FENDER STRATS... MIJ, CIJ, or MIA?

acoustic0804

Member
Messages
96
Hey everyone.
Over some time i've been learning of the huge following behind Fender Jap Strats. Through reading, I find a lot of people prefer Jap's to American models. But i cant seem to completely understand why.

Are people more interested in Fender's MIJ, CIJ, or MIA and WHY?????

Thanks!

Let's see some pics of your strats too.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,858
I've had them all...

My MIM had some fit and finish flaws, so-so electronics and hardware. I've seen better ones than mine, but would recommend you try before you buy and replace the PUs at least.

I have a MIJ '80s hardtail strat, very light, I think they used basswood on the body. Very well made and recommended if you can find one on the cheap. It's been said that the management at fender at the time actually thought the MIJ ones were better than the USA ones. PUs were a little better than MIM IMHO, nice for rhythm stuff. crappy electronic controls but hardware seems good enought to keep.

USA ones are decent, of course, but you have to do your homework before you buy as there are so many different kinds. I now have a deluxe, which I think are very nice if you like the thicker SCN PUs or don't mind swapping.
 

retrobob

Member
Messages
2,326
The only ones that interest me are the vintage re-issue models and the following
is what I'm refering to.

The USA ones had alder & ash bodies, laquer finishes, and better pickups & electronics. originally,the 12th fret markers had the wrong placement.
The Japan ones had basswood bodies with thick poly finishes, cheaper pickups & electronics. 12th fret markers correct placement.
The MIM are pretty much the same as the Japan models, only with alder bodies and better quality pots & switch.

IMO, If you were to re-finish a MIM or MIJ strat in laquer with attention to detail, put in good pickups and trem block. You would have a better strat than a stock USA.
 

Drew816

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,267
Hey everyone.
Over some time i've been learning of the huge following behind Fender Jap Strats. Through reading, I find a lot of people prefer Jap's to American models. But i cant seem to completely understand why.

Are people more interested in Fender's MIJ, CIJ, or MIA and WHY?????

Thanks!

Let's see some pics of your strats too.
This started in the mid-80's when Japan was making the only Strats there for a while, and their quality were darned good. As time went on they only got better, and when the US Made Strats came back they were more expensive and often times not as well finished, more fret problems, etc. This varied over time and this is all highly 'debatable' (hey you'd expect nothing less after all, right?!?). So now there's a huge following and they are very well made guitars, even to this day. The USA models, they seem to have their ups and downs.

The last Strat I played I really liked was one I pulled down off the rack without looking, it had a humbucker and that's what I was looking for at the time to test an amp; I plugged it and thought WOW, the fretwork is awesome, the neck feels good, the pickups sound pretty darned good too, what is this thing!?? Any guesses? It was a Made in Mexico model I think it was listed at $459 or something at Sam Ash? I was shocked. But then I prefer a modern radius, bigger frets and that doesn't appeal to everyone but still there are some bargains to be found.

That being said I was in the shop today and a mid 80's MIJ Tele Custom reissue was in that one of their buddies had bought and the thing was a mess. Great fit and finish, even on a what 25 year old guitar it looked great, but the bridge had been put in the wrong spot on the body, misaligned a bit and it was screwing up the setup badly. Hey, it happens, probably jammed the screws in a little off or something, not sure but the 'fix' was not going to be cheap, that and then need for frets, etc; he'll have doubled his investment so the advice was to sell it while you can and look elsewhere. It's all a matter of perspective I guess, there are good and bad in all the lines, you just have to play them to find one that rings out right for you and if you're buying used, if the guitar has changed hands more times that Tara Reid at a Frat Party, then that's a good indicator that it's likely to not be a 'keeper.' :eeks

I have the following Strats, an '82 US model, a For Export mid 90's and a 93 Custom Shop Hollowflake. Working on getting a vintage something else in the line up and I have a K-Line Tele Custom I had built as I wanted certain details that Fender doesn't provide (VINTAGE WIDTH AND SIZED NECKS PLEASE!!!).

Happy Playing!
 

Dickie Fredericks

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,754
I'm all about the MIM. I have several and they are all players. If you're looking for a guitar because it looks good well then thats just sad really LOL

These look fine. Might be a flaw here or there but I dont sit around and look at them all day. I just play em.
 

jwalk24

Member
Messages
237
dood trust your ears man. close your eyes and listen dont worry about models. pickups are and strings are 90% of it. all these models have cheap components the only difference is the dood that put it together. dont pay 1200 bucks for an 80s strat from japan. get a classic vibe squire and its about the same.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,858
dont pay 1200 bucks for an 80s strat from japan. get a classic vibe squire and its about the same.
Hmmm ... mine was under $200, maybe a bit of a craigslist bargain, but you have to do a lot of looking for these.
 

acoustic0804

Member
Messages
96
I really appreciate all you feedback so far.

but for the people that are saying MIM, or MIA, or MIJ.... can you tell me why you feel this way?
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,584
It comes down to your ears and your "values" (not judging here BTW). I think there are good ones and bad ones from each location. First, I think you need to determine if you care where the guitar is made. I made a decision a few years ago that I, personally, only wanted to own guitars made in America. I sold off all my non MIA (mostly MIK) guitars and stuck with a MIA '57 AVRI Strat. I have looked at and played a bunch of MIA Strats since then until I found a VHR '62 Strat (MIA) that I love. During that search, I played some nice ones. I played some that just didn't feel right.

The same is true for MIM's and MIJ's. Even the Squire MIC's. The day I bought my VHR '62 I played a MIC Squire which felt great. If I didn't have my MIA requirement, I would have seriously considered that Squire. On the flip side, there were a few crappy playing Squires there as well. My good friend had an 80's MIJ for years which he felt was crap. Other people rave about their MIJ or CIJ.

"the MIJ stuff is very good but not better than usa. that may not have been true pre 1995 but most all of the USA stuff i find built after 1995, once i do some tweaking and set up are very good and consistent." This is true. Fender in America has not been is position throughout the years to continually create good guitars all the time. There has been a lot of restructuring and rebuilding over the years. The first AVRI guitars in the 80's were the first step in the "turnaround" with Bill Schultz, but not everything was magically perfect from that point on. Lots of (re)growing pains.

Sorry for the ramble. I will say that the VHR '62 I just bought is an amazing guitar all around. Fender definitely has made at least one really good guitar in America these days!
 

fishlog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,989
I have a MIM Strat, a 50's Players model from about 10 years ago (although I don't think thats what they called them 10 years ago).

I put a lot into it, set-ups, adjustments, scotch bright on the necks finish, all new electronics Lollar PUP's and some basic hard ware changes for looks. 10 Years of changes... and It holds its own to any guitar.

But what makes it better is all the hard work I put into it, really makes it feel like an extension of me. Makes me apprciate it that much more and also apprciate the fact that its easily rivals any 2000 dollar american standard because of what I have learned and applied to the guitar.

So its a lot of fun in that aspect, rather than just going out and buying something.
 

retrobob

Member
Messages
2,326
I bought a MIM classic strat from ebay for $380. Refined it in nitro, put in a good trem block and some voodoo pickups.

The best sounding strat I ever owned!
 

crosse79

Member
Messages
5,879
I've always held the MIM strats to a lower standard... till I tried the RoadWorn series... man... it's a killer.
 

BarkingTree

Member
Messages
1,613
Every guitar is different. Im a fan of stealth necks after having all 3 Strats.
My 62cij is very tactile, vintage and dainty feeling and it brings different
playing out of me. But so would a vintage neck on an AVRI.
My 54 NOS Usa cleans house with tone having the big C.
Once the hardware is all there it comes down to the beef and I havent seen alot of stealth necks on MIMs and Js.
But I havent seen them all so...
For me it comes down to the animal itself and how its put together.
 

Peeb

Member
Messages
4,834
buy american if u can
This.

USA, USA, USA!


Politically correct disclaimer: no offense to our friends outside of the United States, but "Fender" is one of the few American companies that actually produces a product in a brick-and-mortar facility; and does so with a pretty high level of quality. If the rest if America doesn't wake up and follow this lead, we are lost.

MIA all the way for me!
 

Ros

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
881
I have two MiM's and a MiJ and the neck on the MiJ absolutely blows away the necks on the two MiM's. The MiJ neck is from the early 80's and one MiM is from 2009 and the other from 1995. That being said, the 2009 MiM with upgraded pickups (Bill Lawrence NF's) is my favorite of all three. :)

-R.
 

g335

Member
Messages
829
The MIJ and CIJ are good. They have models made out of Alder and other woods too. Some of them come with USA pick ups in them such as Texas Specials.

They are good quality.
 




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