Tube Amps / Music Electronics
For current discussions, please visit Music Electronics Forum. The sunn still shines online!

ampage archive

Vintage threads from the first ten years

Search for:  Mode:  

Japanese Strat question

8/1/1999 6:37 PM
Japanese Strat question
I have a question:  
Were the "old" Fender Strats made in Japan good guitars?  
Could they be compared in some way in quality (wood, sound, finish...)  
with americans or mexicans, or not?  
Please, feel free to answer to my email too.  
8/1/1999 10:34 PM
Steve M.

I've owned several early to mid 80s Japanese strat knockoffs, Tokai, Fernandez, ESP, etc. All of them were extremely good copies of vintage strats. One thing the Japanese did well with those was make excellent copies. I had a chance to play a friend's 1957 strat, and my '57 Tokai copy was easily the equal of the real strat in terms of playability and construction  
OTOH, the real Achilles heel of those guitars were the pickups and electronics. The PUs sounded like crap, IMHO. Also the hardware tended to be kinda cheezy.  
my $.02 worth...  
8/1/1999 11:40 PM

Thanks goodness!  
I thought anybody was going to answer my questions anymore...  
Bad feeling.  
Thank you Steve.  
Anyway, I was talking about a REAL Fender Stratocaster made in Japan.  
I saw one the other day, played it a bit, and it looked quite playable and well finished.  
The only "but" was exactly what you mentioned in your replay: thet's it, the pickups semt (is that the past of to seam?) quite weak compared to my american made Fender Bullet Deluxe. Actually a lot weaker. Smooth, but not enough output to my taste.  
It has a horrible (to me) skull on the pickguard, nothing that I couldn't mend with a new one.  
I would really like to hear something else about this japanese fenders, as I'm afraid it can be my next guitar:))  
Thanks again, Steve.  
8/2/1999 3:47 AM
Steve A.

    I don't have one myself, but I've only heard great things about the MIJ Fender strats from the early 80's. I'm not surprised about the pickups (this is just my own opinion but I don't think any of the pickups that Fender was using in the early 80's were any good!) But if the guitar is made well, plays well and sounds well without an amp, you can always upgrade the pickups, pots and switch for better sounds through an amp later. On the other hand if the guitar doesn't play or sound well without an amp, you're just wasting your money upgrading the pickups, etc., because I doubt that you'll ever be really happy with it.  
    FWIW I always test out guitars without an amp first just to find the ones that feel right to me. If it passes the unplugged test, then I'll try it out with an amp just to see if I need to change the pu's right away or not (which could effect the price I'll offer for the guitar). "If the sound isn't in the wood, it ain't never gonna come out of the speakers..."  
    Since you are going to replace the pickguard anyway, I'd box up the old one- electronics and all- and wire up a new pickguard with a nice set of pickups (the brand and model depending on your tastes). I'd also recommend an upgraded wiring harness- like the Sup'rStrat one on my site for 9 different linkages or Dave Harris's harness with a blend pot. (I get really bored with the same 5 linkages Fender had been using since the 50's.) If you ever need to sell the guitar slap the old loaded pickguard back on and save the custom pickguard for your next strat (unless of course the buyer is willing to pay you for what it is worth- usually they won't!)  
    If that guitar talks to you ("Buy me! Buy me!") jump on it...  
Steve Ahola
8/2/1999 4:53 AM

Steve -  
I've visited your site many times, but what's the scoop on Dave Harris's site (if he has one) I'm interested in scoping out the "blend pot harness" for my strat. Got Link?  
BTW, John C.: - I generally like the Japanese Fenders a lot more than the mexican ones. [That said, having lived in SoCal (I worked at Fender in the late 70's) I never trusted a Fender that wasn't made in Fullerton. But I am biased.]  
8/3/1999 3:19 AM
Steve A.

    Here's the link to Dave's drawing:  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. If anybody else has drawings or articles they'd like to post on my site go ahead and e-mail them to me. (With everything on my site now listed on HTML tables it only takes a minute to add in a new entry using Notepad...)
8/10/1999 11:18 AM
Dave H.

I donít have a web site but you can email me if you want any more info.  

  Page 1 of 6 Next> Last Page>>