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#1
Well guys I am sure this topic has made its way to the battle fields before but I feel the need to blow the bugel for this one once again. I have a standard Mexican Strat and was just thinking about stretching the extra $500 for the american standard BUT!!!!. Everytime i go to the store I have sales reps telling me american all the way because the mexicans suck, than I will have the zit faced noobie that spends hours cleaning and tuning the guitars that only wish's he could be getting a promotion telling me otherwise. I am confused is this just to make more money or are they the same damn thing. Honestly I can barely tell a difference tone wise. Guys I need to know the truth about these guitars.

ps. I don't mind switching to better pickups.
#2
There is a huge difference. MIA's have better hardware, better pickups, better everything basically.
*Taylor 214ce Acoustic
*Fender Highway One Honey Blonde Strat (Fralin Pickups)
*Epiphone Zephyr Regent (Gibson '57 Humbucker)
*Vox 847 Wah
*Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET
*Fender Blues Deluxe Amp
#3
Well, if the mexican strats suck, i'm really missing something. I have played a few mex strats that i HATED. Then again that was a matter of preferance more than anything, because these had maple fretboards, and i just don't do maple fretboards. My Mex strat is a RW fretboard with 3 single coils and as far as i care about it being mexican, it feels like it was custom made for me. I have played american strats and they really aren't worth the extra limb in my opinion. they are nearly identical in every way except for price. better hardware and better wood makes no difference if the mex strat is already good enough in my opinion.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#4
the non sales guy would be less biased, as he dont get no commission
however, it is true that the hardware (bridge, tuners etc) and build quality and other stuff are better in american fenders. plus i think you usually get a case with them
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#5
Quote by Blompcube
Well, if the mexican strats suck, i'm really missing something. I have played a few mex strats that i HATED. Then again that was a matter of preferance more than anything, because these had maple fretboards, and i just don't do maple fretboards. My Mex strat is a RW fretboard with 3 single coils and as far as i care about it being mexican, it feels like it was custom made for me. I have played american strats and they really aren't worth the extra limb in my opinion. They are nearly identical in every way except for price.



No, they're not. There is a reason why they cost $600 more. They are better.
*Taylor 214ce Acoustic
*Fender Highway One Honey Blonde Strat (Fralin Pickups)
*Epiphone Zephyr Regent (Gibson '57 Humbucker)
*Vox 847 Wah
*Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET
*Fender Blues Deluxe Amp
#6
If you've played a MiM Strat that you really like then it's totally worth getting that. You can upgrade the pickups and as long as the guitar suits you then you've got a class guitar for alot cheaper than a MiA Strat.

I think with MiM it's all about finding one that suits you.

You should consider MiJ too, they're sort of inbetween but in some cases, I've prefferred the Japanese to the American.
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#7
please define "better". I own three mexicans, there ain't a damn thing wrong with any of the hardware, the tuners work fine and never slip, they stay in tune, intonate properly, the frets are level, necks straight, etc. What more could one need? You may not like the pickups issued with them, but there's no guarantee that you'd like the ones that come with the MIAs either.

MIMs are cheaper because 1) Mexican labor is cheaper and 2) they let a few get out the door that need a little work to be playable, and 3) the finish and fancy appointments are not the same as the MIAs. Cost of labor is the most critical component in determining the final retail of a given product.

It's like a Cadillac vs a Buick: they are both cars, get you where you want to go in relative comfort, are dependable, etc, but the Cadillac is the dream car.

Get a good MIM, set it up right, take care of it, and it will do the job quite nicely. JMHO
#8
Quote by JJK
No, they're not. There is a reason why they cost $600 more. They are better.

This is opinion, mine is different to yours, my mex strat is as good as any custom shop guitar for my use, maybe someone else will disagree, but i don't care. Americans may be nicer for some people, but i don't feel as though i'm making do with what i have.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#9
Quote by Blompcube
This is opinion, mine is different to yours, my mex strat is as good as any custom shop guitar for my use, maybe someone else will disagree, but i don't care. Americans may be nicer for some people, but i don't feel as though i'm making do with what i have.



Everything anyone writes on a forum is opinion. But comparing a MIM Strat to a CS Strat is...insanity.


At the same time, if you really like your MIM then all power to you man.
*Taylor 214ce Acoustic
*Fender Highway One Honey Blonde Strat (Fralin Pickups)
*Epiphone Zephyr Regent (Gibson '57 Humbucker)
*Vox 847 Wah
*Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET
*Fender Blues Deluxe Amp
#10
Well it always seems to boil down to preference. The hardware does seem flimsy on the mexican.....I mean my tremolo bar is already bent(its only been a month of playing!!!!)
#11
Quote by torchwood
Well it always seems to boil down to preference. The hardware does seem flimsy on the mexican.....I mean my tremolo bar is already bent(its only been a month of playing!!!!)


Jesus, what the hell have you been doing to it?
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#12
hahahah.....i get a little agressive with the tremolo...dive bombs and so on. But thats why I am so upset that I might have made a bad decision. I think I am going to go buy an Ibanez or an American just so it can take more abuse without me always doing tech work to it
#13
I doubt the tremelo on an American can take the kind of abuse you seem intent on subjecting it to either, so whether you have an American or a Mexican, an upgrade is in order, or else you will pay extra for an MIA that comes with something better, not offered on MIM.
#14
hmmm....this might end the career that Fender and I have had for years....thats okay I have a few of them anyways. Do they make a Fender with a floyd Rose?
#15
Quote by torchwood
hahahah.....i get a little agressive with the tremolo...dive bombs and so on. But thats why I am so upset that I might have made a bad decision. I think I am going to go buy an Ibanez or an American just so it can take more abuse without me always doing tech work to it

i doubt the tremolo on an american would take any more abuse than a mexican strat tremolo. You must be doing something REALLY destructive there. if you want to divebomb it's probably better not to have the bridge floating.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#16
Quote by torchwood
hmmm....this might end the career that Fender and I have had for years....thats okay I have a few of them anyways. Do they make a Fender with a floyd Rose?


http://www.soundslive.co.uk/product~name~Fender-Standard-Series-Fat-Strat-Floyd-Rose~ID~1017.asp

Apparently so
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Boss GE-7

Orange Rocker 30 Combo

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#17
basically, if you pick one at random (for example, order off the net), odds are the american will be better. Especially if you leave them both stock and don't upgrade anything.

the american has better hardware and pickups, and should have better quality wood. The american ones will also have better quality control- they'll all feel more similar to each other, less duds should be allowed to leave the factory etc.

However, if you can find a shop that has maybe 10 examples of each guitar, if you can get to try about 10 mexican ones, you may find a mexi that plays better than the american strat, and if you're willing to upgrade the hardware and pickups, you could get a good deal.

it really depends, basically.
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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
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?
#18
Quote by Dave_Mc
less duds should be allowed to leave the factory etc.

the owner of a store by me said squier has better quality control than american fenders in his experience. apparently he has had american fenders with misshapen/misplaced frets, bad soldering and stuff and he's had to send them back. i guess that would just be bad luck because he didn't have any examples at the time.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#19
^ or else he was trying to offload some squiers...

I've never tried an american strat with dodgy QC- some played better than others certainly, but they kicked the ass of any squier I've ever tried.

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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
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?
#20
I've played a bunch of MIA's and MIM's, and in my experience MIA's sound and play better. Smoother necks and fretboard and you can tell they use better woods.
*Taylor 214ce Acoustic
*Fender Highway One Honey Blonde Strat (Fralin Pickups)
*Epiphone Zephyr Regent (Gibson '57 Humbucker)
*Vox 847 Wah
*Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET
*Fender Blues Deluxe Amp
#21
^ yeah, me too, but how much of that is due to worse hardware?

hmmm.
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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
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?
#22
Just like DaveMc said. MIAs have better quality control, so there's a greater chance of getting a good one. While some MIMs are great guitars, the QC sometimes slips and there'll be some that totally suck. MIAs do have better hardware/pickups/etc, but if you need to save money, you're better off finding a MIM that's really good, because they're fine guitars. If you want to go all out, though, go for the MIA. In both cases, make sure to play alot so you know you're getting the best possible guitar from that bunch.
#23
I'd say get the MIM Strat, and just modify it. You'll have a better guitar in the end, for a lot less than the cost of an American.

Chris
'Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose despondency and laziness make them give it up as unattainable.'
#24
I've only played a few MIAs that were total crap (and those were at Guitar Center *color me not surprised at all*). If you can find yourself a really sexy MIM, upgrading it might be the better choice if you can't find an decent MIA.


In my opinion, you should spend that money toward a Carvin Bolt instead...

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Quote by utsapp89
^I'd let a pro look at it. Once you get into the technicalities of screws...well, it's just a place you don't want to be, friend.
#25
I was picking the brain of the guy at the local music shop recently about this and he said (and this is just his word mind you) that the raw bodies and necks are all made in Mexico, the MIA stuff is sent onto the US from that point. All the hardware on the MIA's is better, the neck, particularly the frets are hand finished to give it that worn feeling and even little things like the finish is better which arguably effects the tone.

I've not researched it more but he did sound like he knew what he was on about, he's actually one of the best music shop owners I've dealt with. He'll order a guitar in just so you can try it and encourages you to bring your own gear and spend an hour or 2 in the tuition rooms out the back, so yeah basically not your run of the mill chain store employee.
Last edited by treagar at Feb 6, 2007,
#26
Quote by treagar
I was picking the brain of the guy at the local music shop recently about this and he said (and this is just his word mind you) that the raw bodies and necks are all made in Mexico, the MIA stuff is sent onto the US from that point. All the hardware on the MIA's is better, the neck, particularly the frets are hand finished to give it that worn feeling and even little things like the finish is better which arguably effects the tone.

I've not researched it more but he did sound like he knew what he was on about, he's actually one of the best music shop owners I've dealt with. He'll order a guitar in just so you can try it and encourages you to bring your own gear and spend an hour or 2 in the tuition rooms out the back, so yeah basically not your run of the mill chain store employee.


That thing about the neck sounds about right. Probably why I'm so drawn to buying my mates Strat. He's had it for about 6-7 years and played it quite alot. It's simply lovely to play.
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#27
Hardware, as in jacks and toggle switches and stuff? I could replace a hell of a lot of switches for the difference im cost between MIA and MIM. I've yet to have any problems with the tuners, bridge, etc on my MIMs. I know you're not talking about the screws that hold the guitar together. Pick ups aside, what's better about the hardware on an MIA, someone please explain "better" and "hardware" to me as it applies to this debate.

I've replaced tuners on other guitars, more for the way they look and feel, and NOT for the way they function. Is this what yo mean by better?
#28
Quote by AlGeeEater
I'd say get the MIM Strat, and just modify it. You'll have a better guitar in the end, for a lot less than the cost of an American.

Chris


yeah. Though in the UK, with the amount we get gipped for upgrades, the MIA could actually end up cheaper.


Quote by mrbreeze
Hardware, as in jacks and toggle switches and stuff? I could replace a hell of a lot of switches for the difference im cost between MIA and MIM. I've yet to have any problems with the tuners, bridge, etc on my MIMs. I know you're not talking about the screws that hold the guitar together. Pick ups aside, what's better about the hardware on an MIA, someone please explain "better" and "hardware" to me as it applies to this debate.

I've replaced tuners on other guitars, more for the way they look and feel, and NOT for the way they function. Is this what yo mean by better?


things like the bridge, tuners, electronics, jack socket etc.

as I said above, it really depends where you are- in the UK you get really gipped for this stuff, it's normally actually cheaper to buy a guitar with a lot of this stuff stock (depends on the manufacturer and model of course), in the USA it's probably different.
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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
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?
#29
IMO you will almost always get a better guitar when you go the step up (MIA fender>MIMfender>squier, Gibson>Epiphone, ESP>LTD, etc) They usually have better QC, materials, hardware, and skilled workers making them. But IMO the extra cost is not justified. You should pay extra for a better instrument, but not as much as they usually charge. Instead you pay $1000 extra for $200 worth of upgrades, so what does the other $800 pay for. Basically you are paying $800 just to be able to say that you are playing a MIA Fender, Gibson, ESP, etc. I might be exagerating, but that is my opinion. (It doesn't mean that I don't want a Gibson Les Paul someday)

I've played MIM and MIA. The main difference that I found was the pickups. I thought the MIA sounded a bit better than the MIM, but I thing with a new $120 set of pickups it would be a close call.
#30
The MIMs are a lower end guitar and so more are sold. Therefore more have to be made in shorter space of time, so QC must be less strict, wood choice must be less strict, more machines must be used and generally cheaper components must be used to allow them to sell it cheaper.

The MIAs are higher end and therefore more exclusive. This means that they do not have to make as many, and so they can spend more time rectifying mistakes in guitars. They also have a more hand-built element, allowing more precise correction - CNC machines just knock things out which are given a once-over, MIA strats are checked over more thoroughly and fixed better. The handbuilt element also allows for a better factory setup, less chance of dead pickups, and for better wood choice. They also use better hardware

EDIT: Although I must point out that a lot of the price difference between MIM and MIA Strats is that MIA are made in America where labour costs are more, and MIA Strats have the reputation as the 'Standard' of Strats, and therefore they mark 'em up a bit more.
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Last edited by MrCarrot at Feb 6, 2007,
#31
I've yet to see a jack socket, pot, knob, strap button, bridge, or tuner on an MIM that didn't work just fine, though I'll admit there are "better" parts available, better being defined as a combination of roadworthy/pretty. Lechero makes a good point, $200 worth of upgrades do NOT equal $800 price increase. Mr Carrot emphasizes a point I've already addressed, that American labor costs more, resulting in higher retail prices.

Would I cherish an MIA Strat? Hell yes! BUT, I can own three or four standards for the price of a good American, or I could put the difference toward a really good amp, which is something I'd less likely feel the need to replace or get bored with anytime soon.
#32
I'm not sure it's just as simple as "$200 worth of upgrades costing $800"- it's a lot harder to change the wood etc. in a guitar than some of the other components (though if you're going to do that, a strat or tele is probably the easiest one you could pick). Though I thought most of the mexis I tried were quite nice.
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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
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?
#33
but when you talk about wood, what are we building, a guitar or a dining room table? Alder is alder, mahogany is mahogany, as long as the moisture content, grain, etc is acceptable at all for guitar building. And if the finish is opaque, then who's gonna notice? I doubt anyone is going to hear any difference between the alder body on an MIA Strat and the alder body on an MIA Squier, let alone MIM.

Don't get me wrong, with money to burn, I'd rather have the MIA, just as I'd rather have a Lexus or a Cadillac vs. a Chevy sedan. But the "chevy sedan" is far from being the piece of shit some would make it out to be. I can play a nice guitar, make the rent and my car payments, feed the kids, etc., or I can buy a $2000 rig and find some exotic pole dance to pay my way if I'm lucky. Is it worth the $800+ difference? that's up to the individual I guess.
#34
if you cant decide i say go highway 1. theyre made in america with slightly better hardware then mexican but a little bit less then the american.
#35
Highway One FTW!
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#36
Quote by mrbreeze
(a) but when you talk about wood, what are we building, a guitar or a dining room table? Alder is alder, mahogany is mahogany, as long as the moisture content, grain, etc is acceptable at all for guitar building. And if the finish is opaque, then who's gonna notice? I doubt anyone is going to hear any difference between the alder body on an MIA Strat and the alder body on an MIA Squier, let alone MIM.

(b) Don't get me wrong, with money to burn, I'd rather have the MIA, just as I'd rather have a Lexus or a Cadillac vs. a Chevy sedan. But the "chevy sedan" is far from being the piece of shit some would make it out to be. I can play a nice guitar, make the rent and my car payments, feed the kids, etc., or I can buy a $2000 rig and find some exotic pole dance to pay my way if I'm lucky. Is it worth the $800+ difference? that's up to the individual I guess.


(a) i disagree, better wood tends to sound better. and what you're saying about the moisture content and grain can be a problem with cheaper woods, sometimes.

(b) i agree with that bit.
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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
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?
#37
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) i disagree, better wood tends to sound better. and what you're saying about the moisture content and grain can be a problem with cheaper woods, sometimes.

(b) i agree with that bit.



I highly doubt many manufacturers, if any at all, are going to build a guitar from wood that isn't suitable. It's a given that different woods have different tonal qualities, but would you agree that these qualities could differ even between two high grade pieces of the same wood? Most fo the diffence would need an ocilliscope to meaure it anyway.

Like I said before, I own three Mexicans, there is nothing flimsy about the hardware, the necks are smooth, and the pick ups are far from crappy, so anyone who would say that is full of shit. Many find the need to change the pick ups on their American rigs as well. There are beefier, prettier and more road-worthy components to be had, and they are more likely to be stock items on the higher priced American versions, or after-market parts to be added after purchase for either. But I still contend that the biggest factor in the difference in cost is that of the dollars spent on American labor.
Last edited by mrbreeze at Feb 7, 2007,
#38
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) i disagree, better wood tends to sound better. and what you're saying about the moisture content and grain can be a problem with cheaper woods, sometimes.

(b) i agree with that bit.


They really don't specify that the MIA guitars have better wood than the MIMs. "Better wood than the Standard Series" isn't exactly in the specs of the MIAs. It's understood that the MIAs would have better everything, but maybe the body wood is exactly the same! I'm just throwing that out there..
#39
I believe MIA Strats will get 'better' body woods. By better, I mean they're more select than the MIM Strats just because of the volume difference. The MIA factory probaly gets alder from a totally different lumber yard, whereas the MIM factory may get it from multiple suppliers, where quality of the tree thats cut down may vary (the wood may be riftsawn, which is undesirable). The MIM factory has to kiln dry a higher volume of wood, where moisture content can vary depending on how well the woods are stacked. More attention to detail is paid at the MIA factory towards drying the wood.

Chris
'Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose despondency and laziness make them give it up as unattainable.'
#40
Quote by torchwood
hmmm....this might end the career that Fender and I have had for years....thats okay I have a few of them anyways. Do they make a Fender with a floyd Rose?


Yes they do! Check the catalog.
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