Quality of Fender Japan over the years?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by loudfast, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. loudfast

    loudfast Tele-Meister

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    Howdy folks -

    Well, this is my first post here - I just found this great site yesterday! I love Teles - my first was a new '78, and since then I have also obtained a '70 blonde with Bigsby and a '72 natural.

    Now, though, I am tempted to acquire one more, and am curious about the quality of Fender Japan models over the years (wow, I guess it's decades now!) I know in general these instruments have a great rep - in fact, I got rid of a Custom Shop Strat in favor of a FJ '68 Strat reissue that is always in my personal playing heavy rotation.

    But I'm curious if anyone has any input regarding the overall consistency of FJ guitars. I'm looking at a couple of Teles from the early 90s as well as 2 new ones from Ishibashi - does anyone have any comments in general about this topic?

    Thanks, and it's great to be here!
     
  2. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Welcome aboard Frank. I'm a fan of Fender Japan. I have a few. The biggest complaint around these parts seems to be the mini pots and the switch. Many people here change them out immediately. I figure ........... if they work, leave them alone.
     
  3. silentkid

    silentkid Tele-Meister

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    I've never had a problem with the Japanese pots either. I've always found it funny how people like Japanese electronics and Japanese guitars, but not Japanese electronics in Japanese guitars.
     
  4. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well said silentkid. [​IMG]
     
  5. timgreene

    timgreene Tele-Afflicted

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    folks, moan about the pickups to. I disagree, I like the MIJ pickups.

    As far as bad era for MIJ's i dont think there are any.

    Got the follwoing MIJ's, 83 strat, 83 tele, and a 96 strat, all are great guitars, with nice tone.

    Value wise look for e7 series mij squier. These run in the 2 to 3 hundred range. The necks alone are worth that, to me.
     
  6. Mike Rice

    Mike Rice Friend of Leo's

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    We've often had discussions here about what we like or dislike regarding the general characteristics of the various Fender assembly locations; MIA, MIM, MIJ most specfically. You've used the one word that I always use to describe the MIJ guitars; consistency. Over the years the MIJ Fenders are about the only ones I'm willing to buy sight unseen on the 'net. If you like or dislike a particular model, I think you're going to feel that way about virtually all you play in the MIJ lineup. MIMs, though they've gotten much more consistent, sometimes require that you play a few to get a good one. Actually I think they're all pretty good, so let's say to get the cream of the crop.

    The other thing I love about MIJs are the necks. Even if you don't particularly like the shape or profile, you can't help but admire the fit and finish. I would have absolutely no qualms about buying any MIJ Fender, but that's just me.
     
  7. Telecicle

    Telecicle Tele-Meister

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    MIJ is OK...

    I am a silly fool who has spent waaay to much money on guitars and amps. I'm not talking about $$ value, strictly, but more the ratio of money spent to money earned. In other words, sometimes it seems like I play out just to feed my guitar jones. That said, the two best guitars I've ever owned were an MIJ '62 RI Strat, and my current Bigsbycaster. The MIJ Fenders I've sold at the stores I've worked for over the years are the same high quality. My current MIJ faves besides my Tele are the Geddy Lee Jazz Bass, and the Sting P-Bass. They all seem to have that "solid" quality that seems so elusive nowadays, but seems common among '50s and '60s Fenders. IMO, these statements don't need any "bang for the buck" qualification, either. MIJ Fenders stand on their own.
     
  8. Oster

    Oster Friend of Leo's

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    No longer budget instruments but...

    The way things seem to be going, the value (price vs. quality) isn't too much different from MIA, but the resale value (yes, we're all players, not buying to sell etc. etc.) will always be better with a MIA instrument. For this reason MIJ are becoming a less compelling option to me.
     
  9. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

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    MIM or MIJ for me all the way!

    The EJ Strat is the only USA made Fender I might get but if it was an MIJ model I would already have one.
     
  10. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's a good one, silentkid! :lol:

    I love Fender Japan's instruments--all of my guitars and basses are MIJ or CIJ, or are largely made up of MIJ/CIJ parts. I've really only had one instance where a Fender Japan guitar didn't feel or sound right just out of the shipping carton; however, with a few adjustments, that guitar is now a peach. But that's the rare exception. You have to go a long way to beat Fender Japan for consistency of quality and value.

    Joel
     
  11. Dennis68

    Dennis68 Tele-Holic

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    There is no question in my mind guitars out of Japan are top notch. But I think for many, myself included, the path taken to be transported back in time with what is an icon of Americana, an American made Fender. There are many fine Guitars made in America both in and outside of the walls of Fender. It's no Secret that PRS set the fire for the big 2 to shape up and focus from a wayward 80's era. I think the industry needed that shot in the arm... Of course there are those that will just say give me the best guitar no matter what name is on the headstock or what sense of history it may (or may not ) have.

    But if I could only have one guitar (heaven forbid) it would be a Vintage American Fender to take me back in time...
     
  12. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    My old Japanese Tele

    is from the early-mid 80's. It's an odd-ball Tele Contemporary w/ humbuckers and a Floyd Rose whammy thing. The original owner abandonded it, left it behind at a studio for a couple of years, I guess he thought it was worthless! It was offered to me several times, and I turned it down because it was a weird-looking Japanese guitar. In the end the studio owner was going to put it in a dumpster, so I decided to try it out. Now I LOVE that guitar! Quality of workmanship is great, no less than my '68 Tele. In fact, I think that I am starting to prefer my Japanese guitar to my vintage Fender.

    My only complaint/problem is the Gibson-style pickup toggle switch. It gets dirty inside and makes weird hissing notes, almost like the hiss that is hidden behind a noise-gate. It took me weeks to figure out that it wasn't a problem in my amp! When I shot the switch with contact cleaner the problem was solved. Unfortunately, a year later it happened again and I had forgotten, so I went through the same learning experience again.
     
  13. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This should explain my feelings about Japanese Fenders.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Telecicle

    Telecicle Tele-Meister

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    Right on!!!

    JWells, you're my hero! Usually only a Muffuletta from Central Grocery makes me drool like that. (Central Grocery on Decatur St. is the Fuji Gen Gakki of Muffulettas, BTW)
     
  15. loudfast

    loudfast Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for all the great responses - how I've missed this site all this time is beyond me. Well, I'll just have to make up for lost time!
     
  16. bo

    bo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess I'm in the minority.

    I don't know about the ones built for the Japanese market, but I thought the quality of the ones imported to the US took an ever so slight hit around '96 or so. I think that's when they went to being "Crafted".
     
  17. RichardL

    RichardL Tele-Holic

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    Wow

    Nice collection.
     
  18. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mike, you're spot-on about Fender Japan necks. They're worth the price of admission alone!

    A couple of my guitars are FrankenFenders, but regardless of the body, hardware, and/or electronics, each has an MIJ neck. Heck, I'm always scanning eBay for MIJ/CIJ necks. I have a couple I won on eBay that are hanging around waiting for me to put 'em on some future bodies I might acquire/have made. Incredibly well-crafted and good-feeling necks.

    Joel
     
  19. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    I have a '95 MIJ and a '05 CIJ '62 Tele Custom RIs.
    Both are fine although the body woods are different.
    The control pots, switch and tuners have not been
    changed on either.
    The MIJ one has the bridge saddles and pickups
    changed but was done as a preference.
    The quality on both guitars is very good.
     
  20. ludwig

    ludwig Tele-Holic

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    Mike, you're spot-on about Fender Japan necks. They're worth the price of admission alone!





    yep your right about the necks,excellent,i actually prefer them over MIA stuff.
     
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