SX's are actually better, why spend more for an inferior instrument?

    And would it be an upgrade from a GSR200?
  2. They're not better. (I can't say for absolute certain, since I haven't played any of the new LTDs with upgraded, well, everything.) but they're way closer than they have any right to be, and with a few modifications, you can end up with a significantly better instrument for less than you would have spent on a MIM. Typical things to be replaced are bridge, tuners, and pickups (though they don't sound bad by any means; I've seen cases of pot upgrades being sufficient to coax some more power out.) Again, your mileage may vary.
  3. I was debating this myself for the last month when I was in the market for a jazz bass. I finally settled on a near perfect "hit" sunburst MIM Fender Jazz. I played dozens of MIM's before I settled, and played for a few hours on a couple of essex jazz basses.

    In my opinion, the essex basses (even ltd's) felt like I was playing a cheap bass. They sounded great(esp. the LTD's), and played great, but just felt chunky/bulky. I still may end up buying one though, they are good basses and can compete with most other basses in the $200-$500 price range.

    If you have the money for a MIM Fender Jazz, you should buy one. Take your time and try out a few on a decent amp. Some MIM jazzes will be bad, some will be nearly as good as a MIA jazz.

    *Just wanted to add, if you don't have the money for a MIM, go for the essex, but try for a LTD. There isn't much to upgrade on those, and you won't be wishing for a new bass or doubting your essex purchase anytime soon.
  4. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Nope. Don't buy the hype. The MIM is better. I've had 3 SXs and sold them all. My biggest complaint is the SX neck. Its chunky and the fretwire is obtrusive. I've tried many MIMs in store and my opinion is that they are simply just way better than SXs. You get what you pay for.

    Swap out the pups in the MIM and you have a damn fine bass IMVHO.
  5. dinghy


    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    An LTD? Like this one? http://www.rondomusic.net/sjb-75ltd3ts.html

    Sunburst Jazz- that's what I'm really gassing for. Will this cure it?

    By the way, are SX J-basses exact clones of the dimensions of a Fender J-bass? And what's the difference between a regular SX and an LTD?
  6. Kindness


    Oct 1, 2003
    I've done a substantial amount of fret work, electronics work and setups on SXs and MIMs. No question the MIMs are the better instrument. With work, the SXs are much better than they have any right to be for that price, but the MIMs are simply a better platform to start from and with the same amount of work to each, the MIM will still come out ahead.
  7. jbutler1982


    Jul 15, 2007
    An SX SJB-57 Jazz with a bad ass II bridge and Fender Custom Shop '60s Jazz Pickups will set you back less than $300, and if you install and set it up yourself you get a fantastic instrument for the price. Replacements of the pots and tuners and you have my #1 bass (even beats my Bongo out for what I tend to grab to jam with). I love it.
  8. basslyon


    Jun 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Non fosters drinking alcoholic.
    Might i suggest going 2nd hand and getting an MIJ or MIM jazz. Ebay is a wonderful thing
  9. BobWestbrook

    BobWestbrook Mr.

    Mar 13, 2006
    Philly suburb
    Based on tone, I'd go for the SX. Seems like a lot of MIM Fender's sound mediocre, but SX excellent tone quality is more consistent.
  10. BobWestbrook

    BobWestbrook Mr.

    Mar 13, 2006
    Philly suburb
    The stock pups in the SX are superior.
  11. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
    I would take my SX over any MIM bass.. Its better wood. my SX is a 2 piece body I have seen even MIM basses made out of 3-5 piece bodys.

    There was a thread at reranch.com where people were stripping there MIA basses to refinish only to find that some even had 5-7 piece bodys which is absolutely not acceptable for a american made instrument at that price.

    Fenders Quality is just as hit and miss as SX, but I would take the SXs body, the SXs pickups, and the SX LTDs hardware over any MIM.
  12. I've played MIM's and own an SX SJB62QMD. I would have to say I like the necks on the MIM's more than the SX. But I've sanded the back of the neck on the SX and refinished it with tung oil, and it's very nice. The main reason I bought it was because of the quilted maple top. You just can't get a Fender with that finish and look. So it just depends on what you're looking for. For the price, you can't beat an SX. But they're not a Fender. Fenders overall are better basses.
  13. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I agree with others that MIM is a better quality bass than an SX. If you can't quite afford a MIM Fender, you can always buy used or even look at the Squier line of basses.

    SX vs. Squier would be a more realistic comparison. IMO, even the Squiers edge out SX in quality and are just that much closer to being a "real " Fender. You can get a Squier standard jazz in antique sunburst for $229 and you could probably find a dealer a lot easier than you could find an SX dealer. Having the chance to play the actual bass you are looking to buy goes a long way at any price point.
  14. monkeyhaiku


    Apr 20, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I've got a fretless SX Jazz clone. I'm starting to wonder if I just got a bad one, because the pickups are the worst I've ever heard. I had to turn the tone all the way down to keep from getting feedback.

    Too bad, 'cause other than that it's a cool bass.
  15. I'd second all of this. :)
  16. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I'm not a huge fan of either but the MIM Fender feel more solid and well built than the SX's I've picked up. Everything about the SX's looks and feels cheap closeup.
  17. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    I don't know, compared to the cheap Ibanezes my SX jazz feels really nice. :spit:

    I can't stand flat fretboards, though.

    Back to the OP. It depends on how much effort you want to put into it. If you're willing to replace some parts and maybe get a fret job you'll end up with an instrument at least equal to most new MIM Fenders, for the same price.

    However, if you can score a used MIM Fender and it's a good one, then I'd go that route. Or, if you find one of the "magic" MIMs that sometimes manage to slip out of the factory, get that instead. ;)
  18. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    I have one of each. The MIM is a better built instrument, no doubt about it, but there isn't as much between them as the price would dictate. The finish is better on the MIM. The SX's frets needed a few minutes with a file to feel right. Nothing serious if you're willing to put an ounce of effort into your instruments. The SX bridge is far suerior to the bridge on my MIM which was a surprise.

    Its hard for me to compare them soundwise since neither is stock and I have set them up in totally opposite ways. My fretted, maple neck SX has new stainless rounds and Sadowsky HCs while the fretless, rosewood MIM has 6 year old halfrounds and Model Js. Both fulfill their different functions and are perfectly gig worthy instruments.

    If you can afford a MIM and find one you enjoy then go for it, you'll endup with a better quality bass. If you can't swing the cash for a MIM, the SX is perfectly capable.
  19. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    Agreed. I think if SX could get the jazz neck down to feel like a real jazz neck, i would go for them over an MIM any day.
  20. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    mim IS better .

    I have an SX .

    It is ok

    I bought to have a fretless around to wank on .

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