Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Am.Standard or Special or MIM Standard...recommendations

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by JKSteger, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. JKSteger

    JKSteger Tele-Meister

    Sep 17, 2007
    Griffin, GA
    Looking at both of these guitars at the moment but cannot really make my mind up!

    I'm not 100% sold on the jumbo frets but they're not bad. I like the idea that the Standard has micro tilt neck and 6 independent saddles for intonation and such. I'm more into classic rock sounds so not the traditional tele "sound". I've heard the pickups and such in the Am. Standard sound between a p90 & hum buckers. Not sure I'm hearing that but they do sound a little "thicker" to my ears. I don't want to 'mod' this guitar. I just want to use them stock.

    I'm really leaning t'ward the Am. Standard but the $400 difference is hard to swallow! And part of me says find a good MIM standard that feels and plays great. Take it to my luthier and have him do a fret job and roll the edges and have him drop in a set of pups and be done with it!



  2. elmicko

    elmicko Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 27, 2011
    Blount-Vegas, TN
    The MIM standard is a great platform for modding and a great bargain for a quality guitar. It sounds to me like you're more wanting to avoid modding so I'd say got with the MIA.

  3. BritTwang

    BritTwang Tele-Holic

    Jan 14, 2013
    Get the Am Std. MiM Standards are good for their price point but if it were me, I would take the USA model. Put a Baja in the mix and suddenly things get a bit more cloudy for me.

  4. Vintagebrit

    Vintagebrit Tele-Holic

    The American Special is a great half way point. Depends if the frets and Texas Specials suit you.
    Also, hasn't the Am Std got the Strat body contours.
    You need to play these Guitars side by side to see which suits you.

  5. Humbuster

    Humbuster Tele-Meister

    Aug 11, 2009
    en route.
    The current Am Std are fantastic guitars.
    Well worth the scratch, IMHO.

  6. crowhaven2000

    crowhaven2000 Tele-Meister

    Jun 21, 2011
    New Mexico
    I got the American Standard, Crimson red transparent. I have a MIM too. Both nice. The American Standard is a different animal though. I love mine. Like you, I am more into blues and rock. it's great. Really straight neck, that sucker stays in tune. Very much a player. I like the belly cut too. Grab one, I don't think you will be disappointed. I like the pickups on it, I won't be changing them.
    I put a parchment pickguard on mine, Sure brightened it up. Since then I put a white pearloid on it. I sure like the grain showing thru on this color.


  7. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    When I bought my first "American" (the predecessor to the American Standard) I was pretty sure I never wanted to modify it either.

    I'm perfectly happy not modifying my Bajas, or these FSRs of the American Vintage 52s I have, but I suggest that keeping your options open is something you shouldn't dismiss. The American Standard is a sort of "dead end" situation when it stops working for you If it stops working for you.

    I mean, I'm pretty sure Michael Douglas thought Catherine Zeta-Jones was gonna be around for a while. Now she's gone; best have a "Plan B".

  8. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    I think Mike had a plan B, he sure did a lot of advertising, ah I suppose you could say word of mouth stuff here not long ago.

  9. JKSteger

    JKSteger Tele-Meister

    Sep 17, 2007
    Griffin, GA
    thanks for the recommendations and comments.

    I'm keeping my options open. My friend tells me that HIS recommendation would be to get a good MIM and with the price difference he says I should be ale to replace the pickups, have it wired like the Baja with a 4 way switch (he says that I can order the entire control assembly prewired from Callaham), have the frets leveled, edges filed and polished and an new bone nut installed. We have an amazing Luthier here in Jackson, GA named Tom Dodson.
    I think if I were to get the MIM and take it to Tom to do the work, when I pick it up, I will be able to do what I want...plug and play!

    I realize that the "upgraded" MIM will not hold value like a MIA but I'm hoping to keep this guitar for a long time.

    I did have a MIM once before but I could not bond with the sharp fret edges compared to my MIA Stratocaster. The two necks felt like they were from 2 different planets!

  10. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

    Dec 2, 2006
    I don't like this idea at all. It's one thing to buy a guitar and mod it, but if you need to pay someone to do the work, your cost is going to be close or equal to the higher line guitar.

  11. BritTwang

    BritTwang Tele-Holic

    Jan 14, 2013
    Why not just get the Baja rather than a cheaper version and then adding Baja wiring? The Baja is better made all round than most MiM standards. The ones I've played have better fretwork, better hardware (including some great pickups) and sounds and plays better.

    I have a MiM standard, a good example too as I played a number before picking the one I did. I do regret however not spending the little extra for the Baja, as you get such a great deal more for the money.

    My recommendation is, if you want a MiM guitar, get the best there is (which IMO is the Baja), if you want a MIA, get the Am Standard.

  12. Shoshin

    Shoshin Tele-Meister

    Dec 19, 2011
    MY view would be to go for a very nice used American Standard. Lots around, price is OK.

    If you have a hankerin' for the American Special beware that it has hotter pickups, which to my ears were not "tele" enough. Fortunately, the Original Vintage pickups are great, cheap and it's an easy swap to get the tele twang back.

    MIM tele's are great too, no question. They are inexpensive, come in a huge choice of colors/features etc and quality is still very good.

    My view though is not to get super hung up MIA vs. MIM. Find'em and play'em. Your ears and your hands will tell you what to do.

  13. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    What ever guitar you buy, play it, feel it, and listen to it. Looking at will pass in a few days, I think the looks are the least important part. If you want a baja, buy a baja, when you get done spending the money on a MIM it still wont be a baja and you'll always wish you'd spent the few dollars more. A valuable life's lesson. If a product is satisfactory, you won't even think about what it cost you, if it's not, you'll never forget what it cost, and what you could have had for the same price.

  14. Matthias

    Matthias Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 30, 2003
    +1 for a used Am Std. You pay for the extras, but they are noticeable - especially where pickups and wiring are concerned.

    The MIM Standard is a high-quality, dependable instrument. The Am Std is the baseline and the iconic model in the series. You can live without it, but you need to be happy that you are. If you can silence that nagging desire for a real US Tele, an MIM will get you most of the way there, especially with some mods. But you can easily spend $400 on mods...

  15. 66Satellite

    66Satellite Tele-Holic

    Aug 1, 2010
    Am Standard for the neck, belly cut and better electronics.

  16. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    If you want to wire it like a Baja, get a Baja. I'd definitely spend some time playing the MIA Special before buying one. I love the sound, but to me it moves away from the traditional tele twang.

  17. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

    Aug 6, 2012
    No one ever said it better.

  18. daznic

    daznic Tele-Meister

    Jan 24, 2010
    Do you want modern or traditional ?
    My Road worn 50's with Nocasters sounds and feels like a good traditional telecaster.
    My American special feels like a better built, quality instrument - fantastic value for money BUT feels and sounds modern. Great for big bendy Gilmour type solos and Rock - effortless playability, smooth neck with rolled edges, just like the Am. Std.
    This is why I have both.

    A great compromise between the two would be a Baja - It really does feel exactly the same as a USA built instrument. The neck was a bit too chunky for me, but if you like the feel of it, I think it really can't be beat.

  19. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member


    This argument about relative quality is, to me, totally missing the point. I mean, shouldn't it be self evident that a guitar costing twice the amount as another might have a little more TLC baked into it? C'mon.

    The MIM Standard and the USA Standard are two discrete models of guitar and sometimes I don't think a USA Standard Tele should be discussed in the context of other, truer "telecasters".

    These features that differ, we're talking about the basic underlying architecture of the body. I say, despite Callaham and Glendale's valiant efforts and "Joe Bardens" strange efforts, you can NOT readily make a USA Standard into any traditional Telecaster. The mount holes and through holes are in the wrong places and extensive modification is required to change this.

    When you combine this with the relatively thin necks with Dual Action truss rods and Strat saddles, what you really have is an American Standard Hardtail Strat and not a Tele at all.

    I'm not saying they're badly made or that you can't make great music with them, but the details here DO matter and with all due respect, I think it is only fair to be open and disclose fully to anyone who asks this fundamental difference. Just because it doesn't matter to you, or you liked the idea of a Hardtail Strat all along, doesn't mean you should conceal these things from some guy who asks for frank and complete answers.

    I am not accusing anyone of being Barry Bonds, I'm just saying, give the guy the whole picture and let him decide.


    We ought to conduct a poll here, and see how many members have tried to "traditionalize" a more modern Telecaster such as an American Series or Standard. I think it could be as high as 10%. This is not a trivial thing, but a known pattern that repeats over and over:

    Guy decides to "try his first Tele" and predictably he is addressed to the Americans (Standard, Series, Deluxe, 3 lower screw below 6 narrow through hole).
    He likes it but he realizes soon enough he probably meant to get a traditional configuration one and he's dismayed to find he's trapped. He must buy another, or trade for one, or he tries (and basically fails) to convert his.

    I get the feeling the American Standard guys have some siege mentality, where if they don't snare the newcomer on the in bounds pass, they will NEVER get him and he'll always be a stalwart traditional, 4 mount hole guy.
    I'm sorry about that. You guys shouldn't feel defensive, shouldn't feel you're in the ghetto or something. Just, play fair, huh? :)

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