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

gizzard

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Yesterday I went to used guitar shop near me and they had gotten in a MIJ 62 Reissue Telecaster made in 1988 or 1989 according to the clerk. I got to try it and it sounded really good and felt comfortable in my hands. I’ve also been looking into either tracking down a used American original 60s Telecaster or even seeing if I can get my hands on one of the Heritage series Telecasters that are exclusive to the Japanese domestic market. Have any of you tried the models that were kept exclusive to Japan? I also heard the American original series is being discontinued and that might pose a problem.
Owned a MIJ telecaster, CIJ mustang and MiJ mustang. All great well crafted guitars. You do get a thick finish and crumby electronics i.e. pick ups, pots and wiring should be reworked in my opinion. It has been said that Fender stopped importing the Japanese models both squire and Fender in the late 80s early 90s due to the craftsmanship being better than the American counterparts of the time. In todays market you can't beat an American made tele in my opinion every one I've touched has been great as far as craftsmanship and you won't have to upgrade the crappy electronics. If I find a good deal on a Japanese telecaster I would grab it though.
 

Sax-son

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I have a couple of MIJs and I love them. You might have to do some upgrades to get them where you want them, but once you do, they are keepers. I had to get a refret (different frets) and upgrade my electronics and pickups, but I will now put them up against any USA made Fender.
 

bobio

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The title is too generic. Every guitar is an individual. Every guitar made in America is not better than every Guitar made in Japan, or anywhere else for that matter. This is why there is absolutely no replacement for sitting down and trying a bunch of guitars or at least ensuring you can return a guitar if you aren't happy with it before putting down the money.
 

8barlouie

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I’ve had several MIJ Teles and Strats from the 80’s. They were okay, and definitely worth the approximate 60-70% price of their MIA counterparts. On any given day, I could probably hold in my hands a MIJ that can beat a given MIA, but that would be the rare exception, IME. Recently, I’ve seen MIJ Fenders for sale asking as much or more than their MIA counterparts. I say, “no dice”. AS a matter of fact, most late model year MIMs have been better. I currently have 11 Teles and Strats in both MIA and MIM. Not a single MIJ remains. I have nothing against the MIJs, just the way the chips fell.
 

telemnemonics

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I love the MIJ Fender and Tokai but you hafta consider that FMIC was importing models they spec'd to be lesser than US models while the various different Japanese factories over the years were not one brand or one maker.
 

HaWE

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I have owned several MIJ Teles, Fender and other makes. Nothing wrong with them whatsoever.

Some of my faves have been the Fender Japan MIJ A series serial #s.

This A serial # ORDER MADE '56 style had a nice FAT neck and a very nice light weight swamp ash body.
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Here is another A serial # ORDER MADE KR model with a 2 piece/center seam sen body.
Both of these A serial # Teles are very rare and locating either one would be nearly impossible now days.

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Another very rare MIJ Tele; Bacchus Tele Custom 2 piece/center seam mahogany body with ebony fingerboard.

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I like these beautiful finishes !!!!!!!!!!!
 

ben smith

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they stack up as randomly as the USA MIM MIJ guitars stack up against each other, you get good ones and you get the not as good ones. I do very much like my MIJ telemaster at the moment, if I were to compare the telemaster to my beloved MIM partscaster tele, I would say my particular MIM tele is as good as the MIJ telemaster. the USA american original I had although I didn't like the color and sent it back, it was just that little extra special in feel but not sound compared to the MIJ
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HomeOffisRockstar

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I have a CIJ Aerodyne Strat. it plays fantastic. I got it for like $600 a few years ago.
 

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Si G X

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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.

yeah, I feel exactly the same (and I put rails in!) I wish I still had mine too! ... very cool guitar.

SL273888.JPG
 

FuzzWatt

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I owned numerous MIM, MIJ, CIJ, and MIA Fenders. The Japanese ones have always been great. Their tolerances are very precise and as a result the entire instrument feels tight and well put together.

Better than MIA? Not really, just different.

That said, IMO, there has never been better Fender guitars than those made in the US post 2013. Full stop.
 

Synchro

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I’ve owned several CIJ/MIJ Fenders and had pretty good experiences. The pickups in my MIJ Jaguar and my MIJ (2013) Bass VI were harsh and in both cases I replaced them.

I have a CIJ Mustang bass that is bone stock and sounds fantastic. Of every bass I’ve owned, P-Basses, Jazz-Basses, a couple of Warwicks, that Mustang is my favorite.

Likewise, my MIJ Bass VI strikes me as a better instrument than the US Custom Shop Bass VI I once owned.
 

Southpole

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I’ve never owned a MIJ Fender so no trumpet to blow or axe to grind. What interests me most is the models that get made in Japan that are not available anywhere else. Love the Telemaster above.

When I returned to guitar playing in early 2000s I decided I wanted my dream Tele - a 62 reissue sunburst Custom. They weren’t that available or that cheap. But MIJ comprised most of the market having been made since the 80s. MIA only went into production in 1999 and were really rare.
 

Matthias

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I think what’s safe to say is MiJ/CiJ is not a badge of consistent spec or quality. Those factories, certainly Fujigen, produced stuff at a range of price points from a little above a Squier to fairly expensive. Some models were ‘lower’ spec than modern equivalents.

The very low-end MiJ stuff was actually very good for the price at the time… I have a basic toploader Tele and it’s solid. But now you find people trying to sell those for $800 - $1000 and that’s just silly. Not sure how many people pay that though…
 

bgmacaw

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The very low-end MiJ stuff was actually very good for the price at the time… I have a basic toploader Tele and it’s solid. But now you find people trying to sell those for $800 - $1000 and that’s just silly. Not sure how many people pay that though…

"Very good for the price at the time" is a good way to put it for 80's/90's MIJ. Thanks to this successful early reputation, it caused them to gather rabid fans who are willing to pay outrageous amounts for them today. It's too bad most examples are essentially Ships of Theseus now.

Of course, this mostly applies to the US market where availability of MIJ models have been spotty over the past 25 years or so, available only as very limited runs or on the gray market. Other parts of the world have had them available a lot more frequently.
 

teleplayr

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I have a '94-'95 MIJ '62 R.I. Custom Telecaster w/Bigsby, great guitar!

I bought it used and whoever had it before me took excellent care of it, no dings.dents and the frets are perfect.

What originally sold me was the neck profile, it's exactly the same profile as a '66 MIA Telecaster I owned for years.

I upgraded all the electronics with full sized pots & Duncan pickups. All the mod's are reversible and I've kept all the original parts.

I've owned several Telecasters over the years, but this one has been the keeper!
 




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