Fender Japan better than USA?

jwk0522

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
549
Reaction score
142
I was at my local guitar shop and got caught gawking at a Japanese-made telecaster with a bigsby style bridge on it. Its the first Tele to ever give me GAS. The guy working there began telling me about Fender Japan, and claimed that they're both better quality guitars and hold value longer. Is this true? Are Japanese Fenders really a higher quality?
 

Deguello

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
2,119
Reaction score
432
The Richie Kotzen Telecaster that I played is far superior than the current US models...JMO
Not sure if it holds value better, that sounds like a sells pitch
 

Leumas

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,557
Reaction score
18,837
I think as a rule, no. Americans will always hold their value better based on common perception. As for differences in quality...I'm not really sure.
 

cynic79

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2009
Messages
5,355
Reaction score
2,182
Well, I'd stack my Japanese P-Bass against any American one. Doubt it would hold it's value as well; I bought it for the same price as a new Mexican bass several years back.
 

Underliner6

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2008
Messages
4,128
Reaction score
46
I have a mexican strat and its a great guitar for the money. When people ask me what guitar I have, I usually say a Gibson Les Paul and not a Mexican Fender Stratocaster. I have nothing to be ashamed of though because its a great guitar even if its made by a mexican and cost me 450 dollars. Ya it doesn't come close to the perfectness of my Les Paul, but is still a great guitar! I would never buy an American Fender because I am so pleased with my MEXI STRAT for half the price!
 

jwk0522

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
549
Reaction score
142
Yeah I had a Mexican Tele and is was a really good guitar for the money, but no Tele has given me GAS like this one. Its georgeous!!! And has the same feel as Americans I have played. Telecaster
 

diceman

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
29,923
Reaction score
5,248
I'd say as a general rule that the upper MIJ Fenders are nicer than the lower MIA models. The best American stuff is probably nicer than the MIJ models, though. There is no doubt that Japanese made guitars are among the best in the world - but I think that the best production guitars today (to include Fenders) are still made here in the USA - but are more likely to come from the Custom Shops or the upper end of the USA line.

That said - I parted with an American Vintage Stratocaster and kept my MIM Roadworn Strat as I felt that the MIM was an all around better guitar (and by no small margin). Country of origin isn't always determinative.
 

jomo

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
11,047
Reaction score
1,506
The guy working there began telling me about Fender Japan, and claimed that they're both better quality guitars and hold value longer. Is this true? Are Japanese Fenders really a higher quality?

What was he trying to sell you? Nuff said. :thumb:
Japanese Fenders are good, don't get me wrong, and there is a small market for them, but over all I'd argue that the American Fender is going to claim both titles. (especially resale)
 

Goldtop75

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
1,607
Reaction score
196
The guy working there began telling me about Fender Japan, and claimed that they're both better quality guitars and hold value longer. Is this true? Are Japanese Fenders really a higher quality?

As a rule of thumb? No in both counts. Japanese Fenders are great quality, and made as well as a guitar can be made. But at that price point, I'd be hard pressed to think it's a much better quality guitar than a well made USA Fender.

I've had a few of both, and the only one still in my stable is a USA Strat.

The Richie Kotzen Tele IS nice, but it's also ridiculously expensive for a Fender Japan guitar.
 

Laservampire

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
1,007
Reaction score
99
I bought a MIJ Fender Jaguar Bass a few years ago and the fit and finish on it is absolutely flawless, better than my R6.
 

jwk0522

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
549
Reaction score
142
I was suspicious of his claims but I didn't know for sure because I know there are a lot of people out there who swear by Japanese Fenders.
 

cmcoram

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
601
Reaction score
94
Well, I've owned 3 MIM Strats, and MIA Strat, and 1 MIJ Strat. When I thinned the herd, the MIJ was left standing. It wasn't a financial decision. I played them all, compared them all, and when the dust settled, the MIJ was the one. Quality, feel, tone, its all there. And with the pup upgrade that I had done, it came in under $400.

The other 4 could have been canabalized to create 1 guitar to rival the MIJ.
 

teemunknee

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,935
Reaction score
33
Dude, I don't care if it plays like crap, if it's as pretty as the picture you sent me...just sayin :)

But get a new amp first please, k pumpkin' :D
 

Cookie-boy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
16,721
Reaction score
11,002
I learned a long time ago never to underestimate what the Japanese are capable of. When they were first producing Strat's and Tele's for Fender in the very early 80's they blew the American made gear away. I've been keeping a weather eye open for one of each for a long time. Trouble is, so is every one else in the know!:naughty:
 

circusboy28

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
5,503
Reaction score
452
In the long run I'd say the USA made is going to hold it's value better, but is that why you want a guitar? I see those crappy Fender Elite series from the early 80's selling for more than MIJ's from the same period. Now that's plain crazy!!

It also depends on when it was made. I rave on about my early E Series (1985) MIJ Fender Strat all the time. I have played plenty of vintage Fenders - and while they do feel better than my MIJ, they don't feel $35K worth of better!! And other than Custom Shop I've not played a modern USA Fender that touches it.

In that time period - late seventies to mid eighties - the MIJ guitars were THE best makers of production guitars in the world. Since about '89 or so they have gradually become a bit more hit and miss - but still very good.

There's a reason that I rave about my Strat all the time - everyone who plays it wants it. I recommend 80's MIJ to anyone as still being the best bargain around. A grand will still buy you one, and it will just laugh at any other Fender at close to the price.

And if you want a Gibson-killer from the same period for not much money, go for an Ibanez Artist or a Yamaha SG1000. MIJ guitar making at its best.
 

jonesy

GLOBAL WIRING GURU
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
17,479
Reaction score
4,865
I have owned MIA, MIM and MIJ guitars and bass guitars and have always thought highly of the Japanese craftmanship. Better than USA made? Not sure about that, depends on what year, but equal to it in many ways.

I will also add that many of the licensed Fender guitar and bass necks that I order from Allparts USA are made in Japan and they are beautiful. I had a Jazz bass neck with black block inlays, black binding and vintage tint that I ordered for a customer and it was flawless. It even made some of the Gibson necks and fret work look cheap in comparison the quality was that good.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dan

MIJ

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
152
Reaction score
2
I learned a long time ago never to underestimate what the Japanese are capable of. When they were first producing Strat's and Tele's for Fender in the very early 80's they blew the American made gear away. I've been keeping a weather eye open for one of each for a long time. Trouble is, so is every one else in the know!:naughty:

I had one of those 80's strats from Japan. I put a EMG pickup in the bridge and that was as hot as any guitar sound out there out of all the guitars I have played since. It could have had plywood in it for all I know, but it just sounded right.
 

Hamtone

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
13,293
Reaction score
7,658
What was he trying to sell you? Nuff said. :thumb:
Japanese Fenders are good, don't get me wrong, and there is a small market for them, but over all I'd argue that the American Fender is going to claim both titles. (especially resale)

+1

I know I am not alone but, I am a guitar/gear snob. Its either a mia instrument or nothing at all. Same with amps its either Birttish or MIA, nothing else. Although Im thinking about getting a phaez which is made in Can.
 

LiveOak

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
1,200
Reaction score
43
I've been impressed with most of the Japanese Fenders that I have played, good build quality, playability and tone. I still have my 2002 Fender American Series Stratocaster, however. It is a great guitar and is above what I have experienced with the Japanese models.
 

Latest Threads



Top