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Which is the better Investment, MIA or MIM?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 13lues, May 12, 2015.

  1. The title pretty much says it all. I'm in the market for a P Bass and was wondering what your opinions were on which was the better investment.
    From what I gather the sound quality and playability differences are debatable, so I'm mostly asking from a financial position. Assume the price difference isn't a problem.
  2. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    MIA, no question.
    T-Funk, Roy Vogt, Pet Sounds and 15 others like this.
  3. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013

    Disney, Verizon and Exxon.

    Which is the least bad use of money with regard to purchase, usefulness and resale of an instrument? Squier with cs pickups.
    Jim Carr, MVE, JMacBass65 and 3 others like this.
  4. Thanks for the response. The main thing confusing me about which to get is that I see used MIA basses selling for around the $850 price point fairly consistently.
    $1350-$850 = $500
    While is see MIM basses selling for about $350
    $580 -$350 =$230
  5. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama
    I have no problem with MIMs. I have played some that were sub-par, but then I've played MIAs that were sub par. I currently have an MIM P and it is a fine instrument. I just played an MIM Jazz Bass at a local shop and even though it was set up well, I did not care for it at all.

    In short, while you can find pretty stellar MIMs, in general they are more of a QC crapshoot than MIAs.

    To answer your question more specifically, I certainly believe MIAs hold their value better and would bring more $ at resale, but of course you will invest more to obtain one as well.

    I see MIMs selling frequently for $250-350. The price of new ones has gone up to $579 I believe.

    In either case, if you buy an MIM or an MIA only to turn around and sell it a year later, you will take a hit.
    GBassNorth and 13lues like this.
  6. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Basses are generally terrible investments.

    Fenders are almost always bad.

    If you are wondering what you will lose less $$$ on, again both are bad.

    If you buy new, you will lose 25-50% immediately. If you buy used, you will generally get most or all of your money back.
  7. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If there was only one MIA and one MIM it would be easy to answer your question. Not every MIA is better than every MIM. Not every MIA is created equal. The best thing to do is go play a bunch of them and decide for yourself. If it's not worth the extra money, don't buy one.

    My personal experience is that I've never played a MIM that I liked enough to buy but I've also played a lot of MIAs that I wouldn't buy. However, a lot of people on TB like them and for that reason alone, it is worth trying them out.
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  8. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    Find an MIJ/CIJ. I've never played a bad one. But, I have played bad MIA's and bad MIM's. Plus, Fender Japan is no more, so they may be more valued now.
    wintremute, MattZilla and lfmn16 like this.
  9. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    Either bass is going to suffer from the Used Car effect. They are immediately worth a lot less than retail when you buy it.

    Figure you're bass will be worth :

    MIA : 800/1350 ~= 60% of purchase value
    MIM : 300/550 ~= 54% of purchase value

    ... as soon as you take delivery of it.

    Actually I've noticed Squier Classic Vibe basses hold their value a lot better than even MIA basses. Usually around 2/3rds.

    The MIA may increase in value if you hold it long enough, but that's only if for some reason 50 years down the road people start seeing extra value in 2015 "vintage" basses. People may not actually think that about 2015 P and J basses, and still pursue the 60s/70s models. You might have some luck if you get a different model though, like the dimension bass or a limited run, since those would be unique to this era.

    If you want a bass as an investment you might just want to buy a vintage one and lock it in a humidity controlled closet, then spend a little money on a bass you'll actually play. MIMs are a great value for the money, some are indistinguishable from MIA quality even if they don't share some of the same features. They make great modding platforms for you to find the pickups and other add ons you want.
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  10. Muddslide


    Feb 23, 2007
    Mobile, Alabama
    Quoted for truth. Sound advice here.

    I'd also echo that MIJ/CIJ Fenders are generally excellent instruments and as Japanese Fenders have gone the way of the Dodo Bird recently, it may be wise to try to find one of those while they are still easily obtainable.
    jamro217 and Antisyzygy like this.
  11. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    The best investment is to buy a used MIA. The initial loss from buying new is gone and with luck, it's considered vintage in 20 years' time.
    Marko 1, jamro217, nerkoids and 8 others like this.
  12. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    Whichever you choose, buy used. You'll likely be able to get all your initial cost back if you decide to sell.
  13. I'd say stock in Google or Apple are pretty strong investments, today's "blue-chips". Some guys like startups and IPOs, but those can be pretty volatile.

    Wait a sec...isn't this a bass forum?
  14. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    I have gone through this. So, I have an educated opinion. In 2010, I bought an MIM Precision Lake Placid Blue with a maple fingerboard. Over the years, I upgraded:
    • Pickups (Fender Original)
    • Bridge (Hipshot Type B)
    • Pots (CTS 500K Ohm Audio)
    • Knobs (Strat-style Asian diameter because the pots were Asian size)
    Then, about a year ago, I bought a Fender USA Satin Nitro Precision from Guitar Center.

    Cost-wise it's a wash. However, my Fender USA has the nicest satin neck ever and the body has a nitro paint job. The USA bass is lighter than the MIM from the start but since it has a nitro finish, it's drying. It's like wine, it's getting better with age. The USA bass was usable from the start. All I needed was to adjust intonation and go make a million.

    However, if you are strap for cash, I would consider a higher-end Squier, like a Classic Vibe, a Matt Freeman or a Eva Gardner. You will get a hi-mass bridge from the get-go. You just might like the pickups enough to keep them and, in all likelihood, you just might like the neck better than on the MIM.

    GBassNorth and 13lues like this.
  15. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Please consider this: I just sold my 2002 MIA Precision locally for $800.00. I had ALL the case candy, original PG and the bass has been maintained in VGC these many years. Besides the PG, the only other change was replacing the strap-loc (kept coming loose) with standard pins. The original strap-locs were included with the sale.

    I paid $739.00 out the door at GC in early 2003. I played that bass for about 11 years at many paying gigs so, I made money with it. I think I did ok.
  16. PianoOfDoom


    May 30, 2011
    A bass is a tool, and new ones are not smart financially. That said, if you know what you want, it might not be easy to find it used. Play both and see which you prefer given the cost difference, factoring in upgrades. I went with a new MIM. After hard case, new pickups and pots, and a sexy black pickguard, I am still well below the cost of an MIA, and it sounds amazing. I can use the difference to feed a Vanguard index fund.
    13lues likes this.
  17. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    GHS Strings, 64 Audio in-ears, Mayones Basses
  18. If you tire of your MIA, come on up to Canada to sell it. You'd probably MAKE money ;)
    nerkoids likes this.
  19. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Buy used. Get the best you can reasonably afford (meaning best you don't mind spending that much on) and try not to trash it. If you get your money back at the end of owning the piece, consider it a win.
  20. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    Buy it used in great condition and it eill go up in value over time regardless of where it is made
    Maxdusty likes this.

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