Sound — 8
The standard jazz has a nice mellow tone with a good balance of low, middle and high end sounds. The middle pickup provides a clean warm sound for R&B/jazz music and the bridge gives a nice growl for rock. The jazz obviously isnt tailormade for rock, but it certainly can hold its own with the hard stuff. However it is not suitable for heavy metal and the P-Bass gives a deeper and punchier sound than the J-bass. So if you play in a rock or hard-rock group try out the P-Bass first as it will help you cut through the band when necessary. In my own band we play various genres and the jazz has a jack-of-all trades style; it isnt outstanding in any one category but can perform well in almost all of them. For gigs I've ran it through countless amps, but for practice at home I've got a Fender Rumble 15 watt which is excellent. However if you intend on becoming a serious guitar player id recomend swapping out the stock pups as the get VERY noisy and staticy with the treble or the bass cranked up. This can get frustrating when playing fingerstlye and hampers the tone when slapping. However the disortion can be a plus if you like to play on pick (like me), and personally I think the extra noise benefiets for the hard rawk kinda sound. I havent swapped the bridge out (yet) however I've heard that stock bridges are less than desirable and if you intend on changing it get a Badass II bridge. Note that swapping the pups and bridge will cost you some extra cash, and Id recomend to just play the bass straight up before deciding if you really are into playing bass guitar.
Overall Impression — 8
My band does stuff from Alternative and classic rock, to funk and even a little bit of jazz and blues. My standard J bass fits well with all of these. However I previously played rythmm guitar in my band for two years and made the switch to bass when our band auditioned for a better one (to give you a prespective weve got a singer/keyboardist, a lead guitarist/backup singer, the new rythm guitarist, me on bass/backup singing, and a drummer). Fortunately I've made the transition to the "bottom-end" very well and after a year of playing I know plenty of grooves like the back of my hand. The standard jazz is the one and only bass I've owned thus far, however I've tried out a standard pbass which did have a nice harder tone but I didnt like the neck or lack of variety. I also own a standard strat, which is what I played guitar on (again a solid guitar). If it were stolen, id save up my cash and just get an american bass; these MIM ones are good but not good enough to warrant another purchase. Anyways if you are making a transition from guitar to bass, or your looking for a good medium-end intstrument the MIM basses fit the bill perfectly.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is built like a tank; I've banged the headstock and body several times during rehersals and during one gig on a cramped lounge stage, and not once did it go out of tune or show any signs of damage. I swear the only thing thats gonna break this bass is an act of divine intervention. However, never, ever gig without a backup bass. Have a squire or Johnson on hand if your main bass gets messed up during a gig. I dont care if youve got a bass made out of titanium, something will happend someday. A fellow musician/friend I know learned this the hard way when during once concert his bass got hit with a water bottle (I'm talkin head on) and he had to play with the bottom two strings for the rest of the gig.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Apparently I was lucky in this category. I've read many tales of MIM basses having horrible factory setup with the action, pups, and bridge as well as materials. However I think that most of these complaints came from people who bought an instrument from one of the gazillion shoping websites; every store that I've visited had MIM fenders in top shape and ready to go. Because of this I strongly emcourage you to look at a local store when buying an instrument, online buying is a no no in my book and will end up hurting you more than helping you. Plus going to the store has the added advantage of trying out the basses so you can get a feel of what you like. Anways my bass was properly set up (however I've yet to adjust it to my specifications)and have no complaints about the action (it is low but not too low) or the pup adjustment (only the bridge is slightly staggerd so that it can pickup the sound clearly from all the strings). There are some of the typical micro scratches and such but nothing in bad condition and the finish is amazing ( mean really amazing). I dont know what people are complaining about, but MIM Fenders to me are great instruments for beginning players (with previous musical experience) and for intermediate players that are starting up a band; like me.
Features — 8
Made in 2003/04 (I have to check the serial number) in Mexico. 20 medium-jumbo frets and a slim fast action neck. A solid white pickguard and alder wood body with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard. In an "artic" white finish with an offset waist body and standard vintage style bridge and two bi-polar standard jazz pickups (located in the middle and the bridge) which are passive. Control panel is made of chrome and has two volume knobs and a tone knob. To top it of standard Fender overssize bass tuners.