Teles: MIA vs. MIM

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by radiomanno, Feb 3, 2008.


  1. radiomanno

    radiomanno Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    I have a 1983 MIA Telecaster that I love more than anything in the world. I cannot find another Tele that plays/feels like it. The closest I have come is a Tele '72 Deluxe, but it's Mexican Made.

    Any thoughts on Mexican Made vs. Made in USA? It's always seemd to me that the non-USA made guitars seem lighter and have less superior electronics. Lately, some guitar players have told me that they actually prefer MIM to MIA.

    What do you guys think? I want to buy this '72 Tele Deluxe, but I've always had my USA Made Tele.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts/opinions/info. Thanks!
     
  2. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Messages:
    15,221
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    In The Basement
    I don't think it really matters where it's made. If you like it, buy it.
     
  3. bluesrules

    bluesrules Member

    Messages:
    544
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Earth, 3rd house on the left
    Yes each guitar is different no matter where is made. I have many MIA and MIM plus other imports.
     
  4. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,255
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Location:
    New York/San Diego
    there is a randomness to every new fender... there occasionally those gems that come out of mexico that you would never trade. I know every MIM tele owner claims that they got the "holy grail" mim fender... but i honestly feel that my MIM tele + fralins + barden bridge is unbeatable in my mind. Body and neck (the only original parts) are just the way i like em and it sounds and feels great.
     
  5. yakyak

    yakyak Supporting Member

    Messages:
    811
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    I do tend to agree as I have had many MIA and MIM Teles and Strats. I must say the some of the electronics and hardware on the MIM stuff is inferior. As with ALL Fenders, there are good ones and dogs.
     
  6. DEMENTED

    DEMENTED Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,532
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Location:
    North Stonington, CT.
    True, the electronics and hardware are lesser quality but the body and neck are usually nice. Buy it and put your choice of p'ups and pots in it, maybe swap the bridge and then let her rip! Don't let the MIA thing hang you up, I have played some MIA Fenders that were dogs . The Mexican factory was set up by the USA guys if I recall, probably some of the same people building them. It's not like they are Custom Shop guitars just because they are USA...what? You think that a Mexican working in a Mexican factory isn't going to do as good of a job as a Mexican working in the California factory?
     
  7. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

    Messages:
    2,410
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    I hear Squire owners state how their Squire is better than the countless many Mexican Fenders they have played/owned. The Mexican Fender owners state how their Mexican Fender is substantially better than the countless American Fenders they have played/owned. As well as American owners state how much better their American Fender is than the countless Custom Shop Fenders they have played/owned. Really?
    Across the board the quality of materials, attention to detail, and overall workmanship is higher in each Fender as you go up the line, period. If the lower end Fenders were so superior than everybody would buy those and their would be no such a thing as an American built Fender anymore! These players will ultimately lose out in the end and will ultimately end up paying more for an average guitar since stating so adamantly that quality of materials, attention to detail, and great craftsmanship is not worth paying for.
    I’m not gonna even try to imply the notion of the countless Fenders I own or have owned, but I will state that I have one of each of the aforementioned in my home right now. They were all hand picked cream of the crop but the differences stated are definitely there. IMHO. YMMV! ;^)
    Radiomanno,
    Look it over, play it, buy it if it is what you want, it may be a very nice guitar that will give you many years of great service and tones. But the reality states it really is in another league, even if the differences are minor on the surface and not perceptible to you. So keep your USA one, get the Mexi one, then you will have one of both.
    Best Regard!
     
  8. Griz

    Griz Member

    Messages:
    2,837
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I hear ya. I've owned US, Japanese and Mexican made Teles. My fave right now is my MIM '72 Tele Deluxe RI. The Mexican branch of Fender is definitely catching up.
     
  9. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

    Messages:
    28,322
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    West of YOW by way of CT, NY, NJ, Chicago and IN
    I'm totally in agreement with everybody...if you like it buy it. Have you checked out the new 2008 American Standard? It's a real LOT of guitar for $900. I bought 1 of 3 I tried, changed the strings, tweaked the truss rod and it plays as well as anything else I have.
     
  10. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,002
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Location:
    Pembroke pines-Santiago
    If you don't mind me asking:
    What is MIM and MIA?
    Made in Mexico Vs Made in America????

    If so

    When did they move Mexico out of the Continent, i didn't hear that news.
     
  11. Miles

    Miles Member

    Messages:
    3,940
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Location:
    Colorado
    My MIA Ash tele is my baby. I have had many high end gibsons and I play primarily a MIA tele with duncan pickups

    It has dents in the body, neck, I love the rolled fingerboard edge, but it's just a phenomenal guitar...for me.

    I can honestly say that it is a guitar that I will never sell. Sometimes, you just bond with a guitar and it's almost as though it chooses you. It's just so freakin' comfortable.

    Then again, my MIM 60's tele is freakin' awesome and plays really well, also has duncan pickups and to me is just as high of quality.

    However, the lower end MIM telecasters are definitely lesser quality as soon as you pick them up, but they are still a great guitar. You can see this in the neck only and frets. Apart from that, they are just as good as a MIA tele, in my opinion.
     
  12. Strat God

    Strat God Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    You asked about the differences:

    MIM guitars use bodies that usually have 4-6 piece laminated bodys. The more laminated pieces, the less it resonates and the less it costs because they use lower quality wood.

    The necks are all made in Corona, California for both MIM and MIA Fenders. The finished necks slated for Ensinata are shipped down and assembled in Mexico- so all MIM guitars have American necks.

    Ther electronics and hardware in MIM guitars are a slightly lower grade quality than MIA guitars-especially the tuners.

    I love my 50's MIM Surf Green Strat and I love my Team-built Custom Shop 60' Strat. They are both great instruments and if you understand that MIM guitars are only slightly lower quality for a lot less money - that's a home run in my book!:dude
     
  13. kayaker

    kayaker Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007

    Are you joking, being smarmy or or trying to make "Made in America" a "political correctness" issue? :rolleyes: I'd guess "America" has been the standard shorthand for the rather awkward phrase "The United States of AMERICA" for the past 100 years or so. Or did you miss that news as well? Or are you just stiring the pot and trying to turn a simple, COMMON phrase into a political debate?
     
  14. radiomanno

    radiomanno Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input. Strat God's info was very helpful. For the record, my question didn't have any racist undertones or anything to do with who was making the guitars. There has to be a quality difference since MIM Teles are about 1/2 the price of MIA's.

    So thanks! I'll check them out.
     
  15. digthosetubes

    digthosetubes Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,661
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    I have a 1992 Fender MIM Strat. Nice guitar. I have played it quite a bit over the years. Not crazy about the ceramic pickups it came with. But they have some plusses. I will say that my Custom Shop Nocasters are very nice. There's really nothing else like them from Fender, and I think they are well worth the cost of admission.

    For sure with guitars of this nature, there will be some special ones and some real dogs and a lot of inbetween.

    And one last comment. After viewing a Gibson manufacturing video, I will never think that a set neck is anything special. Slap on a little glue and jam it in the hole. Done. And binding may loiok pretty but it has no impact one tone. Furthermore, the nature of a humbucker is to kill the hum. So what if you spoil the tone in the process. P90s were good pickups. Humbuckers came later.
     
  16. sqadan

    sqadan Member

    Messages:
    944
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Location:
    In my cave, with my power animal
    I have heard good things about the MIM classics like the 50's and 60's Classic Strat and Tele... I have seen video of Fender's plant in Mexico and it looks every bit as professional of an operation as any Guitar making facility I've seen here in the US.

    I think MIM Fenders are a bargain given what you get for your money.
     
  17. Mikey2201

    Mikey2201 Member

    Messages:
    1,275
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Mexico actually has a pretty good and long guitar building tradition. My son has a MIM strat that is just great.

    In my experience USA made is superior but MIM is a close second and gaining.

    MIM is FAR superior to anything I have seen out of Asia with the possible exception of Japan. and I mean possible.

    If I were a guitar manufacturer and I had to outsource my guitar building I would go to Mexico not Asia.
     
  18. DanielT2

    DanielT2 Member

    Messages:
    189
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Great point IMHO.
     
  19. DanielT2

    DanielT2 Member

    Messages:
    189
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    I see many, many USA Fenders now with 3 piece bodies. Some of these 3 piece bodies are listed as being "premium alder". So a 4 piece body on a MIM wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, particularly if its under a solid colour and a thick coat of poly.

    I did notice at one point that some MIM Strats were being made of Poplar, nor Alder, although looking through the Fender website it seems they are using primarily Alder these days.
     
  20. forestryguy

    forestryguy Member

    Messages:
    811
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2003
    Location:
    East Texas
    I have a MIM Tele and a MIK Tele, as well as a MIA strat. The electronics are easily upgraded, and solid colors conceal the number of pieces in the body. But one factor that is impossible to overcome is that the nut width is less on the foreign models. MIA = 42.8 mm; MIM = 42 mm; MIK = 41.3 mm. Hand comfort, string bending without interferring with adjacent strings, double stops, etc. may be effected. Depends on your playing style and hand size, I guess. I would suggest trying first.
     

Share This Page