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One or two reasons why you shouldn’t snub your nose at MIJ fenders

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by diverse379, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. diverse379

    diverse379 Strat-Talker

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    when I was a kid (early seventies late 60’s ) made in Japan meant cheap toys. I do think there is some hold over of this mindset however, here is something to think about.

    Back in 1989
    I read an article
    In the Harvard Business Review
    It was about Zero Tolerance. (It’s actually called zero defect in the HBR l, I mistakenly remembered it as zero tolerance ) In the auto industry
    Something which Apparently the Japanese factory workers hit consistently.

    Apparently when a part is being manufactured any variation even plus or minus to the smallest degree brings you away from zero tolerance (which is perfect)

    American standards had a plus or minus ten 00something degrees before being rejected

    The Japanese had no margin of error.
    They simply always hit zero tolerance
    Every machined part
    Fit to the next part perfectly.
    Which is why those early corollas just kept going and going where the American cars died after 100k

    Now we are doing a.better job.

    So when you see a MIJ fender
    The necks are probably zero tolerance
    Which is why they feel so good

    Last point and I know we’ve heard this
    A million times
    The Japanese have been making stringed instruments for centuries.
    They know necks

    https://hbr.org/1990/01/robust-quality
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  2. bsman

    bsman Strat-Talker

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    I don't think anybody is snubbing MIJ/CIJ Fenders (or any guitars) these days. In fact, the pendulum has swung the other way, and a lot of people seem to confer almost mystical qualities (and drastically inflated prices) to these guitars.
     
  3. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Senior Stratmaster

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    As Dad used to say, nothing is perfect. Zero tolerance is a goal, but can never be a reality.
     
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  4. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

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    I bought a MIJ (or maybe CIJ, I can't remember) pink Paisley Tele in the late 80s. Really liked the guitar, but couldn't get my head around that MIJ printed on the back of the neck butt. Wish I had!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  5. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

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    Interesting.

    I'm an electrician who works for a major Japanese company here in Canada.

    While yes, I work in the maintenance department, I can vouch for those on the line, in the QC departments, and all other's that have that (what we call) "Japanese Mindset". It's actually impressive.

    Before I worked where I do, as an apprentice I had a short stink doing contract work at another major auto maker, North American, and it was night and day.......I'll never forget watching the line workers watching the TV (yes, there were literally TV's hanging and they were building your cars but watching the Leafs play) thinking oh my Gawd this is where all the missing bolts go lol.......

    As for Guitars MIJ, just look at ESP, Ibanez, my 1986 Charvel Model 6......the list goes on.
     
  6. sssstratsss

    sssstratsss Strat-Talker

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    I own 4 japanese guitars and they're the best I have. I'd put up my yamaha sg's against any lespaul or sg without worry.

    I still want a MIJ strat one day, probably even more than a MIA.

    Japanese are good at everything
     
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  7. El_Pistolero

    El_Pistolero Strat-O-Master

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    Zero tolerance is impossible as tolerances are part of design/manufacturing specifications, but the Japanese do have extremely high manufacturing standards and strive for zero defects. MIJ/CIJ stratocasters are definitely held in extremely high regard.

    Not gonna lie, I agree with that.
     
  8. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Our CAT site ordered parts from Japan to see these "perfect" parts they supposedly used at the CAT plant in Japan.

    They were out of tolerance!!

    And supposedly Chinese kids are more educated than ours, but large parts of the country don't even have plumbing.

    Believe it if you want.
     
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  9. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Zero tolerance my arse. There's no such thing in the real world.



    I love Japanese guitars though.
     
  10. tstone2

    tstone2 Strat-Talker

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    There is a thing called Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing... Everyone should use it. When applied properly, all parts that pass inspection fit in assembly all of the time. Nothing is ever "perfect" thus the need for tolerance.
     
  11. Cerb

    Cerb Most Honored Senior Member

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    I don't think that's what Toyota meant by "zero tolerance", as Thrup'ny Bit said, there is no such thing in the manufacturing industry.

    What I believe Toyota's zero tolerance policy applied to was sending out defective cars, defective as in not meeting specs and being outside of tolerances.

    From what I've heard, they even installed strings at each workstation, whenever a worker found a part that didn't meet the standards, he or she could pull the string to stop the line until they corrected whatever was wrong.
     
  12. knh555

    knh555 Senior Stratmaster

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    Zero tolerance can't exist b/c the measurement taken has to be to a given tolerance. But the Japanese upped the game with might tighter tolerances and appear to have successfully marketed this as "zero" tolerance. I've little doubt the tolerances used to rout a Strat neck in Japan would be insufficient for other manufacturing applications.

    And Peavey did the same thing, btw, when they came out with the first CNC cut bodies and necks with the T-60 and T-40 in the mid-to-late '70s.
     
  13. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

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    100% correct. If something isn't right, pull the yellow 'temp stop'. Problem gets addressed. Anything major, pull the red one. Line stops and will remain that way until further notice.
     
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  14. Martins Strat

    Martins Strat Strat-Talker

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    I think for a long time the Japanese have been known for excellent manufacturing quality and incredibly high standards. The difference with guitars is that people want to buy into the heritage and the guitars that their heroes played, which tends to be the American made models.

    Logically we all know that a Japanese (or Mexican) guitar is made just as well, but emotionally many just prefer the heritage of an American guitar.
     
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  15. newplayeroldguy

    newplayeroldguy in the wind

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    [​IMG]

    I don't know if he ever played a guitar
     
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  16. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-O-Master

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    I became a fan of Japanese guitars in about 1979/80 when my guitar teacher talked to me about purchasing my first real guitar. He was a studio musician so he had his hands on a lot of guitars. He said the Japanese guitars being manufactured at that time were better than anything being produced by Fender or Gibson. His recommendation was the Ibanez Artist Series. I’ve still got my 1981 AS100 semi hollow body and about 10 years ago I picked up a 1981 AR100 solid body. They’re really fine guitars. I also have an early 90’s Fender MIJ Jazz Bass. I’m no bass player so I’m not familiar with the nuances of bass guitars but based on what I look for in a guitar, it seems quite good.
     
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  17. velvet_man

    velvet_man Strat-O-Master

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    You obviously haven't seen their hockey team try to compete in international competitions. It ain't pretty!

    Love their guitars, though!
     
  18. Martins Strat

    Martins Strat Strat-Talker

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    In the mid 90's I remember the Yamaha Pacifica was a beautifully crafted instrument, much higher quality that the Squier or Epiphone products at the same price point.

    I went for the 'brand' over quality though as I imagine lots did. My Korean squier was made of some kind of chipboard, felt like it was coated in plastic and was really thin but it had a teeny tiny fender logo on the headstock!!
     
  19. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I've always had at least one Japanese guitar since 1972, some real dross and then finally in 1980 I got a Tokai Springy Sound. My first MIJ Fender in 1996, not a perfect replacement for my Tokai, but it's as close as I could get at the time.
     
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  20. diverse379

    diverse379 Strat-Talker

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    Zero tolerance is zero tolerance
    It’s a manufacturing term
    Dealing with how a machine part is machined.
    When all specs are nailed to the zero degree it’s at zero tolerance nothing is too big or too small.

    It’s not a Toyota term it’s a manufacturing term. All companies have flex but Japanese mfrs were simply more exacting during the time this article on the Harvard Business review was written
     
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