The Fender Standard Jazz Bass (aka Made in Mexico Jazz Bass)
Hmmm. Too bad I was wearing a blue shirt for this picture. Seeing this bright blue bass hanging on the music store wall, I found the colour a bit overwhelming. But I’ve actually grown to like it.
One of the first basses on this blog was an Epiphone EB-0 that I’d purchased for my daughter. This past Christmas it had become apparent that the Epi was no longer good enough, so after some discussion we decided that a MIM Jazz bass was the next best step for her.
MIM stands for Made-in-Mexico. This is generally the mid-price-range of Fender’s bass guitar products. Where Squier is the entry level and the Fender American models are the higher end basses.
She picked out the blue. I was like, “Are you sure!”
One thing that I’ve learned over the years, and it seems that Fender is no exception, is that despite whatever quality control a company has, no two instruments, new off the wall, are the same.
To purchase this bass we went to the Long & McQuade on Terminal in Vancouver. This was simply because we knew that this is were the largest number of choices and colours could be found in town.
We played a couple of MIM Jazzes and, colour aside, they all had a different feel to them. Some brand new instruments have some serious setup issues and some are just plain buzzy (fret buzz).
This one was the best choice. But while playing it through an amp there was a very noticeable clipping sound from the neck pickup. Jean, the stores bass department manager, made some adjustments to the pickup height and the E-string saddle and this cleared up the problem.
Regardless what you think of Fender or what you think of Fender’s Mexican plant. These are really decent basses. The construction of these basses are as good as you see with any product in the $500-$1000 price range. The only problem that is apparent is that each instrument needs a good going over to be truly playable. Long & McQuade offer a free setup for new instruments. But this is something you have to bring the instrument back to store to have done. It’s too bad they don’t do this before it goes on the wall.
I’m sure the official reason for not doing this is that the instruments need to climatize to the environment before setup. But the fact that most people will not take advantage of the offer is another reason for delaying the setup, I’m sure.
Since I recently received an American Jazz Deluxe I had a good opportunity compare this with its American built counterpart. A bit of an unfair comparison as the Deluxe has lots upgrades and upscale finish. The American just has a more solid and finished feel to it. (And also cost about three times as much.) But again, there’s nothing wrong with the MIM Jazz. I know of lots of musicians that use these basses as their “on-the-road” basses saving the wear and tear on their nicer instruments.
At about $600 these Fender MIM Jazz is a great choice for the serious hobbyist to the semi-pro musician.