#1
Is there a difference in terms of sound between the American Stratocaster and the Mexican one? And what makes this difference? I'm thinking of buying a strat but I'm really not sure if i want to throw double the money of a Mexican Stratocaster into an American Stratocaster. Is it worth the increase of price?
#2
Go Mexican. It's higher value in my opinion. Yes, the American Strat is American.... but that's about it. Oh yeah it's also twice the cost, and not twice as good.
Plays:
Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 FR Limited
Parker Mojo Fly
Ibanez SZR 720
Tanglewood Evolution
LaPatrie Etude DEMO
'66 Hagstrom Viking I (customized)
SGR C-7 (defretted)
Agile Intrepid 828

Amp, Pedals:
Laney LV300
BOSS RC-20XL
#3
Buy a used Mexican and spend the money you save replacing the electronics with exactly what suits your playing.
#4
difference is American has 22 fret neck MIM has 21. 2 point trem vs 6 screw and pickups are different alnico vs ceramic. 2-3
piece body wit better grade wood vs upwards of 7 piece body made with not as nice wood.

now as mentioned when bought used a MIM can be a fantastic deal. they are decent guitars and with a few mods can be great. a good setup with new pickups and you should be good to go for less than even a used US strat would cost. if you're lucky you can often find MIM's with improvements at places like GC and not really pay much if any more than the standard used price ( I bought one last year with locking tuners, LSR roler nut, Graphtech saddles and better pups)

US strats are great guitars and tend to need less work (provided you like the stock pickups). of course more expensive but retain value pretty well.
#5
Quote by monwobobbo
difference is American has 22 fret neck MIM has 21. 2 point trem vs 6 screw and pickups are different alnico vs ceramic. 2-3
piece body wit better grade wood vs upwards of 7 piece body made with not as nice wood.

now as mentioned when bought used a MIM can be a fantastic deal. they are decent guitars and with a few mods can be great. a good setup with new pickups and you should be good to go for less than even a used US strat would cost. if you're lucky you can often find MIM's with improvements at places like GC and not really pay much if any more than the standard used price ( I bought one last year with locking tuners, LSR roler nut, Graphtech saddles and better pups)

US strats are great guitars and tend to need less work (provided you like the stock pickups). of course more expensive but retain value pretty well.


Yeah and saying used MIM can be a fantastic deal, so are used MIA strats. You can get lucky and score a nice one for a fair price (most go like for 1200-1300 euros new here in Europe, used I've seen a few for 700 in pretty mint condition).

But then again, if you would need to mod a MIA strat to your liking.. better start with a MIM one. And no need to go pure Fender either, many good "strat" makers without the Fender logo on the headstock.
Gear pics

Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

Last edited by Sakke at May 26, 2014,
#6
Quote by monwobobbo
difference is American has 22 fret neck MIM has 21. 2 point trem vs 6 screw and pickups are different alnico vs ceramic. 2-3
piece body wit better grade wood vs upwards of 7 piece body made with not as nice wood.


yeah. the pickups especially will be noticeable to anyone who has more than a passing acquaintance with good (or at least, vintage-accurate) strat pickups.

the others might not be noticeable in terms of tone (or might be subtle), but they do help to explain the cost difference too.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#7
Both guitars are gig quality off the rack providing you do a little setup first. I have 2 USA Fenders that I bought used, each for about the same $$ as a Mex new. I am pleased with my choice but have played fine Mex Fenders before and liked them. If you plan to buy a Mex just so you can strip off all the hardware and make it USA quality, just buy USA in the first place IMO. Appreciate the Mex Strat for what it is. A very good guitar and a great value.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#8
yeah. i always figure if a guitar is right apart from the pickups, that's it's right. but there's a difference between a couple of targeted upgrades (which are fair enough) and near enough ripping the entire thing apart, where it normally makes more sense, and doesn't cost any more, to just buy the better product in the first place.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#9
Quote by Dave_Mc
yeah. i always figure if a guitar is right apart from the pickups, that's it's right. but there's a difference between a couple of targeted upgrades (which are fair enough) and near enough ripping the entire thing apart, where it normally makes more sense, and doesn't cost any more, to just buy the better product in the first place.


in principle I agree however that may not be true. if you are just going for upgrading to the stock parts for a US strat then sure that doesn't make much sense. if you want parts that aren't similar to the stock US parts then it may be a different story. for instance the strat I bought had sperzel locking tuners, an LSR roller nut and graphtech saddles. none of these are available options on a standard US strat. all of these are at least on paper "better improvements" above the specs on a US strat (except the deluxe which has 2 out 3 stock and cost another $500).
#10
It depends on what you want in the end. If you're planning on getting a mexi strat only to mod it completely then just get an american strat. (well, that depends on how you're modding the strat, let's assume you're trying to make it a better strat and not put emg's and a touch screen synth in it.)

Overall the quality on the mexi strats is less consistent some feel and play just as good as an american while others just feel "lacking".

I'd search for a nice used american strat myself, but that's because if I was buying a strat I'd want a great strat, not something to mod to be something else.
I haz gotten gud
#11
Quote by ApatheticMe
It depends on what you want in the end. If you're planning on getting a mexi strat only to mod it completely then just get an american strat. (well, that depends on how you're modding the strat, let's assume you're trying to make it a better strat and not put emg's and a touch screen synth in it.)

Overall the quality on the mexi strats is less consistent some feel and play just as good as an american while others just feel "lacking".

I'd search for a nice used american strat myself, but that's because if I was buying a strat I'd want a great strat, not something to mod to be something else.


you can find some great MIM strats. sure you might have to play a few to find a really good one but they are definitely out there. I've played some US strats that just felt "lacking" as well. I own both just for the record. certainly if you can afford a US strat then go for it but if your on a budget then a MIM is a great way to go. when bought used they make it easier to justify upgrading to your exact specs.
#12
Quote by monwobobbo
you can find some great MIM strats. sure you might have to play a few to find a really good one but they are definitely out there. I've played some US strats that just felt "lacking" as well. I own both just for the record. certainly if you can afford a US strat then go for it but if your on a budget then a MIM is a great way to go. when bought used they make it easier to justify upgrading to your exact specs.


Couldn't agree more. A used mim strat runs for like what? 200$?

Find the right one and you're in strat heaven.

If you have the money though, the MIA strat will be better especially if you cherry pick the best one you can find.

It really depends on what you want and how much you're willing to spend. If money is no object then the MIA strat will be better even if you want to change everything on it. Because they are made out of better wood.
I haz gotten gud
#13
Quote by monwobobbo
in principle I agree however that may not be true. if you are just going for upgrading to the stock parts for a US strat then sure that doesn't make much sense. if you want parts that aren't similar to the stock US parts then it may be a different story. for instance the strat I bought had sperzel locking tuners, an LSR roller nut and graphtech saddles. none of these are available options on a standard US strat. all of these are at least on paper "better improvements" above the specs on a US strat (except the deluxe which has 2 out 3 stock and cost another $500).


Oh yeah absolutely, it depends on the exact upgrades and how much extra you'd have to pay to get them stock on a guitar.

Just was posting that as a very rough rule of thumb.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#14
If you have the $$$ the MIA is a smooth playing beast. On a budget there is nothing wrong with a MIM. Still quality. I've got 2 of each and can tell immediately which is which in the dark.

The major difference other than electronics is the SLIGHTLY wider fretboard on the MIA.
Last edited by cheesefries at May 27, 2014,
#15
TS, not entirely answering your question, but maybe take a look at G&L? Apparently it was Leo Fenders last company before he died, and wanted to make more "proper" instruments.

You'd probably be looking at the Legacy, S-500, and the Comanche.

From MusiciansFriend, priced lowest to highest that may interest you.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-tribute-legacy-electric-guitar

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-tribute-comanche-electric-guitar

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-tribute-s500-electric-guitar/j07209

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-legacy-electric-guitar/h99768
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

Current Rig:
2006 PRS CE-24
Mesa/Boogie Mark V
Voltage S212 w/ V30's
Strymon Timeline
CMATMods Signa Drive
TC Electronics Corona & Hall of Fame
#16
Man you have so many options for a traditional S-type guitar that "American vs. Mexican" probably isn't the right question to ask.

If you want a Fender...

Used MIA's are common and generally inexpensive if you weed through the morons who think the value on them appreciates over time. Be patient and you can score one, at least in my area, for 500 to 700 USD in great shape.

Used Mex's are stupid-common, like laying on the ground type of common. You should be able to get one for as low as $250 in some places. In my area $350 is about the best you can do most of the time.

If I had the spare cash now, I'd buy a used Mex and drop a loaded MIA pickguard in it. Those go on Ebay fairly cheap. You can come away with an awesome axe for $400 that way.

Also, there are always questions about the trems's on the Mex's. It's a Strat, you're probably not going to be dive-bombing much on one. If you want to add some shimmer to some notes, the Mex trem is fine.
Ibanez SR1200E
#17
Best American one is the hand-stained Nitro version. Most open sound and it's not encased in a thick plastic shell.

American or Mexican? Play the guitars first before choosing. You'll be surprised to find out that each guitar's individual differences will matter more than the place it was made in. An American can be complete crap, and a Mexican one can blow your ears out with its tone
#18
Quote by ch1ng_chung
Best American one is the hand-stained Nitro version. Most open sound and it's not encased in a thick plastic shell.

American or Mexican? Play the guitars first before choosing. You'll be surprised to find out that each guitar's individual differences will matter more than the place it was made in. An American can be complete crap, and a Mexican one can blow your ears out with its tone



I have the hand stained American Special. Awesome guitar, and definitely worth the slight price increase over a Mexican.
#20
Hi, my name is Jake. I'm a recovering Stratocaster addict who is working to rejoin a normal, functional society.


But really, I've owned probably 20-something Strat, been heavily involved in modding and selling them. The biggest thing that makes an American over a Mexican is that 2-Point tremolo. That tremolo is much, much, much easier to set up in a float. It stays in tune better and has a smoother action. There's nothing wrong with the vintage style 6-screw that comes on a Mexican, but they don't put the best parts in their entry level models by design.

Another thing is that the Fat 50's you get in the new MIA Standards are absolutely killer. They were Custom Shop ordered pickups before they started making them included. The Alnico's that come in the MIM just don't compare. The 50's are a $200 set of pickups, too. Good stuff.

Other things: Bi-Flex Truss rod; Micro-Tilt neck adjustment; Stainless steel frets; Bone nut; Molded hard case; option for Ash; choice woods; dat' MIA headstock candy.

An American Strat will always be worth it in my eyes. Mexico makes the kind of V6 Challengers with automatic transmissions that hairdressers drive, whereas the American is the R/T model. Sure, you can drop a new engine and spend money on parts for the base-model, but by the time you get it where you think it's "just as good," you've spend the same money for something without the good trem, without the good truss rod, and without the microtilt.


Quote by AWACS
TS, not entirely answering your question, but maybe take a look at G&L? Apparently it was Leo Fenders last company before he died, and wanted to make more "proper" instruments.

You'd probably be looking at the Legacy, S-500, and the Comanche.

From MusiciansFriend, priced lowest to highest that may interest you.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-tribute-legacy-electric-guitar

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-tribute-comanche-electric-guitar

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-tribute-s500-electric-guitar/j07209

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gl-legacy-electric-guitar/h99768



I've owned a couple Legacies. They're different breeds from Strats. While they're both dogs, one's a Border Collie and the other's a Bull Mastiff.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
Last edited by JustRooster at May 29, 2014,
#21
Border Collies rule.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#22
In other news, besides, G&L, lots of good quality SLOs* are available from companies like Carvin, Godin, US Masters, Fernandes, Fret-King, Reverend. The list goes on.

Nearly every guitar maker over a certain size that isn't catering to a niche market makes one...each with their own minor or major variations on the theme. Some don't look all that much like Strats, but sound like them. Others look like them, but sound quite different.**

And of course, there's all kinds of differing prices and degrees of quality.


* Strat-like objects

** this paragraph also applies to Teleclones and More or Les Pauls
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 29, 2014,
#23
I was abducted by a SLO in a field once. Thankfully they're not very efficient shapes for probing.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#24
Ummm...while I'd rather NOT be probed, if I had to be, I'd prefer something that WAS an efficiently shaped device.


I speak as a man in my mid-40's who has a doctor with big, knuckly hands...


and the hockey glove was uncalled for.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 29, 2014,
#25
Quote by dannyalcatraz



and the hockey glove was uncalled for.


Speak for yourself...that's always my favorite part..


Back to topic, one of the most easily noticeable differences in MIM and MIA is the neck shape. The MIA is a bit wider and thinner where the MIM is less wide but seems to have more roundness.

Another difference, at least in MIM's pre-'06ish, is fret size. The American models usually have bigger frets (medium jumbo/jumbo) where as older MIM's have smaller, more vintage sized frets. My good friend who is a tech tells me there was a change in the MIM fret size around '06 and they're now using MJ sized frets.
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.
#26
I can hear and feel the difference between an American Strat and a Mexican Strat, the Mexican strat feels and sounds REALLY good to me, until I pick up a well set up American Strat. Then the difference is really night and day. The pick ups sound crisper, they sound cleaner. Its pops and twangs a little better, frets always dressed better if not perfectly. The necks feel better in your hands, and they feel faster. Maybe its just me but while I think the Mexican strat is a wonderful instrument, the American strat is MILES away from it, and while the've both gone up in price, the gap in price has stayed relatively the same. I remember 10 years ago a Mexi Strat was 369.99 at GC, American Strat was 949.99. Now its 499.99 for a Mexi and about 12-1300 for an American Standard.
Gear:
1987 Charvel Model II
2010 Carvin ST300C
1990 Charvette 100
1991 Ibanez RG560M
2006 Fender Mexi Strat
Jackson/Charvel Star W/ Custom Graphics.
Ovation CP 247 Acoustic
Line 6 POD HD Pro X
Pro Tools 9

Tutorial: Studio Quality Programmed Drum Sounds
#27
Quote by RBM01991
I can hear and feel the difference between an American Strat and a Mexican Strat, the Mexican strat feels and sounds REALLY good to me, until I pick up a well set up American Strat. Then the difference is really night and day. The pick ups sound crisper, they sound cleaner. Its pops and twangs a little better, frets always dressed better if not perfectly. The necks feel better in your hands, and they feel faster. Maybe its just me but while I think the Mexican strat is a wonderful instrument, the American strat is MILES away from it, and while the've both gone up in price, the gap in price has stayed relatively the same. I remember 10 years ago a Mexi Strat was 369.99 at GC, American Strat was 949.99. Now its 499.99 for a Mexi and about 12-1300 for an American Standard.


the fret wire size is different on MIM vs US so yes you will notice a difference. Alnico vs Ceramic pups so once a gain a difference. you can replace the pickups so that in itself not a huge biggie. the feel of the neck is an individual thing.
#28
Quote by RBM01991
I can hear and feel the difference between an American Strat and a Mexican Strat, the Mexican strat feels and sounds REALLY good to me, until I pick up a well set up American Strat. Then the difference is really night and day. The pick ups sound crisper, they sound cleaner. Its pops and twangs a little better, frets always dressed better if not perfectly. The necks feel better in your hands, and they feel faster. Maybe its just me but while I think the Mexican strat is a wonderful instrument, the American strat is MILES away from it, and while the've both gone up in price, the gap in price has stayed relatively the same. I remember 10 years ago a Mexi Strat was 369.99 at GC, American Strat was 949.99. Now its 499.99 for a Mexi and about 12-1300 for an American Standard.



That's been pretty much my experience as well. a MIM out of the box to me is like an EPI LP. Usually gets you 70% of the way there. You might find that special 1 in 40 one that gets you 90%... but if you can't hear/feel the difference... more power to you.

MIM Strat's are bargain's for 250 on the used market. Not so much brand new. When you add in a case, pickup swap (which many people do), and other random upgrades you can quickly reach the price of a new MIA.

Just look for a used mint MIA Fender for 600 with case and be done with it.
Last edited by cheesefries at May 30, 2014,
#29
Quote by cheesefries
That's been pretty much my experience as well. a MIM out of the box to me is like an EPI LP. Usually gets you 70% of the way there. You might find that special 1 in 40 one that gets you 90%... but if you can't hear/feel the difference... more power to you.

MIM Strat's are bargain's for 250 on the used market. Not so much brand new. When you add in a case, pickup swap (which many people do), and other random upgrades you can quickly reach the price of a new MIA.

Just look for a used mint MIA Fender for 600 with case and be done with it.


agree PROVIDED the stock MIA sound is what you want otherwise you end up doing the same thing with the US strat and don't really save a thing. no doubt that a stock MIM doesn't sound exactly like a US which may or may not be bad. for certain tones the MIM pups are better to my ears (but far from perfect).
#30
Never played an MIM tbh.Played a couple of squiers.What i can say is that i'm in love with my MIA Strat.It feels,sounds and plays better than i imagined it would.It is my baby.
#31
Where the **** do you find MIM's for 250 and a 600 dollar USA Strat? Tampa must be expensive as hell then.
Gear:
1987 Charvel Model II
2010 Carvin ST300C
1990 Charvette 100
1991 Ibanez RG560M
2006 Fender Mexi Strat
Jackson/Charvel Star W/ Custom Graphics.
Ovation CP 247 Acoustic
Line 6 POD HD Pro X
Pro Tools 9

Tutorial: Studio Quality Programmed Drum Sounds
#32
Quote by RBM01991
Where the **** do you find MIM's for 250 and a 600 dollar USA Strat? Tampa must be expensive as hell then.

Chicago all the time.
#33
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#34
Man....**** this town then everyone over here wants 800 for a 10 year old usa strat, and Ebay is even worse.
Gear:
1987 Charvel Model II
2010 Carvin ST300C
1990 Charvette 100
1991 Ibanez RG560M
2006 Fender Mexi Strat
Jackson/Charvel Star W/ Custom Graphics.
Ovation CP 247 Acoustic
Line 6 POD HD Pro X
Pro Tools 9

Tutorial: Studio Quality Programmed Drum Sounds
#35
Quote by monwobobbo
agree PROVIDED the stock MIA sound is what you want otherwise you end up doing the same thing with the US strat and don't really save a thing. no doubt that a stock MIM doesn't sound exactly like a US which may or may not be bad. for certain tones the MIM pups are better to my ears (but far from perfect).


Well if its used just look around. I've seen many for sale with dozens of different types of aftermarket pickups and trems such as callahams. If you don't want a stock sounding MIA then don't buy a used stock MIA. Mod's usually don't add anything to the price anyway.
#36
Quote by RBM01991
Where the **** do you find MIM's for 250 and a 600 dollar USA Strat? Tampa must be expensive as hell then.


Raleigh, NC area all the time.

MIM Strats

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/msg/4484246411.html $250

http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/msg/4445175275.html $200

http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/msg/4488806332.html $275

MIA Strats

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/msg/4466217771.html $ 525

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/msg/4487749776.html $500 It's a Hwy 1... but still good price

I love Craigslist. I bought a black mint Gibson SG Standard for 550 last month. Just be careful who/where you meet!
Last edited by cheesefries at May 30, 2014,
#37
i bought a gibson les paul studio for $350 with a mild finish crack in the neck once.
#38
Quote by cheesefries
Well if its used just look around. I've seen many for sale with dozens of different types of aftermarket pickups and trems such as callahams. If you don't want a stock sounding MIA then don't buy a used stock MIA. Mod's usually don't add anything to the price anyway.


on paper that's great but not always doable. I like to play before I buy so ebay etc is out. I did buy my MIM with a ton of mods already done which is why I bought it in the first place. once again not saying that MIM's are better than US or anything like that just that for about the same or less than a stock used US you can get a MIM and do it up the way you want. of course you have to take some time to find a really good MIM to begin with as they aren't all gems for sure.
#39
Quote by monwobobbo
on paper that's great but not always doable. I like to play before I buy so ebay etc is out. I did buy my MIM with a ton of mods already done which is why I bought it in the first place. once again not saying that MIM's are better than US or anything like that just that for about the same or less than a stock used US you can get a MIM and do it up the way you want. of course you have to take some time to find a really good MIM to begin with as they aren't all gems for sure.


Dude... you play before you buy on Craigslist too. I've plugged in an amp dozens of times at power outlets by shopping centers to test guitars out. If you don't like the guitar don't buy it. Simple as that.

I was never talking about mail order anyway.

Seems you love MIM's. That's cool. I've owned dozens of both. The MIM's were great but never held a candle to the better MIA's that are out there. For 500-600 I have just seen MIA's go in my area I would never consider a MIM.
Last edited by cheesefries at May 30, 2014,