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Japan vs American?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by bry180, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. bry180

    bry180 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hey, so I'm looking into buying a new strat, and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how much better an American strat is supposed to be. Should I go American? Or I did find a nice '62 reissue MIJ for sale.
     
  2. RomeoSierra

    RomeoSierra Strat-Talker

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    You'll get many a different answer to your question. Some people will tell you MIA Strats have a magical sound and feel that you just can't get with "lesser" instruments.
    On the other hand, plenty of folk swear by Japanese or Mexican and say they're just as good as their Yankee counterparts.

    I personally have an MIA and it's great. But I wouldn't be adverse to any other nationality.

    Just go play a few and see if you can tell the difference. Whatever feels and sounds best to you - that's the one.
     
  3. gilmourstrat

    gilmourstrat Strat-Talker

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    +1. Great advice.

    I have a Classic Series 50's Strat and it beats my former USA Strat in sound and feel. But each guitar is a case and you can find awesome MIM, MIJ ones but also lemons. Same with USA. Try before buying is always advised...
     
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  5. chrisguitarguy

    chrisguitarguy Strat-O-Master

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    Hello neighbor, I am also in KY. The advice that was already given is good advice. Go play some guitars, and the one that you connect with is the right one for you. Where are you in KY, maybe I can direct you to some places that can help hook ya up.
     
  6. bry180

    bry180 Strat-Talk Member

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    I love in the NKY/Cincinnati area, the Japanese reissue I found was on Craigslist, maybe I will go check it out. I honestly just feel like I'm cheating by buying non-American.
     
  7. VentilatorBlues

    VentilatorBlues Senior Stratmaster

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    Well, I'd suggest trying the MIJ Strat first and then deciding. FWIW I have two MIJ Fenders; an '89 62RI Strat and an '87 62RI Jazz Bass. Both are phenomenal instruments. The finishing on the necks is just perfect. I would definitely put them against anything American, sub-Custom Shop, in terms of neck feel, fret finishing, etc.
     
  8. cagethelephant

    cagethelephant Banned

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    My 1983 squier jv is superior to any American strat in every single way except electronics
     
  9. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    .
    The nut may be pretty narrow on that MIJ.

    The #1 problem for MIJs in the USA is the supply of additional ones (other than some stupid fringe models) is basically cut off. Most of the guys who sing the praises of MIJs are talking about guitars made 10, 20 and more years ago. You might find a single guitar you fall in love with, but if it got stolen you might have to move heaven and earth to find another.

    The USA models are much more readily available and I've seen people end up buying One from a pile of 7 of them, choosing the most soulful one. But they can be readily found, readily replaced and some guys buy and sell, buy and sell and they're almost a commodity.

    I think you need to refocus on FEATURES though. Decide which bridge design, which neck thickness and shape, what kinds of tuners, fretsizes and finishes you can accept and determine which model to shop for based more on that. That tends to wipe out the MIJs (at least in North America) and actually, pushes the MIAs aside also. You may find yourself liking and buying a MIM instead. Man are there ever a lot of quantity, of different styles and colors of MIMs and these are never to be scoffed at.

    I like the idea of buying USA, all things being equal I always do. But, I see the plant in Ensenada, which Fender genuinely owns and controls 100%, and so this often is where the line gets drawn. The "overseas" models, whether made for "Fender Japan", or these crummy new "Modern Players" from China, these are all "contract" guitars and they're not "Made by Fender" they're at best "Made for Fender" by a company that will be making another brand of guitar next month.
     
  10. vgp001

    vgp001 Strat-O-Master

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    Focusing on features is good.

    But I wouldn't rule out checking out the MIJ. Chances are high that (if unadulterated) you're gonna get a good guitar.

    Plus if it is truly vintage in styling a MIM Classic 60's is not far off. That is if you want to save money. If you're willing to spend more to buy American, then finding a good used AVRI '62 is still a possibility.

    The blessing and curse side of things when it comes to Fender guitars - even within Stratocasters - is that there are a lot of "features" to be found.

    Sometimes just going out and picking up a good model and just playing isn't a bad thing.

    BTW - I'm in the Cincinnati area and there's always something Stratocaster decent posted on CL....
     
  11. chrisguitarguy

    chrisguitarguy Strat-O-Master

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    Just sent you a PM
     
  12. bry180

    bry180 Strat-Talk Member

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    Awesome, thanks for all the advice, it really helped. I'm gonna spend a bunch of time in guitar center feeling out which specs I like the best! I appreciate it
     
  13. RomeoSierra

    RomeoSierra Strat-Talker

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    That is a very interesting point, never really thought of it like that. So yeah basically it's simple - if you get an American or Mexican one, you can't go wrong. You'll get an actual proper Fender. My eyes have been opened! :)
     
  14. Ash-Man

    Ash-Man Senior Stratmaster

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    to tell the truth, the difference is so minimal between MIJ, MIM, and MIA I can't justify spending the extra $ on the MIA's.. I mean once I put the pickups I like in a MIM (I buy the nicer MIMs) and give them a good setup they trump some the priciest MIA Fenders and that is not my personal bias speaking.. You just have to play a lot if MIMs to find a great one, most MIJs are right on the money though, so if you're satisfied with a MIJ or MIM go for it and use the money you saved to buy an amp, pay the bills, have a few cold beers... you get the point
     
  15. vgp001

    vgp001 Strat-O-Master

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    I consider myself a "middle-of-the-roader" when it comes to Strats.

    I tend to look at stuff in the range of MIJ Fender/Squier E-series, MIM Classic, MIJ Classic, and used American Standards.

    LOTS of good stuff to be had there.
     
  16. crumple

    crumple Strat-O-Master

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    A MIJ '62 reissue could be really sweet, especially if the price is right...

    I would look for MIMs, MIJs, or MIAs. I can also recommend the Squier Classic Vibe line.

    Any of these are plenty capable of satisfying the beginner, intermediate, or pro player with a good set up.

    Play 'em, find one that speaks to you.
     
  17. Rockape

    Rockape Senior Stratmaster

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    MIJ nut width is 42mm. ...is that narrow? (feels right to me!).

    From my side of the pond ("overseas" UK. ........and in my own personal opinion), if Fender wants their brand name on the headstock, then that guitar is a Fender product; I don't care who built it, or which country it was built in....and that includes Squier by Fender.....to me (and I'm sure, a few others) its a Fender.

    I have everything from those "crummy" Chinese models, MIJ, MIK, MIM through to CS USA, and each one was chosen by me because it was a very good instrument.

    Everyone around the globe has their own take on it.......this is mine.

    My preference would be the Fender Japan / USA hybrids (JV, EXTRAD etc.....Japanese necks and bodies with American hardware and electronics, built in Japan).
     
  18. RogerFed

    RogerFed Strat-Talk Member

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    Been a long-time forum lurker, and just gonna put in my 2 cents worth.

    The main problem for me (personally) regarding MIJ guitars is the neck radius and fret size. I have an '87 MIJ Squier which sounds superb stock, but the small neck radius and vintage sized skinny frets make bending quite difficult for me, especially when my palms get a bit sweaty.

    On the other hand, I have a few late 80s MIA Standards which are perfect for my (sweaty) hands. They have 9.5" radius with medium jumbo frets...this makes bending a breeze.

    Ultimately, like what everyone else has said, you gotta try it out for yourself. All the brand names, and the MIJ/MIM/MIA debate goes down the drain when you actually find a guitar that you are comfy with in regards to the tone/sound, feel, looks after having played them in various situations (at home, live, sweaty hands or not haha)...

    Just my 2 cents
     
  19. dearlpitts

    dearlpitts Strat-Talker

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    mij finishing seems to be the best
     
  20. Rockape

    Rockape Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes, when Fender Japan built their first guitars, they (under Fender USA directives) built them very close to pre-CBS specs, as vintage replicas, and that meant having a vintage radius fingerboard (7.25") and thin fret wire. They have, for the most part, stayed with this theme.

    I say under Fender directives because prior to Fender's involvement in early 1982, the same (very skilled) workers were building (Greco) vintage Strat replicas with much flatter fingerboard radiuses.....some found their way onto a few early Fender JV Strats.

    These lawsuit era Grecos are surprisingly inexpensive (at the moment), and may be a good compromise for those who like vintage style Japanese Strats, but don't get on with the traditional fingerboard radius.

    Here is a Greco SE600 from 1980 (not the vintage accuracy of the Fender JV models, but based on the vintage theme):

    [​IMG]
     
  21. chrisrae

    chrisrae Strat-O-Master

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    I think it depends mijs and Mias are like jack in the box and McDonalds. You have to try both to see which one is better or which one you like
     

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