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upgrading a bottom line fender jazz


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I have a standard fender jazz bass (mexican).


I have already upgraded the pickups to Fender 60's custom shop, its about dead silent.


Anyway, i was looking to buy another bass but I started to look around for cheaper options.

im thinking about buying a warmoth (mapleneck maple fretboard). and buying a better, more adjustable bridge, that would be replacing every down to the body, would this be overkill? should i go ahead and buy another bass?

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On the other hand, it depends on what you want. Fender basses are so easy to but replacement parts for that you *could* build or add just about anything you want. There are parts for them everywhere - they're like the V8 Chevy of basses. Once you've put pickups, a bridge, and a better neck on the instrument, you've basically upgraded it the way the company would have. This means, that if you don't find a better bass you like for the same difference in cash, you can just make it how you want it.


Of course, when you're John Entwistle, you have Fender Jazz necks somehow grafted onto Gibson Explorer basses (which have glued-in necks - yikes), since you have tons of money and know the best luthiers in the world. But you don't have to get too silly or spend a whole lot of money to make your bass into a totally different instrument.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

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There's nothing wrong with the hardware the Mexi-Fenders shipped with. Take your money & find a Mexi-Precision that plays well, then put BassLines in it.


The thing I've noticed about the Mexi-Fenders is that you've got to play a few, but you can find some really sweet ones, if you persist. I like them better than the Japanese Fenders on the whole. Lighter, and more sustain.


Anyway, don't throw away a ton of money that's not going to substantially change the way your Mexi-Jazz sounds or plays. Heck, if you shop, you can get a sixties P-bass for a grand.



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Well, to make it look better, just go get a really sweet pickguard(like I just did). It'll change the look, and cause envy among lesser players at the same time.

I have Fender Standard Jazz bass, agave blue. And I just ordered a sweet white pearl pickguard, it's going to look awesome.

But, don't copy me, or else I'll have to come to your house, take pictures of you naked, and put it as my avatar.

Got that?

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Upgrading a MIM bass can be a great way to go, & can save you a lot of money over a new bass with similar features, even after you've spent the extra money.


Sounds like you made a good choice with the pickups. The other thing I'd definitely advise you to replace is the bridge. Get a bridge made from a big hunk of metal, & fully adjustable; the Leo Quan "BadAss" bridge is fabulous, & there are others (Gotoh, etc.). These bridges are designed to drop right in a Fender, so just check to make sure the mounting screw pattern on your bass matches the one on the new bridge. Look around on eBay--there's always a ton of them, at pretty good prices. You'll be surprised at how this changes the sustain, resonance, & tone of your strings!


Other than that, replace what you're not happy with, if anything. Do your pickups include a new tone circuit/preamp? There are lots of options, if you're not happy with what's on there. Probably a waste of money to buy new tuners, & stuff like that, unless yours are giving you troubles. Like they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Is there something wrong with the neck you've got now? Maybe you just want to switch from rosewoold to maple fretboard?)


As I said, you can save a lot of money even if you buy all this stuff. However, be sure to look at Japanese models. They have a reputation that rivals (& sometimes surpasses) the US Fenders, and they're much less expensive. E.g. the Geddy Lee signature J model & the Sting signature P/tele model are made in Japan, are outstanding instruments, & are available around $600--not bad! (Both have maple fretboards, fwiw.) I just bought a Geddy Lee, which has a maple board, US electronics, & a Leo Quan bridge; I paid under $600 for it, and it is an absolute DREAM to play--exactly what I wanted. If you like passive 4-string basses, you can't beat them in the $600 range (which is also pretty close to what you might sink into a MIM, once all the parts are in).

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Well, if you are going to replace every single part on your bass, why bother?


Just buy all new parts, put the new one together and sell the old one.


Or as others have said, just buy a different bass and sell the old one.


On some years, Mexi-jazzes buzz because the pickups are not wired opposite each other. If you've changed the pickups, you've solved that one.


In more recent years, Fender resolved the problem.


Speaking as someone who owns a 71 Fender jazz and a Mike Lull M4V (fender jazz style), I would say that most Mexi-Fenders I have seen are pretty decent instruments and really don't need to be upgraded.

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The question is - what is wrong with the bass as it is now? What do you find better about other instruments?


Until you know what you are looking for, you can't tell when you've found it....




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I agree with some of the others. If you're going for a total overhaul, better price that against buying a new bass. It might simply be worth your while not to make too many "upgrades" and save some of that upgrade cash towards a new bass that is closer to or matches the ideal you have in mind for "your" sound.


Also, Tom makes a great point...what is it that you're not happy with about your current MIM bass? Does it really require that you make all kinds of changes? Most often I hear about folks upgrading the p'ups and the bridge (a la dcr's comment), and less often the neck.


If you can, try to get in touch with sjcarriere (via private message or otherwise). He played a Fender MIM jazz on which he upgraded some parts and came to love as one of his fave basses (until he entered the world of Modulus 5-strings and never looked back...).





Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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The problem as I see it with upgrading body parts is that you won't know how they affect the feel or sound of the instrument until you've spent your money and time re-assembling your bass. I've done my share up customizations and re-assempby to my instruments, but never to my main ones.

What I'd suggest is to get the cash together for a new bass. While you are doing that, play every instrument you can find at every store in the area and figure out what features you like most of all. (this is how I bought my last electric and I've never had a single problem with it-ever- in the 2 1/2 years I've owned it). If you still want to upgrade, then use this research to your advantage and buy those parts with your favorite features, or buy the bass you've decised on and then customize the old Fender later.

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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