made in japan strats from 90s

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by andrew777, May 5, 2015.

  1. andrew777

    andrew777 Member

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    Has anyone played a made in japan strat from the early 90s? How do they sound? How do they play? How is the finish?
    Do new pickups such as lollars help?
    I'm thinking of buying one off ebay.
    Thanks for any replies!
     
  2. kracdown

    kracdown Custom User Title Gold Supporting Member

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    Japanese Fenders have a reputation of being extremely well made, high quality instruments in terms of fit and finish. However, they use cheap electronics. I bet a MIJ Strat with some Lollars would sound a lot better and feel a lot better than your average MIA Standard.
     
  3. bgio

    bgio Supporting Member

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    I have two MIJ strats. They both seem to date from either 94 or 95. One is similar to a '57 RI with a thick, soft v-shaped maple neck. It's also a hardtail. The other is similar to a '62 RI with a thinner neck. Both guitars are excellent guitars. The finish looks great, although it is pretty thick poly (if that bothers you). I swapped out all the electronics from both of the guitars with loaded pickguards from Bare Knuckle Pickups, and it made the guitar sound much better.

    I like the MIJ. Great guitars for the value. Good platforms for customization. I don't think they are as nice as Fender Custom Shop like some people say. But they are also a fraction of the price even AFTER you swap parts. Can't go wrong with checking them out! Good luck!
     
  4. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    Usually pretty solid guitars.
    Ditto a pickp change, but give it a chance..some sound good.

    I'd go Don Mare or Duncan Antiquities myself...
     
  5. moosewayne

    moosewayne Member

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    Exceptional guitars......once you ditch the cheap pots and mediocre pickups.
     
  6. bgio

    bgio Supporting Member

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    I agree. Give it a chance. It might sound great without any changes.
     
  7. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Just be aware they used basswood for the bodies on those. You may like it but they don't quite sound like a alder or ash strat. I like it ok but prefer the stronger attack of alder. Basswood has a somewhat softer attack. Chords with OD tend to mush together more. That aside they're good, just replace the pickups and pots/switch. The pickups IMO are junk. As i recall all the ones i have were ceramic bar magnets sop the polepieces are just steel slugs.
     
  8. andrew777

    andrew777 Member

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    Thanks guy I'll try out the Duncans if it doesn't sound good. Let you know how it turns out...
     
  9. andrew777

    andrew777 Member

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    That bare knuckle looks like a good idea
     
  10. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Great guitars usually. The pickups are good too. Seems to me the pickups run to the vintage "clean" side though.
     
  11. telelion

    telelion Member

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    For me the best steal on the market are the early 80's SQ Squiers. I still own 3(2 Strats, 1 Tele), owned several more, and have played many. They were incredibly consistent as Fugi Gen wanted the Fender contract badly though the pickups are lame as with all older MIJ Fenders that I have heard. They are legendary for a reason and if you can get one for five bills or less, it is a well worth it. To me they are pretty much as good as anything though I would prefer modern specs.

    But the main point, to agree with Dazco, on the use of basswood though many like the wood, SQ's were made of sen ash which I think other than the great attention to detail is why they were so good. Of course on TGP many believe that wood does not matter but I can tell you as an owner of many vintage guitars and boutique that the SQ's are uncannily resonant acoustically which definitely translates once you put good pickups in. If you have a good deal on a 90's great, but the SQ's(or the much more expensive JV's though no better), are the best of MIJ's by far as a generalization.
     
  12. eksfiles

    eksfiles Member

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    I have a MIJ 1968 Re-issue strat which was made in 1996 I believe. With the exception of replacing the bridge pickup to a Dimarzio FS-1, I've left everything stock. It is my number 1 go to guitar, and I have other American strats and teles to compare it to. Even though the middle and neck I left stock, they aren't that bad sounding. Not the best but hardly the worst. Before you swap all pickups out, try it first, you might be pleased.
     
  13. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I recently bought a CIJ 1997? Strat. I'm very, very impressed with the guitar. The only thing I have changed so far is moving the tone control to the bridge pup. I may replace the bridge pup to get something stacked that can give me a little more meat, but overall it's great.
    This was the ST62RI-58US which I believe is the 62RI, $58,000 yen when new and US "vintage" pickups which are supposed to be a step up from their standard pickups AND the version with Texas Specials.
    I have a similar CIJ Tele 2007? also ST62RI-TX so this has the Texas Specials and they RIP in the Tele.
    Small pots and a more modern switch in the strat (haven't opened up the Tele). I guess I could redo the wiring/pots/caps but honestly these sound and feel great. I gig them both regularly 2-3x a month.

    VERY HAPPY!
     
  14. wbm68

    wbm68 Member

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    I recently got a ~1999 CIJ Strat for $300. Looks like a '62 with rosewood board in sunburst. The pickups, whatever they are, are really really good. I will not replace them.
    The only thing I did was a refret with bigger frets and put the tone on the bridge pup.
     
  15. sanrico

    sanrico Member

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    I disagree on JV's being no better. Get the right year and you have something with completely correct period wiring and nitro finish. GREAT guitars, but you will pay well for them.
     
  16. telelion

    telelion Member

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    Indeed the JV's were styled to be more vintage correct, the pickups are better but still not very good IMO, and the finishes being nitro is a plus not to mention the 2 tone burst was nice. But they were essentially the same guitar(sen ash as well), built side by side, just that the finishing touches on the SQ's had the big headstock, non vintage tuners(which I think perform better actually) and the 3 bolt neck and probably a few other things. A 72 Reissue. But from what I have read, the neck and bodies at inception were from the same source. Great wood is what I attribute their cult status too but I know on TGP wood is a controversial topic. Rolled fingerboards and guitars that out of the box felt like custom instruments also helped. JV's and SQ's play great and sound great. One of the high water marks in Fender history IMO.

    I agree with you that the JV's were GREAT guitars and if it wasn't for the fact that one can get SQ's on a good day for around $400, I would pay the price for the JV's if SQ's did not exist, though the prices are getting pretty high.
     
  17. groovington

    groovington Member

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    I've got a '90 MIJ 50's Reissue. It's got the '54 thick v-shape maple neck with a little flame, and '57 2-tone sunburst body. Mine is one of the "domestic" models that was made to be sold in Japan, so it's made of Alder and has a nice thin coat of nitro; or at least I believe it's nitro, as I've never seen poly look so good like this one. It is a killer guitar and immediately became my favorite strat, even better than my Clapton strat. The attention to detail and build quality is about as good as it can get.
     
  18. nnajar

    nnajar Member

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    my first decent electric guitar was a MIJ '90 HRR strat. I put EMG's in it and it's a terrific instrument. It has a kahler steeler term (starting in '91 they began using OFR trems)
     

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