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American made vs ...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by 50sTeleneck, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

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    In terms of body and body finish, neck and finish (including fretwork), nuts and bridges I've two guitars from Indonesia (one G&L and one Epiphone) that are every bit as good as my MiAs.
    The difference, as BigDaddyLH infers is in the parts.

    The Epiphone pickups (LP studio) are way weaker than the Gibson SG - no kidding I know, and I hated the G&L (ASAT semi-Bluesboy) ceramics that lacked any nuance in my Strat or Tele (no kidding again eh!), which did get changed to AlNiCos within weeks of buying it. Plus both have had new/better switches installed and really could do with better tuners if I wanted to be picky.

    So, overall, not of the same standard as the MiAs - but, for the prices paid ... the MiIs were/are great value.

    btw - I still lose sleep over selling my Classic 60s MiM Telecaster!
     
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  2. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    On the other hand you can get a relatively cheap squire and change parts and not feel bad about it.
     
  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just sold my MIA Strat so I'm down to just one MIA (Tele) and four higher-end MIMs. I like them just as much as the MIA; absolutely no quality difference IMO.

    No experience with MIJ, but I'm kinda staying away from them because it seems there's a lot of confusion on identifying what's fake, which parts are stock, serial number strangeness, etc.
     
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  4. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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  5. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    I've played both, and compared both to my AVRI's. There is a bit of a quality diff IMO but all are great players. The main thing is resale value, from my perspective. If you plan to keep them forever than resale doesn't matter. But, if you ever wanted/needed to sell em, historically speaking USA made either holds its value or increases over the years. Example - My 2001 AVRI Strat is worth a heck of a lot more today than when I bought it used 10 years ago... scratches, dents, and all. My 2013 USA made SG that I paid 700 for is worth near twice that today. And if I still had the 1972 Les Paul Custom that I bought 30 years ago for 400, sold it 20 years ago for 800, today it's worth?? My buddies MIM Strat he bought new 10 years ago ain't worth much more than he paid for it, but it's a heck of a guitar ;) just my 2 cents
     
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  6. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve played a number of MIM and MIJ Fenders, and really they were all decent guitars. A few years ago, there was at least one company that had as a business model taking nice MIM guitars and replacing the pickups, pots, caps and jacks with higher quality parts. You could have a really great player for a reasonable price.

    I tend to buy MIA, more for personal reasons than because the quality is so much better. In most cases, I was looking for a good MIA model, and found a good example, and got it. A couple of times, I fell into deals (see my avatar for an example).
     
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  7. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    In terms of overall build quality, I'd put US and Japanese made instruments on the same level, with Mexico not being too far behind.

    As the price point goes down, quality of components and materials decrease, and time/money saving construction techniques become more apparent. This is most evident in guitars made in countries with low labor costs like China and Indonesia.

    Regardless, a "cheap" guitar can still be a fine instrument, depending on what you want it to do. For your average chord bashing and pentatonic noodling, a sub $500 guitar can work out just fine. But if I'm a highly technical player, or a regular gigging/touring professional, it's a different story. An inexpensive guitar's shortcomings will reveal themselves quickly in those situations: Unpotted pickups in unshielded cavities make noise, cheap electronics fail, necks made from poorly seasoned wood warp, badly crowned and unpolished frets are a chore to play on, and budget hardware wears out quickly.

    Bottom line...You get what you pay for. The question is how satisfied you're willing to be with what you get.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another Groundhog Day thread!

     
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  9. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    The main difference overall, is that the MIA and MIJ Fender's will resell better, and in some cases sell above their weight, should you go down that road. MIM just about retain value, the higher end ones holding it a little better. To me, those are the differences. The MIJ and MIM, very often however, need extra work to get them into shape i. e electrics fretwork etc, those things are in my experience, yours may be totally different.
     
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  10. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    INCOMING... take shelter and hide.
     
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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Squier=skinny neck carves. I like chunky necks so I avoid them (unless I see a good flip opportunity)

    MIJ= many model variations so there are very few product experts and easy for fakes to get sold as MIJ, a risk. Prices are high enough to encourage faking. I avoid.

    MIM= basically MIA but cheaper if you can live without MIA notes on the headstock. Generally few fakes on the used market.

    MIA= high price new, big risk of fakes dressed up to deceive, many Squiers with scrubbed off logos replaced with Fender decals. However, most of the time easy for even general product experts to spot.

    If you are asking about the Quality differences and you are chasing lowest cost Strat/Tele options: Get the fretwork done (either a local tech for $100 or a PLEK for $250) and swap the Pots 'n Caps/switch/jack out and you'll have a great guitar. Mod other parts as you want but low performance returns on anything else.



    .
     
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  12. BerkshireDuncan

    BerkshireDuncan Tele-Meister

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    IMHO on sub £1000 used guitars, post '90 MIA and all MIJ have consistently high quality and should be considered an equally safe bet.
    MIM gives you good quality at a lower price point and a wider choice than traditional Fender models & colours, etc.
     
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  13. Bryan A

    Bryan A Tele-Meister

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    There has been a huge quality difference between literally every MIA vs MIM I’ve ever played. Enough to justify the price difference for me? Yes, because IMO most MIA Fenders aren’t terribly overpriced. The long term resale value will generally justify the new price. The MIA vs MIJ, not so much because the MIJs I’ve played have been quality. But there again, MIJ are more expensive, so I’d still go with MIA unless I just found a really good buy on an MIJ.

    same goes for Gibson vs Epiphone. There are people who swear by the quality of Epiphone. I’ve yet to see it even once. In my experience, Gibson blows the doors off Epiphone. And while I’d totally agree that Gibsons are overpriced, the aftermarket and long term value would seem to generally justify their price. I bought a used 1993 Gibson Les Paul Standard, sold it years later for MUCH more than I paid for it, and I still regret it because it’s worth even more now than I sold it for.
     
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  14. blue17

    blue17 Tele-Meister

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    I would have agreed with this about 8 months ago, but even American Standards that used to be a dime a dozen (by dime, I mean $700), are pushing $1000 in decent condition on Reverb these days.
     
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  15. Tarkus60

    Tarkus60 Tele-Meister

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    Being a new player at a old age. I started with squires great learning guitar nothing wrong here. But then I played my buddies Player strat and oh wow the neck was so much easier to move around on. So I sold my squires and bought a player strat and a amazing 1992 mim tele. I am hooked now. Thinking nothing could be better than this.

    Fast forward a few months my buddy comes over with a 2001 American Standard Stratocaster....oh wow again. The nut width makes the neck so much easier. Now I own a american strat and tele and in bliss!
    This coming from a new guy. Nothing wrong with any those guitars, I just love my Americans.

    I have been trying to sell the player Strat since last November....
     
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  16. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Afflicted

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    regardless of what I have thought and said in the past when it comes to fender I want something made in the u.s just because that's where it all started that's where the history was made, so if I can afford it yes give me a well constructed u.s.a made guitar because it's just damn cool. I have had amazing cheap guitars but I guess I care about labels, it's hard not to.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
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  17. Hudman_1

    Hudman_1 TDPRI Member

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    Some of the premium MIM models use the same parts and pickups found on American models.
     
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  18. AmpHandle

    AmpHandle Tele-Meister

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    If you are a player the instrument is only a small factor which is better is up to the player. Cost is irrelevant.
     
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  19. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    Has nothing to do with where it's made, it's the design. You can't just compare country of origin because each will have models that u will find much better due to design. For example, i can't stand modern strats with heavy cast tuners and biflex truss rods that dampen the tone and sound more compressed and dull than a vintage design. So to me a MIM classic series is a far better strat than THAT USA model. In fact, I prefer a squier CV to that modern USA model. And besides all that, it's pretty subjective too.
     
  20. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Holic

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    For me, and everyone's experience will yield different perceived results, the American Standard is the minimum benchmark. That includes all permutations of the American Standard: i.e. Am. Ultra, Am. Elite, etc...
    I have owned MIM's and MIA's and I can feel the difference in build quality, and hear hear a reasonable difference between the two.
    Most noticeable to me between the two are the rolled edges of the neck, the fretwork, and the quality of the pickups.
    Additionally, and again this is my perception, I can just feel the build quality in an American Standard that seems to be lacking or non-existent in the MIM.
    Now, on the to MIJ (or CIJ). I have never owned an MIJ, but I have played several over the years. I think MIJ's are sleeper guitars. The ones I have played have all been great guitars, and I think there's a real value in them. The luthier that I use swears by them.
    It really comes down to the player. If you like the MIM, and find value in it, then play it until the strings break!
     
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