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
Join TDPRI Today

American special

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by happinesstan, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. happinesstan

    happinesstan NEW MEMBER!

    Aug 11, 2017
    are they worth the money or go for less expensive mexican ?......$1350 v $800 can

    thanks in advance for the replies

  2. irie

    irie Tele-Holic

    Jul 15, 2014
    Orange County, CA
    Gotta play em and find out. Specs can be quite a bit different depending on the models your comparing.

    I don't know how things are up north but where I am resale value of an American special is a lot better than a mim, just something to keep in mind.

  3. stnmtthw

    stnmtthw Friend of Leo's

    Apr 2, 2012
    New Mexico
    I have an Am Special and a MIM. You can't really go wrong with either.

    The American comes with higher quality electronics and huge Jumbo frets, which I like, but isn't for everyone. I like it.

    I upgraded the electronics in the MIM and Esquiered it (I kept the ceramic pickup, though- I like it) and its become my favorite guitar.

  4. Forum Sponsor Sponsored posting

  5. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

    Aug 7, 2016
    Champaign illinois
    American special is a well put together package. I play many different guitars and styles, so fret size means nothing to me.

  6. JORear

    JORear Tele-Meister

    Jun 11, 2017
    Be patient and buy a used American Special. I bought my Strat in the color I wanted for $600. The original owner didn't play it much and it was placed under his bed. It was a great price that also included a tweed case. The other would be patient and get a good deal on a used MIM. Either way, I would watch Reverb and Craigslist.

  7. TimothyC

    TimothyC Tele-Holic

    May 12, 2016
    Play them both first. I love the fit and finish of the American special, but jumbo frets feel really out of place on a telecaster for me personally.

  8. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Apr 20, 2013
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    American Special and the Baja are very close to the same quality, and fairly close to the same price with the Baja (top line MIM) being about 20% cheaper new - at least here in the US.

    Both great guitars, can't go very far wrong with either.

    You may like the bigger neck on the Baja, or the slightly larger frets on the Special.

    The MIM Standard is also really nice.

    It all comes down to what you want and what feels good to you.

    I was looking at the Ash FSR for $500 (at the time, it went up since then), but decided the Baja was worth the $800 price. I liked the Special - a lot - but I liked the Baja better, and it was $200 cheaper than the Special. I would have been happy if I had purchased a Special.

    I know - on a helpful scale of 1 to 10, this post was probably a 2.

  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member


    Wrong Question! :^)

    The Mexican models have a variety of fretwire sizes but none are seriously large.

    The American Special has (other than the rare Yngwie Malmsteen model) the very largest fretwire you can get on any Fender 6 string guitar.

    The further in the past (and thus usually higher in age now) the Guitar Player started in, the smaller the wire he TENDS to like. New guys, young guys are much more amenable to this HUGE wire the Am. Special uses. Hey, you might really like it and if so, you might not like the smaller fretwire on the various MIMs.

    In my opinion, this fretwire size conundrum is what should control the decision. All these Fenders are more or less equal in value to the price you can bargain them down to. Buy the guitar with the features that work for you and everything else will take care of itself, IMO.

  10. murdude

    murdude TDPRI Member

    Jun 16, 2017
    Brantford, Ontario
    I traded a 2013 American Special in for a new MIM.
    Just couldn't get used to the jumbo frets. I always felt like I was playing over speed bumps.
    Although some might consider that I traded downward, I love my MIM.
    MadRocker likes this.

  11. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Friend of Leo's

    May 14, 2008
    WNC Isothermal Zone
    Any new, maple-boarded AS Tele will have Fender Custom Shop Texas Special pickups, a vintage style, 3-saddle bridge, jumbo frets.

    IIRC, the AS's and MIM Standard's use the same pots/switch and output jack, so in theory, you could purchase a new MIM Standard Tele, swap out the p'ups and bridge/saddles, and have a new, "custom", AS-spec'd Tele for a few hundred less $$$, or...

    You can grab a new MIM Baja Tele or any other new, MIM, non-Standard Tele with alnico pickups, also for a few hundred less $$$ than an AS Tele.

    Bottom line: Try 'em out, then buy what you like - p'ups, pots & switches and bridge/saddle setups are an easy swap.

    Good luck!

    MadRocker likes this.

  12. Ripradiant

    Ripradiant Tele-Holic

    Jul 31, 2014
    Alberta Canada
    When you can buy an AM special in the used market for way less than a Mex - I think the choice is clear. I have two and they are superb guitars.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

  13. Mercyfulfate

    Mercyfulfate TDPRI Member

    May 14, 2017
    Tornado Alley
    I have bought both American Specials Tele and Strat. They are both awesome! Great purchase.

  14. ShadowChancer

    ShadowChancer Tele-Holic

    Apr 14, 2012
    Central Scotland
    I just got a mim 60th anniversary job , I M H O its way better than the Am Special I used to have , fretwire aside this mim just sounds much better

  15. Dickey01

    Dickey01 TDPRI Member

    Jul 19, 2017
    I know I'll prolly get flamed for this, but every guitarist, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, that I've ever played with who played a Mexican or Asian Fender had tuning & intonation issues onstage. Try as I might, I could NOT set up their guitars to hold tune. Got to where If I hired a player & he had a MIM or Asian Fender, If he wanted the gig, he'd hafta use one of my guitars, all vintage original or Custom Shop.
    Buy the American. Much better horn.

  16. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Meister

    Apr 9, 2014
    Wokingham England
    Well if you do get flamed, it would be for good reason if mine is anything to go on. :) MIM 50s Classic lacquer finished Tele that stays in tune one week to the next, taken from home to rehearsals in and out of the case/car/house. Intonation not perfect as standard with the 3 barrel saddles, but a set of compensated ones solved that.

    That said I'm looking at getting an AV '58, so I'm not averse to buying a USA built model, but only if I find it is worth the expense. If I do get one then I'll mod the 50s Classic to have a neck humbucker. If not I'll buy another 50s Classic and mod that.

    I played an American Strat recently when I was trying out some pedals in a shop. Like others have said the 'speed bump' frets don't suit me as I've been playing vintage fret guitars since the early 1980s. The feel of the neck and frets is more important to me than where it is made, pickups are easy to change so that doesn't bother me either.

    Tldr; OP, just buy the guitar you like playing the best. :)
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.