USA Tele’s and Strat’s vs made in other countries

muusicman

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Aside from the vast difference in price… what are the other differences?? All my guitars are either MIM or MIJ. I’ve never owned or played any made in USA.
 

Dismalhead

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Higher-end MIM models are built just as well with as good of components as the US Teles and Strats I've had. Right now my Fender stable has three high-end MIMs and one MIA - all stock, super happy with all of them and I wouldn't change a thing with any of them.

I know I didn't like the bridge or pickups when I had a '99 MIM Standard Strat; no idea how they are on the new Player Series though. Still built to last a lifetime.

MIJ - I've always avoided because I'm wary of being ripped off with a fake or parts guitar, so I have no idea what they're like. Never heard anything bad about genuine ones.
 

SixStringSlinger

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The only real difference aside from where they're made (and things like what the people who put them together get paid, etc.) is attention to certain details (say, rolled fretboard edges, that little curve where the body meets the neck, period-correct details on relevant models...) and certain specs that aren't really a question of better/worse but rather of pickiness and preference.

Basically there is absolutely no reason you can't take a MIM and love it as is, or make it your own. On the other hand, if you're picky about certain things and a stock MIA gives you that (or is closer to it than an MIM), that may be the ticket for you.

But it's really not about quality aside from, again, certain details that shouldn't make or break a guitar for you. More like "it's really nice that this MIA already has what I'd do to this MIM anyway.

I do get the impression lately that MIA's (Fenders, anyway) lean toward either reproduction of something from the past or ultra-deluxe modern-ness (in terms of aesthetics, materials and those nice little details), whereas MIM's seem to lean between up-the-middle modern iterations of classic guitars (Standards, Players) and cool hypothetical "what if" guitars that didn't exist as stock models before but in another life they could have (Vintera's, Alternate Realities).

So not objectively better or worse in any way. Just about what your preferences are.
 

muusicman

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I have 3 electrics at the moment. 2 Tele’s and a Strat. The Strat is a 3 tone burst MIM , 1 of my Tele’s is MIM and it’s a Candy Apple Red color. That is all I can remember about it. The other is MIJ. It’s the Paisley Tele reissue that was produced in the early 2000s. All were new when I bought them.
 

Killing Floor

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In the not so distant future machines will be self aware. But until that fateful day the CNC mills don’t know what country they are operated in. The human factors such as fret work and final QC may differ. But they can differ in both directions. A worker can miss a detail anywhere. And a worker can have exceptional skill anywhere.
 

Orpheum

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Here in Europe we are blessed with the existence of excellent electric guitars manufacturers like Vigier, Marceau, Maybach, Duesenberg...
Our choice is therefore rather varied between buying local, American or Asian! ;) :)
 

John C

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The manufacturers also sometimes set the specs to be different - different woods, different hardware materials, etc. - to create the price differences between instruments made in various places. MIJ prices have been essentially "in line" with USA prices for decades now. For example, the current limited run Fender MIJ JV Modified instruments are pretty similar in features to the MIM Vintera Modified instruments, and they are priced $100 higher (and also priced $100 less than the American Performer models) but you trade off an alder body for a basswood body. All three are equally nice; the MIJ is going to be more consistent than MIM (and possibly the USA models - although for Teles I've found the American Peformers to be very consistent; I can't say the same about the Strats). So really you can pick from the 3 based on your preferred feel as all 3 have different neck shapes and different pickups.

Also look as the prices of some high-end Ibanez - their AZ series has been priced at $1,999 for at least 2 years now, and feature-wise they are comparable to the Fender American Ultra - originally the American Ultras were priced lower than the AZ models, but with 2 prices increases over the past 12 months the Fenders are now more expensive. And truth be told the Ibanez AZ models are probably closer to the Fender Ultra Luxe (now $2,500) and the EBMM Cutlass model (which is now $2,600) than they are to the "basic" Fender American Ultras.
 

Sax-son

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You have to think of it in these terms, Fender Instruments in Fullerton, CA designed these guitars back in the 1950's and 1960s. The specs determine the instrument, and they can be built just about anywhere. As long as the quality control is up to Fender specifications, and the materials and hardware are top quality, it really doesn't matter where they are built. It is my belief that eventually Fender will build all their guitars in Mexico.
 

Wrighty

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The only real difference aside from where they're made (and things like what the people who put them together get paid, etc.) is attention to certain details (say, rolled fretboard edges, that little curve where the body meets the neck, period-correct details on relevant models...) and certain specs that aren't really a question of better/worse but rather of pickiness and preference.

Basically there is absolutely no reason you can't take a MIM and love it as is, or make it your own. On the other hand, if you're picky about certain things and a stock MIA gives you that (or is closer to it than an MIM), that may be the ticket for you.

But it's really not about quality aside from, again, certain details that shouldn't make or break a guitar for you. More like "it's really nice that this MIA already has what I'd do to this MIM anyway.

I do get the impression lately that MIA's (Fenders, anyway) lean toward either reproduction of something from the past or ultra-deluxe modern-ness (in terms of aesthetics, materials and those nice little details), whereas MIM's seem to lean between up-the-middle modern iterations of classic guitars (Standards, Players) and cool hypothetical "what if" guitars that didn't exist as stock models before but in another life they could have (Vintera's, Alternate Realities).

So not objectively better or worse in any way. Just about what your preferences are.
Now that a ‘middle of the road Fender’ seems to have gone from what was an American Standard to a Player, how close to what an AmStd was is a Player?
 

Wrighty

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You have to think of it in these terms, Fender Instruments in Fullerton, CA designed these guitars back in the 1950's and 1960s. The specs determine the instrument, and they can be built just about anywhere. As long as the quality control is up to Fender specifications, and the materials and hardware are top quality, it really doesn't matter where they are built. It is my belief that eventually Fender will build all their guitars in Mexico.
Interesting thought. I reckon they’ll build most of their ‘real’ Fender stuff in Mexico but keep a (perceived) premium line and Custom Shop coming out of Fullerton. Fender’s success has always been based on their ability to get a novice hooked on their products at the lower end and carry them up market with them. The lower end, where they compete with the bottom feeders, is not as lucrative as the higher end stuff, but serves it’s purpose by creating brand loyalty.
 

John C

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Now that a ‘middle of the road Fender’ seems to have gone from what was an American Standard to a Player, how close to what an AmStd was is a Player?

I think that calling the "American Standard" the "middle of the road Fender" is a fallacy - it was designed to be a workhorse modernized Fender. At the time they were released (officially in January 1987) the only other models Fender was making in the USA were the reissues (which had several names but we tend to call all of them AVRIs even though "American Vintage" didn't become the official name until 1996). Sure Fender added the Plus series that fell in-between the American Standard and the AVRIs price-wise, but to a certain extent those were modded American Standards - adding the noiseless Lace Sensor pickups, roller nut and locking tuners; other variations with a bit more upscale appointments would follow.

But at the point in time when the American Standards were introduced the "middle of the road" would have been MIJ Fenders like the Contemporary series and the Standard series. Of course I'm speaking only from USA experience; other parts of the world also got high-end MIJs that never were officially imported to the USA.

Interesting thought. I reckon they’ll build most of their ‘real’ Fender stuff in Mexico but keep a (perceived) premium line and Custom Shop coming out of Fullerton. Fender’s success has always been based on their ability to get a novice hooked on their products at the lower end and carry them up market with them. The lower end, where they compete with the bottom feeders, is not as lucrative as the higher end stuff, but serves it’s purpose by creating brand loyalty.

I think we've already seen a bit of a shift toward this; I could see the American Performers going away since the Player and Player Plus series have more upscale features than their predecessors; they also have a nice vintage/vintage modified series with the Vinteras that are only about $200 less than the American Peformers.

I could also see Fender renewing and expanding these recent limited-run MIJ JV Modified models as a replacement for the American Performers, and have the USA line start with the American Professional IIs. But if they did that then I would expect the JV Modifieds to go up to American Performer prices to differentiate them more from the MIM Vintera Modifieds.
 
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IrishBread69

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I can't see Fender shifting too much production to Mexico.

Part of the reason they are so successful is because they are USA. People know you can get equivalent import guitars for much less money, the value is in the USA origin. It's still as aspiration for people and will always have romanticism.

They're also making an absolute fortune at the moment. Why change a winning formula by diluting things?
 

Wrighty

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I think that calling the "American Standard" the "middle of the road Fender" is a fallacy - it was designed to be a workhorse modernized Fender. At the time they were released (officially in January 1987) the only other models Fender was making in the USA were the reissues (which had several names but we tend to call all of them AVRIs even though "American Vintage" didn't become the official name until 1996). Sure Fender added the Plus series that fell in-between the American Standard and the AVRIs price-wise, but to a certain extent those were modded American Standards - adding the noiseless Lace Sensor pickups, roller nut and locking tuners; other variations with a bit more upscale appointments would follow.

But at the point in time when the American Standards were introduced the "middle of the road" would have been MIJ Fenders like the Contemporary series and the Standard series. Of course I'm speaking only from USA experience; other parts of the world also got high-end MIJs that never were officially imported to the USA.



I think we've already seen a bit of a shift toward this; I could see the American Performers going away since the Player and Player Plus series have more upscale features than their predecessors; they also have a nice vintage/vintage modified series with the Vinteras that are only about $200 less than the American Peformers.

I could also see Fender renewing and expanding these recent limited-run MIJ JV Modified models as a replacement for the American Performers, and have the USA line start with the American Professional IIs. But if they did that then I would expect the JV Modifieds to go up to American Performer prices to differentiate them more from the MIM Vintera Modifieds.
I would consider ‘workhorse’ and ‘middle of the road’ to be the same thing, but it’s only a view. What does make a difference is that, so far as I know, Japanese Fenders weren’t widely available in the UK. ‘Standard’ is a term usually applied to an everyday, i.e., not budget nor premium, product.
 

John C

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I would consider ‘workhorse’ and ‘middle of the road’ to be the same thing, but it’s only a view. What does make a difference is that, so far as I know, Japanese Fenders weren’t widely available in the UK. ‘Standard’ is a term usually applied to an everyday, i.e., not budget nor premium, product.

Now you know why Fender's marketing department wound up changing the name to "American Professional"; they did try to kill the name back in 2000 by just calling them the "American Series" but that didn't really stick as people still called them "American Standards".

And you are correct that "standard" doe have that connotation of "everyday" even though the model was more the "bottom of the top of the line" at the time they were released when you looked at their entire 1987 product lineup.
 

SuprHtr

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Why change a winning formula by diluting things?
Because shareholders. They'll try to cheapen anything if they believe that they can get away with it.
Marketing is smoke and mirrors and selling of the sizzle and aroma. MIM Fenders are perceived as superior to Indonesian and Chinese guitars, but I own a few of each and really see no difference. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the lower-priced US Fenders went to Mexico and the only US options became mod shop and custom shop. And I would also expect that sales of the US models would not suffer. We're talking about a product usually purchased with excess income as a luxury.
 

OmegaWoods

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My MIM Tele is excellent. The US Teles I played did not seem superior to my MIM in any way.

My "Strat" was made by PRS in Maryland and is sublime. It is superior (in my opinion) to every Strat I've ever played although I admit that that's a small number.
 

PARCO

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This is my own personal observation. I own a MIM Roadworn Tele, a MIM Baja and a MIA American Special Tele. The Roadworn is great. I like the Baja neck (nice and fat) but not the pickups (it's also a little too heavy). The American Special is a little better quality all around. If the neck were fatter it would be my number 1. All 3 guitars play really well.
 

WelhavenTW

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I’ve three USA Gibsons. They are great stock.
I’ve four Mexico Fenders. Those are great modding platforms.
 




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