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Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DRFP, Jul 9, 2014.
The nitro VSP ones are really nice. Love my '52 tele. It's my profile pic.
The MIJ are great guitars! The CIJ are very good. The electronic on them are made in China.
The parts on the high-end VSPs are USA and Japanese made, including the pickups.
The Made in Japan topic is a tough one to cover. I love the US been here from the day I was born. That being said, Consumer Reports sent out their survey to a million subscribers in order to learn first hand what their experience was with their make and model of car. Back came the results and of the top 20 cars 18 of them were MIJ. They have a different work ethic. If you saw the movie "Gung Ho" with Michael Keaton you can see the heart of it right there. Here is a synopsis of the movie at Wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gung_Ho_(film)
Okay enough about that. Let's get into what I really want to talk about, and that is my Fender 51 Pawn Shop. See photos below. I walked into Guitar Center to actually pick up another guitar, and on the display pedestal at the entry was two of these guitars. The black one appealed to me and I went over to plug it in. They were on sale for $525 and normally sold for $849 at the time. I was immediately impressed with the way that it played. Been playing guitar for over 40 years and this thing was nuts. The accuracy of the build was only equalled by the quality of the tone with the Texas special pickup in the neck, and the Fender Enforcer humbucker split coil option in the bridge. Texas Specials were made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughan (not to be confused with Tex Mex which is Fenders cheaper version at half the price.)
When I flipped the selector over to the bridge pickup it had this great barky sound that I had been looking for, for quite some time. Knowing it's a humbucker made me realize it was going to sound great going through the pedals as well, but it sounded great clean. See the video.
Then I noticed it had some flame maple in the neck, not overly so, but enough to make it apparent to anyone. Then I saw the MIJ sticker on the back (see photo) and I bought it on the spot.
Now listen to the You Tube video and hear what this thing sounds like clean. Notice how many different tones you can get out of it. All the way from split coil Tele tones from the bridge, through humbucker with a ton of bark to it, on thru to the Tex Special neck pickup with the deep tubular tone with enough gain built in for the nasty stuff.
Got a bad rep because of the Squier that came out in the same model sold cheap for clearance. This guitar sounds WAY better than that one, and is superbly made. Better woods, better pickups, and hey MIJ.
I am going to add a pickup in the middle: a Gibson P90 and add a second control panel and mini-switches to be able to control the options. Love, love, love this guitar. I have 22 guitars and broke them out, played them in the same amp, and out of the Fenders it produced the best tone out of them all.
Watch the video. Turn up your speakers.
they have been $600-700 for 8-10 years.
I have a Strat from this era that I use witthout the locking piece or fine tuners which is an absolute keeper.
I got it from a co worker in mangled condition, with a hacked humbucker route, and horrible fitting of humbucker in the pickguard for $125. I got a complete USA Deluxe pickguard assembly from the TDPRI classifieds for $100 and this thing is a top notch Strat that I love. For light whammying it works great without the string lock piece. Fit and finish, and the neck are both great
It's easily my best price paid to quality guitar I have ever had, and I think a premium for guitars like this is totally justified.
I have a mid 80's Contemporary Telecaster HSS and hands down it plays much better than my current American Tele. The action can get much lower without fret buzz and it just feels more solid. The hardware is top notch and it stays in tune much better. I wouldn't let it go if someone offered me a thousand bucks for it.
You could also say that they use wood from trees like everybody else. But the guitars are hand-finished and assembled, and any product which goes into the box is going to be as perfect as it can be. My MIM Tele would have been tossed into the bin by quality control had it been made in a Japanese factory
I have to confess to being surprised at the interest in the early Japanese guitars, since I've owned my JV Squier Strat ('57 RI) from new since 1982. I've only recently got back into playing guitar regularly and joined various guitar forums to catch up.
Unfortunately I've resprayed it twice and done a couple of wiring mods on it, so it's currently at a proper Luthier being refinished in the original two tone style (in Nitro, although that wasn't the original finish) and I've put the wiring back to standard. Of course this work will devalue it in collector's terms, but TBH it's not like it's worth a fortune and I could never sell it anyway having owned since I was 17.
The guy who is refinishing mine just finished making a guitar for a certain Mr Marvin, so I think it's in safe hands. He will stone the frets for me as well and set it up properly after the refinish, which will all cost pretty much what I spent when I bought it in 1982, but it's worth every penny to me: Every other Strat I've tried just doesn't feel like mine regardless of where it's made.
Since my son doesn't play guitar, I hope that one day I'll have grandchildren that do so I can leave it to one of them...
Yea, but remember the $169 Esquire I bought that day with a plastic case for $40 extra was the best on the rack of others that started at $475.
Sorta like dying of thirst near a body of salt water.
I was thinking that too. The US Teles have been going up too. A rising sea floats all boats..what was that saying? You get the idea..also they are known to some to be of high quality. Good bones. Maybe the secret is getting out?
Prices are all over the place, because there's a number of different models over an extended price range, almost all of which are no longer easily bought new in North America, and people get them all mixed up.
On top of which some people are (too) crazy about them and others (mistakenly) think they're rubbish.
If you wanna score a fair number of them cheap, you could just watch and watch CLs all around the country. But there are hot and cold spots, places with abnormally little demand and also places with inflated demand.
I just find the availability is shrinking so fast, I prefer to leave the ones out there to those who really love 'em. I'm on the fence; I just think if someone else wants it more, they should own it not me. :^)
Yep. I worked in the manufacturing industry in Japan for a number of years. There was definitely a difference in quality control. In my experience, the US plants were not as strict as the Japanese. Japan is a very detailed-oriented place. There are positives and negatives to that, but it makes for great build quality.
thefees- I dont think SRV made the texas specials famous, i thought Fender modeled them after his tone, i was under the impression SRV played the stock pickups in his guitar(his#1) which would have been 59 or 60 strat pickups? Not to get off topic, just always hear people say that he played texas specials but i dont think they were even out yet
I think the generalization about the attention to detail on MIJ guitars is heavily overstated. Most of the older or more experienced guys here have seen MIJs that had no use as a pro instrument, or the choice of bridge or pots or other components, while meticulously assembled, didn't actually do well in actual use.
The most useful way to look at these products is to always remember how many different price points there were, and while some individual guitars don't adhere to the price point they were supposed to hit (high or low), you normally got what you paid for.
This is why you see straight Diahatsus and Suzukis and Mitsubishis and Nissans in the wrecking yards with almost no miles on them, while a Lexus LS, Acura NSX or Honda S-2000, no matter how mangled, has a waiting list for even the smallest parts that can be scrounged off it.
I just picked up a new Mustang for $609 out the door on Ebay. Most go for $999, but if you wait patiently, deals can be had. I imagine this goes for Tele, too.
Stevie did actually play the Texas Specials, but only for a short while before his untimely death.
Having these pickups on one of my guitars, I don't feel they're made to replicate his actual sound.
TS's are overwound pup's with a fairly high output for single-coils.
SRV's Fender Stratocaster guitars all had late 50's or early 60's era pup's.
Back to the topic.
I feel that Fender's sales policy dictates the price of MIJ's.
MIJ's aren't easy to find new in the US, not to mention Europe.
The cost of taxes and shipping, makes it that much easier to just buy the tried and trusted MIA model.
If we take money out of the equation; from my experience the MIJ 52 Tele feels a different guitar (model) compared to the MIA AVRI 52- and in a good way.
Not knowing the origin of the guitar, I'd be hard pressed to pick one over another.
I read all of these MIA vs MIM vs MIJ arguments and think it’s a lot easier if patriotism is taken out of the equation. I’m not trying to offend anyone here; I’d be the same if Fender were made in Britain.
I tried US, Mexican, Korean and Japanese when I bought my Tele 4 years back. The Japanese made Tele was far more enjoyable to play an just felt better quality.
However, I‘ve also replaced all the electronics and put in CS Texas specials in her to make her 'extra' special
I agree. I think the quality, fit, and finish of my Japanese Mustang is better than any equivalent American or MIM guitar. I'm all for buying American, but as a lefty, Fender Japan has more offerings and the quality is equal to, or better than their American counterparts. Being lefty is expensive, btw. I would have bought the Squier Mustang in a heartbeat if they had a lefty model.
It is kinda offensive since most of the arguments in favor of MIM and USA guitars are not based on such things at all. With all due respect, you're the one that's trying to make it so, as though simple MIJ guitars were fashioned with the care of a samurai sword. That's simply not a fact based assertion.
Not trying to be cute, but what are you talking about; Western Hemispherical patriotism? Never heard of such a thing.