#1
If you were to compare a high end MIM Fender bass (say, a Classic Series '50s Precision) to an American Standard Precision (or Jazz), would there be a huge difference in quality?
#3
I'd say no but what I've noticed is a lot of variation between identical models, certainly in the past Fender in the USA haven't had great quality control and basses of the same model and next to each other in shops vary in the way they play as well as details of finish. On top of that they are made of wood, which is a natural material and has natural variation. The made in Mexico basses tended to be more uniform. Add in Fenders tendency to randomly change the specs and for example fit US PUP's to Mexican instruments or Mexican necks to US assembled instruments and you pretty much need to try the instrument before you buy. I can't imagine ever having the money for custom shop basses but my favourite Fender basses to play so far have been been a US made Highway One J (now mine ) and the original MIM Road Worn P which I played a about 8 years back. I've yet to play an American Standard I like as much. The probability though is that each was a one off 'good one' If my basses were stolen and I had to replace them I would just set a budget and look for the best one I could find. I don't think I'd worry about where it was made.
#4
Quote by Phil Starr
I'd say no but what I've noticed is a lot of variation between identical models, certainly in the past Fender in the USA haven't had great quality control and basses of the same model and next to each other in shops vary in the way they play as well as details of finish. On top of that they are made of wood, which is a natural material and has natural variation. The made in Mexico basses tended to be more uniform. Add in Fenders tendency to randomly change the specs and for example fit US PUP's to Mexican instruments or Mexican necks to US assembled instruments and you pretty much need to try the instrument before you buy. I can't imagine ever having the money for custom shop basses but my favourite Fender basses to play so far have been been a US made Highway One J (now mine ) and the original MIM Road Worn P which I played a about 8 years back. I've yet to play an American Standard I like as much. The probability though is that each was a one off 'good one' If my basses were stolen and I had to replace them I would just set a budget and look for the best one I could find. I don't think I'd worry about where it was made.

^^^ This.

I have played MIA Fender basses in the local store and was surprised (not in a good way) at the poor setup quality and inconsistency. The whole time I'm thinking to myself:  "MIA is SUPPOSED to be the best, made by Fender's best luthiers and demanding a premium price - and they can't even setup the bass to their own specifications?!?!".  I currently own two (2) MIM Jazz basses and I have no complaints.