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Trying to decide between a new MIM and a used USA Fender Jazz Bass.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DarkSword, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. DarkSword


    Nov 14, 2018
    Nashville, TN
    I'm trying to decide between two Fender Jazz Basses. One is a new MIM and the other is a 2001 American model. The American model is in excellent condition. All parts are stock and it shows barely any sign of use.

    I know the typical, "buy the one that plays, feels, and sounds better." But honestly, if I was blindfolded, I'm not sure I'd be able to tell a major difference between the two.

    The next factor would be price, but the new MIM is $600, and the used American is $650. For the purposes of the argument, let's assume that they both cost roughly the same and say that price isn't a big factor.

    The question comes down to, which decision am I going to be most happy with over the next 5 years? I'm a bit ignorant about buying old instruments--I've never owned a stringed instrument over 15 years old, so I'm not sure what concerns there will be over the coming years for an older instrument versus a new one. I don't know if there's a certain point where older instruments need to have major adjustments or parts replaced.

    I'm leaning toward the American made, but I don't want it to be a money pit. If I'm going to have to invest another couple hundred bucks in the next 5 years to deal with aging components, it's not worth it.

    Any input from others who have had experience with older instruments would be greatly appreciated.

    Attached is a screenshot of the two basses. The one on the left is the American.

    EDIT: Okay, the responses have been overwhelmingly in favor of the MIA. Thanks to everyone for your input and feedback!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
    Pbassmanca and MCF like this.
  2. mojomike001

    mojomike001 Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    Go with the used American. You can always recover the $650 that you spent should you decide to sell it because it's never going to drop in value. There's nothing quite like an American Fender neck.
  3. LkS


    Oct 30, 2013
    EU, Slovakia
    I would rather invest due to aging components than crappy components. And I must say that the MIM has them - tuners, bridge.
    It seems to me a no-brainer. If the MIA has a good neck and at least semi working electronics (semi-working for me since I know how to work a soldering iron and passive electronics are not that complicated) then there is nothing else to consider.
    craigie, Ric Vice, fhm555 and 4 others like this.
  4. As an investment the American makes more sense. The problem that most of us make is that it is only an investment if you are willing to sell it. If your intent is to play it for a while and then flip it, the American is the better idea. If your intent is just to play it, then it comes down to which one you like the best, and no one but you can answer that question.

    The MIM will have significant depreciation so it is not a great investment, but those new player series basses are very nice .There is something special about buying a brand new bass. You have to measure all these factors, and make the decision based on what makes you feel the best.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  5. The first day you own it, the MIM is worth about $350, the American is worth at least $650. Plus, the American is a much better bass.
  6. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The thing I don’t like about new MIM’s is you don’t know if the neck will be stable. A used bass gets around this - if the neck on the used USA is straight, and the frets are in good shape, buy it.
    craigie, Ric Vice, Lumdingo and 4 others like this.
  7. This.
    If you like both the same, and both cost roughly the same, you have to think that the MIM will drop in value inmediately (is not new anymore) while the MIA will stay the same (or may even go up).
    In addition, I don't think that, under normal circumstances, you will need any major investment on the MIA (nor the MIM) in the upcomming years, you aren't talking about an already 30-40 years instrument, it's an early 2000's so, unless you have bad luck, it shouldn't give you any major issues.
    Unless you find that particular year of the MIA has a known issue (like, for example, bad frets, or whatever) I think is the best option in this scenario
    jmone, Clutchcargo and DarkSword like this.
  8. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi DarkSword :)

    Buy the red one! :D

    Glad I could help.

    craigie, JRA, Microbass and 15 others like this.
  9. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    There are used MIM basses to be had for $350 all day long. The presumed inherent superiority of American instruments is not obvious to me.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    The used will have better resale value. It's also a better instrument. Unless you are OCD, the new one will have love marks soon enough. IMO always get the best instrument you can.
    Ric Vice, ituobrey and DarkSword like this.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Honestly, there won't be a ton of difference quality wise. If they play the same to you, resale value of the USA would push me over the top.

    That Mexi Jazz new will take a huge hit on value the minute you walk out of the store.

    So thay alone would push me toward the USA used.
    ppiluk, Robert B, jmone and 3 others like this.
  12. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    FWIW, I bought a new Mexican PJ about a year and a half ago and I did not care for the output or sound of either pickup, especially the j in the bridge. It was thin sounding and pretty weak output. I replaced them, and found that they are using bar magnets glued to the back as opposed to real magnetic pole pieces on the j pickups. You can see what I mean here: 20180710_131137.jpg

    I cannot say if this is consistent across the MIM product line, but it bothered me.

    I like the bass a lot now that I've replaced the pickups, but if I were to do it again I would probably look around for a used US model instead.
    DarkSword likes this.
  13. Someone more knowlegeable can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that was the normal ceramic magnegt pickups that came with all (or most) MIM basses and guitars.
    This year, with the Players series, the moved to AlNiCo V pole pieces like MIA instruments
  14. theinfamous


    Dec 22, 2014
    That's probably good, because I was pretty annoyed to find that pickup in a bass that costs around 800 bucks new, depending on if you buy it "on sale."
  15. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    Get the American. $650 is a good deal. The American is worth it just for the tuners, bridge, and pots/pickup. As for aging components, you shouldn't have any issues for MANY years.
  16. Nothing wrong with pickups with ceramic magnets IMO and IME. Did you have your bass properly set up? That could possibly have cured the thin sound.
    Hawaii Islander likes this.
  17. Relsom


    Nov 23, 2013
    The Old Dominion
    When you say USA or MIA, can we assume you are speaking of the American Series, American Standard, or whatever pro instrument that Fender was calling it that year? I'm not sure if there was a Highway 1 or American Special made in 2001 which, in my opinion, would be about on par with today's MIM. If Am Series or Am Standard then yes, MIA all day long. Resale on any MIA is going to be better either way if that's your concern though.
  18. stingray78

    stingray78 Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2012
    None whatsoever. I play a 40 Year old all original pre EB Stingray. Even still has the original frets.
  19. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    No brainer go for the american.
    Every mex fender I owned had problems(neck,pickups...),besides something was lacking soundwise.
    Maybe not obvious with a band but in recordings and live through di american sounded better.
    Ric Vice and DarkSword like this.
  20. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    If they both play, feel, and cost about the same, go with the used bass. Should you ever decide to sell, you’ll get much closer to what you paid for (maybe even more, 650 is a good deal) than buying a new MIM which you could probably only sell for 300-400
    Ric Vice and DarkSword like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 10, 2021

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