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

Your Thoughts on This Used '52 Vintage Reissue "Crafted in Japan"?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by navy66, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. navy66

    navy66 TDPRI Member

    Jul 4, 2012
    SF Bay Area
    Found a 1993/94 '52 Vintage Reissue Crafted in Japan today. On hold at a reputable local music shop. Asking $750.

    Most important to me, it feels and sounds great. The aging is expected and even. The bridge has been replaced -- I'd swap it back to a three-barrel compensated (unsure of what brand). I haven't opened it up, but will tmrw if I buy it.

    Here's what I'd like:

    - Any thoughts on this CIJ version, versus a newer '52 American Vintage RI? (I tried an AVRI earlier today and really liked it.)
    - Anyone have specs for the original 93/94 model?
    - In particular, any info on these pickups?
    - Any suggestions on what I should look for when I open it up tomorrow?
    - What do you think of the price?

    By the way, this Fender page tells me it's actually a 1997-2000 product. (Note their discussion of models that had "Crafted in Japan" added over the serial number.)

    Thanks in advance everyone.

    Geo, Random1643 and Crobbins like this.
  2. MitchMiami

    MitchMiami Tele-Meister

    Mar 11, 2015
    Weston, Florida
    Sorry, the photos aren’t coming through so I can’t help. Good luck.
  3. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    The Japanese Teles are very good instruments, in general. I suggest you try it out and see how you like its sound and play-ability. If you like it then it is only a matter of if you like the price. It looks to be in good shape.
    Tim S and nojazzhere like this.
  4. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jul 24, 2009
    Ada, MI
    I'm thinking good thoughts right now.
  5. humiliatedgrape

    humiliatedgrape TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2018
    Sydney, Australia
    It looks like a beautiful guitar!! I really love Japanese Fenders.

    In terms of specs/info about it, it's got some unusual features that make it hard to pin down to a specific model. The Crafted in Japan designation is almost definitely post-1997. MIJ was officially changed to CIJ when Fender moved to the Tokai factory in 1997.

    Looking through the catalogs, I can't find any telecasters from that period with a 6-saddle bridge (except ones with gold hardware and neck humbuckers), so I can only assume this is a non-catalog item or the bridge isn't original.

    Here's a good range of Fender Japan catalogs from that period, in case you haven't come across them before:

    In any case, it's almost definitely a light ash body, probably poly finish, and could be either USA or Japanese pickups, depending on the model. There were many '52 reissue models at different price points in any given year, which all had slightly different specs. I'm not sure how to differentiate between them, but maybe something written on the neck when you take it off ??
    lasrup likes this.
  6. humiliatedgrape

    humiliatedgrape TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2018
    Sydney, Australia
    Whoops! Didn't read the OP carefully enough. I see you've already said it had its bridge replaced.

    In that case - still difficult to tell which model, since the higher models with the USA pickups had brass saddles and the models with the Japanese pickups had chrome. Regardless, it's definitely an Ash body. That colour only came in Ash through the '90s. And the price sounds right to me.
  7. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Meiners Oaks CA.
    If you like it, buy it.
  8. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 1, 2005
    North Texas
    I’ve owned several MIJ/CIJ guitars and never had a bad one. Actually they were all pretty great, even some of the lower end models. If there was an area of weakness it would probably be the electronics, though I’ve heard of export models with higher quality pickups and pots/switches. I usually gutted and replaced the electronics, but give the stock ones a try, you might love em.
  9. televillian

    televillian Tele-Holic

    Oct 3, 2013
    Clarkdale, AZ
    on a scale of yes to no i`d put it in the yes range
  10. teleguitar

    teleguitar TDPRI Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    You write: "it feels and sounds great". Is this not +/- 98% of what anyone wants in a guitar? Buy it and you'll have no regrets.

    If the pickups are original and they have staggered pole-pieces they are probably Texas Specials. Flat pole-pieces and they are likely "Original Vintage"
  11. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

    Japanese Fenders are very good quality instruments, Crafted In or Made In.
    Check it out--if you like it, not a bad price.
    SnidelyWhiplash likes this.
  12. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    The only drawback to MIJ/CIJ Fenders is the awful electronics. The wiring, pots, switches and pickups are uniformly dreadful in these instruments- seriously, it's below Squier Affinity level junk. Fortunately, it's easy to shotgun the control cavity in a Tele and pickups for them are reasonably priced and options are plentiful. If it plays and sounds great I'd hit it, and plan on spending $100-$200 replacing everything that passes signal.
  13. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    May 19, 2014
    North FL
    Weird. I've had an MIJ strat that didn't have electronics problems... And I've played a number of them that seemed to function just fine.

    What's the major issue with them? Pot or switches?

    In this thread the guy already says he likes how it sounds. No need to change the pickups then, right?

    I think, if it plays good, and sounds good, there's no reason to monkey with it. But that's just me.

    Edit: I've also played and owned MIMs that seemed to function appropriately too. and all of the MIJ, MIM, that I've played seemed better than the pair of modern bullet strats I bought new for $100 each.
    Geo likes this.
  14. Frontman

    Frontman Tele-Holic

    Jul 10, 2014
    The pots and wires are cheap, but pickups can be ceramic, alnico, USA, Vintage, Texas Specials, or Lace Gold sensors, it all depends on the particular guitar.
  15. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    The stuff may work just fine today, but it won't forever. I can't understand why Fender Japan puts so much attention to detail into the fit and finish of these guitars, then puts the cheapest junk electronics you can buy in them.

    Special runs/artist models aside, run of the mill MIJs have crap ceramic pickups. The absolute worst are their Jazzmasters, which aren't made like a traditional JM pickup and subsequently sound like nails on a chalkboard through the JM's 1M pots.
  16. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Jul 20, 2010
    It's funny to me that people here always say the electrics are crap, the switches dont last ... yad yada when the guitar is already 25 years old.

    There's nothing inherently wrong wth the pickups either.

    I'd take a Japanese made guitar over a US one every day of the week.
  17. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    Tha must be reet - tha's from Yorkshire!
  18. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    May 19, 2014
    North FL

    If the OP likes how it sounds and feels then it seems to meet the good guitar bar to me.

    If a pot craps out in a year it can be replaced then. No need to mess with it. Especially since it sounds and feels good now.

    Cheap is not the same as non functional...

    I have a $350 TS808HW and a$35 Arion Tubeulator. They both function just fine. And they both sound great...
    Chunkocaster and Chicago Matt like this.
  19. humiliatedgrape

    humiliatedgrape TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2018
    Sydney, Australia
    The number of MIJ/CIJ models that came with USA pickups was/is much higher than just a few special runs or artist models. If you look through the catalogs probably about 1/4 of them came with USA pickups.

    And, as @beagle said, the electronics have lasted 20+ years so... can't be too bad.

    If it feels and sounds good, go for it.
    Geo and beagle like this.
  20. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location

    How do you know that the electronics in it now are the same ones it had when it left the factory? I've seen MIJ electronics go bad pretty early in an instrument's life, but once you replace them you don't need to worry about it anymore. Maybe this is the case here, maybe not- as I said before this isn't a reason not to buy a MIJ instrument, just something to consider. I figure $25 worth of parts and an hour of my time are cheap insurance to not run the risk of a crappy switch failing onstage or during a take in the studio.

    As to the pickups, there's nothing "inherently wrong" with them insofar as they do generally manage to pass signal, but unless you like thin, brittle tone you're gonna want to look at aftermarket options. Which again, is a fairly easy operation and doesn't have to be expensive.

    Wow, this is a pretty bold statement. Can I ask why? Although MIJ Fenders are nice guitars I've never seen one that didn't get absolutely left in the dust by an average USA Fender. I had a MIJ Jazzmaster for a while that was completely outclassed in every possible way by an Indonesian made Squier Vintage Modified that cost 1/3 as much. I currently own a MIJ Jaguar bass that I got cheap because the wiring was such a disaster that the owner gave up on it. It was a PITA to fix the shoddy wiring and non-existent shielding (particularly bad for an instrument with an active preamp), but when I was done I had a pretty nice bass for the price of a used MIM- especially after I replaced the "functional" ceramic pickups with Fender CS '60s. So in that respect, Fender Japan's junk electronics worked in my favor that time. It's nowhere near as nice as my MIA Fenders, but the block inlays look cool and I didn't pay MIA money.

    I just don't understand the MIJ hype. Sure, there was a point in the early '80s when Fender's US production was a disaster and imported Japanese instruments were superior. That hasn't been the case for a long, long time though.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    BrandonIke likes this.
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