Can a MIM Tele Be Upgraded to Be As Good As a USA Tele?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Digiplay, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    That's an excellent point. Its an identity fixation. Is my avatar an MIM, MIA, MIJ, or is it a telecaster? The only hint I'll give, is that its a Fender. Oh, and as far as pickups? It has two single coils.
     
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  2. Owenmoney

    Owenmoney Tele-Afflicted

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    It’s backwards, lol, I’m a lefty too but I play righty.


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  3. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I play with both hands. At the same time. ;)
     
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  4. Average_Joe

    Average_Joe Tele-Holic

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    Making the most of it is best summarized :

    Caviar tastes on a tuna fish budget!

    and would vote yes if there was a poll ;-)
     
  5. HWTele

    HWTele Tele-Holic

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    Call me crazy but I don’t see anything really special about standard US stuff until you get into CS production. Fenders are what? Basically two hunks of wood bolted together, the raw material from the MIM v US stuff isn’t really all that different.

    Just for grins I recently took my son’s old black label strat from ‘94 and decided to mod it.

    The guitar had a really nice lightly flamed maple neck and stock played like butter.

    Where this guitar failed was that it had cheap H/W, electronics and pickups. So decided I would install a set of vintage tuners, Fender saddles/bridge w/ a larger block, new 3ply mint pick guard, a blender mod with pots, switch and found a pup winder in Texas on EBay doing fat 50 type clones that set me back a laughable $45 for the set. I’m now into the guitar for a grand total of $350 (including the guitar) & it flat out kills.

    Just goes to show what you can do with good bones and a few bucks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  6. Owenmoney

    Owenmoney Tele-Afflicted

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    I was gonna say that too , lol


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  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    a MIM IS better than A Made in USA, depending on who's playing it.

    The reason MIM's are generally considered to be lesser guitars is because, typically they're played by lesser guitarists, or good guitarists that rarely get enough exposure to influence anyone with the gear they are using.

    r
     
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  8. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    In all the years I’ve been modding and building Teles I’ve never heard of this.

    What is it and what perceived benefits is it supposed to deliver?

    :) Peter
     
  9. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    Whether made by Fender or anyone else they are all just parts guitars hence they are equal to the sum of their parts. Nothing more and nothing less.
     
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  10. HWTele

    HWTele Tele-Holic

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    Chinese Squire

    it’s the ax swinger not the ax

     
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  11. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Unless the ax bit hasn't been sharpened in 100 years :)
     
  12. Sofaman

    Sofaman TDPRI Member

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    On the subject of can you make a MIM as good as the Road Worn '52 USA model. Of course you could....it would play and sound great. Keep it forever but when it comes time to sell it....its a MIM and you will never get the money out of it, that you put into it. Its a real shame...
     
  13. Prince1999

    Prince1999 Tele-Meister

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    That's not all of it... A MIM Telecaster is made in Mexico, by Authentic Mexican workers. A Made in USA Telecaster, you really don't know if it's made by Authentic Mexicans or Mexicans claiming to be Authentic Americans.


    Therefore, a MIM is an Authentic Made in Mexico by Mexicans guitar.
     
  14. Rickman365

    Rickman365 TDPRI Member

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    Muddy Waters (MIM) Tele. Great player, great sound.
     
  15. Matt Laird

    Matt Laird Tele-Meister

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    I took the Muddy Waters Tele that is in my profile picture and put Rio Grande Muy Grandes in it, a custom shop pick guard on it, and rewired it with CTS pots a Sprague Capacitor, a CRL switch and a switch craft jack with vintage wiring. I shield painted the cavities, put copper shielding on the back of the pick guard and when all was said and done, what I had is one of the best Telecasters I have ever played. I have plenty of expensive American Fenders, Gibsons, Robins and this guitar is still in a league of its own. Just my 2 cents. I made it my own with all the work and I have never regretted it.
     
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  16. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My short answer is yes.

    IME if the basis is good (light and resonant body, good neck and fret job etc.) it is just a matter of electronics: upgaded pots etc. plus good pickups will bring you to the same league of an US made guitar.

    Only difference would eventually be the finish (i. e. a vintera 50s vs 52 telecaster) but not much more.
     
  17. Festofish

    Festofish Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Why would you want two identical guitars? I have 4. 3 different scales, 3 different types of pickups, 3 different bridge types and 3 different types of neck/body construction. Strat, tele, Lp-ish and Lp Jr-ish. I wanna explore not revisit what I already have. My next will probably be a Dano w/lipsticks because why not? Oh a Dano with a metal bridge because wood bridges can’t be
    un-shaved.
     
  18. 66 Esquire

    66 Esquire TDPRI Member

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    Well now to be honest my go to telecaster is a 1966 Esquire with a handwound strat neck pickup added.. It plays like a dream. I paid £180 for it from a main dealer in 1986..
    I've worked in the music trade (retail and wholesale) and I genuinely don't feel that made in USA is carte blanche better all round... I've played some real **** vintage instruments and
    Fender qualty control has had some very suspect periods over the decades...
    My back up Tele is MIM 60s Baha..... absolutely first class attention to detail. The pickups are knockout but the S1 switching and 4 way are take it or leave it for me personally..

    Don't believe the hype . Get yourself a Tele from Mexico, Japan or USA that you feel comfortable with.. get pups or wiring that works for you... there's something good to be found in ALL THESE MODELS..

    Just be good to yourself and your Tele..
     
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  19. vintageampz

    vintageampz Tele-Meister

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    Unless you plan on also changing out the body and the neck too, NO!

    Those are your two VASTLY important limitations for TONE! If your MIM has a crap body and a crap neck, you are limited to those very important sources of tone even an electric solid-body guitar contributes to its electric sound. You can spend a ton on PuP's, Pots, Switch, Tuners, Bone Nut, better Bridge and Saddles, but if your MIM's body wood is "dull", the neck pocket is loose and the neck itself is "dead" for tone, you are screwed to live with a compromised axe.

    Quote:
    "The first major difference between the two – besides the price – is the wood used for the bodies. While an American Fender has a three piece body made of ash, its Mexican equivalent is made either superior choice in wood and build. And if you know electric guitars, you know that the choice and wood can mean a big difference in tone but you should also know that wood alone doesn’t give you the whole story, so let’s talk a few more differences before we get into some specifics on the sound. Another pretty significant difference that should interest you is the number of frets on each. While the Mexican variety comes with 21 frets the American Fender tops it with 22. Although one might not seem like a lot, it actually does add a bit to its tonal range when it’s all said and done." (ProAudioland.com because do you think Fender would ever admit this?)

    Wherever you live, go find and HONEST Luthier and ask him what he thinks after fully inspecting your MIM.

    Now having worked at Fender in production (27 years), I can guarantee your that MIM's (didn't) DON'T get the same quality wood that USA or Custom Shop models get, otherwise why would anyone buy a USA model?

    Now, I took a 1995 Korean made (ShaeHan Musical Inst) Squier Stratocaster I paid $45 for from a guy in Orange County off CraigsList (the truss rod nut was stripped, he thought the rod was broken) with a solid 3-piece very tight-grained Basswood sunburst Poly finished body (Basswood as a species nearly the same as American Alder), an American Maple 1-piece neck (Fender shipped American Maple blanks to Japan and Korean in the 1980s - late 1990's for neck manufacturing). I kept the aged cow bone nut it was manufactured with (beautifully made and fitted), refretted it with early 1970's mid-size frets, kept the well-worn poly finish with it's dents and chips. Replaced all the Pots and drop cap with early 70's vintage NOS, CTS 5-way selector and a set of Fender "Pure Vintage '65 Strat Pickups" (I get for $65 wholesale), new American made jack, and reissiue "aged" Deluxe Tuners with nickle buttons. I "roughed up" the neck poly finish with 1000 steel wool so you couldn't tell it is a poly finish to the touch.

    I had two friends that are well-known studio musicians in the LA area play the "revised" Korean Squier and my full original vintage late 1971 Fender Stratocaster (which has an American Alder body and maple neck), Blindfolded through the same amp (my 1964 Deluxe Reverb) at my shop and they could not tell the difference in sound or playability (though the Korean Squier felt "very well used".) They thought the Squier was also an early 70's Stratocaster .... until they took off the blindfold.[/QUOTE]
     
  20. julmust

    julmust Tele-Meister

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    A MiM tele can without a doubt become as good as a US tele.

    Sometimes it is better, even by default, without doing anything.
     
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