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Mim > or = usa fender is a lie!

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by marktg83, Mar 6, 2013.

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  1. marktg83

    marktg83 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 16, 2012
    New Jersey
    Over the past few years, I have read the countless arguments and forum posts here and elsewhere stating that mim fender guitars are "just as good or better than" their pricy USA siblings, and was led to believe the USA strats weren't worth the money. I bought up quite a few min guitars, and have since sold most of them. To be completely honest, I am not the greatest guitar player. I am not bad, but I'm always trying to learn something new, and have made it a habit to make sure I play or practice for a minimum of 30 minutes EVERY day.

    I recently had the chance to purchase my first American standard strat, and I was finally able to justify owning a more expensive guitar (I understand that there are better and more expensive guitars out there). As soon as I brought it home to play on my own gear, I could tell there was a HUGE difference between my new USA strat and my other mim guitars. The looks, the feel, the sound, everything was different, everything was noticeably better.

    The USA strat had never had any work done, it was bone stock, but all the mim guitars had some kind if modification or work find to meet my expectations. The nut, string trees, saddles, pickups, pots, switches, even bridges were sometimes changed out, but none of my mim guitars ever stayed stock.

    I wrote all that to say that I will no longer blindly follow the trend and convince myself that my mim guitars are as good or better than a USA. I'm not trying to brag, I'm just stating my honest opinion: my American standard is better by a mile.

    How can anyone say their mim is as good or better? Maybe they found a diamond in the rough? Is it just an exaggeration, brainwashing by others? I can see where having a thicker finish is better for handling abuse, or cheaper prices make them easier to replace, but I just can't buy into it anymore.

    Is there anyone out there who feels the way I do about this issue?

  2. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2010
    The Midwest
    This should be an interesting topic--not sure if its ever been discussed here before!

  3. Yogi

    Yogi Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 21, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    The problem is that you relied on the opinions of other to base an opinion of your own, which is never a good idea. I can come on here all day and say Mustangs are better than Camaros. It could be absolutely true for me, but it may not be for you. Bonding with a guitar is a very personal experience and unique to each individual. Some features and tangible experience just work better for some people and not at all for others.

  4. jackdragbean

    jackdragbean Strat-Talker

    Feb 9, 2013
    Silver Creek, MS
    Maybe you screwed up all of your MIM's when you modified them.

  5. marktg83

    marktg83 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 16, 2012
    New Jersey
    I'm sure this has need discussed her before, heavily, but I needed to post it.

    The best way I can describe my experience is this: I feel like I was wearing color tinted contacts or glasses without knowing, and with them everything seemed so much alike. After having them removed, I see the contrast so vividly.

    I'm sorry for the cheesy analogy, but sometimes that helps ME understand things.

  6. marktg83

    marktg83 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 16, 2012
    New Jersey
    No, I'm sure that's not the case. I have owned a couple that didn't need parts swapped out to sound better, but the fret overhang was so great I would cut my hands while playing, or the fit and finish had noticeable imperfections that made me unhappy.

  7. Biff

    Biff Strat-Talker

    Aug 7, 2012
    I am lucky enough to own both USA and MIM Strats and Telecasters.

    The MIM Tele is by far inferior to my 1978 USA Tele, not just the sound and tone but the build quality too.

    My USA Strat has better build quality than its MIM counterpart, they both have a different tone and sound, due to one having Texas Specials and the other Noiseless pups. But the MIM is easier to play for longer due to the big clubby neck on the USA Strat.

    I'd be hard pressed to get rid of either of the USA made guitars, and very reluctant to part with the MIM Strat, but the MIM Tele is getting nearer and nearer the door as each day passes.

  8. xoso

    xoso Senior Stratmaster

    May 7, 2012
    Birmingham UK
    Perhaps you found a 'diamond in the rough' with your MIA Strat?

    For me, having owned MIA and MIM strats I remain convinced MIA strats are not worth the extra money - but then I'm in the UK where MIA strats are ridiculously expensive. If I lived in the states and could pick up MIA strats as cheap as you guys can I probably wouldn't think the price difference was that big a deal.

  9. vgp001

    vgp001 Strat-O-Master

    Mar 31, 2012
    Location: Location
    I've had the opposite experience.

    My first electric guitars were a Fender American Standard and a Gibson Les Paul Custom.

    Coming from instruments like piano, saxophone, oboe, and bassoon the electric guitar seemed really economical. Mind you this was the mid-90s in the Midwest of the US in he dawn of the internet. MIMs weren't what they are now and Squires were headed into the budget brand territory.

    Not too long after that I came across a MIJ classic 50's. Since then I've been hooked on MIJ Squiers and Fenders and recently an early MIK Squier.

    I won't say they're equal but close once the electronics are replaced. But you for sure don't get the biflex truss rod, microtilt neck adjuster, etc.

    For the most part, you're ring that the AmStd is good to go out of the box but.....

    For the going price of $600-700 AmStd used, I'd prefer finding a MIJ and some cool pickups for a lot less money.

  10. AndyRoss97

    AndyRoss97 ---------------------------

    Mar 6, 2013
    I have a Mexican tele deluxe and I prefer that to my American standard.

  11. vgp001

    vgp001 Strat-O-Master

    Mar 31, 2012
    Location: Location
    Then why did you buy one that cut your hand and has such noticeable imperfections? I assume you bought it new.....

  12. marktg83

    marktg83 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 16, 2012
    New Jersey
    I bought it new because: I know how to work on my own guitars, was able to fix the fret issue problem myself, it looked and sounded better than any other mim guitar at GC, it was a fsr, and I was able to haggle the price low enough to make it worth while.

    Also the examples were not all one guitar, but several examples. The fsr didn't have any finish imperfections.

  13. arithon

    arithon Strat-Talker

    Aug 20, 2012
    I don't know why this is such a mystery- Both MIM are MIA are mass produced wooden instruments, made with differing materials, workers, methods, factories, climates, etc. Alot of the process is still manually done with the hands, etc. The point is there are a million variables at play with these things. No two guitars are going to be exactly alike.

    I've played MIM that are really great, others not so much, just like the MIA. I would say you are more LIKELY (from a statistical viewpoint) to get a higher quality guitar by going with the American, but again that can easily be proven untrue.

    I have a Classic 50's MIM that I think is just as good as any American strat. But in the 90's I had a MIM Standard strat and that one was a bit of a dog. It's never the same situation!

    So it falls to the default answer- check your bias at the door, PLAY everything, and pick the one that speaks to you and ignore the label on the headstock till its time to pull out your cash.

  14. marktg83

    marktg83 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 16, 2012
    New Jersey
    Maybe my MIA was an exception. I couldn't tell you if the previous owner hand picked it from many, but it is a great instrument. I also think that MIA is more likely to be better than a MIM statistically speaking, and I'm sure there are some MIA dogs out there.

  15. Namelyguitar

    Namelyguitar Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 3, 2009
    Mobile Bay
    No, I would not say that my MIM Standards are as good, or better...

    Glad you found a real keeper, there.

    I would recommend that anyone with access to stock versions of both in a store-perform a side by side comparison-before spending any $$. :mrgreen:

    The funny thing about comparisons at some stores (GC comes to mind) is the background noise, or beginners cranking it up-in the background. We've got a couple of Fender dealers in town, and the non-GC store is 'dead' quiet much of the time as compared with the GC, 5-10 minutes from their door. Part of the actual fun trying to hear through an amp at GC is their stinkin' music that's turned up in all the rooms! :rolleyes:

  16. Elypsis44

    Elypsis44 Banned

    Feb 4, 2011
    Hollywood East
    Welcome to the club. You're now a "corksniffer" and a "gear snob". So am I.

    Have a look here.

    I chalk up most of it up to cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.

  17. marktg83

    marktg83 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 16, 2012
    New Jersey
    "So far I've gathered:

    1. Every guitar player on the internet has spent 'hours in music stores' trying every guitar they had. "Played every one" in fact.

    2. Every guitar player on the internet had the cash for an American Stratocaster, but they all just happen to find a MIM that "blew everything else away".

    3. Fender makes all their guitars the same (or so close), only some say "Made In USA" on the headstock. There's really no real significant difference in any of them; Fender hopes that the "Made In USA" thing will get some to spend more out of patriotism, snobishness or 'compensating'.

    4. Squiers sound just as good as Custom Shop guitars. All you need to do is add good electronics. (This contradicts #3 above, but I digress.)

    5. $1K is too much to spend on a guitar if you have a mortgage, kids, bills, etc. However, two or three $500 MIMs are acceptable though (saving for an MIA is out of the question).

    6. If you can discern the tonal and quality difference between a MIA and MIM, you are a 'gear snob', 'corksniffer', or any other term those wishing to support their cognitive dissonance comes up with.

    7. Those of us that have played MIMs for years and ultimately upgraded to MIA and noticed a tonal and quality difference are delusional; seeing and hearing only what we want to see/hear. Gotcha. The confirmation bias on this subject is staggering. Really."

    I love it, and I'm not sorry I stole it, and shared it... I wasn't sure how to quote it on this thread, so I did the good ole' copy & paste

  18. bbarott

    bbarott Most Honored Senior Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Marietta Georgia
    Well, first it's more of a question than an issue but truthfully I've never heard anyone on this forum maintain that MIM stratocasters were better instruments, on balance, than a MIA. That being said it's certainly possible for a lemon to escape the Corona plant.

    What I hear are questions more along the line of 'is the difference worth it??'. I can tell you for me, and you'd probably at this point agree that yes, it absolutely is. But it likely is not so for everyone, in fact I'd wager serious coin that it is not.

    In any case, congratulations on your new guitar and if your experience is anything like mine have been, you're gonna love it.


  19. Tee H C

    Tee H C Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 27, 2012
    Someone has moved up the ladder and is biting their thumb at those on the lower rungs.

    And I will also probably think the same the day I can play good enough to justify/deserve an American Strat. But until then my Mim is beautiful.

    And so was my Squier Strat before that. And so was my Sunn Mustang before that. Only were they mooted by their more expensive counterparts.

    It's called progression.

    Has anyone seen that South Park when they all buy Hybrid Cars ?? And all drive round saying "good for you" just wondered.

  20. Elypsis44

    Elypsis44 Banned

    Feb 4, 2011
    Hollywood East
    Have at it. I wrote that back in 2011 after about the 1000th time I'd heard all that nonsense.


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