Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Join Strat-Talk Today

MIM vs MIA (wood and frets)

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by tminus4, Dec 1, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. tminus4

    tminus4 Strat-Talker

    Sep 5, 2010
    im sure this has been asked here already but im feeling lazy today:

    comparing mia and mim strats and teles, is there a big difference between:

    - wood type
    - build quality of wooden components
    - fret work

  2. LeftyBlake

    LeftyBlake Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 25, 2009
    The Evergreen State
    Oh boy, here we go.

    There is a MYRIAD of information on this subject already. Probably hundreds of threads.


  3. softwarejanitor

    softwarejanitor Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Central Texas
    MIM will often have a slightly less choice grade of wood, and/or will have more pieces (4-5 typically) vs MIA (2-3 typically). Whether you believe that makes a difference in tone or not, it does reduce costs. It does also make a difference cosmetically on finishes like sunburst which is why a lot of MIMs use a veneered top and back for appearances.

    MIM build quality and fret work quality has improved a lot... since 2008 in my opinion they are a lot closer to MIA. Prior to that, they were less consistent and more likely to have a few sanding marks still visible under the finish or a few rough fret ends.

    The difference in price for MIA vs MIM is partly the few corners cut on materials and/or workmanship, partly lower labor prices and lower operating costs for other reasons (compliance with environmental laws, etc) south of the border but a lot of it is just with an MIA you are paying for that "Made in USA", because Fender can get it.

    FWIW, these days especially they are close enough that you can get a turkey of a MIA that might be worst than most MIMs or an exceptional MIM that outshines a lot of MIAs...

    At any rate, the biggest complaint I've got about most MIMs is the ceramic pickups and the pot metal trem block. Fix those two things and you erase the biggest differentiators between an MIA and MIM in my mind, and you can do that for a lot less than the typical price difference.

  4. tminus4

    tminus4 Strat-Talker

    Sep 5, 2010
    thanks man, im considering picking up a really beat up body and neck for cheap for a rebuild project.

    as long as the neck is straight and tight in the pocket and with good frets...i think it will be good

  5. aussiesteveable

    aussiesteveable New Member!

    Dec 1, 2011
    I use to own a MIM Strat ( pre 2008 ) and I have to say , that in my opinion , the biggest difference for me compared to my MIA Strat was the pickups and the tremolo . Once I upgraded those two things it was like another guitar .

  6. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    I have both MIA and MIM standard strats, and they are very similar but not identical guitars. I like both of them.

    Regardless of where a strat was made, or what it is made of, the most important factors are whether you like how it feels, and sounds, and looks.

  7. 32soundz

    32soundz Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 16, 2010
    In front of my amp.
    Oh not again!!!

  8. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    If you don't like a thread, why post in it? Every post increases the chances of other members seeing it. Just move along to a thread you *do* like.

  9. SennaF1

    SennaF1 Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 29, 2009
    New York
    I was gonna say the same thing, same guys come in and bump it nine times with there dead horse and worm pictures !!! :rolleyes:

  10. rcole_sooner

    rcole_sooner Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Mar 11, 2010
    Norman, OK
    I like the worm pictures.

  11. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    Back on topic: My gig equipment: An American Standard, a Standard (MIM), Blues Junior (NOS) and a pedalboard. The rhino stays home.


  12. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    I own everything from 92 to 2011 mims and I really don't see a tremendous difference besides the neck finish and headstock logo since 2009. They have always been great, IMO.

  13. stratomaster96

    stratomaster96 Banned

    May 28, 2011
    Connecticut, USA
    I think that in general, MIA's play and sound better out of the box than MIM's. That being said, I have played a newer Sienna Sunburst MIA that let me down (bad fretwork and ice-picky sounding), and a '96 MIM that kicked the crap out of that particular MIA when it came to tone and playability.

  14. TexCaster

    TexCaster Strat-O-Master

    Aug 18, 2009

    Here is the REAL difference, although the post I quoted hits a lot of the key points. Labor. Labor is the #1 largest cost. Fender's cost to produce a strat is more labor than everything else combined. They pay workers at the Ensenada plant less than the Corono plant.

    The overseas Fenders are (or were if they aren't anymore) contracted to guitar mills that make guitars for many US companies. But Fender guitars are made at Fender plants. Yes, more pieces in MIM standards but not in the classic series (which also aren't veneer like the MIM standards).

    Bottom line is that a strat will speak to you, it doesn't mean jack where it was assembled. We're talking about CNC routed, interchangeable parts here. If you can cut down on labor costs (not just wages but also benefits and overhead) then you make more money.

  15. 32soundz

    32soundz Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 16, 2010
    In front of my amp.
    I wish you could learn how forums work, there is a search button, there is also history of previous threads, we dont need a million threads on this do we? just find an old thread and carry on from there

    Fender Stratocaster Guitar Forum - Search Results







  16. platypibri

    platypibri Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 30, 2009
    Riverside, CA
    I just took the Fender tour again a couple days ago. They confirmed, the vast majority of MIM necks are made right here in Corona, as well as all the stamped metal and plastic.

  17. SurfStrat

    SurfStrat Strat-O-Master

    Oct 30, 2011
    On the Beach
    That's a pretty good can of worms imho. Worth a thread of its own! I'd definitely take it with me fishing! Cheers!

  18. Jack FFR1846

    Jack FFR1846 Senior Stratmaster

    May 4, 2011
    Hopkinton, MA
    The worm on the left is clearly a MIM worm. It has more pieces (segments) making up its body.

  19. pepsiblue32

    pepsiblue32 Strat-O-Master

    Sep 6, 2009
    Murrieta, CA
    I think this is about what I feel as well.

    But if I had to generalize, I've noticed MIA's have better fretwork. I don't how much wood plays into sound, but I can't hear a difference between MIA and MIM's except if the pickups are drastically different or aftermarket.

    When you buy MIA, you are buying quality control on the guitar basically. For some people that's worth the extra money. But MIM's recently have been really fantastic, so that's what I've been buying.

  20. crumple

    crumple Strat-O-Master

    Jan 10, 2010
    The OP asks about wood type, build quality, and fret work.

    I don't know that there are MAJOR differences in those areas. Certainly more similarities than differences.

    You'd have to play em for yourself to determine if there's a big enough difference to justify the cost difference, because that is a very personal decision that will range from "heck no!" to "heck yeah!" depending on your own perception.

    My senses aren't delicate enough, yet, to tell too much of a difference between the two. That being said: I personally own MIAs and MIMs, love em both.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.