What are the differences between a made in Mexico Strat and a USA Strat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by It's Time!, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. It's Time!

    It's Time! Senior Member

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    Is the wood any better for the USA Strat?

    Is the fret work better for the USA Strat?

    How about the pickups and pots?
     
  2. dazco

    dazco Member

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    it depends on the model. I could write a book on it. But suffice it to say there are some mexicans that are better then some USA made and visa versa. The mex stuff can have some very good wod or very junky 7 piece bodies with knots and all, covered with opaque paint to hide it. Then again i suspect some USA isn't much better. The mex classic series is bodies and necks are made in the USA plant and are the same bodies that are used to make many USA models. (or at least was, not sure if this has changed recently) That by the way right out of a fender rep's mouth when i asked. And it''s been obvious. Till recently, i literally saw much nicer looking bodies on the classic series than the USA vintage series. The grain matching on 2 or 3 piece bodies was much better on most of the classic series i saw and the one i owned than the USA vintage bodies. Of course we're talking see thru finishes. For years i was really puzzled by this, but almost every USA vintage burst i saw had really bad grain matching. Anyways, the bodies and necks are (or "were" if thats changed since) taken from the USA plant and sent to mexico for assembly and paint. But same bodies and necks. Just seems the nicer bodies were sent away ! Still amazed by that and can't figure why. But in any case they seem to have rectified that recently and now i am seeing some utterly gorgeous USA vintage bodies and the classic series has seemed to have gone the opposite was, still nice but not extraordinary like many i'd seen up till now. As to fretwork.....usually better on USA, but on the MIM stuff it's usually very good. More chance of issues tho. Played a classic player the other day with fret ends sticking out a bit due to wood shrinkage.

    Anyways, classic series and vintage series aside, there are lots of good and bad in both MIM and MIA. But like with anything once you start getting into the high ranges like 2k and up you no longer have to worry about bad looking grain and matching or 7 piece bodies etc. But you also have to realize one important thing....there will always be some MIM fenders that will beat even some 2k or up USA stuff because thats just the nature of wood. It can only be controlled to a certain point, and beyond that nature takes over and expensive guitars can be junk and budgets ones great.

    All that aside, the biggest difference that seems to always be linked to cost is pickups, hardware and electronics. That stuff is almost always better as you go up in price. And in some cases may really be all that seperates a $1200 strat from a $600 one. Even the squier classic series is scary good if you set the hardware and pots/switch aside. Notice i didn't say pickups....they are actually pretty darn good !
     
  3. Ramblin' Ghost

    Ramblin' Ghost Member

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    There are so many different models made in both the US and Mexico, so its hard to make generalizations. If we are talking about an American standard vs. a mexican standard, then you will have better hardware and electronics on the USA. Wood would probably be comparable. Overall fretwork is better for US, but there are always outliers. There are great Mexican strats and American duds, so the best bet is to just play as many strats of all kinds as ya can find. Then buy the one that speaks to you.
     
  4. djg714

    djg714 Member

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    this is like a weekly thread I guess.........
     
  5. mifar55

    mifar55 Supporting Member

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    Pick the middle ground and get a MIJ Strat. You can't go wrong.
     
  6. Custom50

    Custom50 Member

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    MIM will be a few more pieces of wood for [SIZE=-1]the body.
    [/SIZE]
     
  7. b3john

    b3john Member

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    Fret dressing, for starters.
     
  8. rodrigorivero

    rodrigorivero Member

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    strats made in mexico by mexicans, strats made in USA by mexicans
     
  9. dazco

    dazco Member

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    :rotflmao
     
  10. televox

    televox Member

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    Off the top of my head, better hardware, better quality pickups.
    Better build quality and finish, for eg...compare a Mexican sunburst to a USA sunburst.
    In general just better made guitars, that's not to say there aren't some good sounding, playing Mex guitar....I'm generalizing.
     
  11. zephaniah zion

    zephaniah zion Member

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    It literally depends on the guitar. In general USA should be and is normally better. Better though is defined differently by all. I change every piece of hardware on any Fender guitar instantly because I know exactly what I want a guitar to feel, sound and play like. Also Fender rarely offers the options I want i.e. (locking tuners, lack of switches, knobs moved around). For that reason alone, I always choose MIM. I do though have to play a good bit of guitars to find the good ones though. I'm not lazy, I don't mind the search.:p
     
  12. Lespaulsignature 74

    Lespaulsignature 74 Silver Supporting Member

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  13. silentbob

    silentbob Member

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    Generally speaking, you're more likely to find a keeper and less likely to find a dog if you go with MIA over MIM. As previously mentioned, there will be great MIMs and less appealing MIAs, but the theory holds water overall.
     
  14. mesa/kramer

    mesa/kramer Member

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    :rotflmao
     
  15. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius Member

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    Unfortunately. :bonk
     
  16. dughaze

    dughaze Member

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    Everything is different between them...everything. Go look in Craigslist for all the MIM Tele's and Strat's that have been upgraded till the cows come home. The seller paid $399 or $499 new for the guitar, put $200+ worth of pickups and parts into it to try and get it playable, and then decided to sell it for $250 to $300 if he's lucky to move up the chain.

    Also, don't fall for if it's made in Japan, Korea, Indochina or Antartica it's a really great model either. Nobody's going to trade their MIA Strat or Tele for that mint, plays like butter, Custom Vibed, Custom Shop pickup loaded Strat or Tele with a neck that was blessed by Ghandi.

    Just buy a used MIA Strat or Tele for $600 to $700 because that's what you will end up doing anyways....like I did.:p
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  17. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

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    I have both. Both are of equally good quality in every department. The only significant differences are in feel-the US model has satin finished neck, the MIM is gloss fingerboard and satin back to the neck, and pickups. The ceramics in the MIM are no better or worse than those in the US model; just different-sounding.
    The Baja is in a class of its own-great pickups and neck and a lightweight (6.5lbs) two-piece body.
     
  18. partsocaster

    partsocaster Member

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    Well, I recently traded for a mid 90s MIM Tele that had the nicest neck and warmest tone (acoustically) I have ever played on for a Tele (I've owned an American Deluxe from the same period and it was nice but this guitar just sounds better). Yeah, I dropped money on parts, closer to $350 since I went with Lollars and replaced all the hardware BUT it is a fantastic guitar, just the electronics and hardware were cheap, the wood absolutely sings.

    As for reselling it, you are correct that my guitar will never return the cost I put into it BUT not because it's isn't a great guitar, it's due to the constant belief (and a wholly incorrect one at that) that a guitar that doesn't say MIA is inferior for that reason alone.
     
  19. LPVM

    LPVM Member

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    Hardware, electronics, multipiece bodies, necks, fretwork....pretty much everything. With that said MIM Strats are pretty good players if stay away from the low end models. They even have some high end models that rival MIA Standards for instance, the Jimmy Vaughan Strat has all high end vintage style hardware and one of the best necks on any Strat and it's a MIM guitar.
     
  20. kenneth

    kenneth Member

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    Run the racks!!
    Head to your local GC and run the racks!

    Then come back and report.
     

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