Fender Strat US vs. Mexico - Jemsite
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2004, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Fender Strat US vs. Mexico

What does everyone think is a better guitar putting into consideration price?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2004, 03:36 PM
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While I am not a Strat man, unless you get a Deluxe (US) model, I haven't been able to notice much difference.

So unless you can afford a Deluxe, get a Mexi.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2004, 04:38 PM
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I dont remember the model specs but some of the new mexis, have trems and electronics designed similarly to the us standard, i think the quality is really improving for their low end guitars
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2004, 04:56 PM
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I've owned a '98 American Standard and a '00 American Standard. The '98 was by far way better quality. But, both wouldn't stay in tune longer than any song I knew, so they went bye bye!

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2004, 07:54 PM
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I recently bought a strat and must have tried around 15 guitars before I decided which one to get. I found that the quality differs a lot between guitars. There were some really good MIM strats and some really bad ones too.

I ended up with a 94 US strat but that was after much consideration but I was really close to buying a Japanese one that was real good too.

I'd say, try them out before you buy and make sure you get a good one.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2004, 11:10 PM
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Watch out for the 90's ones if what wood it's made of matters to you. During the 90's Fender stopped using Alder and used Poplar instead. But didn't tell anyone. I had a 1996 Am. Standard Strat that was 3 tone sunburst. The dead giveaway was the stain on the back. What they would do is use a Poplar body and put a very thin veneer of alder over it. They couldn't get the veneer to bend correctly in the stomach cutaway so they just stained the whole cutaway instead of the edge. I was rather miffed about this and tried to get a response from Fender but it did no good. I don't know how they could put in the catalogue that it's Alder when it's not. It was a nice playing Strat though and had that "Straty" tone. They revamped the whole line in the late 90's and started using Alder again and made some other improvements. I have a 2001 Am. Standard Strat hardtail. Nice guitars for certian moods....
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-29-2004, 11:22 PM
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If you want a Strat, try every strat you can get your hands on (in your price range) (including, MIA, MIM, CIJ, Squier, indonesian, korean...everything). Buy the one that feels the best to you. You can always upgrade hardware/pickups laters if you end up with a cheaper model. A new trem, tuners, pickups and pots/switch will make a Squier just as good as any other strat.

Guitars are made by a CNC machine. The country in which this machine is located does not really make a difference.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-30-2004, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kickz28
Guitars are made by a CNC machine. The country in which this machine is located does not really make a difference.
That is completely false. The factory where a guitar is made has everything to do with whether or not you are playing a quality instrument. Frets aren't installed by a CNC machine. Nor are they levelled, crowned and buffed. The grade and species of wood that certain factories tend to use are dramatically different from country to country. And certain factories are buying poor grades of wood to save money, while others aren't. Even if you get a good piece of wood on a Chinese guitar, the fretwork will not match that of a Japanese guitar. Also the truss rod is different and the time spent leveling the board (and doing everything else) is dramatically different. For some reason, the Taiwanese factory can't ever make a neck that stays straight, and Indonesia is hit or miss. The only place that "CNC" argument holds up is with the body, and even then, the hand sanding and finishing will be different.

Between Fender US and Mexico, your statement has the best chance of being true. Lower priced US Fenders aren't really that much better if at all than the Mexican Fenders. I would like to encourage you (infinite) to check out the G&L Tributes from Korea. They have a lot of US hardware and pickups and the Korean factory making them will do as good of work as the Mexican Fender plant. Or if you can afford it, try the US G&L's. They are fine guitars.

From a racial, cultural, or socio-economic standpoint, no one group of persons should build a guitar better or worse than any other. To be clear, that's not the issue. But the price of labor in given countries makes certain factories be built and used to focus on different things. For example, generally a Japanese guitar is focused on innovation, quality, and looks with price being important, but a distant consideration. Guitars from China are built around a price point first, and all else is adjusted to meet that. The US has a mix of everything. Gibson is making some $400 guitars to hit a point, and they don't care about the guitar itself. But they also make guitars that "spare no expense" Fender does the same thing. Companies like G&L and Tom Anderson seem to have "one quality level" but just different options. There is a level of integrity to what you can expect from each instrument. Not so with Fender, but if it were my money, I'd get the Mexican only because I don't think the lower priced US Fenders are worth any more money.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-30-2004, 07:10 AM
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I'm not 100% sure but I remember reading somewhere that the actual necks and bodies for both US and Mexican Fenders are made in the US and then someone picks 20% of the best ones for the US finishing production line while the rest get shipped to Mexico for painting and assembly so the general materials should be exactly the same.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-30-2004, 08:02 AM
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i'd go for tone & feel rather than the country of origin. i'm in he market for a strat myself...

i tried the American series strat & found that the pickups are too 'artificial' (maybe high output single coils aren't my thing...) to sound like an honest strat. for this reason, i'm inclining towards the Highway1 instead...

however, i've tried both the '50s & '70s reissue mex strat & they sound & feel killer. i'm still giving both guitars deep considerations...
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-31-2004, 01:17 AM
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I've played a few Mexicans (in fact I own a Mexican made Jazz Bass V) and can say they're great quality, no complaints at all.

And my main guitar is a Squier Strat which plays and sounds great
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 06:40 PM
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I've got a mexican strat but I upgraded all the electronics and the bridge, still paid less in total than an american one and I like it alot, that's all that ever really matters.

I would echo the G&L recommendation....they make great stuff.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-01-2004, 08:26 PM
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or try and make one yourself, just get a kit guitar from somewhere and build one. Get yourself some good quality parts and I'm sure it'll stand up to or be better than a stock strat.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2004, 08:21 AM
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Like others have said, play as many as you can. A few months ago in my quest for another strat I picked up an '02 American Series Strat in Chrome Blue that just came alive in my hands and I knew that I had to have it. I played other MIA's and MIM's, but there was something about this one that just felt right. Cosmetically it even had a small ding in the headstock, but it doesn't affect its tone.

Here's a good comparison between the MIA's and MIM's.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2004, 05:10 PM
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I've never played a Mexican strat that I thought had a great neck on it, but that's pretty much my only complaint about them. If I got one cheap enough I'd just replace the neck with a Warmoth and be set. However, I've played some really nice Highway 1 guitars, both Strats and Teles, so if I were buying one new now that's where I'd look first. The Highway 1 series is where I think you get Fender's best bang for the buck in both guitars and basses right now.

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