Fender (made in) USA vs Japan ?

moonman

Well-Known Member
#1
Hey,
I know there is plenty of Fender fans on here, so I thought I'd ask for advice and opinions on the pros and cons of USA compared to Jap Fenders.
I'm aware of the discrepancies of branding (MIJ, CIJ, USA / Series) over the years etc, so theres no need to go into all that.
The main reason I'm curious is because of how many people I've overheard debating on wich is actually better (without actually saying why) - so.......

DISCUSS

Ernesto ? :D

...... and please leave Mexicans out of the discussion.
 

Fuzzy Picklez

Rust is the perfect brake.
#2
I don't actually have a preference. I love my MIJ Jaguar, and my MIA Standard Telecaster.
I'm usually pretty happy with both American and Japanese Fender guitars.
There are some differences no doubt, but I don't think one is miles better than the other.
 

moonman

Well-Known Member
#3
I don't actually have a preference. I love my MIJ Jaguar, and my MIA Standard Telecaster.
I'm usually pretty happy with both American and Japanese Fender guitars.
There are some differences no doubt, but I don't think one is miles better than the other.
I just find it interesting when I occasionally hear someone say (in certain terms) that the Japan models beat the American hands down.
Is there any truth in this ?
(There is never enough Jap models to compare within the UK)
 

DrJazztap

Well-Known Member
#4
I think it's horses for courses. You can find some great japanese guitars, and you can find some awful american guitars, the flip side is also true. I used to own a Fender Strat Plus many moons ago, now i was too young (and very very lucky) to own it when my playing didnt warrant such a lavish instrument. I dont remember it being considerably better than the jap squier it was replacing, I think at that point in time i was so enamoured with "getting a real fender" that I didnt really appreciate or understand what i was getting. Im sure it was a lovely instrument, the tokai goldstar i've just sold was a great guitar full stop, maybe it could have benefited from some uprated pickups but hey ho. Basically what fuzzy picklez said :)
 

Voodoorider

Can spot a twat a mile away.
#5
I've played a Jap fender which played about as well as any American Fender i've played.. And i've played a Jap Fender which i didn't think was as good as, at least as my American Fenders. I've also played American Fenders and thought they were quite average. So without even considering the origin, you already have an inconsistent product from the same factory, let alone bringing "eras" and such variables into it.

Ultimately i think if the guitar plays well in your hands, feels good and sounds good, then who cares?

Some people will harp on about "premium American" guitars being the best thing since sliced bread. That's fine, but sometimes the premium guitars are utter shite :)

The whole "Jap Fender beats US Fender" thing too, meh.. blindfold someone, give them a Jap strat and a US strat, and i reckon 99% of the time they'd have had a lucky guess if they told you which was which.
 

moonman

Well-Known Member
#6
.....irony is......
this thread is honestly the first time I've ever come across anyone putting a Jap Fender in a somewhat negative light to any extent.
I've only ever heard people say great things about them, and how there is a great demand for them over here (UK) etc etc.
Up to now my "Fender experience" is quite limited, so I'm always keen to learn as much as I can.
 

Andrew F

Chicken Lickin' Tiger Time
#7
To be honest, I dont really see a huge significance. I havent really been disapointed with the range of Fenders that ive played on. Hell Ive played some Mexi's that played better than MIAs.

/shrug
 

peachy901

Priest in the Church of Fender
#8
I heard a rumour that Fender have stopped selling Jap. guitars in the UK as the were out selling the USA models too much?????

Anyone else hear of this?
 

ThomasIV

sun's out, puns out
#9
I heard a rumour that Fender have stopped selling Jap. guitars in the UK as they were out selling the USA models too much?????

Anyone else hear of this?
That doesn't make sense to me. If something's selling well, you don't stop selling it. That's insanity.
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
#11
I've played a Jap fender which played about as well as any American Fender i've played.. And i've played a Jap Fender which i didn't think was as good as, at least as my American Fenders. I've also played American Fenders and thought they were quite average. So without even considering the origin, you already have an inconsistent product from the same factory, let alone bringing "eras" and such variables into it.

Ultimately i think if the guitar plays well in your hands, feels good and sounds good, then who cares?

Some people will harp on about "premium American" guitars being the best thing since sliced bread. That's fine, but sometimes the premium guitars are utter shite :)

The whole "Jap Fender beats US Fender" thing too, meh.. blindfold someone, give them a Jap strat and a US strat, and i reckon 99% of the time they'd have had a lucky guess if they told you which was which.
Garry has it absolutely correct in my opinion. People get too bogged down in the hype surrounding USA vs Japan vs Mexico, when at the end of the day, each individual guitar is going to be different either way.
 

moonman

Well-Known Member
#12
Garry has it absolutely correct in my opinion. People get too bogged down in the hype surrounding USA vs Japan vs Mexico, when at the end of the day, each individual guitar is going to be different either way.
Is this not too much of a generalisation though ?
We all may percieve or feel individual guitars as being different but ...... ?

Maybe we should be listing the attention to detail - things like .....
USA use 3 piece bodys, have hand rolled fret board edges etc etc etc
(comparisons of parts / electronics etc etc)
 

Voodoorider

Can spot a twat a mile away.
#13
Is this not too much of a generalisation though ?
We all may percieve or feel individual guitars as being different but ...... ?

Maybe we should be listing the attention to detail - things like .....
USA use 3 piece bodys, have hand rolled fret board edges etc etc etc
(comparisons of parts / electronics etc etc)
All that stuff varies a little though from year to year, and we'd probably never even know. Just for example.. say in 2001, the company who supplies Fender with their bridges, may have had to change the way they plate their product due to some legal implication of a chemical they use in the process becoming illegal in manufacturing application. And who'd ever know.

How many pieces of wood doesn't realllly matter apart from looks to be honest man, it's one of those things people will talk about as if it's inferior where in fact they couldn't tell the difference between 1 piece of 5 pieces. I don't know about the hardware though, i'd guess it's not the same as the hardware used on the USA models, but i'd bet it's still good hardware! The pickups from what i can tell are supplied by the USA. I don't remember ever seeing a flawed finish on a new Fender. And i've seen slightly skew necks on USA guitars, which is something that i always look out for as it annoys me. I noticed it on a couple of Japanese models when looking at photos too.

I don't think i've ever played any Fender and thought to myself it was annoying that the fingerboard edges are sharp, so i'd guess they all get rolled somehow to some level, but i can't find any specific info.

Something to remember here is Fender USA got their knickers in a twist some years ago, when they realised Fender Japan were making guitars just as good as (if not better) than they were!

I honestly think you have as much chance of finding a MIJ/CIJ Fender as you do a USA Fender, that you love!
 

Wire_n_Wood

Part-time Superhero
#14
Something to remember here is Fender USA got their knickers in a twist some years ago, when they realised Fender Japan were making guitars just as good
Hehe, kinda like VW and Skoda (belongs to VW)? The former were worried recently, as the new Passat sales were dented because of the rising sales of the Octavia 5 and Superb models :D
 
#16
Fender Japan guitars were originally made over in japan to be sold in the USA, thus being the same quality as the USA fenders. But they are different. The Japanese fenders are made the same as they were back in the day so have the same lacquers. Fender USA now use the thicker lacquers as the thinner stuff is more likely to damage in transit. They dont age as nicely though so they dont relic that well at all. The designs and everything from Fender Japan are also very similar to the original fenders so you get some really nice ones! Like the Jap 62 Tele and the Jap Yngwie Strats. Both great guitars just depends what you want! But the Fender Japan stuff is in no where budget stuff to USA stuff. There just different.

Benni
 

moonman

Well-Known Member
#17
Fender Japan guitars were originally made over in japan to be sold in the USA, thus being the same quality as the USA fenders. But they are different. The Japanese fenders are made the same as they were back in the day so have the same lacquers. Fender USA now use the thicker lacquers as the thinner stuff is more likely to damage in transit. They dont age as nicely though so they dont relic that well at all. The designs and everything from Fender Japan are also very similar to the original fenders so you get some really nice ones! Like the Jap 62 Tele and the Jap Yngwie Strats. Both great guitars just depends what you want! But the Fender Japan stuff is in no where budget stuff to USA stuff. There just different.

Benni
Cheers Ben - but other than the lacquers - different how ?
I had a look on the Fender Japan site (and translated it), but could'nt find much info with regards to specs etc.
 
#18
Cheers Ben - but other than the lacquers - different how ?
I had a look on the Fender Japan site (and translated it), but could'nt find much info with regards to specs etc.
Theres a few other subtle differences like the cuts of wood they use but they are similar. The main different is the Jap ones are all old school styled and made. Like theres no fancy bits like the S1 switch and Comfort cuts on the teles and other such things. Most are 21 fretted like the old school ones not 22 and just look like they did in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Someone in my class at BIMM has a 62 japanese tele that he has gigged alot and that thing like like a 60's relic man. Really looks like a quality instrument and is a fantastic guitar and there £600 at the most! Have one in my local PMT for that.
They are obviously similar but are just awesome guitars and i really like japs. If you want to get a bit more familiar with the jap models then have a look at this ebay store!

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/ishibashim...89505013&_sid=915522713&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322

Some sweet stuff on there.

Benni
 

sted

Darth Sted
Staff member
#19
Its all a bit moot really in terms of production values, you simply won't find tangible differences that will obviously point out the better of the two in terms of production quality, both places have been at it so long that the processes and skills are nailed and they will both make near perfect examples.
Re-sale is a big difference, the CIJ have more of a cult following whereas a MIA guitar will have more mass appeal, badge snobbery, brand loyalty call it what you want it amounts to the same thing, a used MIA will almost certainly sell better, that will always affect the new cost of anything (BMW anyone?).
Playability? I've played so many strats in my time I couldn't begin to even form an opinion, so many variations and years of manufacture, you're head just melts trying to weigh it all up, best just to trust your instincts.I certainly liked most of them, I didn't really dislike any of them, I always make a point of trying to look at the headstock last to see where something was made.
I would buy a jap in a heartbeat if it ticked all the boxes for me, I'd be lying to say it doesn't get taken into consideration where something is built but it wouldn't be a deciding factor,
 

moonman

Well-Known Member
#20
Theres a few other subtle differences like the cuts of wood they use but they are similar. The main different is the Jap ones are all old school styled and made. Like theres no fancy bits like the S1 switch and Comfort cuts on the teles and other such things. Most are 21 fretted like the old school ones not 22 and just look like they did in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Someone in my class at BIMM has a 62 japanese tele that he has gigged alot and that thing like like a 60's relic man. Really looks like a quality instrument and is a fantastic guitar and there £600 at the most! Have one in my local PMT for that.
They are obviously similar but are just awesome guitars and i really like japs. If you want to get a bit more familiar with the jap models then have a look at this ebay store!

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/ishibashim...89505013&_sid=915522713&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322

Some sweet stuff on there.

Benni
Cheers mate
Coincidently, I just found a link for the 2010 Fender Jap catalogue.
Wow, what a massive selection - even more than most from what I can make out.
http://s183.photobucket.com/albums/x153/stratman323/Fender Japan 2010 catalogue/?albumview=slideshow
 
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