I was reading the specs between the American Special Strat and the MIM Strat and they both use Alder for the body so is the only difference between the two the electronics or is their a bigger difference? Is the quality a HUGE difference? Thanks
For the most part, it depends on what style/model/features/color you want, that decides where it will be or was made. I've heard some strange claims. Supposedly American ones have better switches and jacks and wires than the Mexicans. I say supposedly because electrically the only thing that matters is Does It Conduct Electricity. Nothing else. I've heard claims that Mexican parts don't last (but only time will tell, not some geek's opinions). Pickups are supposed to be different, but again electrically, I don't see how being a few miles down the road difference matters so much. If you like them, keep the originals, if you don't change them. Just like any American model from any manufacturer.
I imagine a lot of it is snobbery and cork sniffing. You can get a piece made by Mexicans in Mexico, or made by Mexicans in California. The two factories are about 200 miles apart. Many of the parts are probably from some other place and then shipped to the factories.
So yeah, I take the wild claims about vastly differing "goodness" with a lot of skepticism.
Just pick the features/style you want, with the color you want, and go from there. I wanted a Standard (old school no nonsense Plank). They are made in Mexico. I didn't want to pay for features I don't want. The standard Planks are made in Mexico.
Would you say that spending an extra $500.00 for an American start is worth it?
I do have a MIM Standard Jazz bass and can see the lower quality compared to my MIK Lite Ash Strat.
...I don't generally worry about electrical stuff because I can fix or change that myself. If the pickups are bad (mine aren't) I can swap them for a different pair with no effort.
... So no, in MY case, the extra $500 would make no sense. The upgrades I would do would cost far less than that. WAY far less.
But ... if you read around the forums, you'll hear people say that the Mexicans tend to be much more hit-and-miss. You might get a great guitar, but there's are a lot more mediocre ones. You're much more likely to need to have someone do fretwork on it (which will eat up a chunk of the savings). I definitely wouldn't buy a MIM if I couldn't play it first. But if you go to a guitar store and play both, and the Mexican speaks to you, don't let the "made in ..." stop you from getting it.
Or at least make sure you fully understand the return policies.Always play before you buy if you can
Theyre both similar IMO I would probably upgrade electronics and hardware faster on the MIM, but I'd swap the pickups on the Am Special too, so thats me. I'd say overall it depends on look (big or small headstock, also the MIMs have more color options) and how much (if any) modding you plan too do. I think the newer MIM's are better overall than ones in years past (Ive had 3 between '01 and '08) but if I were shopping I'd pick the Am Special for the big headstock and 22 frets (the 2 tone sunburst looks nicer than MIM 3 tones bursts too, again IMO)
Keep in mind that I have limited experience so take this for what its worth...I tried several MIM models in three different stores before I pulled the trigger. My impression is that they are kind of hit and miss - some are good to go and some will need a bit of work. However, thinking about it now, I believe that most of the ones that I thought needed work were floor models and the couple that I saw straight from the box, including the one I bought, seemed absolutely fine. Now, that may mean that the floor models are being screwed around with by every teenager in town playing them in the store or there may be something else to it as both of the ones I saw unboxed were 2010 models - so maybe the newer models are of slightly higher quality?
thats pretty much my experience too, they are hit or miss (though more hits as of late ) but its hard to tell with floor models, sometimes they play or sound bad, but all they need is fresh strings and a proper setup, to be great guitars (then again, if they were great to begin with they probably wouldn't been sitting around long enough to get overly abused)
Fender did revamp the MIM lines though, the new ones (like yours) have the bigger, black "70s" logo, they also changed to bodies to alder on the Standard series (I had 2 in the past that were poplar) The pickups also are better than the ones I had, and the frets/finish have all been better too.