What problems should I look for in a MIM Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Skip, Oct 12, 2000.

  1. Skip


    Mar 22, 2000
    Bronxville, NY
    I am pretty sure I'm going to get myself a Fender MIM Standard Jazz Bass. I know that many people here recommend them with the caveat that you spend the time to find a good one.

    What should I be looking for? What is usually wrong with these basses?

    Are the necks warped, do they have dead spots? Do the pick-ups have issues? Is the fit and finish spotty? What should I be looking for?

    I plan on bringing a bass player friend along (so someone can actually give the bass a workout) to help me chose.
  2. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    1...sub par bridge
    2...sub par tuners
    3...excessive pick up hum.

    I know...I know...it can be upgraded. But why should it have to be, when other basses in the same price range DON'T have these problems.

    Unless you are dead-set on a Fender...try some other basses. ESP...Dean...Ibanez...Yamaha...Peavey...just to name a few.
  3. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    spend around a $100-150 more & get MIM Deluxe for bout $450 depending on where you go. that's all
  4. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    MIM Fenders are good value for money. I have one, it is my first bass (and so far the only one). It plays ok, it sounds good (that is, it sounds "Fendry", classic, comfortable... you could say, boring? You be the judge.), but the overall quality is not that great, no sir.

    It has always hummed alright, but nowadays, the noise is horrendous (must be something really wrong with the electronics), and the bridge pickup seems to work when it wants to. Give the bass a slap and the wires pop back and the pickup works again, but it is very annoying. And this only after three years.
  5. Bernie


    Dec 12, 1999
    As with ANY purchase of mass produced products,overall workmanship.Fretwork,neck pocket fit,wood work/finnish,etc.My MIM J is built beautifully.Better in fact than my MIA P or Epi JCS.Just dont rush your purchase thinking,well...this is the best that can be expected for the money.BULL!!!An inexpensive bass CAN be better than much more costly basses.Not in elecs perhaps,and/or hardware,but thats just part of the equation.Enjoy and savor the search!!!Good luck!
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I would look for deadspots - try every note at every position on each string. Do you get a consistent sound/tone or do certain notes die out more quickly than others? Also, is it intonated properly - do the harmonics match the fretted note at the 12th fret? If you play chords high up the neck do they sound in tune? Really pull on a string and let is slap back - is it still in tune, does it still sound OK?

    You also need to know whether the neck feels comfortable to you - any sharp edges, is it difficult to fret notes in all positions? How does it feel holding down each string at the first fret? Do you hear any annoying rattles or buzzes when you fret notes? Is the nut cracked or brittle - do the strings fit in the slots in the nut?

    Is anything loose or moving - like screws, tuners or parts of the bridge. Is the bridge solid? Does the neck joint move around or is it secure in place?

    Can you get a sound you like or "the" sound you are looking for? Are the strings low enough so that you can play comfortably without feeling that your left hand is going have problems with fretting notes? Lastly - any chips or dents in the finish?

  7. To Bruce's excellent advice, I would add this. Look at the action or how high the strings are from the fretboard and then look at the bridge saddles. Are they all the way up or all the way down? If the strings are too high up from the fretboard and the saddles are at their lowest ajustment, then I would not buy that bass. I am a fan of MIM J's and I've played a lot of them in Mars and GC and have never seen a really bad one. I bring along my little hex wrench and screwdriver and tuner and work on the set up right there in the store. The staff at those big stores could care less what you do.
    I think if you look them over and find a nice one, it's a great way to spend $300. Usually the places that sell them for that price will also let you return them for thirty days, so you can't go too wrong.