Question for you MIJ aficionados

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Shockmaster, Jan 29, 2019.

Trade for USA deluxe?

  1. In a heartbeat

    10 vote(s)
    47.6%
  2. Not on my life

    11 vote(s)
    52.4%
  1. Shockmaster

    Shockmaster Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    i own a 1986 Fender Strat Contemporary all original. It’s the 60s reissue looking version, not the matching headstock with the input on the side of the body version. I love MIJ strats and they easily rival some of my favorite USA strats.

    I was told the USA factory closed down sometime in 1985 to sometime in 1987 and the only strats being produced in that time were MIJ. I was told that USA parts were being used in the Fujigen factory at the time. I’ve been told that MIJ strats of this era are superior to USA strats. Is there anyone that can confirm strats were only being produced in Japan at this time?

    Does anyone here find them superior to American strats of that era? I personally love the feel of mine and wouldn’t part with it. I’ve been offered trades for USA made deluxe strats but have passed those offers by. Would you do the same? Let’s hear your opinions. Thanks!
     
  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Your 80s MIJ Strat, while high quality for sure, has a resale value only in the neighborhood of about $400-500. The quality of them is great, and it can be debated they were as good or better, but a modern used USA Deluxe is worth MUCH more....

    The contemporary MIJ Strats with System I, II, III trem were mid-range models, not top of the line, and have basswood bodies. The higher end of the 'reissue' 57/62/68/72 models etc are worth more....it's also very important if you want top dollar for yours to be sure that no parts of the trem or locking nut are missing, those really affect value...

    The timeline you have is off, it was more like from about 1984 to late 1986.....between closure of the Fullerton plant and the opening of the one in Corona....

    Anyway, I think you'd be crazy to turn down a trade for a Deluxe USA model value wise....unless of course you just love yours and don't care about value, which I can understand!
     
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  3. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member

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    The Fullerton factory shutdown happened at the end of 1984 - some assembly occurred in January 1985. The company was sold, and they moved to Corona in the summer of 1985, but no production occurred until circa October 1985. Fender only did the AVRI models in the Corona until late 1986 when they started production of the American Standard models.

    FMIC's initial goal was to keep the USA operation small - just AVRIs and some more Custom Shop type items (to compete with companies like Schecter) and use MIJs as the backbone of the company. So yes, it was only MIJ from say January 1985 until October 1985, then predominantly MIJ from October 1985 until the end of 1986 - but the ratio of USA models compared to MIJ was increasing over that time. Fender people who were around then have said that production went from 10 instruments per day in October 1985 to 150 units per day by June 1987.

    Regarding USA parts going to Fender Japan - I have heard stories of some remaining Elite parts going to Japan, and have seen a couple of photos from people outside of North America of MIJ Elite Strats with 22-fret necks, so who knows if the bodies were USA and the necks were MIJ, or if it was only say loaded pickguards, other electronics and bridges that went to Fender Japan for final assembly. If the parts were for AVRIs they stayed in the USA - if they weren't completed in January by CBS or February/March by FMIC then the parts were stored at Corona until production restarted in October 1985.
     
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  4. Shockmaster

    Shockmaster Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    Awesome information. I don’t know the exact time it was made in 1986, I just assume it was 1986 because the Serial number is E6XXXXX and the neck pocket codes state it’s a 62 reissue. The color is an aged/Olympic white that has assumed almost a yellowish color with age and has a rosewood fretboard. All is original and nothing is missing. It has all original locking nut, all original trem system, which is a factory Kahler. Not super concerned with the value so much as I’m not in the market to sell it. Just curious on its history and people’s personal feelings towards them. The USA delux trades I’ve been offered were in the early 2000 range. So not sure on the difference of early 2000s VS today’s deluxe. Here’s a few photos of it. Picked it up for $190. So even in the $400 - $500 range I feel like I got a good deal. Came with fender carcase. Not sure if this one would be in the “more valuable” realm of these MIJ guitars.
     

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  5. Shockmaster

    Shockmaster Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    That’s all very interesting. I wish there was a concrete way to know the origin of the parts, but I guess it isn’t all that imprtnant after all. I really do appreciate all your information.
     
  6. balston11

    balston11 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    If they had used USA pickups that would be in the catalogues which it isn't I am fairly sure that they didn't use USA bodies and necks for the main run of production guitars as they would not have been good enough and all the books talk about the outstanding quality of the first guitars out of Japan. I am not sure that you can assume E6 is 1986 Japanese serial numbers are not that user friendly. Is there not a date on the end of the neck?
     
  7. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    You have heard an awful lot of myths! John has corrected most of them.

    I was told that USA parts were being used in the Fujigen factory at the time.

    Untrue, a common myth. Logic tells us that it would make no sense for them to do this. Fujigen were appointed as contractors because they were perfectly capable of making the necessary parts themselves.

    I’ve been told that MIJ strats of this era are superior to USA strats

    Define "superior". Compared to the AVRIs being made in the early to mid 1980s, my experience has suggested completely the opposite.

    Is there anyone that can confirm strats were only being produced in Japan at this time?

    For a brief few months in 1985 only, this was the case. Not the several years that some internet sources claim.

    Does anyone here find them superior to American strats of that era?

    Define "superior" - it's a highly subjective word, very difficult to quantify. In my opinion (and others may disagree) there is more hype about 1980s Fender Japan guitars than there has any right to be, particularly in the USA where they were far less common than over here.

    Let's look at the prices - the earliest Fender Japan guitars (the JVs) have gone up in value a lot. The earliest US re-issues, the AVRIs have gone up far far more & now command very high prices.

    I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions from all of that.
     
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  8. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    I'd trade that MIJ without a second thought.
     
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  9. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    Only the very first of the Fender Japan Strats - the JVs from 1982 - used USA made pickups, the same pickups as were in the AVRIs. These are the JVs that sell for the most.

    No Fender Japan guitar from 1986 would have US made pickups.
     
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  10. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    I really don't think that "the neck pocket codes state it’s a 62 reissue" because it isn't any kind of 62 re-issue!
     
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  11. balston11

    balston11 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Most of what you say is correct but that bit is wrong unless you are just referring to the contemporary style guitars . Lots of 80s models have USA made pickups and lots of 90s models to the present day have as well they are however shown as such in the catalogues
     
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  12. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    Which other 80s FJ guitars had US made pickups?
     
  13. balston11

    balston11 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Lots here's an 80s catalogue don't know how clear it comes out but all those little circles say "pickups made in USA"

    02.jpg
     
  14. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    Hmmm, I don't have quite the same trust in Japanese catalogues that some people have! A lot can get lost in translation!

    So which USA pickups did they get? Telling us where they are made is rather pointless unless they also tell us which model they are.
     
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  15. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    Half the stuff in those catalogues bears no relation to what was actually imported here.
     
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  16. balston11

    balston11 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    The catalogues from the 1980s through to 2015 (the latest I have access to) differentiate between the models with US pickups and those with MIJ and other pickups. Are we saying that these are just random claims and if so does that include the ones where they specify Texas Specials, Lace sensors or DiMarzios. Or did they just lie to us for a short period in time. There seems to be ample evidence for use of USA pickups but no evidence against except for a "not sure I believe them"
     
  17. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    I don't know. But I place more trust in examples from real guitars identified by real people rather than simply a vague comment in a catalogue loosely translated from the original Japanese. It doesn't have a be "a lie", it could simply be "a misunderstanding" or "a mis-translation". Translating from Japanese to English is a tricky business that needs considerable skill in both languages.

    If they identify the pickups as specific models like TSs or Lace, it's relatively easy to confirm this, we know how to identify them.

    And it's not that I have a downer on Fender Japan stuff, I'm also wary of people whose entire knowledge of Tokais is based on photographic recollection of old catalogues. I have been told all kinds of stuff by people with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Tokai catalogues that something is true only for practical experience to show that it isn't.
     
  18. balston11

    balston11 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    @stratman323
    I do take your point but these are not translations these are original printed in Japan and they print them partly in English from 1988 onwards and I still don't see any reason for them to lie. Why also would they use US pickups on JVs and then for no reason stop when the serial number changes but tell us they are still using them. It's not as if they weren't using them on some models few would deny that the 1986 Extrads had USA pickups surely. I don't know if you can easily tell USA pickups from the time or not http://www.alston-family.co.uk/MIJ Strats/ST72.php here there's a picture of a Pink paisley and it's pickups from 1987 can anyone tell?
     
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  19. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm not claiming that these pickups are made in USA or not. I have no idea what they are and where they come from. I would like to know for sure. I'm just pretty much convinced they are the original pickups that have been in the guitar since it left the factory in 1989. I've done quite a bit of digging here in this forum and elsewhere, and in fact the information about MIJ guitars of this era is often confusing.

    This guitar is especified in the 1989 japanese catalog as having "pickups made in USA" or "USA pickup x3" or something similar.

    8.jpg

    I'm not saying they are USA-made pickups. To me, they're simply mystery pickups. That said, however, I think there's a possibility of them being generic, no-brand no-name USA made pickups. They're fairly good alnico pickups. I'm picky about my strat pickups, and with these ones I didn't feel the urge to change them for SSL1s.
     
  20. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    I did make it very clear in my earlier reply that I am not accusing anyone of lying. But misunderstandings happen.

    Also, you are applying logic, which seems innately illogical in this context! Not everything that Fender Japan did was bound by the rules of logic. Fender Japan was always a very strange animal.

    As for catalogues, who knows who produced them? There were catalogues that were produced (I think) by Fender UK (was it Arbiter back then?) that described the Japanese product as "re-issues". And yet, many knowledgeable people on here will tell you that the Fender Japan guitars were not "re-issues" any more than Fender Classic Series 60s Strat is a "re-issue".

    We're not going to agree on this. You seem to have almost total confidence in the accuracy of the catalogues, even though they were nothing more than a marketing tool. The details in the catalogues were not supposed to form a legally binding part of any contract. Which is probably just as well.....