Are Mexican Fenders inferior to American Fenders?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Elemgem, Jul 19, 2019.

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  1. Elemgem

    Elemgem Member

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    I heard from someone a long time ago that the overall quality of a Fender made in Mexico isn’t up to par compared to the ones manufactured in the U.S. Is this true? Opinions?
     
  2. standard24

    standard24 Member

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  3. cap10kirk

    cap10kirk Member

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  4. Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates Supporting Member

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    "Overall quality" is such a loaded phrase though. Do you define quality by feature set or by execution? Because American Fenders often have fancier features and more expensive options, which may improve their "overall quality" but it has nothing to do with how the body is finished or how the neck feels or whatever.
     
  5. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    It's all up to you and what you prefer.

    I have yet to own a MIM Fender that I really liked. All of them have been fine... But I haven't yet found one that had a shot at being a "#1". Your mileage, of course, may vary!

    Now, MIJ Fenders on the other hand... :)
     
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  6. slide13

    slide13 Supporting Member

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    You'll tend to find better hardware and pickups on the US made stuff in most cases. Fit and finish can be a little hit or miss on both I think, though US might have an edge overall there just in consistency. But...if you find a good MX guitar they can be really excellent and they're particularly great for the price. I had a Baja tele once that was just a great guitar....probably should have kept that one.
     
  7. T92780

    T92780 Silver Supporting Member

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    Let's give this micro thought... why would they have; MIM, MIA, FCS Teambuilt and FCS Masterbuilt if there wasn't a difference in quality/workmanship and in price.?.
     
  8. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Member

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    High end MIA is definitely "better", but MIM is now finally up there with MIJ IMO.

    The big reason for MIA being better is better parts and options. An American Elite Strat has ebony fretboard, S1 electronics with noiseless pickups (love or hate), 10-15" compound radius, upgraded steel saddle trem, etc. It definitely outplays a Player Series MIM Strat to me, but that is a lot of extra features to help.

    But fit and finish and QC seem fairly comparable. I've prob played 30-50 in the last 6 months and haven't played a dud MIM one. (Bad setups or playwear at GC doesnt count lol)

    Similar to the G&L I just bought. The MII one is magnificent. The only thing I would get with a MIA one would be options, because the parts (on mine) are even the same as the MIA ones.

    YMMV
     
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  9. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    Depends on the model. I had a 2010 Am Dlx that definitely felt, and played, far superior than even the lesser American models.
     
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  10. T92780

    T92780 Silver Supporting Member

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    PS Fender is sorting wood accordingly for each division. Yes, some borderline MIA, might go to MIM and vice versa.
     
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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    Price perception of Quality. Look up videos on wine tasting vs wine price. Then apply that same routine to guitars.

    The other piece is the Marketing of Logo Envy. Look at the work people put into sanding off Squier to put spaghetti Fender on the headstock and the number of people that sand off Epiphone, glue on some ears, and finish it with Gibson. That is all due to effective Marketing of Logo Envy.

    Quality is a useless term, the Indonesian-made Squier Strats are about the highest 'quality' you can find if you look at guitar to guitar reduced variation, fretwork is quite good even. However, Fender has told the factory to put thin neck carves on them, tiny pots that wear out fast, and hard plastic pickguards so they feel thin, skinny, and cheaper than the chunkier carve on the MIM/MIA models. That is done so customers have to think ... for $50 I can get this! or for $50 more I can get that! And soon that Squier Bullet you were going to buy ratchets you up to the $1,200 MIA model.

    Buy a used MIM and put some upgrades on it.

    .
     
  12. LTigh

    LTigh Member

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    Stuff is built to a price-point, and "quality" will more-or-less reflect that to an extent. Jankier parts, meh-tier pups, and whatever else to adhere to a particular tier.

    As was said before, barring the higher-end MIMs, most of them don't have the various bells and whistles that make a MURIKA model a MURIKA model, and Corona tends to get higher quality wood than Ensenada.

    BUT. Throw some MURIKA hardware, pups and guts on teh MIM bones, you gets yourself a pretty solid fiddle. Some of the MIM Deluxe models did that, and I've had the pleasure of owning a number of them-- Thinline Deluxe Tele and Baja '60s being the two examples off the top of my head. Easily on par with an American Standard or Special, or its Professional and Performer successors.

    This is not to say anything made by the Ensenada factory is inherently inferior-- some of them EVH Wolfgangs and Charvel Pro Mods are pretty dang impressive, and I'd rank them up there with your AmPros and AmPerfs.

    Although I do have to say that the MIJs are something else. Those necks are just next level.
     
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  13. gunslinger

    gunslinger Member

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    Probably a little bit. But I don't think it's because of who makes them. I believe they have different parts. And maybe the design equipment may not be as good.
     
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  14. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    I have no opinion except I haven't run across that one that I had a hard time walking away from.
    Now I think prices are going up a bit, and it might never happen.
     
  15. godotzilla

    godotzilla Member

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    The Baja Tele is a mighty fine (Mexican-made) guitar, by any standard.
     
  16. RedneckDerek

    RedneckDerek Member

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    Still waiting for that dead horse to arrive.
     
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  17. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    I'd put the newer MIM stuff up against the old American Standards from the 90s all day long even though those Standards are now fetching up to 1k on the used market because the new stuff no longer reads MADE IN USA. My favorite Fenders are the American Deluxe models. You can find them used in the 7-8 range. Great guitars. Many folks don't like the pickups, but that's an easy fix.
     
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  18. David B

    David B Silver Supporting Member

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    I've seen more finish and fretwork problems on new MIM than USA, truss rod tends to be better in USA models, hardware is often better on USA stuff. I think all around it's better materials and workmanship on USA models, that said, if you pick one in person, you can get a decent MIM. I have a couple MIM that I play next to my US models without issue.
     
  19. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

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    Back when I was working in the MI industry, I had the chance to visit the Fender US and Mexico plants. On the same day. People don't realize that they're less than 200 miles away from each other and there's huge crosstalk between the two plants. So yes, the MIM can and often are as good as the US guitars.

    I am not really a Fender guy but I recently bought a MIM Player strat and it's as good as any strat I've played before. Granted, I changed the pickups and added locking tuners but that's personal preference and something I do to nearly all my guitars anyway. The guitar was great right out of the box.
     
  20. tjmicsak

    tjmicsak Member

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    I have owned a BAJA Tele for 10 years. MIM. I recently bought an American Vintage 50s Tele for having dbl benders put on and other than the lower wind pickups, they both play and feel very very similar. I went so far as to add the 4 position switch for parallel option. I forget that one is MIM and one is USA actually don't give it much thought.
    Yes, they were that close that I wanted to sub one for the other, but at the same time its great to have the varying pickup output options between them. (Broadcaster/Twisted vs AM Vintage wind).
     

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