#1
I'm thinking about swapping everything out of my 05 mexican telecaster aside from the body, obviously. Just wondering how inferior my canvas would be vs using an american tele body. I believe the body is alder, but not positive. For those who will ask, I'm left-handed, and I have the guitar anyway, so it may be easier to frankenstein this one than just by a brand new custom shop guitar.
#3
parting everything out is going to cost a fair bit I think (not to mention the whole ship of theseus type of conundrum you have going on). it might be cheaper to sell the MIM and just buy what you want. or keep the MIM as a spare.

Assuming you can get what you want off the shelf being left-handed.
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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.

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#5
Only thing I've heard about mim vs Mia bodies is the number of bits of wood joined together. USA is generally 3 bits, mim more.
Except for a sunburst mim , which in my case at least has 3 joins, otherwise ud see them through the finish and it d look shit.
I think u can tell the number of joins in a non sunburst , look for changes in wood grain in the tremolo hole at the back and also under the plastic front plate.

Note, as with all mex vs USA fender discussions, this is all conjecture. I fairly strongly hold the belief that the supposed superiority of a USA over a mex has more to do with marketing than anything else. There's some theory, upsell or something that says that people want to think they can get a better product by paying more, even when they don't need to. Supermarkets take advantage of that by e.g. Selling 'delux' sausages with only marginal differences to the normal ones.
#6
^
the USA fenders use higher quality wood as a whole on their guitar/bass lines more so than MIM/MIC and any other place they are making them these days. the hardware is also of a little higher quality.

Also it is expensive to manufacture products in the USA. The shear cost of running a business here is very expensive. The same goes for products made in most of Europe. And because they have to charge more they have to have some good QC consistency.

But look at Japan, they used to make crap guitars, then they got the whole QC and production methods down after several decades. Now MIJ guitars are as highly regarded as MIA in many circles and they deserve to be. So maybe it is just that MIM has been around long enough and they have some now very skilled workers are just putting a more consistent product now, even MIC guitars have gotten pretty nice as a whole.
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#7
COUGH Micro-tilt COUGH


Quote by Stratman2016

I fairly strongly hold the belief that the supposed superiority of a USA over a mex has more to do with marketing than anything else. There's some theory, upsell or something that says that people want to think they can get a better product by paying more, even when they don't need to. Supermarkets take advantage of that by e.g. Selling 'delux' sausages with only marginal differences to the normal ones.



That's super incorrect.
Last edited by JustRooster at Mar 26, 2016,
#8
Quote by JustRooster
COUGH Micro-tilt COUGH


That's super incorrect.


Point proven!

U ve been taken in by the marketing!

USA strat: a mass produced factory made clone guitar made from parts that have been completely standardised.

Mex strat: a mass produced factory made clone guitar made from parts that have been completely standardised.

Do fender have e.g. Two neck making techniques, one making high quality necks for the USA and another making inferior necks for the mim? No, far easier and more economical just to have a one neck fits all policy.

Many of the parts must also come from the same factory, e.g. Tone nobs etc.

The only possible differences that I think it would make sense for fender to build into the two are:
- better pickups, that is known to be the case
- better wood choices for the body, keep the big pieces of alder to make USA bodies made of 3 pieces and use the smaller bits for more bitty mim bodies.

I don't support the idea that u get a totally different machine when u go for a USA. The basic machine logically has to be the same, it just has bells and whistles that justify the higher price to people who want to believe.

Do fender actually list the mim / Mia differences anywhere? Not as far as I know, it's all just heresay lapped up by enthusiasts.
Last edited by Stratman2016 at Mar 26, 2016,
#9
I haven't been taken in by the marketing. I've toured the Corona factory and am well aware of how they build them. I also build guitars and worked as a tech for years, so I've worked on tons of MIM and MIA Strats. If years of hands-on experience is "marketing," I think you may need a dictionary.

Also, fender does list the differences. I wish I had my Fender provided binder from the shop I worked at that laid out the MIM, MIA Special, MIA Standard, and MIA Deluxe all side-by-side. If you go into any Guitar Center they'll have it, and they're absolutely meant to be customer facing.

If you don't think there's a difference in how resonant a hand-shaped, 3 piece body of premium woods and the alternative of an assembly line 5 piece body of whatever was left, I'd say you should just go practice. Glue steals sustain, plain and simple.

But that doesn't even make the biggest difference. The sticky and stupidly thick coating of Polyurethane coating on the MIM body means that natural wear is impossible, scratches are painfully obvious, and if you happen to drop your guitar you're not looking at a pushed-in effect that other paints would have, but a totally missing chip.

Nitrocellulose, like, like you find on the MIA bodies, wear in a way that's more desirable. Entire chips of paint don't come out of the guitar with knicks and drops that happen in a guitar's lifetime.

On the paints where the wood grain is visible, it's great to not see obvious lines of glued-on cuts and better grain pattern aesthetically.

But all that is small. The big thing is the FUCKING MICROTILT.


If you don't think that the ability to change the neck angle on a bolt-on guitar is worth it to make a guitar play THAT much better, then you just need to log off and go practice. It's seriously the best thing about the MIA guitars, hands down. Pickups can change, hardware can change, but not having to drill in a neck angle adjustment is fantastic for many guitarists without a garage of power tools who want to get a spot-on setup.

Also, 2 post Trem > 6 screw.


Take off your tinfoil hat. Guitarists, as a community, are too informed to drink the punch on a lot of marketing bullshit. I don't think Fender lasted this long by 'duping' their customer base.
#10
Rooster buddy while you make many good points most Fender's don't have an actual nitro finish and certainly the US standard models don't. most of the production guitars that do only have a thin nitro overcoat (still poly underneath.

as for glue dude LPs all have a maple top glued on them and yet they seem to sustain just fine. while glued together pieces might not sustain as well in some cases i kinda doubt that would be the case all the time. even the US ones have some glue.

last but not least while micro-tilt is a nice feature it hardly makes or breaks a guitar.
#11
Quote by JustRooster


The big thing is the FUCKING MICROTILT.

I would rather go through the trouble to do a good full pocket shimming instead of useing the micro tilt system.

I find the micro tilt system (when in use) to just reduce the sustain, resonance and body in the guitar (yes I'v used them and still have 1 guitar with the system). That is expected though when you are greatly reducing the contact of the neck to the body. It's a superb idea, can't deny that. It's just not a big selling point IMO.
#12
The hundred or so Strat setups I've done argue otherwise, but I guess I'll leave it at YMMV.

I'm hardly a defender of Fender, by the way. I play third party customs and G&L. I just think that believing we've discovered the "grand lie," is quite the stretch.
Last edited by JustRooster at Mar 26, 2016,
#13
The effect of the microtilt being adjusted is going to have a lot more of an impact on sustain than the number of pieces the body is made from tbh. Assuming that the body being made from 1 piece is actually going to make an appreciable difference to the sustain and tone of the guitar of course.

IIRC, John Suhr did a sustain test using some extremely sensitive microphones and a robotic arm that strikes the body, and the harmonics of the body were recorded when the body was struck. The body tested was a 1 piece body, that after the control test was then cut into 2 pieces and glued back together and the test was repeated. After many tests, the microphones that measured every parameter of the body's harmonics in the audible frequency range were not able to distinguish any appreciable difference between the 1 and the 2 piece body.

This might all mean nothing though because I don't have a source for when this test was conducted. It has been years since I've read about it. In any case, wood is too inconsistent a material to take two different bodies and to make a direct comparison that's in any way scientific.

With that said i'd rather have a body made from fewer pieces only because it looks prettier.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Mar 26, 2016,
#14
don't the USA Fenders with microtilt tend not to have nitro finishes and vice-versa?

I'd tend to agree that, on average at least, the USA ones are better than the Mexican ones (at least based on the ones I've tried, which is not all that many and not all that recently either), but you're kind of playing both sides of the fence there with the microtilt and nitro thing.
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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
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#15
justrooster knows his stuff by the sounds of it, but his 'benefits' are exactly what I am getting at, upsell features , eg the micro tilt and nitro paint. Like delux sausaguses or leather trim on a car.

I'm saying that on build quality and part quality, very little difference, save pick ups and number f bits of wood in body. Sunburst mim body has 3 bits , same as Mia.

Would be interesting for some one to do some kind of u tube vid where they take apart one of each, compare the components. A lot would be identical for sure, made on the same production line. Reckon they make a lot of bits in Mexico cos it's cheaper, and ship em to the us factory.

Played a couple of Mias as well as my mexo, didn't notice any difference in feel or playability, might give one a proper go, grab one on trial or something.

Anyway, we digress from the original poster, who says he's going to take a mim tele, and replace everything apart from the body to get it up to Mia spec.

I'd say keep the neck, it has to be identical to a Mia, also bridge. Probably switching the electronics and pick ups will bring it up.

On the body, I'd upgrade that if it isn't a 3 piece to a 3 piece body, or even 2 or 1. There are 3 red party sellers selling decent bits of wood.


Sunburst is good as it is easy to see the join lines in the wood.
Last edited by Stratman2016 at Mar 26, 2016,
#16
Quote by Stratman2016
justrooster knows his stuff by the sounds of it, but his 'benefits' are exactly what I am getting at, upsell features , eg the micro tilt and nitro paint. Like delux sausaguses or leather trim on a car.

I'm saying that on build quality and part quality, very little difference, save pick ups and number f bits of wood in body. Sunburst mim body has 3 bits , same as Mia.

Would be interesting for some one to do some kind of u tube vid where they take apart one of each, compare the components. A lot would be identical for sure, made on the same production line. Reckon they make a lot of bits in Mexico cos it's cheaper, and ship em to the us factory.

Played a couple of Mias as well as my mexo, didn't notice any difference in feel or playability, might give one a proper go, grab one on trial or something.

Anyway, we digress from the original poster, who says he's going to take a mim tele, and replace everything apart from the body to get it up to Mia spec.

I'd say keep the neck, it has to be identical to a Mia, also bridge. Probably switching the electronics and pick ups will bring it up.

On the body, I'd upgrade that if it isn't a 3 piece to a 3 piece body, or even 2 or 1. There are 3 red party sellers selling decent bits of wood.


Sunburst is good as it is easy to see the join lines in the wood.

It's not. The MIA has an extra fret, and is about 0.8mm wider at the nut.

Not massive differences, true. But they are there.
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#17
Quote by Dave_Mc
don't the USA Fenders with microtilt tend not to have nitro finishes and vice-versa?

I'd tend to agree that, on average at least, the USA ones are better than the Mexican ones (at least based on the ones I've tried, which is not all that many and not all that recently either), but you're kind of playing both sides of the fence there with the microtilt and nitro thing.



Good catch, they swapped to Poly back in 2012. I keep forgetting that.


Anyway, I even said in the big post that all the difference I named other than the micro tilt were small potatoes. I suppose the momentum of how I was speaking made it easy to carry over that.

Truly, though, the ability to adjust the shim on the go is so great for musicians who play out. I was riding around with this band for a 3 day tour, fixing up their stuff and helping run their sound. That MIA Strat went from St. Louis to Milwaukee and then to Champagne. With the way things expand in the cold months in the trunk of a car, I was rather happy to not have to adjust the shim on it between venues by taking the whole neck off.

Also, being that I can buy a USA Strat body on eBay for $350, I think it's well worth the extra for that convenience. Sure, you can get an MIA Body for $100, but if you're so hard pressed in your life that the extra $250 makes you poor, perhaps you should save up for rent rather than blowing it on a hobby.

And this is all coming from me, who Frankestrats as hard as anyone on this site. If MIMs were truly just as good, I'd have saved a lot of money; and I was definitely one of those stupid "gear or groceries" sort of decision makers in my younger years. Buying MIM generally makes you spend a lot of time justifying why you didn't get MIA.
Last edited by JustRooster at Mar 26, 2016,
#18
Have modern USA Strats ever been 100% nitro finished? I thought that hadn't been a thing since about 1968...
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#19
Going back to the first post, up to now, I had been laboring under the ( perhaps mistaken?), impression that American Telecasters had swamp ash bodies, not alder NO? That was a long, long time ago? Help me out here.
#20
I heard that a lot of the workers in the USA factory are from the Mexican factory and they cross the border and just work double shifts.

The person saying that could just be talking out of their arses though.
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#21
Quote by Captaincranky
Going back to the first post, up to now, I had been laboring under the ( perhaps mistaken?), impression that American Telecasters had swamp ash bodies, not alder NO? That was a long, long time ago? Help me out here.


As far as I'm aware it's more dependent on the model/year than where the guitar was made. Really it's a case-by-base deal.
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#22
Quote by K33nbl4d3
Have modern USA Strats ever been 100% nitro finished? I thought that hadn't been a thing since about 1968...


late 50s very early 60s. after that they had a poly undercoat with nitro over it. there are a few modern ones that have thin coat nitro without the poly undercoat but i hear that the nitro wears off of these rather quickly which may not be good for them in the long run.
#23
Ah, can go on for days talking about fenders, mex, USA, either way I fucking love em, aside from the USA ones, the mim strat is an amazing guitar at any price, the ultimate guitar in all my 22 years at the strings.

If the USA s are better as people say, then they must be more amazing, I think it's the fact that the mex ones are so good that I find it hard to believe they could be bettered!

When we talk about them though, we have to remember that fenders prime concern is of making money rather than making great guitars.
When seen that way it makes so much sense to e.g. Share workers and parts between the us and mex factories , etc.
One example I've heard is that if a sunburst finish goes wrong, they just over spray it and make it into a solid colour one.....that goes completely against all the theories of how finish is a major factor in tone quality!
#24
Imo.Apart from the micro-tilt.Once you've changed the pups and bridge you're close enough.I think the neck feels a little better too on the MIA but the MIM is good enough.I love my MIM.The pickups have their own characteristic which certainly is'nt terrible.One thing i noticed though about MIM pickups is that they did'nt(in my experience) sound very good through a Marshall.Through a Fender type amp though they're great.

Also the MIA has the body contour on the back but i actually prefer the full tele body with no contour.
Last edited by EyeballPaul at Mar 27, 2016,
#25
Quote by Captaincranky
Going back to the first post, up to now, I had been laboring under the ( perhaps mistaken?), impression that American Telecasters had swamp ash bodies, not alder NO? That was a long, long time ago? Help me out here.

At the moment you can get the American Standard with either. Both are long-serving, solid choices.

Quote by monwobobbo
late 50s very early 60s. after that they had a poly undercoat with nitro over it. there are a few modern ones that have thin coat nitro without the poly undercoat but i hear that the nitro wears off of these rather quickly which may not be good for them in the long run.

Yeah, that's more or less what I thought. For me, I'd take a decent poly finish over anything else

Quote by EyeballPaul
Imo.Apart from the micro-tilt.Once you've changed the pups and bridge you're close enough.I think the neck feels a little better too on the MIA but the MIM is good enough.I love my MIM.The pickups have their own characteristic which certainly is'nt terrible.One thing i noticed though about MIM pickups is that they did'nt(in my experience) sound very good through a Marshall.Through a Fender type amp though they're great.

I think sound-wise you could get them basically indistinguishable through pickups and hardware (that's indistinguishable to humans, not to an ultra-sensitive microphone - I think it's silly to imagine that those kind of tests vindicate anyone in "Well I hear a difference" arguments), and if you put a nicer neck on there and did a decent setup I think you'd be pretty much all the way. But that would probably be setting you back something close to American Standard money.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Mar 27, 2016,
#26
Quote by Stratman2016
Ah, can go on for days talking about fenders, mex, USA, either way I fucking love em, aside from the USA ones, the mim strat is an amazing guitar at any price, the ultimate guitar in all my 22 years at the strings.

If the USA s are better as people say, then they must be more amazing, I think it's the fact that the mex ones are so good that I find it hard to believe they could be bettered!

When we talk about them though, we have to remember that fenders prime concern is of making money rather than making great guitars.
When seen that way it makes so much sense to e.g. Share workers and parts between the us and mex factories , etc.
One example I've heard is that if a sunburst finish goes wrong, they just over spray it and make it into a solid colour one.....that goes completely against all the theories of how finish is a major factor in tone quality!


i was with you til you said they aren't in business to make great guitars. truth be told they are or they wouldn't still be in business. yes they have to do so at a price point so that does mean that a corner or two will be cut. my experience with MIMs has been very positive overall. if you take a little time and play a few you should be able to find one that is "good" (for you). the US guitars do tend to have more consistency and do use slightly better quality parts. the ceramic pups don't really bother me as i find that they work well with overdriven amps which is what i go for tone wise. and yes i do replace pickups like many but the stock ones aren't bad. replacing tuners, bridge saddles and pups can still be done for a price point below what a new US fender costs (new used varies a lot and comparing new to used prices isn't fair)
#27
Quote by K33nbl4d3
Have modern USA Strats ever been 100% nitro finished? I thought that hadn't been a thing since about 1968...


i dunno about as far back as that but i think the standards and deluxes haven't been nitro since I started playing (or at least since I started getting into gear which would have been the mid-2000s i guess), at the very least.

Quote by slapsymcdougal
It's not. The MIA has an extra fret, and is about 0.8mm wider at the nut.

Not massive differences, true. But they are there.


yeah the differences in the neck are worth it for me- obviously that's personal preference rather than an objective improvement in quality (apart from anything else, the reissues and custom shop models which cost more again often have the narrower nut and 21 frets), but for me it's worth it.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
At the moment you can get the American Standard with either. Both are long-serving, solid choices.


yeah. ash is normally a bit dearer. and i don't think they specify it as "swamp"- whether that means anything or not, I dunno.
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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
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Mar 27, 2016,
#28
Quote by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
I heard that a lot of the workers in the USA factory are from the Mexican factory and they cross the border and just work double shifts.

The person saying that could just be talking out of their arses though.

no that isn't true, but it is funny as hell
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#29
in the US Nitrocellulose Lacquer is against the law, in Mexico, they have no such law... so the finish can check and flake off of the body because the grain of the wood the body is made out of can raise, but when it's sealed with Nitrocellulose Lacquer that doesn't happen... the US Strats & Tele's (and all the others too) ARE in-fact better... but like, for example, right now, a Mexican Standard Telecaster on sweetwater costs $599, where an American Special Telecaster goes for $999 & an American Standard goes for $1299... so, let's just look at Mexican Standard ($599) & American Standard ($1299) so, the American Standard, although it is better, it's not $700 better (especially considering the fact that if you were to buy TWO Mexican Standard guitars, you'd still have spent $100 less than one American Standard...)
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#30
in the US Nitrocellulose Lacquer is against the law,


No it isn't. If it were, there are some charges that need to be leveled at Gibson, Martin and a few others. The EPA forced them to reformulate back in the 1990s or so to decrease volatility, but those finishes are still nitrocellulose.
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Mar 28, 2016,
#31
Quote by Mazz-
in the US Nitrocellulose Lacquer is against the law, in Mexico, they have no such law... so the finish can check and flake off of the body because the grain of the wood the body is made out of can raise, but when it's sealed with Nitrocellulose Lacquer that doesn't happen... the US Strats & Tele's (and all the others too) ARE in-fact better... but like, for example, right now, a Mexican Standard Telecaster on sweetwater costs $599, where an American Special Telecaster goes for $999 & an American Standard goes for $1299... so, let's just look at Mexican Standard ($599) & American Standard ($1299) so, the American Standard, although it is better, it's not $700 better (especially considering the fact that if you were to buy TWO Mexican Standard guitars, you'd still have spent $100 less than one American Standard...)


but then you'd have two mexican guitars
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#32
Quote by Mazz-
in the US Nitrocellulose Lacquer is against the law

no it is not. Now it maybe banned in some states, I know California has way different laws on it must be low VOC paint types sold there. But even Fender has used Nitro recently so I doubt it is illegal there either.
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#34
yup. warmoth neck all the way. That neck by itself will be a big upgrade over whatever you currently have.
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#35
Quote by Robbgnarly
no it is not. Now it maybe banned in some states, I know California has way different laws on it must be low VOC paint types sold there. But even Fender has used Nitro recently so I doubt it is illegal there either.
IIRC, California has the strictest chemical release statutes on the books in the country.

They even have different, more strenuous emissions control systems for the vehicles sold there. Even motorcycles for California have catalytic converters!

At one time, (the 80's, again IIRC), they were using "water based lacquers", for car painting.

OK,"water based lacquer" hasn't made sense to me since I read it, decades ago. It probably is worth researching though.
#36
Quote by Robbgnarly
no it is not. Now it maybe banned in some states, I know California has way different laws on it must be low VOC paint types sold there. But even Fender has used Nitro recently so I doubt it is illegal there either.


to add to this there are strict guidelines for using nitro in terms of how it is disposed off and the type of containment it can be sprayed in. this adds to the cost and as mentiioned Ca. is very strict about it.