MIJ Stratocasters

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by gcgoode, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. gcgoode

    gcgoode New Member!

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    So I have been in the market for a stratocaster. I've been leaning towards an American Standard HSS for a while, but just saw a used MIJ one posted online that caught my eye. Its serial number starts with E9 which I guess means its an 1989 model. It has all original parts except for a Lace Sensor in the bridge.

    Anyone have opinions on these 1989 models? I have heard really good things online but what are the differences quality and tone wise between the MIJ and American models? I would save a good amount of money but if the American models are worth it I would much rather just bite the bullet there.

    Any input is welcome. Thanks.
     
  2. Yogi

    Yogi Most Honored Senior Member

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    they made more than one model of MIJ strat with an E9 serial so pics would help. Fender Japan made varying levels of guitars, some with lower end specs and some with higher end specs. I'm a big fan of the 80s Fujigen built guitars, as I feel the necks are some of the best ever produced, and this goes beyond Fender/Squier branded stuff as I also have a 84 Greco Eg100 that has a killer neck. Usually the only thing that suffers on some of the lower end MIJ guitars are the electronics but it sounds like this one was already upgraded.
     
  3. gcgoode

    gcgoode New Member!

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    Thanks for the info Yogi. The full S# is #E977528

    Here is a pic [​IMG]
     
  4. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Made in Japan Standard - not a high end model, mid grade - nice neck though. Standard modern style gotoh tuners - most likely this would be labelled ST-357 somewhere in the body / neck pocket / neck heel area if you took it apart...

    Value about $300-400....

    The ST-57 and ST-62's are a little bit better, alder bodies and alnico pickups....

    more than likely the 2 pickups left in this that are original are ceramic magnet pickups....

    and more than likely the body wood of this is basswood...

    None of that means it's a bad guitar, it just is what it is - the necks on these are usually superb.
     
  5. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member

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    Just to add since no one mentioned it - you don't "decode" the MIJ serial numbers like you can the USA and MIM serial numbers. On the MIJs only the letter has a meaning; the numbers are somewhat random. So an MIJ with an "E" serial number means is is from roughly 1984 - 1987.
     
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  6. gcgoode

    gcgoode New Member!

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    Ahh ok. If you don't mind me asking, Im curious as to how you were able to classify it as a mid-grade. Hes asking 600 (which I was gonna try to get down anyway) so sounds like he might be overpricing it. From this I'm leaning toward just saving the money for a new American.
     
  7. gcgoode

    gcgoode New Member!

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    Hmm he must have misdated it then. Thanks for the tip.
     
  8. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    600 is way too much for this guitar....never pay more than average resale used value...if you bought it at 600 and you sold it, you'd lose 200 bucks or so....

    A lot of guys think they have something very high end because it's 'made in japan' and don't realize they have different levels of instruments. I will say, even if this was the higher end ST-57 or ST-62 'style' reissues, 600 would STILL be too much....

    How can I tell? It has a 50s spaghetti logo, and maple fretboard.....which if it was a reissue would have one butterfly vintage style string tree, and vintage split-shaft tuners....

    Yours has 2 black plastic string trees and modern style Gotoh tuners....this is how I know right away...

    and yes John C is right, e9 doesn't necessarily mean 1989...could be 1987 or 1988 too....you'd know if you pulled the neck....

    But if this guy isn't willing to come down to at least 450, you're being ripped off...
     
  9. Yogi

    Yogi Most Honored Senior Member

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    I agree 600 is way too high. I would only pay that much for one of the "reissue" type MIJs. there is a mij 58 for sale in the classifieds here for about that much
     
  10. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    You can get a new MIJ Strat for $600. They're awesome, generally much better than MIMs when it comes to the fine details.
     
  11. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    They stopped making MIJ Fenders last fall....beware of the 2014 production runs, corners were cut and guitars that were supposed to have high end pickups and pots were shipped out with cheap low end ceramics and mini pots...
     
  12. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    Ishibashi still has a healthy stock of MIJ's.

    I've bought some MIJ's in 2015 and I haven't noticed any production issues with them. Every MIJ I've bought in the last ten years has dime pots and PCB switches, even their reissues. That's just the nature of the 2000's MIJs. Their reissue '62 Strats came with ceramics several years ago, but their "Classic 60's Telecaster" came with AlNiCo just two months ago, so I can't corroborate these claims.
     
  13. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    This is particularly true in the US where Fender Japan stuff is fetishised. Remember that Fender Japan was Fender's budget range until Fender Mexico was up to speed.
     
  14. ocean87

    ocean87 Strat-Talk Member

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    I have a *** fender from the mid to late 80's with the neck stamp of 357. It has a fantastic neck and it's very stable in tuning, however as others have mentioned the electronics are a weak point. I've upgraded almost every component over the years as they've usually given up. Not sure about the US market but in the UK they seem to for around £300-400.

    Mine is my main gigging guitar and has been for years. Best of luck.
     
  15. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    The fact that they have ceramic pickups proves that they are not "re-issues"! Merely vintage influenced. Or, to put it another way, you could argue that they have a classic vibe.......
     
  16. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    in the 80s and 90s, the higher end 57 and 62 style MIJ Strats had alnico pickups, alder bodies, etc....but the lower end models didn't.....

    they were typically sold at different price points, in Japanese Yen...

    for example like 70-80,000 for low end model, and a mid model around 90-100,000 , then a higher end model around 110,000 and sometimes a top end model 125,000 or so with nitro finish in earlier years...
     
  17. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    Standard Japanese production methodology. Tokai did something broadly similar. An ST40 (40,000 Yen) would have trap tuners & maybe ceramic pickups, an ST50 would have alnicos & Klusons, etc. etc.

    Very logical & organised people, the Japanese.
     
  18. The-Kid

    The-Kid Dr. Stratster

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    Ima weigh in as a self proclaimed MIJ fetish geek. Guilty.

    But between that and an MIA Fender current production, your probably best off with the MIA.

    If it was a higher end MIJ then a consideration might be there, but it is not.
     
  19. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    I own numerous MIJ, MIM and MIA Fenders. People who talk about "good" or "bad production years" and product ranges costing so much yen are talking in broad generalities that don't match reality. You can and should inspect any guitar to determine how well it's been made, not judge by the model year and place of origin. Is the finish evenly applied? Is it too thick? Were all the swirls buffed out? Are there uneven frets? Are they pressed flat into the fret board? Are the ends filed neatly? Are the body radii consistent with the model's specs? Is the neck precise and easy to handle? Is the neck heel and neck socket neatly fit and tightly locked? As of the last decade, Japan sees to these detail much better than Mexico, at all price levels, and I know from many hours of direct hands on experience.

    Regarding the electronics, we all replace them anyway, so I don't feel that it really matters. The AlNiCos I got in my reissue MIM Antigua Strat (hence the name) sounded terrible, and used those cheesy plastic bobbins rather than proper flat work, so I quickly replaced those all the same.
     
  20. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    So we "are talking in broad generalities that don't match reality" if we say that there are high spec & low spec Fender Japan guitars? Actually, no we're not, these are facts.

    But apparently "we all replace the electronics on Japanese guitars"? Well, no we don't! Only people on guitar forums do stuff like that. Actually that statement is a very good example of a "broad generality that doesn't match reality"

    :D