How well do you think the MIJ guitars stack up against the USA made guitars?

brenn

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 8, 2013
Posts
1,633
Location
Kentucky
I owned a lot of MIJ Fenders back when I got them for $300-400 in the '90s and early 2000s. I never found them superior to any U.S. or Mexican Fender. In fact, a lot of the Japanese guitars have relatively crappy tuners, pots and switches and such and the MIM were usually better. Some of them have nice wood, but so do the Mexican guitars. Granted, the MIJ guitars beat the 1970's USA guitars, but what doesn't? I say the "Made in Japan" mojo is BS and always has been - they are good, playable guitars, but it is entirely a myth that they are anything special.
 

scotabilly

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Posts
125
Location
NJ USA
I've owned a lot of MIJ's and CIJ's, and a JV. I've found that the MIJ guitars are slightly better quality than CIJ, and have a personality of their own. I'm not really fond of the CIJ's, that's when they switched manufacturers. Comparing to the American Originals, Fender takes as many liberties with the vintage style if not more than the MIJ's. Although it's true they do get modified quite a bit, I just bought a lefty '62 Tele Custom and the only modification was a Gotoh 6 saddle flat bridge. I swapped that out for an old style 3 saddle bridge I had. I also have a late 80's '57 reissue Strat.
 

Esquier

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Posts
119
Age
65
Location
Vernon. Canada
The first 1983 Japanese Squiers were sure nice, especially the 1962 style sunburst Strat. My buddy played an early '90's MIJ Strat with a Floyd style trem with finetuners and locking nut that was sort of borrowed, and he used it for nearly 20 years until someone claimed it back! It's funny nobody mentioned Greco. They're in demand cos that's the factory that Fender got their guitars built in. Check out Greco Strats!
 

JamesAM

Tele-Holic
Joined
May 13, 2020
Posts
738
Age
36
Location
Virginia, USA
If MIJ Fenders are anything like MIJ Gretsches, they're amazing - I've had two Terada Gretsches and they were both top notch (better than the Gibsons I had IMO). I wish I had the opportunity to try more of the MIJ fenders - the Traditional jazzmaster and 52 tele look really cool.
 

Bonneville Bruce

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 12, 2003
Posts
757
Location
Caldwell, Idaho
This one, Crafted in Japan, (027-8900-900) was purchased new from Old Boise Guitar in 2005. I unboxed it and it was in immaculate shape, and nearly in tune. It was set up nicely, very ready to play. This is an extraordinary instrument in every aspect. It rings like a bell, and has excellent sustain. Surprisingly, it stays in tune as well or better than all the other guitars I own. I could find no fault with its construction, design or set up. It seems like a Custom Shop instrument for a fraction of the cost. My friends call this one "guitar porn." I don't know what the pickups are specifically, they are the single coil stock ones, but they are beautiful, with the classic 50s bell tones with plenty chime. If I could buy a set of these exact pickups, I would and put them in my Classic 50s Strat. I can't say enough about how wonderful this guitar is. It is a keeper.


DCP_1039.JPG
 

WireLine

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Posts
1,687
Age
66
Location
Midland TX
I own the 58 RI strat, MiJ…and it’s a spectacular guitar, feels better than any US strat I’ve played in 20 yrs…

My primary bass is a MiJ Squire Precision…have 6 other basses that don’t see any recording time. The Hecho en Mexico PJ Mustang sees a lot of stage time.

Before it was stolen, had a MiJ Squire Strat that was perhaps the best sounding 6 string I’ve owned, ever. MiJ tele was, well, kind of funky

I’m thinking a lot of the mystique is luck of the draw.
 

arlum

Tele-Afflicted
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Posts
1,883
Age
67
Location
O'Fallon, MO
MIMs are very good and I've owned many. MIJs are definitely better and can, on occasion, equal MIAs. MIAs are the most consistent in their quality and always carry a higher resale value.
 

Fendereedo

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Posts
9,855
Age
56
Location
Suffolk UK
I've had a few CIJ MIJ Fender's along the way. They all had superb fit and finish, but the electrics, pots and pickups were all crappy, and needed replacing. I gave up after a while chasing this so called myth that they are the gods own guitars, and basically went with Fender MIA and MIM for better all around quality. It really is JMO though, everyone has their own story.
 

ab2012

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Posts
771
Location
new jersey
Never had a bad one. I do find them a bit heavy. The one I currently own is the tl52-65spl…Keith Richards style. Plays and sounds great.
 

SparkleFart

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Posts
687
Location
SE Alaska
My only experience with MIJ is my fairly recent production telemaster(?), which I think I got new around 2018. The pickups were underwhelming & I ended up replacing them with a Lollar J Street & P90. But the attention to the neck & the fretwork seem the equal to many MIAs I've been exposed to. It strikes me that whomever worked on it cared about what they were doing. Just my 2C.

telemaster.jpg
 

Matthias

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Posts
4,004
Location
Third rock from the Sun
MiJ/CIJ guitars from the 90s had, on a number of models, the soft type of basswood that dented easy and screws stripped out of, cheap hardware and electronics no better than modern Squiers. Necks were pretty good. Where the more expensive woods we’re used like alder body’s were OK. They had their share of finish flaws and bad factory setups. Pickups were fair, except on models like Jazzmasters where the construction was totally off. Hard to upgrade sometimes too due to metric sizing too. The three I’ve actually owned (one CIJ, two MiJ, all 90s) I would compare more to my modern Squiers than MiM or MiAs.

That’s not to say you can’t find good ones from that era or ones that feel fantastic in the hands. Sound is subjective. But no reason to pay the premium prices they fetch on the used market. They were a good option back when the average quality in the market was lower. We’re in a golden age now. I would expect modern ones have improved too but at least until fairly recently there were still using cheaper electronics.
 

KeithDavies 100

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 19, 2021
Posts
365
Age
59
Location
Cambridge, UK
My Tele is a rosewood - the so-called Harrison reissue - from '87. I replaced the pickups with Joe Bardens but it's otherwise as it was when I bought it new. Great guitar. I have a Korean built Strat that was a bargain - probably precisely because it's Korean-built - and I love that. It has Seymours on it, though I believe they were stock on that model.

I don't have much experience with American-built Fenders - played 3 or 4 maybe - but have been disappointed every time. I've never been sure how much the high regard for American-built instruments is patriotism, and a desire to support American manufacturing - not judging, and no disrespect intended at all, but most on this forum are on that side of the pond. Here in the UK, they just seem to be excessively priced for little real difference. Though, as I've said, that may be my inexperience with them - perhaps I've just been unlucky.

My experience with Japanese and Korean Fenders has been that they're solid, work-quality instruments.
 

CX Hunter

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 12, 2020
Posts
168
Location
Pomona NY
Well - y'know you can buy 'em direct from Japan and then you KNOW they ain't fake. Last year I bought a gorgeous MIJ Tele - not available for the Euro/American market and it's superb. Only thing that needed doing was cleaning up the rough edges on the frets. Communication with shops in Asia can be slow and tiresome, but I've found them to be honest, and they always do a good job of packing. The prices (assuming you're not buying something vintage) are pretty darned reasonable. I got my last from (forget their name) a chain with shops in Singapore, Penang, Tokyo and a few other places. Buying direct from individuals is a mixed bag - but then it always is.
 

Mur

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 30, 2004
Posts
2,138
Location
USA
I think the individual selection of woods is the biggest factor of how a Tele sounds.
 

brookdalebill

Tele Axpert
Ad Free Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Posts
117,258
Age
65
Location
Austin, Tx
Very, very well.
My MIJ Gretsch and Ibanez Artist are vastly superior instruments to their MIA counterparts, IMO.
Fit, finish, hardware and sound, all better
The Gretsch is my all-time best sounding electric guitar.
The Artist beats every ES type guitar I’ve ever owned.
Love em’!
I am also a fan of MIJ Fenders, EXCEPT for their pickups.
The pickups sound weak and thin, IMO.
Easy fix.
 
Last edited:

Fiesta Red

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
8,854
Location
Texas
I’ve played quite a few MIJ Fenders over the years, and the only consistent complaints I have had are the pickups (un-inspired and puny-sounding, to my ears) , and that some of the necks were kinda small (and I don’t have large hands).

Otherwise, I thought they were pretty good
 

Rusty Spanner

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Posts
277
Age
53
Location
Beautiful Downtown Burnley
I have a 2019 Limited Collection Strat, one of 9 in the UK.

Nitro, US Custom '69 pickups, two piece alder body.

This exact one:
https://www.reidys.com/electric-gui...d-collection-strat-rw-ice-blue-metallic-p7298

The two pieces of alder are very different - the bottom half has a visible grain pattern in certain light, whilst the top half is completely smooth.

Hard to see in the pictures, but the fretboard is one of the nicest bits of rosewood I've seen.
No idea if the hardware is Japanese or American, but it's superb.

As you can see from the ad, it was amazing value for the spec compared to the USA equivalent.
Came with a quality hard case.

Build quality is pretty much perfect, apart from a 1 or 2 mm long very, very slight run in the nitro next to the pocket, which took some spotting.

My wife has a Japanese Paisley Tele which has a basswood body, thick poly finish and Japanese electronics.
The build on that one is genuinely flawless and the pickups, wiring and pots are very decent indeed, but I don't have an American Tele to compare.

Both delightful guitars and very, very good value compared to the crazy prices being asked for USA made instruments over here in Britain.

Understanding the specs and comparing like with like is the key, I think, but I would buy another Japanese Fender in a heartbeat.
 
Last edited:

EsquireOK

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Posts
5,958
Location
U.S.A.
The AOs are being discontinued in favor of a return to a more vintage accurate line.

The old MIJs are constructed well. Their cost reductions happened in the areas of electronics and materials. And the body wood doesn't matter, if you get an opaque finish.

That said, They are so jacked up in price these days, that I wouldn't buy one. They used to be $250 to $300 guitars all day long on local classifieds. They are good, but they shouldn't cost over $600 if in excellent condition, IMO. You see them routinely listed for twice that, these days.

If you're gonna spend $1,200 on a reissue, just wait a bit longer, and save up for an old AV instead.
 
Last edited:

Southpaw Tele

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 30, 2008
Posts
2,788
Age
49
Location
The Golden State
The couple that I've actually had in my hands were alright.... nothing to get too excited about though imo. This was back in the USA Standard time and I didn't think they were as solid as those. No idea on the model specifics of them though.

The only Japanese Fender I've actually owned was a '69 Mustang RI. It was well made and the hardware was quality, basswood and very thick finish that chipped though.
I also had one of these (lefty, of course) and it was well made. Did really care for the basswood body, either and changed out the pickups for DiMarzio rail Strat sized humbuckers. Never quite bonded it but wish I had never sold it. Loved the neck and the scale length.
 




New Posts

Top