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Re: Japanese Strat question

8/3/1999 12:34 AM
Re: Japanese Strat question
I got it!  
It was 12'30 noon, called the man in the shop, he told me that he had to go shopping at 1'15.  
Fired up my Renault and drove to town in half an hour :)  
This thing must have been telling me "Buy me, buy me" all night long.  
Yeah, it's soft and nice.  
Now, once again, little repairs, new strings, intonation setting ... But I'll leave that for tomorrow.  
I'll try "standard" strings on it, as it seems quite soft.  
I have a 52 low E on my other Bullet's Telecaster neck.  
It doesen't seem to have that bright sustain that the fixed really heavy bridge of my Bullet has, but the soud seams more reach and colourfull on the MIJ Strat. (All umpluged testings first, as I also prefer)  
Thanks a lot for your comments, Steve.  
8/2/1999 11:10 PM
Steve M.

I have to agree with Steve A.'s answer, always play the guitar unplugged first to see how well it sounds acoustically. Then plug it in.  
Although I've owned only the Japanese strat knock-offs, I have a played a few of the MIJ guitars, and all were excellent guitars. Some were equal to or better than the current American Standard Strats, and at about half the cost too.  
I can't verify, but I've *heard* that the MIJ Fenders were made in one of the factories that made the competitor's guitars. I tend to doubt this as the first wave of strat copies to come out of Japan in the early 80s were *identical* to vintage strats, so much so that Fender seized them at the docks and sawed the headstocks off, which was the only part that Fende still had a trademark on.  
If the price is right and the guitar plays and sounds good acoustically, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.  
8/4/1999 3:59 PM

I just tuned in to this thread. I've run across, and owned, various models of strats that were made in japan. I would say that 99% of them were built using basswood for the body. (I guess it's a common wood over there, like poplar is over here.) Different models had different type bridge hardware, and varying pickup construction. But almost every one seems to have a good-playing neck. Also, they all seem to have been made with enclosed gear cast metal Gotoh tuning machines that work well, but don't "look" vintage. Oh, another thing: because basswood is rather soft, easily compressed, you will find a nice black plastic back-up plate/shim under the chrome neck plate, which kept the corners of the plate from cutting into the wood when the neck mounting screws are set tightly.  
I have various japanese Squiers. Some are like '57 and '62 reissue strats, with vintage style tremelo bridge, but with cast Gotoh tuners. One with a '70s big headstock actually has slotted safety string posts which I like.  
The latest MIJ strat I got is built like a '50s reissue, with vintage bridge (and large inertia block!), single thickness white pickguard, 7.25" radius maple neck (with Gotoh encloded tuners). It came with steel pole ceramic magnet pickups, loud but a little rough sounding for me. The headstock decal says "Fender" in silver w/black outline in the style of a '90s mexican standard strat, with a tiny "Made in Japan" and serial number underneath. The body color is a beautiful candy blue! The neck is nice, it's a fast easy player. I don't know when this guitar was made, but I think around 1990 would be a good guess.  
There were some really nicely MIJ strats back in '85 (they had headstock serial numbers starting with E5 or E6), made there before fender had set up their new factory in california. These things had great necks, a little wider & flatter than vintage with nice wide frets, but came with alnico pole pickups. These pickups all look identical (same plastic bobbin, magnets, wire leads), but some sound completely different from others. The tremelo tailpiece is a big chromed casting with a 2-point pivot and fine tuning adjusters. The strings don't mount through the tremelo inertia block, which I feel is essential for ood sustain. I don't like these tailpieces, but they can be set up to work fairly well (with a little saddle shimming).  
Did you look closely enough at your prospective "new guitar" to be able to describe the hardware, the headstock decal (serial number?), and the pickups? Look closely at the pole pieces. If you can see faint concentric circles at on the tip, made by a cutter on a lathe, then the pole pieces are steel (there will be a big ceramic bar magnet underneath the coil bobbin). If the pole pieces appear to have a smooth, mirror-like finish, devoid of machining marks, chances are they're alnico magnets.  
Like the Steves said, these are good guitars and the electronics can be changed no problem (I do it all the time), as long as it plays well acoustically and the neck profile & string action is to your liking.  
If you can post more identifying info, maybe we can do some better detective work.  
8/6/1999 12:51 AM

Do any quality american made strats leave the factory with ceramic pu's installed on them?  
Maybe I just have to get used to them, as I discovered today that they sound better when the amp is at a little higher volume.  
I'm talking "too early", I dindn't have enough time to fiddle around with the guitar yet, but this pu's seem to be clearsounders, loud enough, but I would say they lack a bit of "personality" in their sound.  
Are alnicos considered better sounders, or just different?  
I think my Fender Bullet deluxe ('81) has alnicos (am I right?), and they sound really-really-really good to me; they sound clean, bright and reach from 0 to 9 in the volume pot of the guitar, and they nicely crank any amp when at 10.  
I visited Seymour Duncans's web site, and they have so many pu's for strats that it makes my possible decision much harder. I have also heard great things about Lace Sensors...  
So I don't know where to begin my "search" of sound for my MIJ Strat.  
Maybe just look for original vintage alnicos if possible, I don't know. Or those TM'ed aged alnicos (II or V) Seymour Duncan sell.  
10/2/1999 6:35 AM
Ted Matsumura

I've got a great early '80s MIJ '54 reissue strat, body is sen (natural), and pickups were made in US. Very authentic, even a 3 way only selector switch. I was in Japan in '95 and '96, and sure wish I had gotten more of these, as they seem to be about double the price now, just a few years later.  
I also picked up my Am. Std. in Japan, paid equiv. ~$900 for it, a couple/few hundred more than US discount prices, but at that time, the quality of the US fenders shipped to Japan was higher than the ones you'd buy in California.  
It's also slightly custom, made in '95 in US, it has gold lace sensors, but it is not a strat deluxe. It's an N5921xx model, tbx passive, am std hardware, but there is a chain in Japan called "key guitars" that like guitar center, gut some custom products for their all US made floors.  
By '95/'96 Fender Japan was making all kinds of reissues and guitars not in the US line. I have a catalog, and it details the woods used and pickup details. Let me know if you have questions on Fender Japan guitars, I may have some answers in my stack of Japanese Fender literature.  
11/8/1999 3:46 AM

Thanks for your offer.  
I believe mine was made in '86.  
serial# H010871  
Has MIJ strat bodies ever been built out of alder?  
Does anybody know the latin name of the alder tree?  
My English to Spanish diccionaries don't help me at all.  
I *know* the name of the wood in my guitar, but in spanish, not in english.  
11/8/1999 6:23 AM
Ted Matsumura

For the regular (non Squire) line of Fender Japan strats, yes, by 1996 about half of their strats were made of Alder, other woods used were basswood of course, ash, sen and poplar.

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