Upgrade MIM strat or buy American?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Rhyn087, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. Rhyn087

    Rhyn087 Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    I've had a stock MIM classic 50's strat for about 10 years, and it's my only single coil guitar. I'm struggling with whether I should mod it (upgrade pickups, steel tremolo block, nut, etc.) or just by a new American standard that already comes with those features. Either way, I want to step up to something of better quality/tone. I love the v-shape neck on my guitar, but the vintage frets are really worn down to where I'm getting close to refret territory ($250-$300). Any thoughts on the best route to go?
     
  2. geekocaster

    geekocaster Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,237
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    hmm that's a tough one. Refretting is pricy but if you love it, maybe it's worth keeping? I have spent money on guitars that I probably could have just sold but 10 years is a good return on your initial investment, maybe it's worth putting some money in to upkeep.
     
  3. f550maranello2

    f550maranello2 Member

    Messages:
    194
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    If it was me id buy a new one.. gc has 36 month financing right now... I played a nice american one yesterday.. then my gf have me the eye..
     
  4. scott944

    scott944 Member

    Messages:
    3,602
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    I was ready to say "keep and mod", until you said it was close to refret time. Take yours with you, visit some stores, play side by side ... the answer will come clear quickly enough.
     
  5. TaDaMz

    TaDaMz Member

    Messages:
    485
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    I had the same dilemma a few years ago with my MIM standard strat. Ended up going the modded route. Slowly ended up putting $300-$400 into it. The only thing original on it left is the body and neck. It turned out great and I absolutely love the guitar and will keep it til I die. It is nice to be able to pick each part that you put on it, and I would be willing to put it up against any USA strat. However, if I had to do it over, I'd probably just buy a new AmStd and not have to worry about modding it.
     
  6. rickcard71

    rickcard71 Member

    Messages:
    6,315
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    Location:
    Bucks County, PA
    Upgrade it and buy a USA. Or, don't upgrade it, just keep it and buy a USA.
     
    sanrico likes this.
  7. Hulakatt

    Hulakatt Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,537
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Gotta agree with this. I'd be on the fence about pouring money into upgrades until I saw it needed a refret too. You could easily pour the cost of a new USA Standard into it and still not get it to where you want it. You may very well be better off going to a few guitar stores and running the racks to find a gem.
     
  8. Raygun Gothic

    Raygun Gothic Member

    Messages:
    2,841
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    You do realize that an AmStd won't have the soft v-neck and will have a 2 point floating trem, don't you? Not that either are bad, but if you want to duplicate your Classic 50's you'll need to step up to one of the re-issue models.
     
  9. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

    Messages:
    14,531
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Location:
    PNW
    The refretting is a tough one. But if you like the guitar, there's no guarantee you will like a US strat as much. I have a US Strat and Mexi strat. The MIM is my #1. (it has upgrade pickups in it, not the original MIM ceramics) BTW, many US strats have wider string spacing at the bridge, causing edge rolloff on the high E string. The V neck is probably worth refretting. Someone ought to do a strat neck for less than $300 that's for sure.
     
  10. texstrat

    texstrat Member

    Messages:
    626
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2013
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I say buy a USA Strat. Overall they are higher quality guitars than their Mexican counterparts; but play a bunch and find a good one...
     
  11. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,167
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    SoCal
    I'd probably play a few and then decide. Once I upgraded the pickups (very affordable Bill Lawrence) and tuners on my old MIM tele, I had almost no appetite for anything more. I say almost only because then I decided to try putting together a parts Tele and have a friend custom paint it. Splurged on Lollars and came away with a guitar than sounded a little better with a broader range of tones, didn't play quite as easily. Sold the MIM and still miss it....
     
  12. iced_earth

    iced_earth Supporting Member

    Messages:
    392
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    You'll never get your money back on a re-fret or mods to your MIM, but after ABing your current Strat to some USAs I think your decision will be pretty clear to you.
     
  13. koa

    koa Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,204
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Location:
    N.E. Ohio
    I say just upgrade. The pickups in the USA Strat aren't going to be that great either. If you buy used here you can very affordably upgrade. Good luck!
     
  14. lifeson1

    lifeson1 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,326
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    Yyyyeaahh, I'd go with an upgrade, and I swear by my MIM strat (although I do think my neck may need to be swapped soon due to frets, as well). If you find a good price on a US one, go for it.
     
  15. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Messages:
    15,877
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    In The Basement
    Buy a used Road Worn.
     
  16. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

    Messages:
    3,157
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Location:
    The Fortress of Solitude
    The question is, can you find a new guitar that will be exactly what you want, or will you end up modding it anyway? If it's just a choice between refretting and modding the MIM Strat vs. buying a new MIA Strat and keeping it stock, then the MIA sounds like a reasonable choice. But if you want pickups that Fender doesn't offer stock in a model that you like otherwise, then you're going to mod it anyway. At that point, if you have been happy with your MIM so far, it may make more sense to just refret it and go on from there.

    I've owned an MIA Strat in the past. I currently own three MIM Strats, all of which have had their electronics and plastic parts completely replaced (and in one case, the bridge and trem block have been replaced too). I like them as they are and I feel no need to replace them with more expensive MIA's. I actually like MIM's as a mod platform. Used ones are cheap enough that I don't feel any worries about messing with them in whatever way I feel like.
     
  17. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

    Messages:
    4,268
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    I faced a similar dilemma years ago with my MIJ 57 RI. The skinny frets wore out in a few years. My first thought was to buy a replacement neck. Probably a Warmoth at the time. I discussed it with my luthier and what he had to say made a lot of sense. He pointed out that if I liked the neck, it'd be better to refret. Two reasons for this. One, a lot of the sound of a Fender is in the neck. Change the neck and you've likely changed the sound of the guitar. Second, a new neck (or new guitar, in your case) will most likely need a fret level/dress and fell setup. So in my case, by the time i bought a new, vintage style neck, and got it leveled and set up, the cost would be more than the refret (level/dress and full set up included in the refret price), and it may never sound anything like it did. That guitar sounds wonderful so I opted for the refret. No, I can't get my money out of it. But I'm not selling. It's one of the best sounding Strats I've ever owned. In fact, one of the best sounding I've played, including some original 60s models and my own 1970 model.

    Bottom line is, if you really like the guitar, it might cost you quite a bit to find one you like as well. As has been pointed out, an American Standard won't feel anything like the vintage style guitar you have. Because of the different bridge and modern construction (including bi-flex rod), it likely won't sound the same. Whether that's good or bad only you can decide. if your MIM Classic sounds good as is, a set of better pickups will only bring out the best in it. I know quite a few pros who play MIM Fenders.
     
    Gevalt likes this.
  18. sanrico

    sanrico Member

    Messages:
    12,250
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Nuevo México
    Buy a used USA. They aren't expensive. If you get one from the 90's even better. Those are excellent Strats. I've never seen a bad one.
     
  19. kwicked

    kwicked Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,408
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Have you played an American standard? If you love your v- neck, i'm not sure you will like the lame modern C that is on most models. If i were you, i would get a neck to your preferred specs with SS frets from Warmoth and slap it on your current MIM. Play it for awhile and then you can decide what else to do. Partscasters are great, they don't hold value if you buy new and mod, but if you buy the components used, you can put together exactly what you want and you already have the body. Why not? IMO its really the only way to go if you have a preferred strat neck shape other than the modern C and probably even then. Enjoy!
     
  20. ferrell

    ferrell Member

    Messages:
    388
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    nashville

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice