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Comparison: TL62B vs. Thin Skin 62RI

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by chipbutty24, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. chipbutty24

    chipbutty24 Friend of Leo's

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    I received my new MIJ Tele today. I'll be changing it over to an Esquire but first I thought I'd compare them for anyone who's interested.

    Many people ask if Japanese Fender guitars are a good buy; are they close in quality to MIAs. The price gap between the two can be substantial so, since I now have one of each, I figured I'd share my thoughts.

    The MIA is the Sherwood Green, the MIJ is Ice Blue Metallic


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    Fit and Finish/Appearance:
    These are both very nice looking guitars (IMO anyway), but is build quality equal?

    The MIA paint job is fantastic. It does have some finish cracking around the binding but since this is a "nitro" guitar I'm not deducting any points. There are no sharp fret ends, the fingerboard shows no significant flaws. The nut is cut well and doesn't cause any issues as far as I can tell. The finish on the back of the neck is smooth as silk. Not sticky and feels good to the hand. There are no issue at all except one, and it's a very minor point. The tuners seem to be out a bit on the spacing. Gaps between some while the others are tight together.

    Here's what I mean. The MIA is the first pic, the MIJ is the second.

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    The paint on the MIJ is flawless. All the components fit properly. No slop or shoddy workmanship that I can see. Again there are no sharp fret ends, the fingerboard and nut are fine. No tuner spacing issues on the MIJ however the chrome on the control plate is a bit pitted for some reason and on the bridge the metal is shiny and smooth above the pickup and has almost a brushed look below. Not sure what's up with that.

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    The MIA has a butt crack, the MIJ does not FWIW.

    Can't give either instrument the win in this category, they are both 9/10 IMO.

    Feel
    Without weighing them, both feel about the same.

    The neck profile feels pretty much the same too. I kind of want to say the MIJ feels a hair beefier, but I'd bet if I had some calipers they'd come in very close to one another.

    The MIJ frets are vintage and the MIA are 6105s. I used to prefer the bigger frets but since acquiring a 62RI Jazzmaster last year, I've gotten use to both. I don't see fret size as a big issue.

    Even thought the MIA is nitro and the MIJ poly, the necks don't feel very different. Maybe I'm just not sensitive enough but again I don't put much stock in the whole Poly v. Nitro thing.

    The movement of the knobs on the MIJ feels more solid to me, not sure why, just smoother. The MIA has a bit looser feel. Another very minor point.

    Tuner action is similar on both with the instruments both staying in tune well.

    Once again I see no clear advantage for either except the player's preference for fret size.

    Sound
    Obviously the biggest factor is any guitar comparison is sound.

    This category isn't really all that easy to judge. My MIA has brass comp saddles and the MIJ has stock grooved saddles. I do believe saddle material can affect the sound but by how much is kind of up in the air. These guitars also have different pups and electronics.

    Unplugged (if that matters to you) they sound pretty similar (I know...don't think I've typed "similar" as many times before in my life).

    Plugged in the MIA sounds growlier, more bite a bit hotter if you will
    The MIJ sounds more subdued, has a shimmering quality to it. Seems to have a bit more sustain.

    Again this could all be in my own mind but that's what I get out of it.

    I'd say, for my tastes, the MIA sounds better overall but not to any degree that would blow your mind.

    Conclusion
    I still think my MIA is the best guitar I've ever laid hands on. It makes me wanna play it all the time. It's pretty and sexy and raw all at the same time. I never get tired playing it and I will NEVER sell it (if you knew my track record, you'd realize what kind of statement that is).

    But

    The MIJ is 95% of the way there. It oozes quality in almost all areas. It sounds good, it feels good. It's a genuine Tele through and through.

    If I'm being honest, the only real reason to choose the MIA over the MIJ is if you absolutely must have USA on your guitar. If not, get the Japanese guitar, you won't regret it.

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    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. Clifton C

    Clifton C Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice review! Like the head-to-head comparison!
     
  3. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Tele-Afflicted

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    Awesome, thanks for taking the time to compare these two guitars!
    FYI - the US Fender bridge plates are the same way. It's just the way they are.
     
  4. TeleTown

    TeleTown Friend of Leo's

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    Nice review! As it goes, I favored my mij 62 over my mia 62 thinskin. Maybe I should have modded my thinskin like you did yours.
     
  5. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    First of all, happy NGD! Nice guitars you have there!
    Very informative review, with nice pics too! Many thanks for taking the time to share with us.
     
  6. tedro

    tedro Tele-Afflicted

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    ...and one's a top-loader.
     
  7. Chris H.

    Chris H. Tele-Afflicted

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    Very good eye there.
     
  8. chipbutty24

    chipbutty24 Friend of Leo's

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    Ha! Yes it is.

    The switch tips are different too ;)
     
  9. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    Chipbutty, if you still have the original threaded steel saddles from your AV62RI, and if you don't mind, I'd be curious about a comparison with their japanese counterparts, especially in terms of width, diameter and also spacing (length) between the 2 height adjustment screws on each saddle :?: thanks in advance if you can enlighten me as regards to this (to me) crucial question :cool:
     
  10. chipbutty24

    chipbutty24 Friend of Leo's

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    Sure thing. I don't have any calipers but here are some side by side pics. The plates are about the same size. The string and screw holes look to be in the same locations. The barrels on the MIA bridge are thicker and more coarse. I do plan on taking the MIJ bridge off and seeing how the actual fit is. Once I do that I will post the results. Hope this helps.

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  11. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you for the informative pics and observations Chipbutty! This helps :cool:
     
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