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I just bought a MIM - How good is MIM vs MIA these days? (and other noob bassist questions)

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Janus Alfador, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. Janus Alfador

    Janus Alfador Member

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    So, I played a bunch of P basses unplugged in a store, and I don't know whether the unplugged sound translates well to the plugged-in sound, but I liked the sound of the one that I bought the most. And playing it plugged in, it still sounds really good. But it's a MIM.

    In general, how to MIM P basses compare to MIA P basses?


    I'm guessing that I might be able to benefit the tone a bit by upgrading some stuff, like the pickups, the bridge or just saddles, and the nut. If I change these things, will it be as good as a MIA P bass? Thinking of the truss rod, do MIM P bass necks have inferior stability to MIA ones?

    Will replacing the bridge or saddles do anything to improve the tone, and which should I replace it with for a linear step up?

    BTW, which pickups would be in an early 90's MIA P bass? I think I want to try those in this guitar.

    Thanks.
     
  2. MoPho

    MoPho International Man of Leisure Silver Supporting Member

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    What model MIM bass is it?

    I've been on a bass buying bender of late. Decided to pick up a couple or three of Fender's American Vintage Reissues (parts '57 P, '74 J and '62 P). Through my typical anal retentive researching, etc. I've run across a number of folks on TalkBass who spoke highly of the more recent MIM 50's series. Had I not had very specific G.A.S., I would have likely grabbed some of these MIMs.

    I'd play that baby and not worry about the parts, etc. It's a good solid bass and MIM quality has improved over the years. I always put TI Flats on my basses and that might be the only recommendation I'd offer.
     
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  3. keiths

    keiths Member

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    You blew it man. Should have got the USA made version. Now you will be plagued with self doubt and relegated to surfing forums for validation and ways to modify your purchase to sound like the USA version.
     
  4. somedude

    somedude Member

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    This man is playing a stock MIM P Bass...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. somedude

    somedude Member

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    MIM... and he seems to have done alright for himself.

     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
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  6. fretless

    fretless Supporting Member

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    MIM's don't "need" any upgrades at all. Same pots as USA made Fenders. Same synthetic nut material. Pickups are different but they are fine. Decent woods and fret material. They play and sound great. I say leave it alone and enjoy your new killer bass.
     
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  7. Janus Alfador

    Janus Alfador Member

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    It's a Standard.

    The TalkBass forum looks a lot more harsh about the MIM vs MIA thing. Maybe the main thing missing on the current MIM, besides the pickups, is the graphite reinforced trussrod.


    Yeah. Though, it looks like the current MIA Standard has a bone nut. I'd probably put in a graphite nut if replacing it, though.
     
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  8. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    Don't know about the p-bass, but my MIM J-bass is my main gigging axe ... I've done nothing to it except a good setup (including a little fret work). I also own a MIA, and prefer the MIM.
     
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  9. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

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    By the time you buy a MIM and then “Americanize” it, you'd be better off buying a MIA in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  10. somedude

    somedude Member

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    We must be reading different threads because TB is where I learned how good MIM were. I started off with an MIA Jazz bass because I thought MIM was junk. My current #1 gigging bass is a MIM Jazz bass while the MIA serves as a backup that sits in an altered tuning I use for one song.

    In general, MIMs are closer to the way Fender used to build basses while MIA Standard/Professional/Elite are fully modern basses. There's a lot of people who think the old school bent metal bridge plate sounds better than the modern high mass bridge on an MIA... and there's a lot of people who think the high mass bridges are better than the old school bent metal bridge plate. The only real consensus on TB is that a good sounding bass is a good sounding bass, every other detail they'll argue about.

    In addition to helping stiffen the neck the graphite rods help reduce/eliminate dead spots. That said, there's a lot of really desirable basses that don't have graphite rods, including MIA Fenders (AVRI series). Some people prefer them, some people don't. I have one of each and to tell you the truth it hasn't been an issue/concern either way.


    Graphite will help keep the strings from binding when you do huge bends.
     
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  11. Fishyfishfish

    Fishyfishfish Member

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    I think the MIA bass were a step up from MIM several years ago, now not so much. That being said, I wouldn’t have a problem owning either.
     
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  12. Jignant

    Jignant Member

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    Bass player for Soundgarden in the vid above looks to be playing a MIM Classic 50s P Bass. I have and gig the same bass and it BOOMS!!! Black with the gold anodized guard...plays great as well!!!
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    The MIM to MIA gap has never been closer. A MIM Standard is a killer bass. Maybe a pickup or bridge swap to get them dialed in more to one's liking.
    The MIM Deluxe and Classics are really killer. Often, these don't really need any changes made since they often come with nicer pickups and bridges.
     
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  14. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    PBasses are an ultimate "workingman's tool" much like a Tele. You can spruce 'em up a bit and charge more for it but a PBass will still play like and sound like a PBass with only subtle variations between them.

    The biggest improvement I found was installing a Bill Lawrence/Wilde P46 pickup vs a stock pickup. That runs all of $60 and is well worth it. You can get most of that back selling the stock one.
     
  15. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Member

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    Saddle upgrades, never heard that before, a bridge upgrade in my opinion won't do much for you, if anything, tone wise either.

    Regarding the neck, even MIA basses can have bad necks, depends on the specific piece of wood it was made of, though lower priced models might have a higher chance of it since quality control is usually more lacking.

    I got a 180$ bass with a super stable neck, nothing to do with the price, just have to be a bit more lucky to find a gem.

    Upgraded pickups is probably where you would get the biggest worthwhile improvement tone wise, even people with MIA basses swap pickups with some that happens to have a tone profile that fits their preferences closer.

    I could recommend you to swap the stock one on your bass with a EMG Geezer Butler pickup, cause I really happen to like what those pickups do, but then again you might not like it and prefer your stock one.

    You will probably be just fine with the one in your MIM, it's not like those are bad pickups.

    If it sounds and plays good to you, why would you want to change that?

    Doesn't make much sense, does it?

    No sense in modding just for the sake of modding, unless there is an apparent reason to do so.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  16. thewonders

    thewonders Member

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    I don't believe that you blew it at all. MIM Fenders are consistently nice guitars at a price that can't be matched by US Fenders, and lots of players - including plenty of pros - play and are happy with Mexican Fenders. If you're happy with the guitar and its sound and are content with the price you paid, then you're doing good - just enjoy it.

    But you do need to be careful of this:

    I agree. I wouldn't go much further, or spend more money, than replacing either the pickup or the bridge. If you can't be happy with with you have and you are making yourself anxious thinking about replacing multiple parts, save yourself the time and worry and just stop yourself, sell the MIM guitar right now, and get a US bass. For now I'd suggest that you just leave your new bass as it is and play it for awhile - once you've spent some time with it you'll start to learn the things that would make it better and you'll have a much better idea about replacing parts or moving to a US Fender.
     
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  17. phodg

    phodg Member

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    I have an MIM and an MIA Precision. They sound different, but I wouldn't say one sounds "better" than the other. The MIM is a bit more boomy whereas the MIA is a bit more gritty. I wouldn't get rid of either. Both great guitars. You can't go wrong with either IMO. The only reason I bought the MIA was because I'd always wanted one and when they were selling off the Standard range (when the new Professional series came out) I got it delivered brand new for $900.
     
  18. edro

    edro Member

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    I'd play it and find exactly what if any problems with tone/sustain/etc....

    You may not NEED to upgrade anything...

    Play with pickup height a bit if you think that is an issue... You might find you like it after all....just like it is...

    I like the Fender high mass bridges.... I might consider one of those if I had a Fender Squier/MIM that didn't have one... My Squier Dim V came with the Fender high mass so no need to change that one... My stock old Fender Cali Series PJ is perfect the way it is, so I ain't changing anything on it... Others fine as they are, too...
     
  19. Telechamp

    Telechamp Member

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    I snagged a used 2004 MIM Jazz for $300 a few years ago, and I really like it. My buddy that plays bass in our band prefers to play it over his '68 Telecaster bass. (However, that Tele bass of his is heavy...) But he loves the feel, and the tone of this '04 MIM Jazz.

    I'm assuming the pickups are stock, but I've never pulled them to find out.

    Maybe I got a good one, but some of the guys over at the TalkBass forum were telling me that the early 2000's MIM's were good ones, for some reason..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Supporting Member

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    I asked my luthier who works on them. She's 75 and has seen a few basses come thru the shop in her time. She has been telling me for the last 5 years that the MIM Fenders (guitars and basses) are far better to work on than the MIA or the MIJ. She thinks the MIM quality is the best build that Fender has going right now. I value and trust her opinion completely, and I am very happy with the purchases I have made based partly on her advice.
     
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