Tell me about MIJ Fenders

althekiller

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,340
I've been looking for a tele for awhile but I'm a lefty so it's hard to find guitars some times.

I initially wanted a 52 American vintage as I've been spoiled by my 56 AVRI strat, but they are impossible to find used lately and I'm not paying the new price.

There's a 50s mij tele for sale locally at a pretty low price. Year is 1994.

How do they compare to American standards and the American vintage series?

Mainly concerned about quality and playability. I can swap the cheap electronics in the mij and the pickups if I don't like them.
 

handtrix

Senior Member
Messages
2,393
Late 90's gave their own U.S.A.'s competition. :bonk
That's why there's Fender Japan ;-) :aok

I liked the patina they were using then.
 

CrystalLake

Member
Messages
226
I recently picked up a '95 MIJ Tele from Chicago Music Exchange about 4 months ago. It came with Fralin pickups and Callaham hardware. It looks like the jack is also an aftermarket. Either way, after owning many MIA and MIM Fenders, this has been by far my favorite guitar.
 

bgio

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,284
I have two MIJ strats from the mid-90's. A 54 hardtail and 62 RI. Both are very good guitars. I found the sound somewhat lacking in them. So I have swapped out both sets of pickups and electronics for Bare Knuckle products and they are great guitars. I wouldn't hesitate to go for it.
 

Nebakanezer

World’s Okayest Guitar Player
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,230
The worst thing about them is that people keep them and up grade the pickups and hardware. The craftsmanship with regards to the neck and body are on par with the best US made ones more times than not! I have an '86 MIJ start that has an awesome neck!! It sounds great stock to me!!!
 

DakotaRed

Member
Messages
3,432
Necks tend to be thinner.
Bodies are generally basswood.
Build quality is usually pretty good, often great.
Electronics may not be as bad as TGPers say they are.
If the price is $1000+ buy a MIA for better/quicker resale.
YMMV.
 

nastynate

Member
Messages
1,313
I have a '94 Pink Paisley Tele from Japan and it is one of the better Teles I have played. Just has that perfect country Tele tone - snappy and bright. In my limited experience they are great guitars.
 

althekiller

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,340
All good things to hear so far. My only concern is the one I'm looking at doesn't have "telecaster" on the headstock. The owner says it's a mij nocaster 50s Reissue. Never heard of such a model for the mij. Didnt think they did nocaster a.
The saddles are also not brass but steel.

Everything else checks out on it though. Correct tuners, bridge, serial number at the bottom of the neck. It's just weird that all the headstock has is a Fender logo. The saddles could be aftermarket it has had two owners and is a 1994.
 

deytookerjaabs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,551
You like vintage???

Because, I do.

They're the best in that regard IMO. The body finish is sometimes pretty thick, that's really the only drawback. My E-Series Tele has wire width/height you can't even buy off the shelf anymore, the body even has the silly router hump. I've been told all the templates for their "reissue" guitars (many mix bodies/necks of different years fyi) came directly from examples of originals. Apparently, if you get a blackguard, an MIJ pickguard will fit it but the AVRI won't, lol. The hardware is all real steel, very durable, and probably even the correct gauge when compared to originals.

So, I've had a few beyond my current one and they've all been just great.

Also, here's a fun tidbit...The contract Fender got was with "Fernandes," as they were already making top notch lawsuit guitars. They also make "Burny" guitars too. So, if it's an 80's example you can often find a Fernandes model for even cheaper than the Fender it's (with exception of the import models with headstock change) the SAME guitar.


Oh, and don't buy into the "Nitro" finish lie of the early models. There's nothing mentioned to that regard in any of the catalogs from Fernandes or Fender MIJ of that era, it would be a big deal and would be mentioned otherwise. That's just people trying to jack up the prices like crazy.
 
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PartoftheDark

Member
Messages
2,073
Well, anything that says it's a nocaster will not have anything other than the Fender logo on the headstock. I don't recall any specifics about mid 90s MIJ or CIJ nocasters existing, but if they did, then that would be the case. I really love those early 90s MIJ/CIJ guitars, but so do a lot of people and they're starting to drive the price up to more than what they should cost by a few hundred if I'm being perfectly honest. There are frankly some newer Squiers that compete evenly and sometimes blow them away. Now, don't go raising the price on those either, Internet!
 

Cronker

Member
Messages
309
All good things to hear so far. My only concern is the one I'm looking at doesn't have "telecaster" on the headstock. The owner says it's a mij nocaster 50s Reissue. Never heard of such a model for the mij. Didnt think they did nocaster a.
The saddles are also not brass but steel.

Everything else checks out on it though. Correct tuners, bridge, serial number at the bottom of the neck. It's just weird that all the headstock has is a Fender logo. The saddles could be aftermarket it has had two owners and is a 1994.

Fender Japan used only the Fender logo on most lefties. The other bits and pieces were not included. My Jazz bass only has the logo and doesn't say "jazz bass" like the right handers do. It was simple economics- they did a run of lefty logo transfers and just used them on all their lefty models. Still definitely Fender Japan.
Great instruments, BTW
 

althekiller

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,340
Thanks everyone. Going to meet up with the owner this Wednesday and if the neck is straight, frets good, plays nice etc... I'm going to buy it. I have two awesome les Pauls and an amazing strat but am lacking a tele.

The price it's being sold for is silly low for what's being asked for mij stuff lately.
 

fenderjapan

World Heavyweight Champion
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,872
Necks tend to be thinner.
Bodies are generally basswood.
Build quality is usually pretty good, often great.
Electronics may not be as bad as TGPers say they are.
If the price is $1000+ buy a MIA for better/quicker resale.
YMMV.

In the past 15 years or so it was really more just basswood in the lower end models... alder in the mid-high end models.

Both of the 62 Reissues I have, and the 69 reissue, have fatter necks than the 60's classic mexi models. "Oval Type" is a decently fat neck. Some of the shreddier models have thin necks but the reissues tend to have a decently fat neck.
 

JLee

Senior Member
Messages
2,895
I have a MIJ '62 RI Tele as well. Not sure of the year. Thin poly finish, alder body, great pickups, pots and hardware. Also has a nice chunky neck. Not '52 Tele chunky, but pretty full in the hand. Only mods I did were to install a Electrosocket jack and clip the treble bleed. One of my favorite guitars!
 

Hackdog69

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,055
I have 4 Japanese fenders that I bought in 1985 and 1986
Two strats
72 reissue - basswood- rosewood fretboard- bullet truss rod medium neck
67 reissue- alder- maple fretboard..very narrow and thin
68 paisley tele reissue, alder, maple fretboard. Medium neck
Jazz bass Alder

They were all very well made still have them all, the 67 reissue has been refretted 3 times... It's shot.

The other two guitars have been refretted but are still usable
the bass is solid to this day. Used way less

They are nice instruments but frankly I think there is a little romance about Japanese fenders from the 80's. They are not nicer or as nice as some recent american fenders I have ...

I would certainly be more confident buying a new feeder for 1000 as opposed to buying a used Japanese fender for 750-800

IMHO
 

Brad8008135

Member
Messages
2,431
I'm going to buy it
If that deal falls through you can always buy this from me and pay no attention to the body.

strat5.JPG
 

althekiller

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,340
Got it today! So far I really dig it and the quality seems top notch, but it needs some minor work. Needs a fret job as there are a couple frets causing buzz and it has a newish nut that is causing tuning issues. Also, needs new electronics as the ones in it are crusty and pretty dirty. All things I expected at the price I got it for, which was around used MIM standard prices and way below what I see MIJ Fenders going for online.

Other than that it plays great after I set it up and I'm not sure if the pickups are stock or not but I actually really love the way they sound so they will stay for now. I'm on the tele wagon for sure. It has all the qualities I love of my Strats and Les Pauls but none of the things I don't like about my Les Pauls and Strats.

Perfect guitar that bridges the gap and has potential to my do it all guitar once I get the neck all sorted and new pots and switch. Only thing that worries me about it is that I'm afraid I may end up liking the tele sound so much that my much more expensive guitars will take back seat to it. :eek:

Finally, I was shocked at how thin the neck is. I figured it would be a chunky neck since it's a 52' reissue but it's about as thin as a classic vibe tele neck. I get around fine on it and am not picky about neck size really so it wasn't a deal breaker but damn it's small. After I see what fret work and nut work will cost I may debate getting a different neck if the fret job is going to cost a lot.
 

rummy

Member
Messages
8,572
Congrats. Be warned about swapping out electronics. I started out with a pot, but I ended up replacing just about everything. You'll find many American parts available don't work with existing holes, or pickguard may not line up with the control plate, etc. Best of luck!

6D0DEEF1-A2B7-4692-8562-06239F254130_zps00vpdpnm.jpg
 




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