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Tell me about the Highway One and MIA necks

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RBrownBass, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I'm sitting at the computer with two necks on the table beside me. One is a 2002 MIA American Standard Precision maple board, the other a 2006 MIA Highway One Jazz. I have a new American Standard Jazz body that I plan to match up with one of them.

    I don't have a preference between the 1.5" Jazz and the 1.625" Precision, nor do I have a preference between the maple board and the rosewood. Both necks have the graphite reinforcement, both necks are in great shape (the 2002 has almost zero fretwear). The Am Std has a very "broken-in feel due to a tiny radius on the edge of the fingerboard. Cool new feature, I must admit. But... the Am Std requires the matching "F" tuners with the little pips (best way I can describe them) that fit into holes in the headstock. I don't see those on sale anywhere except eBay, and I'm getting tired of waiting for them to show up. I've been outbid twice already, and I'm not paying $150.00 for Fender tuners.

    Frankly, I know I can sell the P neck on eBay for more than the Jazz, and if I wanted to use the P neck, I'd have to drill for tuners. That would devalue it some (how much is uncertain, at least to me) if I ever wanted to part out the bass and sell it. OTOH, I'd just drill the Hwy One for the tuners of my choice and feel no remorse. I'm also prepared to replace the decal on the Hwy One neck with something more appropriate for the body, like a 60s decal.

    I guess what I'm looking for is a good reason to use the P neck despite all the downsides (not a Jazz, non-stock tuners would lower resale value) simply because Fenderphiles say it's "more MIA" than the Hwy One. Everything else tells me to go with the Hwy One and install my reverse "Kluson" tuners or Hipshot HB3s. Both necks fit fine, with the same pocket fit (which is waaaay better than what I'm used to with older MIA Fenders). If the Am Std was a J, it would be a no-brainer, but it's not. So my choices are:

    Build a "full-bore" Jazz that's part Hwy One and sell the Am Std neck for more $$, or
    Build a "full-bore" Am Std that's a hybrid and sell the Hwy One neck for less $$.

    What I want to know is how does the Hwy One neck match up against the Am Std in terms of tone (I can see for myself that there's no difference in quality/construction aside from the rolled edges on the Am Std). When you answer, please bear in mind that neither neck has any tuners on it right now, and the MIM tuners that come standard on the Hwy One will never see my bass. Everything else I've bought for the bass has been Am Std (string-thru bridge, tort guard, "Corona" neck plate, but it'll have Duncan Classic Stacks because I already own the neck pup and I'll need to buy only the bridge pup).

    Help me out here. Thanks in advance.
  2. Ale


    Jul 5, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: IGiG Cases
    The tuners on the MIA is different since they have another bolt holding it together , this feels a lot more sturdy. When it comes to wood i dont think the difference is that big. They are both good necks , so its all down to if you like the P neck more than the J and the other way around.
    Myself i love Jazz necks but ive played some really nice jazzes with P necks. Still IMO there is a reason for having a Jazz Bass , and the neck is like 50% of the Jazz Bass feel and sound.
  3. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Yep. Out of stock, as always. Angela doesn't have 'em either. Last eBay auction I saw, someone was selling an exact set, but said they were "80s". Because of that, they went for almost $150.00.

    Feel I can agree with, but 50% of the sound? 1/8" thicker at the nut creates a more P-like tone? I'll do more research, but I have to say up front, respectfully, that I'm skeptical of this claim. I've played 1.625" necks from Chandler that sounded as Jazz-y on a Jazz body as the 1.5" Fender necks they replaced.
  4. It will come down to what you really want. Neither bass necks have anywhere near the collectability of a CBS neck let alone a pre-CBS neck, so I wouldn't tend to let that affect your decision. The maple p bass will be slightly brighter, and some luthiers argue that a thicker neck will have slightly more tone and sustain. I've never noticed the difference, but they could be right. OTH, the rosewood will sound slightly warmer, and the decreased width can help increase your speed, particularly if you have smallish hands.

    One consideration I would make is will the tuners you want to use work with both necks. Because the A. Stand. had screw in ferruls its holes may be too large. Test them to see. If they fit then it isn't an issue.

    Finally, I have put together several basses. In the end what matters is what do you want. Put together what makes you happiest because then you will want to play it. Then don't get rid of the extra neck. Buy another body and put together another bass, that way if you change your mind later, you can always make the switch then.

  5. Ale


    Jul 5, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: IGiG Cases
    Yeah , i meant Feel :D Just choosed the wrong term hehe , i was moore refering to wood.
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I really like the rolled fingerboard edges on the Am. Ser., and prefer maple boards, so for me it would be a no-brainer assuming I could get the Am. Ser. tuners. I'm with you that the neck size probably won't make much difference tone-wise. The "big neck/big tone" phenomenon, if it exists, would probably manifest mostly on the old "baseball bat" Precision necks with the 1.75" nut width. Some of those do resonate quite nicely, so who knows? But my 2003 Am. Ser. Jazz is more resonant and "woody" sounding that my 2004 Am. Ser. P (both maple boards), so at least between these two I doubt it's a factor. (And I do think the neck produces the tonal difference between my basses.)

    If Bass Parts Resource doesn't have the Am. Ser. tuners, try Allparts or call around to Fender dealers in your area and try to order them. Some music shops are authorized dealers for parts and accessories even if they can't carry Fender instruments. I wouldn't pay $150 for a set either, so if that doesn't work I guess go with the Highway One J neck.
  7. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Thanks to all who have responded so far. Hope to get some more feedback over the weekend..
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    Primary TB Assistant

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