Tele Purchase Decision: '85 MIJ vs Baja - Help!

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Jaketone, Mar 15, 2017.

1985 MIJ TL52-70 (or 75) or 50s Baja (with short explanation essay!)

  1. Japan baby!

  2. Baja baby!

  1. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 13, 2012
    Northamptonshire, UK
    Slightly microphonic pickups can sound more 'complex' - I note that Cavalier pickups offer a 'light potting' option for this (presumably). Unless they create non-musical squeals at reasonable volume, don't worry about it.
    Jaketone likes this.
  2. Sparky6string

    Sparky6string Tele-Meister

    Aug 6, 2005
    Enjoy your new acquisition! I have both MIJ and Baja and they are different experiences. The Baja has a more American feel to it, hearkening back to the blue collar roots of the instrument. The Japanese one feels like a comfort ride by comparison to my hands. Also the MIJ is heavier and feels denser. There are heavy Bajas and light ones- mine is a middle-of-the-road 7 lbs 6 oz if IIRC.

    My vote was for the Baja but of my own two examples I might choose the MIJ based on merit- they're wonderful detail-oriented guitars for sure. I just really dig the direction Fender is going with the Baja and even more so the MiM Classic series/Road Worns.
    Jaketone likes this.

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 13, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    I've had a couple of MIJ Teles and the early Baja.
    I still have the Baja.
    The reasons are the Baja's neck and the tone. Particularly that Twisted -Tele neck pickup.
    Also, the electric components on the MIJ just don't feel as good to me.
    (I did get what I paid for the MIJ models, but I haven't missed them at all.)
    Jaketone likes this.
  4. Jaketone

    Jaketone TDPRI Member

    Feb 14, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hi Folks

    Just coming back to this.. You'll all be pleased to know that I now own a Baja as well!

    I just had to try one out (and luckily mint condition for way less than they go for new) and knew instantly that I needed to have it.

    I initially thought I would A/B them and choose between but for the moment I think I am content having one of each (we'll see what my bank account has to say about this..)

    The Baja is so versatile and has a lot of great sounds in it. The neck is great but not as big a deal as I think a lot of people make of it - although it is refreshing to have something thicker in a sea of modern Cs.

    The Baja needs a good setup and probably some compensated saddles. It doesn't look as refined as the MIJ - the wood grain/poly looks a bit cheaper. The MIJ has a bit more meticulous detail in it's vintage styling.

    Playability wise, the 7.25 vs 9.5 radius doesn't really bother me too much and the vintage frets vs medium jumbo (?) really don't make a difference to me unless I am trying to play David Gilmour licks - and even then, the MIJ was fine. It's got a good setup.

    Sound wise, the MIJ is maybe a bit warmer overall including in the bridge. I think the bridge might be the only pickup position that the MIJ edges out the Baja (to my ear) - otherwise all the other Baja positions are superior. S1 I can give or take but position 4 is great! position 2 and 3 on the MIJ were just a bit muddier.

    The truth is, you can't go wrong with either. Its wonderful to own a piece of history in the MIJ but if it came to a mad sell off of gear, I think it might go first before the Baja. The Baja just has the versatility edge - I think I could play anything on the Baja.
  5. Clifton C

    Clifton C Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 26, 2010
    I've had two MIJ Paisley Telecasters, both made in the first run in the 80's, and it was my understanding that they're both made of basswood.
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