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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Tempted to go American

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swampyankee
Contributing Member
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Jan 18th, 2017 10:56 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've had a couple US Strats in the past - a '73 back in '76, and a '96 Am Std in the 2000's, sold to finance a life move.

A few years back I picked up a new MIM Strat. One of the herd at first, after a few setups, it has stabilized and has become my go-to guitar for gigs.
Maybe the guitar-snob in me is at work, but I've been thinking, since this Strat is getting so much use, maybe I should "upgrade" to a used Am Std. Not sure why, since my Olympic white and Maple MIM does the job for me. Even the stock pickups sound just fine for the music I'm doing - mostly '60's rock n roll, no real hard rock.

So the question is, Would an Am Std Strat be enough of an improvement over what I have to justify the several hundred dollar expense? Or is my guitar-snobbery showing? After all, My MIM Strat was probably built using the same skills and equipment - and labor - that my old '72 used.

NHILL1

United States

Jan 18th, 2017 12:17 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Depends, understand that the MIM guitars have hotter pickups, and in the bridge position will sound meatier than the american made strats due to the lower output, alnico pickups. That said, I greatly prefer the American strats because I like the lower output pickups for blues/alternative and clean tones.

YMMV, but I think the best way to answer this question is go to guitar center, find your amp, and compare side by side your guitar to other strats and see what you think.

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Jan 18th, 2017 12:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I do recall that the pickups on my friend's MIM Strat were hotter than my AmStd. In fact, I swapped out the stock pickups on my Am Std for Holy Grails, in search of meatier tone.
Being a Tele player, I was surprised to see how much difference in volume there is between my MIM Strat and my AmStd Tele, probably for the same reason.
Not that I require alot of high gain, but I'd rather have the extra output and tone it down via volume controls, rather than need the heat and be left wanting.

NHILL1

United States

Jan 18th, 2017 01:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well that makes sense being a tele player you'd feel that way. I'm 100% pure blooded strat player, I can't do tele's, so I prefer the lower output and cleaner nature of the alnico pickups with strats.

One thing though, that "lack of meat" gives a very specific tonality to a strat, especially in the neck position. Don't confuse low output for lacking, this is what strats are famous for. Since your signal is lower output, the character of the strat shines through more and you get very specific, and authoritative sounds from each pickup position. But again it's all up to you, the MIM strats sound great, so do the MIA, it's just a matter of how you feel playing that strat and how it makes you want to play.

pombrio
Contributing Member
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USA

Jan 18th, 2017 01:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hard to say really. It may just come down to personal preference and the guitars you test out. I had a Jimmie Vaughan & Robert Cray Strat (both MIM) that were head and shoulders above my 2004 Am Std Strat. I then found a used Am Dlx V-neck Strat that was better than my MIM's.

I brought my MIM Classic 50 Tele with Nocaster pups in a store to A/B it against an Am Dlx Tele. After listening to both, the store owner said, "You don't need a new Tele today. That one you have sounds better."

So part of it may be snobbery and part may be finding the right one. I'm currently having what could be a snob issue in 335 land. My totally fine Epi ES339 is making me think that a real Gibson 335 is needed. So I feel your pain.

daveg
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Northern VA

The Fine Line Between Clever & Stupid
Jan 18th, 2017 02:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If the MIM Strat is getting more play because you want to play -that- more than the others and not because the tune -needs- a Strat...I wouldn't waste my time buying another.
I go by one thing, the feel of the neck and body...everything else can be modified. I've only kept two Strats out of the half dozen or so that I've owned. The only reason I kept them was because they "felt" right. None of the pups, pots or caps are stock and they've been rewired to what I like best.

ecfan

New Jersey USA

I-IV-V
Jan 18th, 2017 02:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"YMMV, but I think the best way to answer this question is go to guitar center, find your amp, and compare side by side your guitar to other strats and see what you think."

This is wise advice. I periodically take my 2008 MIM Standard to my local Guitar Center and A-B it with the Strats they have at the moment; I have NEVER found one I want more than old faithful, regardless of price or country of manufacture.

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Jan 18th, 2017 04:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've owned my Tele for 25 years or so and for the longest time it was my only electric, so I've learned to coax all sorts of tones out of it.
But I have to admit the Strat is more versatile for the variety of tunes the band does, from surf to Beatles to those unique Strat bridge-mid positions.
So this MIM Strat is a good tool. It's comfortable, plays smooth, and seems solid enough. As I first stated, I really don't have any other reason but snobbery to go American.

(This message was last edited by swampyankee at 06:42 PM, Jan 18th, 2017)

stratcowboy
Contributing Member
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USA/Taos, NM

Jan 18th, 2017 09:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I do think the Mexican made instruments are quite good. Maybe at one point they weren't at this level, but mostly I think they are quality instruments. That said, over the years I've seen some American made instruments that weren't quite up to quality standards. Sometimes rougher samples do slip through and wind up on dealers' racks. I don't think you can make a blanket claim either way on either American made or Mexican made instruments.

However, I have mostly, over the years, tried to purchase American made instruments as my first choice. Doing so, for me, is an attempt to keep American workers in skilled jobs--especially those in the acoustic instrument making business. It would really be nice to help perpetuate the skills of good luthiers going forward. But if you find the right guitar that speaks to you, you gotta buy it regardless of where it came from.

My 2 cents...YMMV

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Jan 19th, 2017 07:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I do kind of have an obligation to keep this MIM Strat. When I say I picked it up, technically, it was a Christmas present from my wife. I picked it out but she made the purchase. Not sure I could really replace it without some hurt feelings....

And it is a good player.

pombrio
Contributing Member
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USA

Jan 19th, 2017 09:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Not sure I could really replace it without some hurt feelings...."

So if you decide you like the American made one you just get it in Oly White w/maple board like your MIM.

Wimmens can tell the difference between our guitars as well as we can tell the differences between their purses/tackle box thingies.

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Jan 19th, 2017 01:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"So if you decide you like the American made one you just get it in Oly White w/maple board like your MIM."

Is there any other kind of proper Strat??
Not for me anyways, since my old '72.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jan 19th, 2017 11:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Owner of 4 MIM Fenders here.
2 Teles; 1 Strat; 1 Duo Sonic...

Those *are* my high-end guitars - LOL!
I think they all play and sound great.

I love tweaking & modding, and am very comfortable doing anything I want to a $800 guitar (AU$).
An American "Standard" RRP is over $3000 here!

MIM suits me fine thanks!

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:12 PM, Jan 20th, 2017)

RDR
Contributing Member
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I tried to think

but nothing happened!
Jan 21st, 2017 09:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have four Fenders...one US tele (Nashville B bender)and strat (American series), and one MIM tele (Baja) and strat (FSR, frigging GOLD!). All are finely made and sound great. I dig them all.
The medium price level series are great bargains now it seems. CNC production makes precision cheap. That's why I'm waiting anxiously for delivery of my Gretsch 5422 (MIK). A great guitar is a great guitar. On the other hand, a little snobbery is fun too. I have enjoyed it on occasion!

(This message was last edited by RDR at 11:26 PM, Jan 21st, 2017)

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

I need a drink and a quick decision
Jan 22nd, 2017 01:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I own an early Jimmy Vaughan MIM Strat. Great instrument but very heavy and I think a 5 piece body. I had, but broke down for parts, a mid-2000's MIM Sunburst Tele. Also a great guitar, with, I believe, a 3 piece body. I ended up keeping the neck and using it with a StewMac body and '52 pups. I also own a Road Worn Tele with mostly upgraded parts (I bought this used and the previous owner did all the upgrades).

Seems to me that the MIM Fender products are pretty decent but all in all, I'd prefer one made in Corona (have some of those too).



swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Jan 24th, 2017 10:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Weight.
Hadn't really thought of it, but that's what I like about my MIM Strat. It feels pretty light and balanced, like a Strat should be. That may be why I tok to it right away, and why I don't feel the real need to upgrade to a US model.

champster
Contributing Member
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Oceanside, CA

Jan 24th, 2017 10:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I own a '93 American Standard Strat and this is the best guitar I've ever owned. I've had a few MIM Strats. They were nice guitars but then I discovered the Squier CV Strats. I now have 2, a 50s and a 60s. I installed Fender VN pickups and love playing these guitars. They play much better than the MIM Strats, to me.

I do really think the American Standards are hard to beat.

60CycleHum

USA

Jan 24th, 2017 11:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I rather wait and pay more for a US Strat. I can tell myself there is no difference or MIM is better, but I really can tell a difference in most cases, plus US have better resale/trade value. Soon the prices may be equal (tariffs) and then people can decide if they want to pay almost the same for a MIM if they're still offered by Fender.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jan 25th, 2017 12:56 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Soon the prices may be equal (tariffs) and then people can decide if they want to pay almost the same for a MIM if they're still offered by Fender."

Yes, interesting times...

I was having a conversation with a local Fender retailer this arvo about what will happen with MIM & MIC instruments.
I don't think any of us know what will happen.

DragonFire

Jersey Shore

Jan 25th, 2017 04:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Somewhere in my grey matter I recall Clapton saying one of his favorite Strats is a MIM that his wife gave him as a gift! Honestly not sure if that's a sentimental thing or a preference. I admittedly have way too many Strats and would be hard pressed to tell you whether the MIM's or MIA's are "better"!

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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Tempted to go American




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