MIJ Fender Strats: What are the GOOD years?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by NBlair930, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. NBlair930

    NBlair930 Gold Supporting Member

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    Is a particular year/years of the MIJ Fednder Strat Reissue guitar that are great? I seem to recall mention a long time ago that there was a specific time when the MIJ Strats were of super high quality. Any opinions?
     
  2. Goldstrat

    Goldstrat Member

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    Not an expert but I have a 1984 57 reissue that is the best strat I ever had. I don't think there is any bad years for the Japanese strats but the older ones are more desirable.
     
  3. serial

    serial Member

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    I've had some VERY good MIJ Fenders from the mid-80s, mostly Teles. The last one I owned was a late 90s and was pretty good. The best two I had were an '86 Tele and a 96 Tele Custom RI.
     
  4. rockinh

    rockinh Member

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    Mine is an 87 or 88 60's copy. I got it with some non-stock, wierd pickups in it, they sounded okay but I liked the guitar's feel so much I put in Lollar Blackfaces and a Callaham bridge assembly. It's a little dinged up, but it is probably my all-time favorite playing and sounding guitar. I never thought much of Strats till this guitar came along (by accident), but I'm sold on them now! Man, what a sweeeet guitar!
     
  5. EXP

    EXP Supporting Member

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    2006 MIJ's are nice, i have a '62 reissue strat and it plays/sounds as good as some of the CS strats ive owned.
     
  6. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    I have a 2000 '54RI that's marvelous.
     
  7. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Member

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    I've always heard mid-late eighties.
    ________
    BMW 315
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  8. elchato

    elchato Member

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    84' MIJ 62RI here... GRRRRRRRRRREAT AXE after I changed the pickups and cheap electronics
     
  9. johngti

    johngti Member

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    1982 onwards - the beginning of Fender Japan. There's some history on www.squierjv.info that you might find interesting.
     
  10. johnny q

    johnny q Member

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    I bought an El Cheapo Japanese Strat circa 1987 at Manny's in NYC, it was a little over 300 bucks, it's cream color and has a rosewood neck, I was told by the Manny's employee that it was a "1972 reissue". I have no idea what wood its made from to this day. The only reason why I bought it back then was because I wanted a Strat the same color as Blackmore and Yngwie!!!:)

    Since then I swapped out the electronics for a brand new wiring harness w/ Rio Grande Tallboys. Guess what?? This axe gets as much if not more playtime as my original early 70's Strats, American reissues and Signature guitars!! Sounds and plays real nice.......
     
  11. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    I don't think that there are any agreed upon good and bad years. They have been pretty consistent, and in my expereince and relative to my taste, very good.
     
  12. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    Not to mention there have been numerous models/grades offered, including those made exclusively for the Japanese market (as well as their Custom Shop models).

    I don't think you can isolate "good years" outside of those variables.

    I've had 3 80s/90s Japanese Strats/Teles, 2 of which were "not for export". All were vg/exc woods and build quality. And Fender Japan seems to consistently source some of the nicest, dark rosewood fingerboards anywhere.
     
  13. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Supporting Member

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    My '94 is up there with the best playing and sounding instruments I've owned or played. I put some new tuners on it, along with some Lollar Blackface pickups and new pots and wiring.
     
  14. SCREEM

    SCREEM Member

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    I just picked up a 1990 54'ri, I'm blown away by this strat. It has upgraded pups and elec.....I want more mij's
     
  15. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Also consider that some were basswood (later ones, i think after about '90 but i'm not entirely sure) and some alder. So thats a huge consideration.
     
  16. soli528

    soli528 Silver Supporting Member

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    My '88 MIJ '62 reissue was my first electric and the only one I'll never sell. It's black and I swapped out the pickguard, p'ups, and harness- it now has tortoise guard and Bill Lawrence 280's and one 290 in the bridge. I'll likely always have one strat and one LP (or LP variant). At least I know the strat need is met. Still trying to decide if the current LP is a keeper!
     
  17. meterman

    meterman Member

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    I had an '86 MIJ Strat that was OK but had a weird bridge that you couldn't find parts for. Then I got a 1997 '54 RI that spoke to me immediately and that I've played for several years, my favorite strat out of 5-6 until I found a good deal on an EJ....
     
  18. Cybercat

    Cybercat Member

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    From launch (1982) until sometime in 1997 MIJ Fenders were made for Fender Japan by Fuji Gen Gakki (makers of Ibanez guitars)
    ...though things appear to have got off to a slow start & the ones in the 1982 Fender Catalog were actually Tokai vintage replica copies re-badged as Fenders... ...& still had "Tokai" emblazoned on the machine heads!
    - see George Gruhn's comments here: -
    http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=188

    As I understand it, the Fuji-built guitars started out stunningly good but by the early or mid-90's it seems things had slipped to the level where Fender stepped up negotiations to have Tokai take over production.

    In the end a deal was reached in 1997 whereby Daita Gakki now make the bulk, lower end & export models, with the higher-end guitars being made by Tokai for domestic sale in Japan only (for fear of cannibalizing MIA sales). All of the guitars (Daita & Tokai) produced since 1997 have been badged "Crafted In Japan" - CIJ.

    FWIW, I have several collector friends (one with over 34 MIJ/CIJ guitars!), & consensus seems to be the earlier ("MIJ") Fuji and 1997-current Tokai-produced Fenders are the guitars to go for, with the later Fuji & 97-current Daita produced ones being generally less desirable.

    See the Tokai Forum for a 2005 interview with Mr. Shohei Adachi, president of Tokai Gakki : -
    http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=4434

    Hope some of this is useful!
     
  19. clothwiring

    clothwiring Member

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    I've always sorta felt early 80s - early 90s. I'd go with other opinions though. I had an 1986 Esquire that SMOKED! :)
     
  20. dazco

    dazco Member

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    By the way, i don't know if it's coincidence, but i had a number of Japan reissues and the only one that was bad was a CIJ. All the MIJ's were good to great. The CIJ was one i ordered from Ishibashi in about 2000. The tone was literally so bad i considered it a flawed guitar. All were basswood.

    One more note...they also made basswoods in the late 80's badged as Squires but were basically the same bodies and necks as the later fender badged basswood reissues, tho these has a few non vintage details like the tuners and string trees. But as far as woods, construction, (vintage neck/truss) and in tonality and feel they were identical to the later fender badged reissues These were one of the best deals ever on quality strats from fender. I picked a couple up at $200 brand new and they were as good as most anything i've had since.
     

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