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(yet another) Question about Fender build quality

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Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6
Topic starter  

Sorry to beat this dead horse into the ground.

I am interested in getting another strat. I have read a pantload of posts on lots of boards talking about the quality differences in the MiA strats vs. the MiM strats. I currently own a MiJ strat and definately don't want to sacrifice in build quality as I really like that guitar, but would like something similar with better electronics.

My question is how does the MiI and the MiC strats rate compared to the MiAs and MiMs? I have the ability to get MiJ guitars but would prefer to not buy one sight unseen/unplayed.

Thanks for any insight.

Thel -

Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 759

My uncle, an experienced guitarist told me about this when I bought my first guitar (Fender standard strat). It basically goes like this the Made in China, Japan starts are made there for the cheap labor, and not as good build quality. To assure your strat is of high quality, the best thing to do is to get a Made in America strat or, the second bets option is to get a Made in Mexico one. Those are made better than the China and Japan ones but not as good as the American ones.

Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 66

Some people claim that some of the older MIJ strats are of higher quality than some MIA ones. I personally don't own one, but would definitely check one out if I got the chance. Just something to look into since it seems like you already like your (older??) MIJ strat. If you have one of these older gems, a MIA might actually seem like a downgrade

Well, if you can't make it, stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive, if you can, and meet me in a dream of this hard land.

Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 472

The Made (or Crafted) in Japan Fenders are really high quality. I've heard a lot of people rave about the Strats. I haven't played one, but I have played a number of Japan Jaguars that were as well made as any American Strat that I (in my limited Strat experience) have ever played (but with the typical Jaguar quirks). Definately better than the Mexican made Standards (and I'm a big fan of Mexican Fenders). The Japan Strat pickups are also supposed to sound quite nice.
I'm suspicious of the "made in Japan means made in China" claim. Fender sells guitars that are marked "made in China" and others marked "made in Japan", why bother if they were the same? I'm also pretty sure that would be illegal in the U.S.

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 40

I've got a miJ squier strat and it's a quality instrument. I've played American Standards and even the 50th anniversary strats through the same set up and my Japan Squier holds its own in terms of sound. Playability was identical to me, but I spent many an hour adjusting my guitar to where it is. Can't speak as to miJ quality as a whole though. Mine is the only one I've ever played.

Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 144

As somebody who's played extensively on pretty much every sort (even having done some session work on an upside-down Jag-Stang), all I can say is that in my experience you have to judge each case on it's merits. For example, a brand new 2004 Am-Dlx strat (with S-1 and all) I played had the same crappy jack problems that my made-in-Indonesia Squier P-Bass has. My Crafted-in-China Squier Affinity Strat ran rings around that American strat in terms of playability and reliability. My made-in-Mexico Telecaster is one of the best guitars I've ever played (I know that everybody thinks that they have the best guitar ever, but to me it really is), having caned every other guitar I've played in terms of playability, tone and build quality (this includes everything from 70s Strats to brand new Les Pauls).

You can't really make general statements like "a guitar made in X is better than a guitar made in Y" anymore, because - like everything else that has human involvement - there's bound to be a few hiccups no matter where your guitar comes from. The sticker on the scratchplate of your Am-Dlx strat might say "Made In America", but that really doesn't change the fact that the guy who was putting the frets in that day only had your guitar left to do before he could go home, and he rushed it.

Trusted Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 72

My Showmaster was made in Korea, and it's just radioactive.
Set neck, carve body, neck and body ivory binding, jet-black, scorpion inlay in the neck (not real shell), a thing of beauty overall.
The pickups are loud and clear. Best of all, its rings a very long time (you can just feel it when it's unplugged, you know what I talking about). I love a set neck and a hard tail.
There are a couple of very, very small defects. But you got to be eyeing it right up close to see them.
Nothing like one made in the good old USA.
But it was money well spent. $350.00 demo model on display. Some light scratches on the back- and they buff out OK.
You're not blowing your money in a bar, you're investing it into your future. Treat yourself right.