Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Oakvillain, Feb 4, 2012.
What's the difference?
MIA necks are like pencils to me. But then again, I think most production Fender necks are too thin, regardless of where they're made.
Generally the MIA's have better fretwork, althought the MIM's have gotten better in the last couple of years. A headstock adjust neck will have a wood plug on MIA's and plastic on MIM's. Anything else,profile,frets,board radius etc., is going to vary model by model.
So what you are saying is that the fretwork has gotten better since the MIM necks are actually being made in Mexico?
For many years both Mex and USA necks were made in the US. The MIM necks were shipped south for assembly. In the past when there weren't as many different models and options, MIM necks had a single action truss rod, non 'vintage RI" USA had dual. USA necks had a jumbo fretwire, MIM had a medium "vintage" sized wire. USA non vintage has a fingerboard extension. Now there are many different varieties.
The quality of fretwork and materials is the same. The Maple and Rosewood comes from the same lots.
^ No wonder I always thought my '91 Mexican strat had a sweet neck
I don't know if that's true now. Every MIM I pick up seems to need some amount of fretwork, many times there are sharp edges that need attention before IMO they are even playable.
Not all the MIA production necks are perfect, but I've not found them to be generally unplayable straight from the wall like I have with the MIM necks.
The thing about the MIM Fenders is that you will occasionally find a great one, and that makes them a great value, but you have to invest a lot of time find the good ones, IMO.
The nut width and string spacing are different too, or at least they used to be. My American Special strat is much more comfortable to play than my '96 MIM Standard was.
There are so many models of Stratocasters now that I'm sure you can find all kinds of neck profiles among the MIM and MIA lines. I will say that the fretwork on the Am. Special is flawless, and it's one of the easiest-playing strats I've picked up...
Its quite dry here in Phoenix. Just about EVERY guitar that comes here will need to have the fret ends dressed, first acts up to custom shop Strats.
Maybe USA Strats get a bit better setup overall, or people who own MIM guitars tend not to have them serviced or take as good care of them but from the perspective of what I see in for service or repair, once you've done a setup, overall they are the same. The machinery used in guitar manufacturing is the same no matter which side of the border it is on. They are saving money primarily on labor, then parts but not so much on raw materials.
One of my favorite necks is the MIM Baja neck.
No, the MIM necks have been made entirely in Mexico for at least 5 years, and the final fret leveling was always done there.
Up until the last two or three years MIM Standard fretwork was no where near as good as USA or the higher line MIM's.
Basically since the CV Squier models were introduced people started noticing how the MIM fretwork was not top notch and they were forced to improve.
I'll give you that- I can see where they might have had some quality issues getting the production going there. I don't see Fenders as they come off the line in a linear fashion, like a high volume dealer would, so a short term quality downturn wouldn't pop up on my radar. I just see a steady stream of Fenders from the last 20 or 30 years and draw my conclusions based on what I've seen when those guitars were new and as I see them now.
To me it is all a wash. Once the guitars get into the real world they ALL will improve with a fret level/crown/polish. From what I see now, build QUALITY is not much of an issue- it is merely a matter of appointments, wood type, parts, and features. You'll still see variation of quality from one guitar to the next, even from the same model and run, but overall, Fender keeps a pretty good lid on stuff, IMO.