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#1
Take a MIM Strat, and a MIA strat, strip them down to only the body and the neck. no pickups, no hardware...

What are the differences? ie. wood quality, neck profile, etc

I've gone into the guitar shop a few times, and tried out a few different strats of both types, and I cant decide which feels best... For whatever reason, they have new strings on all the MIM's and old strings on all the MIA's, so it's really hard to get past that difference and make a real comparison..
#3
MIA's have generally been handled better and are officially made of better wood, but that doesn't mean much. As first poster said, wood is wood. But a nice piece of wood is always nice. The necks on MIA's are generally better taken care of. Frets are smoother and such. Without the hardware and electronics, the differences become wood quality and handling and such.
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#4
yeah, thats what I thought.. I guess I should try to pressure one of the sales reps to restring one of em, so I can see if there is any real difference in the neck.

Thats good news though, cause it will be a long time before I can afford a MIA, but a MIM is within my reach... and really, the $500 saved can pretty much upgrade the hardware and stuff to MIA quality, and have it totally customized
#5
I dont think that any piece of wood is any piece of wood. Every piece is different, and every tree is different. Some are more porous, some have more resonance, some have more water in them. Thats why you can play ten of the same guitar and one sounds better than the next. Also they take better care of the MIA's and each one gets a little more hand care. That said you could conceivably by a MIM that is just more tonal to you, and then you could replace the things that you don't like.
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#7
First, all the parts are made in the US, they are then shipped to Mexico for assembly, which I think is somewhere from 20 to 50 miles away (don't quote me on that). The parts are of lesser quality but the the difference is minimal. However, if you play a MIM and a MIA side by side, you will hear and feel a difference.
#8
This MIM v MIA is a load of rubbish. The two factories are about 30miles apart, some, not all, guitars use the same bits. Sure the USA may get some better wood cuts, but on the whole there's very very little differance.
The major reason why there is such a differance in price is the cost of labour, rent and insurance. And Fender will never close the USA factory because it keeps the USA market happy and allows them to use the "Made in USA" label as a marketing toy and so bump up the price. People who fall for the whole "Made in USA" thing are fools, or have too much money.

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#9
MIA has more to it... better wood, higher QC and finish practices, and better hardware and electronics. MIA or MIJ parts versus Chinese ones. 2 piece bodies versus three piece. A tighter QC process. Better fretwork and nut work. And just a little more time spent on building it. I think people who say people who fall for USA are fools are the ignorant ones. Play them and you can just feel a difference. Now MIM Fender Standards may be the best values in their price range, but they are not quite the quality of the MIA Standards. Fwiw though, I think the MIM Tele is every bit as good playability wise as the MIA counterpart.

As for tone, when you buy a high end guitar, that is not always what you are paying for. You pay for QUALITY. A MIA Fender or Gibson will last you a life time, while a lower end guitar won't due to corners cut during construction in wood and hardware quality to bring down the price. And if they do hold up, at the very least, the upkeep cost will likely be more.
#10
Alls I know is my MIM had pretty bad fretwork on the edge of the finger board. I had a tech grind them down with a file to smooth them out.

Other than that, the guitar has been flawless. Its a keeper for life!!!
#11
MIAs have one fret more

22 frets for MIA and 21 frets for MIM...

Conclusion : for $500 more, you can have one fret, a 1% better sound and the opportunity to show off in front of your friends saying : "Yey... I got a MIA strat whereas you got a MIM loser....... "

EDIT : if you really want hell of a damn good axe, go G&L or even Suhr if you're filthy rich
#12
Really it depends; 1 MIM strat can sound totally better then another MIA Strat and also the other way around.

Pick guitars of the wall without looking where it's made (or else u bias ur opinion) and then tell which sounds best. You could also ask if the guitarshop owner plays both strats (same stuff) while u are turned around and then say which 1 u like better soundwise.

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#13
Quote by slappyx
MIAs have one fret more

22 frets for MIA and 21 frets for MIM...

Conclusion : for $500 more, you can have one fret, a 1% better sound and the opportunity to show off in front of your friends saying : "Yey... I got a MIA strat whereas you got a MIM loser....... "

EDIT : if you really want hell of a damn good axe, go G&L or even Suhr if you're filthy rich

not the vintage or reissued
#15
if you buy a GREAT new or used MIM and take it to a shop for some work, and you will have a guitar that you could never buy directly from Fender MIJ, MIM or MIA.

i have a 1978 MIA, 2003 MIM, 2007 MIM blem, and a MIM lefty.

all great playing guitars.

good luck
Last edited by BR0THERALEX at Oct 28, 2008,
#16
Quote by Brian_C
This MIM v MIA is a load of rubbish. The two factories are about 30miles apart, some, not all, guitars use the same bits. Sure the USA may get some better wood cuts, but on the whole there's very very little differance.
The major reason why there is such a differance in price is the cost of labour, rent and insurance. And Fender will never close the USA factory because it keeps the USA market happy and allows them to use the "Made in USA" label as a marketing toy and so bump up the price. People who fall for the whole "Made in USA" thing are fools, or have too much money.

Nothing more!!!


... wow, just... wow... you have no idea what you're talking about....


Anyway, thanks to everyone else for all the info, I pretty much got the answer I was looking for
#17
Quote by kckyle
not the vintage or reissued


Always looking for the fail point huh...?

I was talking about the American and Deluxe Series of course
#18
Quote by slappyx
Always looking for the fail point huh...?

I was talking about the American and Deluxe Series of course

its a habit lol
#20
Finishes and the amount of layers of wood are different.

But I dont know if i can justify the price-hop ether.
#21
Quote by pacoasterrider
Finishes and the amount of layers of wood are different.

But I dont know if i can justify the price-hop ether.

layers of wood? last time i checked both mim and mia are both solid body with bolt on neck. do you mean squier?
#22
i think the necks are different ply. I think the two biggest upgrades from Mexi to American are the Finish on the body and neck construction...even tho there both bolt's (eww)
#23
I remember reading something that MIA fenders used up to 5 pieces of wood for the body whereas the MIM would use anything up to 7.

I have to add though that I also read that that wasn't strictly true.

Since then I've been told the same thing by a guy who works for Fender.
#24
Quote by Free
I remember reading something that MIA fenders used up to 5 pieces of wood for the body whereas the MIM would use anything up to 7.

I have to add though that I also read that that wasn't strictly true.

Since then I've been told the same thing by a guy who works for Fender.



I don't find this statement true at all. You can strip the finish off a Squier and find they use a 2 piece body with a HSH route. If the Squiers are 2 pieces, I highly doubt an actual Fender guitar with have any more. If you don't believe me about that, go browse through the the GB&C forum... there's a million stripped down Squiers floating around


EDIT:

I went through the GB&C and pulled up the only 2 Squier bodies I could find that DIDN'T have a 2 piece body. The first one a One Piece, while the second is a Three Piece.


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Last edited by Flux'D at Oct 29, 2008,
#26
Quote by pacoasterrider
Two pieces of plywood^

i don't know what the hell you have but mine is one piece alder wood body.
#27
and the guy above you says there 2 piece. I dont have one, I dont know. 99$ Squiers are Basswood (aka plywood ha) and that's probably the two piece he's referring to

The Americans also have hand rolled necks, they use a "thinner undercoat finish" that improves resonance. The MIM are 5ply bodies and the Americans are 3 if I remember right now that I think about it. Including the top and whatnot. More Gloss, you get a case with accessories instead of a gig bag. Better pickups too.

But considering you can get a Straight 6 MIM for 299, and an American for 999....you can't justify the price jump
#28
From what I've heard, a good CIJ (MIJ too maybe) will beat both value wise.

Between MIM and MIA though, I'd wager that the differences are fairly minimal. A good MIM is probably almost at the level of the average MIA. Wood quality and neck profile are likely to vary a little between individual guitars.

If you can afford the price jump, then you may as well go ahead, but I'm not going to say that there aren't better things in the price range.


^Where the hell did you get the idea that basswood means plywood?
#29
For years, people (especially salesmen) have touted the pre-CBS Strats as the Holy Grail of Fender guitars, and the price has gone into the Stratocastersphere. $20K...$30K...more? YIKES!

The plain fact is that, at the time they were made, the early Strats were a middle-grade guitar...not the top of the line at all, and fairly cheaply made. More importantly, they were and ARE highly inconsistant from one axe to the next in terms of that magical Strat tone. One could play a LOT of vintage, pre-CBS Strats before finding one that sounds right; 3/4 of them were kinda crappy. You could still expect to pay $15k or more for the absolute worst of them.

The point being that it doesn't matter whether it's MIA, MIM, MIJ, pre CBS or whatever...if you're looking for a player, the right guitar with the right concatenation of woods, set-up, neck joint coupling, and a few dozen other variables will SOUND like it...you can really hear a difference BEFORE you even plug it in....BTW, NONE of the Fender Strats are made with plywood; these are all made of solid hardwoods.., usually ash or alder. The basswood versions are the cheapest, and basswood is relatively dead sounding.

The main diffrences with the MIM versions are in the pickups, fretwork and hardware, which are cheaper and/or less well executed. They are very well-made axes and with the right upgrades/setup can meet or exceed the tone and playability of MIA versions. You might end up spending just as much as you would on an MIA, but if the guitar is RIGHT then it's worth the expense, and you have a very inexpensive but emminently playable axe while you're at it. You can always replace pickups, tuners, etc. The most important thing is whether or not the guitar rings like a ****ing bell when you play it unplugged.

JMHO
#30
I couldn't be happier with my American Deluxe... but I did have money to throw around. I think the lesson here is... "Try before you buy."
#31
Quote by pacoasterrider
...99$ Squiers are Basswood (aka plywood ha)...


Basswood is not plywood. It comes from the Cottonwood tree, or sometimes called a Flaxwood tree. It's in the Poplar family, but it's the Poplar's retarded stepchild it never talks about. The shit is full of water and it sucks to mill, I don't even know why it was ever used for a guitar body to start with. I could rant on about my thoughts on the scamwood known as Basswood (A.K.A Cottonwood, A.K.A Flaxwood), but I'll leave it at that. That wasn't the point of the thread
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#32
Quote by pacoasterrider
and the guy above you says there 2 piece. I dont have one, I dont know. 99$ Squiers are Basswood (aka plywood ha) and that's probably the two piece he's referring to

I didn't know Tom Anderson guitars were made of plywood! Or my Charvel.... damn, what rock I have I been living under. Btw, the Squier Affinity series are 3 piece alder bodies, albeit with a veneer over them. Basswood is not Flaxwood either. the scam is when back in the 80s and early 90s companies used anything wood and just called in basswood, leading to it's bad rap. Real basswood is a nice, fairly tone neutral wood that should respond well to brighter pickups. It also should be fairly dense, not soft like cheap cuts or "fakewood"
#33
Quote by Skierinanutshel
(i mean wood from one alder tree isnt "better" than wood from another alder tree)


actually it might be.
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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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#34
Quote by CJRocker
MIA has more to it... better wood, higher QC and finish practices, and better hardware and electronics. MIA or MIJ parts versus Chinese ones. 2 piece bodies versus three piece. A tighter QC process. Better fretwork and nut work. And just a little more time spent on building it. I think people who say people who fall for USA are fools are the ignorant ones. Play them and you can just feel a difference. Now MIM Fender Standards may be the best values in their price range, but they are not quite the quality of the MIA Standards. Fwiw though, I think the MIM Tele is every bit as good playability wise as the MIA counterpart.

As for tone, when you buy a high end guitar, that is not always what you are paying for. You pay for QUALITY. A MIA Fender or Gibson will last you a life time, while a lower end guitar won't due to corners cut during construction in wood and hardware quality to bring down the price. And if they do hold up, at the very least, the upkeep cost will likely be more.


i agree (though i thought USA ones could be 3-piece too, perhaps even more). I thought it was the difference between about 3 pieces or so (in the USA-made ones) and about 6 trillion (slight exaggeration) in the MIMs.

Quote by CJRocker
I didn't know Tom Anderson guitars were made of plywood! Or my Charvel.... damn, what rock I have I been living under. Btw, the Squier Affinity series are 3 piece alder bodies, albeit with a veneer over them. Basswood is not Flaxwood either. the scam is when back in the 80s and early 90s companies used anything wood and just called in basswood, leading to it's bad rap. Real basswood is a nice, fairly tone neutral wood that should respond well to brighter pickups. It also should be fairly dense, not soft like cheap cuts or "fakewood"


yeah, those eejits like john suhr are such noobs.
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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?
#35
Quote by CJRocker
Basswood is not Flaxwood either... Real basswood is a nice, fairly tone neutral... fairly dense, not soft like cheap cuts or "fakewood"



Yes, basswood is Flaxwood. My family has owned and operated a circular sawmill since 1915 and I've been involved in milling basswood many times. The stuff has no figure, tight grain, and usually has ugly green streaks running through it. It isn't dense (Unless still green, that stuff holds water like no other and hence the name cottonwood) and it marks and dents very easily. That is why it is so easy to machine and work with in general, although it does dull the living hell out of blades and bits (Hence the name Flaxwood)

Here's some pics of Basswood and it's ugliness...

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#36
A MIM strat will depreciate faster relative to its cost value than a MIA - not an issue for most people I suppose.
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#37
^true that too. MIM are worthless over time, where a American is like any Gibson guitar or Boss Pedal, u can keep it in good shape and sell it for more then you bought it in 30 years if that trend continues.
#38
maxtheaxe:

nice read, question for you though, an unplugged guitar "ringing like a ****ing bell".
is this good or bad? =)
#39
Quote by Flux'D
Yes, basswood is Flaxwood. My family has owned and operated a circular sawmill since 1915 and I've been involved in milling basswood many times. The stuff has no figure, tight grain, and usually has ugly green streaks running through it. It isn't dense (Unless still green, that stuff holds water like no other and hence the name cottonwood) and it marks and dents very easily. That is why it is so easy to machine and work with in general, although it does dull the living hell out of blades and bits (Hence the name Flaxwood)

Here's some pics of Basswood and it's ugliness...


Hmm, that seems to be it, but that first basswood picture seems dark to me. Still, good basswood is not the crap wood it is made out to be or premium makers like Anderson, an Suhr would not use it. My Charvel is good basswood. Any dings and dents were either inflicted from years of gigging by the previous owner or my own personal use of the guitar. Though I will say, the basswood Ibanez used in my RG5EX1 must have been wet or something, because that WAS rubbish that was closer to "wood of the famous ply tree" than real wood.
#40
^^thats good! That is the natural sustain of the guitar you're experiencing
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