Explain me Fender guitars, for I am a dumbass

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I know that for Strats and Teles, there are the US-made guitars, the Japanese-made guitars, and the Mexican-made guitars. Then there are the Squiers, but I don't know where they are made. Is there a generally accepted hierarchy of quality among these four categories? Is it just for Strats and Teles or is it for all Fender guitars? Are any of them a particular steal at this point (I have a friend who swears by the Japanese-made Teles)?

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 8 November 2005 20:28 (seventeen years ago) link

Older Squiers were made in Japan (and there were actually Squiers coming out of Japan as late as the mid-90s). I think they are currently made in Korea.

Originally, the Squier line was kinda like the "Standard" (Mexican made) line is now. They weren't considered super budget cheapo, they were just less expensive than a "pro" model. At some point Squier (d)evolved into the supremo budget line that it is now. Current model Squiers aren't even fit to be student instruments IMO.

(The earliest Squiers actually said "Fender" and "Squier" on the headstock, and if I recall correctly, "Fender" was in a larger type.)

I swear by the Japanese Squiers when it comes to quality guitars that are dirt cheap (though "dirt cheap" has changed a little thanks to eBay). Even the latter day ones in the Vista series (which includes that hideous-looking Venus guitar designed by Courtney Love) are actually very well-made. I have a Supersonic from that series that will go toe to toe with plenty of $800 guitars, and all I did was replace the pots and the saddles and nut. I paid $150 for it maybe 4 years ago cause it was sitting unsold in a music store warehouse and they were clearing shit out.

There are made in Japan Jag and Jazzmaster reissues. Mustangs too I believe. Actually carrying the Fender tag, not Squier.

It's a commonly held belief among many that Fender shut down the production of a lot of the Japanese made guitars because they were eating into the sales of the American made Fenders because the quality of the Japanese ones was so high. I have no idea if it's true but it's often stated that way.

There are whole books on this subject, but that's the short version of what I've gleaned over the years.

martin m. (mushrush), Tuesday, 8 November 2005 20:51 (seventeen years ago) link

"Current model Squiers aren't even fit to be student instruments IMO."

Even the Hello Kitty ones?

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 07:48 (seventeen years ago) link

I have a Current model Squier Tele (Affinity Series, made in China --I think) which was dirt cheap. It sounds great and plays well. All my friends who play it love it too. Although, I don't play out and rarely run it thru an amp, which could be a different story.

dewey, Wednesday, 9 November 2005 16:32 (seventeen years ago) link

Generally accepted heirarchy of Fender models:


This whole thing has gotten much more confusing in the last few years, because there are now Fender branded instruments (not Squier) that are made in Korea (Showmasters, TC-90, "Light Ash" strats and teles, etc.) Street price is usually about $630 US, and they come loaded with USA cuncan pickups, set neck options, and other such amenities that would be expecially costly in American production. Everyone around here seems pretty impressed with them...

The main reason for the Fender exodus from Japan (they only make a few US release models there now...the aerodyne stuff and little else) comes down to the biggest reality in modern guitar manufacturing, which is labor costs. Given the availability of computer controlled CNC routers and so on, quality of workmanship isn't really much of a factor, but material costs (which are largely negligible in large quantities) and labor costs are. The collapsing gap between Japanese and American labor rates created a market for Mexican made products and souped up Korean stuff, while allowing China and Indonesia to make criminally inexpensive stuff without much drop in quality. (IMHO, the neck pocket fit in ALL bolt-on guitars is the best it's ever been.)

Another thing to keep in mind re: the Mexican made stuff - both the body and neck are made in the USA, and then shipped to mexico for assembly. The only difference is that the USA bodies are either a two or three piece body, and the ones produced for mexico are a five or seven piece with a cap to prevent weird ripple lines, and so the sunburst models don't look stupid.

Sorry to ramble, but talking about his sort of stuff almost justifies the time I spend on ILX while at work.

By the way, the next big push in guitar making location is going to be Vietnam...already making neck-through basses for Washburn and Peavey, and they're really good.

John Justen (johnjusten), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 17:16 (seventeen years ago) link

Squiers are no different than most import guitars, some are better than others. Any of the low end stuff from today in general slays the low end stuff from ten years ago.

The big thing I notice on cheaper Fenders is that the fretwork is done a bit rough, but that is true even of low end USA Gibsons or many other guitars.

From what I understand, some of the Asian guitars that say they are made of Mahogany are sometimes actually Agathis or another wood that is similar to but not actually Mahogany. I don't know much about this stuff, but it is a complaint I have seen some state about some of these cheaper guitars.

earlnash, Wednesday, 9 November 2005 17:59 (seventeen years ago) link

From what I understand, Agathis is a local variety of Mahogany, fairly closely related and similar in tonal characteristics, but not exactly the same thing (A bit harder, as I recall.)

And yeah, the cheap guitars nowadays are infinitely better than those in the mid-90's, and cheaper as well. Given the technology available, it's probably easier to make a good guitar than a bad one. Somehow, it still happens, however...thanks Wal-Mart!

John Justen (johnjusten), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 18:07 (seventeen years ago) link

John I don't mind you rambling at all. I appreciate more info from someone who knows his stuff.

The current Affinity Squiers I have played have had shit for fretwork, sounded like crap through every amp and had really cheap hardware everywhere. I'm sure it's possible to get "a good one," but the chances have got to be lower than, say, finding a good Mexi-Fender.

One of my main guitars is a Mexican made Roland-Ready Strat which plays incredibly well, but I spent a whole Saturday at a music store playing their whole stock of Roland-Ready Strats to find the one that played the best and then took it to my old tech to have her set it up and dress the frets and everything. The fact is that the Mexican made Strats vary in quality from some that just felt cheap to some that felt nice.

I'd imagine current Squiers vary even more widely since they cost even less. If they paid for more strict quality control standards, they'd have to raise the price accordingly.

martin m. (mushrush), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 18:17 (seventeen years ago) link

Aren't there still MIJ Fenders that sell in the Japanese market only? If so has anyone had any luck buying them online or through ebay or anything?

walter kranz (walterkranz), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 18:20 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah I see them on ebay pretty often actually. Never bought one that way though.

martin m. (mushrush), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 18:40 (seventeen years ago) link

Slightly off-topic, I sold a 1981 American Bullet on ebay a couple of months ago (£240 - yes!). What a dog that guitar was. Horrible, horrible bridge & no sustain - like playing a cardboard box. Anyone ever own or play a Bullet?

My Mexican sunburst Tele is really nice. Can't really fault it apart from slightly low action and loose tuners when I got it, both easily fixed. It sounds great now.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 21:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Tuners were the first thing to get replaced on my Mexican Strat. Then Saddles, then nut. Then I got lucky and found a trashed '71 Strat and stole the pickups out of it. Heheheheheh.

martin m. (mushrush), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 21:05 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm happy with my tuners - it holds really well now I've tightened them. I would be interested in trying better pickups at some point - what would you recommend, Martin? I love growl of the bridge pickup and I wouldn't want to lose that. Is there any point replacing just the neck pickup with a humbucker?

Dr. C (Dr. C), Thursday, 10 November 2005 08:15 (seventeen years ago) link

MIJ jags were a great deal. the only sub-standard parts were the pickups, which are easily replaced. other than that, it's generally accepted that MIJ jags are as good as the USA made. HUZZAH!

g-kit (g-kit), Thursday, 10 November 2005 11:38 (seventeen years ago) link

i have a MIJ (actually "CIJ") jag and it's as good as i can expect. pickups arent great, but the neck one is workable. the bridge IS way too thin and tinny/shrill.

on another note, i once took an extensive virtual tour of the fender mexico factory, and i was really impressed. looked as well controlled and clean and organized and just plain quality as any factory anywhere. I would trust the stuff out of mexico. just replace some pickups, maybe tuners, and you'll be all set.

AaronK (AaronK), Thursday, 10 November 2005 13:41 (seventeen years ago) link

what pickups would you put in, Aaron?

I want a Jag. I don't need one, but I want one.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Thursday, 10 November 2005 14:28 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't see why putting a humbucker in the neck wouldn't be fun. Ultimately if it makes you happy when you hear it then it's good.

martin m. (mushrush), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:14 (seventeen years ago) link

I've got a Duncan vintage rails in the bridge. It's still bright because it's actually a neck pickup, but it's less bright than the original, and sounds overall a little nicer.

the duncan duckbucker and vintage rails are wonderful - they sound cometely single coil (they are, in a way) and i would recommend them heartily.

Jag's are great. they are so comfortable to play because of the shorter scale neck and cool shape. The bridge sucks though, and I've installed a tuneomatic stoptail piece (not the bridge itself) behind the bridge in attempt to give it more sustain and stop the strings from jumping out of place. Also, i've fixed the bridge in place. and, I like to use it with a compressor, because these guitars dont seem to sustain well enough for me.

but It's a joy to play if you do those things. I don't use it for grungeyness or indieness factors at all though.

AaronK (AaronK), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:23 (seventeen years ago) link

I'd love a Jag. Well, I mean, they look great and a lot of my favourite guitarists seem to play them, anyway. I take it from this thread that the new batch of Squier Jagmasters are not the way to satisfy that urge on the cheap, then?

(I'm a beginner, pretty much, although I've had the guitar for years, and I'd like to try something a little better than my cheap rubbish starter guitar to see how much difference a nicer guitar can make, but I can't justify spending much money because I know I won't ever actually be any good.)

Rebecca (reb), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:34 (seventeen years ago) link

jag bridge is good for one thing: the fucking bin

replace it with a mustang bridge, they fit perfectly, same distance between strings etc, and you don't have to fuck with the strings behind the bridge, which comprimises the plinkydingstrung! bit (which is what jags are all about)

ph34r my technical terms.

i hear jagmasters are poo. also jagstangs. but i never tried either, just what i heard.

g-kit (g-kit), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:48 (seventeen years ago) link

If you can find one of the Jagmasters from the original Vista Series of Squiers, those are the ones to get. They were made in the mid-to-late 90s. They are in the group of guitars known as "CIJ" because they say "Crafted in Japan" on the back of the neck.

The CIJ Jagmasters came in better colors than the current Squiers too, FWIW. You can still get them on ebay under $300.

Keep in mind Jagmaster and Jaguar are not the same thing. :) Though many would say the Jagmaster has a better bridge, since it's set up like a Strat with a trem block even though it's shaped like a Jaguar.

martin m. (mushrush), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:51 (seventeen years ago) link

That last post was directed at Rebecca. It was an xpost though I didn't see the xpost warning. !!

martin m. (mushrush), Thursday, 10 November 2005 15:53 (seventeen years ago) link

Thanks for your help; I'll look out for the older models. (I know they're not the same, but I was hoping without ever having played either - guitar shops are intimidating places when you can't play a thing - that they might be a good compromise, what with the current range of Squier Jagmasters being pretty cheap. But since it seems you get what you pay for, at least in this case...)

Rebecca (reb), Thursday, 10 November 2005 16:28 (seventeen years ago) link

It's a commonly held belief among many that Fender shut down the production of a lot of the Japanese made guitars because they were eating into the sales of the American made Fenders because the quality of the Japanese ones was so high. I have no idea if it's true but it's often stated that way.

I've heard that too, although the Fender rep once told me that it had more to do with cost. Apparently, because of conversions between the yen and the dollar at the time, it was costing Fender approximately the same money to produce Jap strats as it was to produce US strats. If that's true, it would make sense. Most consumers would pick the US strat at the same price.

With that said, I have a 1990 MIJ strat that I love. The only beef I had was the softer than normal fret wire. After about 5 years, you could tell my favorite chords from the fret indentations.

bob.cheerful, Friday, 11 November 2005 00:26 (seventeen years ago) link

By the way, the next big push in guitar making location is going to be Vietnam...already making neck-through basses for Washburn and Peavey, and they're really good.

You know, it occurred to me when I saw the first made in Vietnam basses from Peavey a fews years back, that it takes roughly 20-25 years to go from a US invaded country to guitar manufacturing country. Maybe I'm off-base, but think about it:

1945: Japan becomes occupied by US forces.
1960's: first major influx of Japanese-made guitars

1950: Korea
1970's: Korean guitars

1960's: Vietnam
2000: Peavey Vietnamese-made Bass

So does that mean in 20 years we'll start seeing the made in Iraq strat?

bob.cheerful, Friday, 11 November 2005 00:34 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah, the reaction of some of our Vietnam veteran clientele was, shall we say, not terribly positive when they saw those...

John Justen (johnjusten), Friday, 11 November 2005 04:39 (seventeen years ago) link

I have a 96 mexican made strat with all the original equipment including the stock humbucker and two single coils. I bought it new and play it everyday, and its really been a good guitar for me. The black factory finish has held up great, without so much as a scratch, and still shines like it did when I bought it nine years ago. The humbucker sounds great with distortion, while the single coils give off a pleasant tone in the clean channels. The two high strings seem to have a little trouble staying in tune, but the other strings pretty much always stay in tune, even when played hard. It has the original sealed tuners on it, that look like they belong on an acoustic guitar. They've done well, but I wonder if up upgrading would help keep the whole guitar in tune longer? Nonetheless I would recommend a Mexican made strat to anyone, especially someone on a budget.

Adam English, Sunday, 13 November 2005 15:48 (seventeen years ago) link

By the way does anyone know what kind of wood the body of this era of Mexican stat was made of?

adam english, Sunday, 13 November 2005 15:57 (seventeen years ago) link

i wish the finish on guitars was not this inch thick polyurethane they put on now. I like the thinner finishes of older guitars, and my suspicion is that it negatively affects the sound.

AaronK (AaronK), Monday, 14 November 2005 13:44 (seventeen years ago) link

AaronK is dead on with the thick poly finish, because it deadens the wood, whereas nitrocellulose let it breathe a bit more.

From what I recall, '96 era mexican strats were made of poplar (in fact, I think that's the case until about 2003.)

John Justen (johnjusten), Monday, 14 November 2005 20:45 (seventeen years ago) link

I am in the military stationed in Korea and found a Korean-made Fender Jazz Bass with active pickups for $350 new. I bought it because it actually played and sounded good in the store - for that price it was worth a try. Of course the douchbags in the store cranked the truss rod to "adjust it" before I left. Now it frets out every time I sneeze. I haven't had a chance to track down an allen wrench that fits yet . . .

The bass is a blond wood similar in color to my '97 ash-bodied American strat but with a softer coating and significantly rougher grain to the wood. I can't honestly say I know what it is made of - ash?, basswood?, poplar? The fit and finish are decent but are not the same quality as my strat.

Fender's website and catalog don't exactly advertise the non-US locations of manufacture and the basses they produce. When I look under the Jazz bass section, I can't seem to find my bass pictured. It has four chromed knobs - the bottom two have dual dials on a single post. The serial number is 0502106 - no letter prefix like on US models.

Anybody have an idea what I have?

Graham Wallace (Snatch), Tuesday, 22 November 2005 13:29 (seventeen years ago) link

"Anybody have an idea what I have?"

A knock off.

M C R, Tuesday, 22 November 2005 23:01 (seventeen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
I got a Mex Tele which I gig, oh, every 4-6 weeks, and I do belt it some. The sound is sublime and how the thing stays in tune I'll never know, but it really is the finest of fine instruments.

Q: Are Telecasters also MIJ? (Apart from the Aerodyne, that is.)

Budgie Sargent, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 12:58 (sixteen years ago) link

how the thing stays in tune I'll never know

I still maintain that it's a crapshoot with the Mexican Fenders. They aren't bad instruments by any stretch, but some are nicer than others. One of the first things I upgraded on my Mexican Strat was the tuners, and it stays in tune now even when I drop the trem bar to the body of the guitar and let it snap back (which, um, I actually do sometimes while playing).

martin m. (mushrush), Wednesday, 7 December 2005 16:36 (sixteen years ago) link

I picked up the current Fender catalog quite recently. My god, there's some tat in there, isn't there?

Pashmina (Pashmina), Wednesday, 7 December 2005 20:06 (sixteen years ago) link

Like, explain me Fender strat/tele headstock shaped coffee tables! Explain me footstool shaped like fender tweed amp! Explain me (and WTF at this) Fender-badged old-american style gas pump w/either a/ glass-case style body for displaying your guitar in (!) (! you're supposed to play the bloody thing!!) or b/ a television set hidden inside.

Also, there's this guitar which basically seems to be a strat-shaped Gibson SG w/P90 knockoff pickups! I can dig that someone could want an SG-like tone, but with Fender scale length, but still, it looks daft.

I liked the Jazzmasters/Jaguars and the Telecasters lots, though. Also the Fender Bouzouki, I cd quite fancy one of those.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Wednesday, 7 December 2005 20:12 (sixteen years ago) link

I thought that Stratosonic or whatever that red strat with the p90s is called looked a bit like a Paul Reed Smith.

Everytime I see a Strat with no pickguard and a flame top, I also think it looks more like a Jackson than an Fender.

earlnash, Wednesday, 7 December 2005 20:32 (sixteen years ago) link

I like the telesonic.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Wednesday, 7 December 2005 20:51 (sixteen years ago) link

seen here:


walter kranz (walterkranz), Wednesday, 7 December 2005 20:52 (sixteen years ago) link

The Telesonic is a great example of the fact that Fender can build a fantastic sounding guitar that is brilliantly well-designed and plays like a dream, and no one will ever buy it, because it isn't a Strat/Tele/etc.

John Justen (johnjusten), Thursday, 8 December 2005 05:27 (sixteen years ago) link

it's pretty though! are they cheap secondhand?

jim p. irrelevant (electricsound), Thursday, 8 December 2005 05:38 (sixteen years ago) link

The Telesonic is a great example of the fact that Fender can build a fantastic sounding guitar that is brilliantly well-designed and plays like a dream, and no one will ever buy it, because it isn't a Strat/Tele/etc.

So is the Toronado.

martin m. (mushrush), Thursday, 8 December 2005 07:02 (sixteen years ago) link

Completely agreed. Also, I have been recently pimping the TC-90, to no avail.

xpost to jim - yes, pretty. Cheap? not yet, but if you wait just a bit, they probably will be.

John Justen (johnjusten), Thursday, 8 December 2005 07:58 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, the last Telesonic I saw on ebay went for $900 US. I kinda want one myself, but I can't justify spending more money on guitars at the moment. :0

martin m. (mushrush), Thursday, 8 December 2005 08:16 (sixteen years ago) link

"The Telesonic is a great example of the fact that Fender can build a fantastic sounding guitar that is brilliantly well-designed and plays like a dream, and no one will ever buy it, because it isn't a Strat/Tele/etc."

You could say the same about G&Ls, who for the most part make better Strats & Teles than Fender, but many people will not buy them and they are not worth much because they don't say Fender.

earlnash, Thursday, 8 December 2005 14:39 (sixteen years ago) link

three months pass...
Whoa! This thread's dried up. Well, lemme tell y'all about the nice, new, shiny toy I got: A Fender American Telecaster mit humbucker pickup in neck position. Does that EVER sound divine!!! Run through a Mesa Lone Star it will cream your marrow (and that's at a cranked down setting in the 50w range, not had the real estate to let it kick att the full 100!)

Sooo... what's new out in guitar land?

Budgmeister, Friday, 31 March 2006 08:56 (sixteen years ago) link

mmmm nice.

AaronK (AaronK), Friday, 31 March 2006 12:50 (sixteen years ago) link

My take on Fender origin:

up to 1966: mostly great, but there are some bad ones out there (and almost all of them left in near perfect condition are among the bad ones). $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
1966 to 1982 (or so, I'm not a Fender historical fetishist): mostly shit, although occasional good ones left the factory. You can get good sounds even out of the lame ones if it's one of the classic designs, and the instruments improve with age, so $$$$$$$$$$$$
1982 to present: build quality at least acceptable in all cases, custom shop guitars terrific, mere mortal instruments include some good ones, some uninspired/uninspiring designs. $$-$$$$$$$

Japan: build quality consistently good whenever it was built, some of the early 80s Japanese have started to improve with age, some goofy designs that never made it over to the US or Europe officially (like the Performer bass). The old Japanese Squires are getting discovered by collectors, but bargins are still to be had.

Mexico: wood's fine, electronics and metal parts general low quality and worth swapping out -- do it intelligently, and these instrument are good bargains as semi-pro instruments.

Other Asia: Trash.

Based on what I saw at the Frankfurt MusikMesse yesterday, I think Brazil is the new up 'n coming cheapo guitar source (no Fenders from them yet, but some high quality copies). Lots of sources of good wood, a long cultural history with the instruments -- the ones I played looked decent enough. Keep yer eyes peeled.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Friday, 31 March 2006 17:00 (sixteen years ago) link

what about the MIJ 90s Jazzmasters? get em and stick some duncans in em or what?!!??! !?!? !? !?

hjfisdkl, Friday, 31 March 2006 17:43 (sixteen years ago) link

They're fine. The pick-ups are fine, too -- only swap 'em out if you know there's something you like more.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Friday, 31 March 2006 19:01 (sixteen years ago) link

"Perhaps if they spent less on the abalone, and more on electronic parts that worked... "

I think they figure the first thing anyone is going to do is rip out the pickups, so why sweat the details.

Boss pedals are all pretty good, I've got a Boss Flanger and a Tuner. Personally, I have not come across any of those multi-effect pedal board things that I liked.

Earl Nash (earlnash), Wednesday, 7 June 2006 00:14 (sixteen years ago) link

"im whipping out the wood to stroke a few licks!!"

jklf, Wednesday, 7 June 2006 05:19 (sixteen years ago) link

Current Schechters are expensive because they spent a lot of money buying an American company that made really nice guitars in the 70s and 80s -- the current ones are garbage, but that waasn't always the case.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Thursday, 8 June 2006 12:26 (sixteen years ago) link


John Justen, Penis-melting Zionist robot combs (johnjusten), Thursday, 8 June 2006 17:14 (sixteen years ago) link

what does guitarseller john justen think of the aerodyne tele(soapbar in the neck) and the squier 51 (maple tele neck, stratish body, humbucker in the bridge and single coil in the neck, $150)?

dan (dan), Thursday, 15 June 2006 17:35 (sixteen years ago) link

I really like the aerodyne tele. There are actually 2 versions of that (pre and post steinberger lawsuit). The early ones have a slightly more radiused top and a flat back, the later ones (which I haven't seen) have a arched back and less radius to the top (apparently). If you want to buy one of the early ones, let me know, I still have one in stock, and would be able to swing you one of those discontinued item sort of deals.

The squier 51 is a great platform to build on. It's a solidly made guitar, feels good, interesting control system (no tone knob), etc. Pickups are, unfortunately, crap, but easy to replace.

John Justen, UMSOGTH PERMAPRESS CTHULU. (johnjusten), Thursday, 15 June 2006 18:33 (sixteen years ago) link

"buying an American company that made really nice guitars in the(50s - 60s) 70s and 80s -- the current ones are garbage"

OTM, and sums up practically the entire industry.

b mulvey, Friday, 16 June 2006 02:49 (sixteen years ago) link

The last one we got in for repair had MASKING TAPE where the electrical tape should be, a tone pot literally filled with solder, and was brand new out of the box.


Q('.'Q) (eman), Friday, 16 June 2006 03:00 (sixteen years ago) link

AND the ESP's? What aboutWashburn, Or even Gibson? AND DEFINITLY WHAT ABOUT JACKSONS??? Im seeing all these bands(ahkem...Avenged Sevenfold)
playing the Schecters...and i have to tell you they kick ass.....man i picked up a dean(Dime series) and played it...the other day....i dont know if they come pre-tuned or the guy(s) at the shop dropped it,
but man i really want want of those too!! I know I know!!! What kind of music are you into...well ...my tastes are so fucken broad i want something thats gonna handle alot of different shit...And by the way i want Humbuckers!!!!!what of these dimarzio's??? i keep seeing the advertisements for??? i know, i know, "Shut the fuck up! "You sound like a fuck'en walking kiosk" "Questions........questions......."................I Cant help it.....im A NEWBIE!!! Some of the bands who i think have promise....(as far as guitarist go) are SHINEDOWN -STONE SOUR and-SEETHER...
Well...."I'm Whipping out the wood to stroke a few licks........(when i first posted that shit i laughed my ass off while proof reading...) To Be honest i came into this forum about a month ago when i asked google about fender guitars....so if you guys start a new topic...let me know what i need to do to become a member!!

devilmaycry1979, Friday, 16 June 2006 23:28 (sixteen years ago) link


devilmaycry1979, Friday, 16 June 2006 23:34 (sixteen years ago) link

ten months pass...
Apparently, the Stratocaster XIIs are all made in Japan. I'm happy with it so far...

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 10 May 2007 00:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Does anyone have any opinion on the Toronado?

n/a, Thursday, 10 May 2007 12:26 (fifteen years ago) link

It's a good, solid guitar, but it isn't very Fendery really. I have a friend that's played one for years of heavy international touring, and it's held up just fine.

This would also be a guy who can break just about anything.

John Justen, Thursday, 10 May 2007 15:38 (fifteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Does anyone else feel like it's a particularly Fendery thing to have the high E string feel just a tad lower in output and less rich/resonant than the others? (Even with the pickups angled way in close to it?) I used to think of this as just a thing guitars did, but now it feels somehow connected to Fender designs -- like you're playing single-note stuff and there's this drop-off when you hit the top string, so you wind up playing up the B instead.

nabisco, Thursday, 13 August 2009 17:50 (thirteen years ago) link

(I know it's just a thinner string, and all, but I'd never expect it from a thick/sustainy guitar like a Les Paul or a semi-hollow. Maybe I just need more gain to compensate.)

nabisco, Thursday, 13 August 2009 17:55 (thirteen years ago) link

you try bumping up the pickup heights very slightly on that side?

call all destroyer, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:00 (thirteen years ago) link

part of this comes down to fenders obnoxious post-SRV obsession with supposedly overwound beefy pickup design. angling the pickups is probably a good call.

genereal disease (jjjusten), Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:08 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah yeah, they're at the appropriate slant, especially at the neck -- I'm mostly just wondering if this is a common side-effect of the thinner/twangier types of designs Fender has, or of the single-coils, or what. (haha or whether I should buy more expensive Fender products.) it's natural enough for the high E on anything to have a slighter and plinkier natural sound than the B and G, but it seems like with big warm sustainy (and humbucker) guitars you don't notice a drop-off as much as on a thinner/pingier guitar like a Tele or Strat.

nabisco, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:09 (thirteen years ago) link

haha basically I am asking if this is a thing or if I'm just tripping

(the one thing pickup-angling can't really solve is that the pickups will still be nearly as close to the B as to the E, so if you are playing a lead line and cross up from B to E, you can sometimes really hear the switch.)

nabisco, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:12 (thirteen years ago) link

this thread is probably as good a place as any to get the fact that i think that fender has lost their way and is pretty much turning out terrible overpriced crap at this point. i'm pretty much done with them at the store, and after picking up G&L as a line, I have no idea why anyone would keep buying the Fender stuff. Unfortunately they dont make a jazzmaster, so if you want one of those your options are limited to either the craptastic mexican versions or the unforgivably overpriced american ones.

it's sad really, all the people that revitalized fender in the late 80's are gone, and the people running the show now are so convinced of the value of their brand (and taking the company public) that the basic design tenets of reasonably priced easily modified repairable guitars have been passed up in favor of gouging the public - another good manufacturer gone the way of Gibson i'm afraid. lame.

xpost: not to keep banging on about G&L, but the fact that the ASATs (thats code for tele btw) have individually adjustable pole pieces that actually work (tech dork moment: the magnets on the G&Ls are actually attached to the pole pieces, so you aren't just moving the pole pieces like many screwtop pickup designs) is designed to fix this exact problem.

genereal disease (jjjusten), Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:18 (thirteen years ago) link

hmm nabs i haven't played plugged in in a couple months but that big of a jump from b to e is not one of the experiences i recall (and def something that would drive me crazy) w/my strat--which while i agree in principle with what you are saying john is a really amazing guitar.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:27 (thirteen years ago) link

oh i have nothing bad to say about fender guitars in general (well, some things on specific models obv), i just hate what has happened with the company. strats and teles are iconic brilliant examples of industrial design - its just unfortunate that fender has lost sight of why in the interest of piling up money and positioning themselves for public offering (although this is not confirmed, boosting your prices and acquiring as many brands as you can in a short period of time is textbook stock exchange wrangling). many of my instruments are fenders, and i love them all.

genereal disease (jjjusten), Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:33 (thirteen years ago) link

i think we're saying similar things--at this point i think there are a few amazing finds in their product line and a lot of stuff that's not worth the money for one reason or another.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:36 (thirteen years ago) link

the most egregious quality error on my guitar -- which I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't even notice until recently -- is that I think whatever mechanism is used to pot the bridge pickup just missed. as in, there is a pole-sized dot of wax immediately adjacent to each actual pole, at a slightly incorrect angle.

nabisco, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:57 (thirteen years ago) link

oh, that and a tiny spur in the first fret that the E string would hang on when bent a bit, but seriously how often am I gonna bend the E at the first fret

nabisco, Thursday, 13 August 2009 20:04 (thirteen years ago) link

it's sad really, all the people that revitalized fender in the late 80's are gone, and the people running the show now are so convinced of the value of their brand

If you a copy instore, it's expensive, you'd probably enjoy reading The Soul of Tone which is a very thick coffee table book on the company's history of amp making. From that, it's probably overstating it a bit that they've done nothing in the last few years that's been good, but the people in charge are very much into maximizing the history of the brand and trying to convince that the magic is back.

I bought a Fender SuperChamp XD soon after they were issued and am still fairly impressed by it, all things considering. Of course, it's made in China and I have one that has been solid.

But near the end of the book, it's fairly thin on things Fender can point to to be proud of. They seem very hot on their SuperSonic amp design.

I think they're stuck with the same thing so many famous US companies are saddled with. They made the decision years ago to dismantle all their manufacturing and have it done in a revolving ever-changing series of factories overseas, wherever the cheapest labor costs drive it. They lost quite a bit when they did that and it's not possible to get it back, even if they still have some custom manufacturing in the US.

I think of US-made Fender stuff as mostly aimed at people who can charge it off to their advances at major labels, upper middle class and upper class types buying as investments to hang on the wall in the basement and ...

Gorge, Thursday, 13 August 2009 21:01 (thirteen years ago) link

I have a SuperSonic and the damn thing breaks down constantly.

°⌉ 3⊥∀N (╓abies), Friday, 14 August 2009 13:35 (thirteen years ago) link

If I could keep it in working condition and knew how to mod it to fix the high cut in the one channel I'd keep it but man she's been a bitch.

°⌉ 3⊥∀N (╓abies), Friday, 14 August 2009 13:41 (thirteen years ago) link


jaguars are made of sex.

#/.'#/'@ilikecats (g-kit), Friday, 14 August 2009 13:46 (thirteen years ago) link

"buying as investments to hang on the wall in the basement" - that made me shiver. Even if it was a rare, legendary, played by a famous person guitar it's meant to be played!

Perky, Friday, 14 August 2009 19:51 (thirteen years ago) link

I wonder how many of those Fender 40th Anniversary strats are actually ever played?

Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus (snoball), Friday, 14 August 2009 20:10 (thirteen years ago) link

Baby boomer investment strategy?

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 14 August 2009 20:17 (thirteen years ago) link

I think they're stuck with the same thing so many famous US companies are saddled with. They made the decision years ago to dismantle all their manufacturing and have it done in a revolving ever-changing series of factories overseas, wherever the cheapest labor costs drive it. They lost quite a bit when they did that and it's not possible to get it back, even if they still have some custom manufacturing in the US.

OTM. I've seen two new identical guitars that have wildly different build qualities. If anything, if you're dead set on a Strat don't expect to find a good one in one day. Expect to play a lot of different ones, hem-and-haw, indecide for a bit, and end up putting together one from parts.

The Japanese-built Fenders seem to have a pretty good build quality with a narrow standard deviation between lousy and good.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 14 August 2009 20:31 (thirteen years ago) link

do u know if the japanese ones are still a bitch to buy in america?

call all destroyer, Friday, 14 August 2009 20:33 (thirteen years ago) link

I dunno, I don't think of people who buy the expensive collector-ish ones as "investing" -- I just assume there are wealthy people who sorta play guitar but not really, who think hey, I want a really cool guitar to look at and hold and sometimes goof around on a little. I mean, hell, if in 15-20 years I have a lot of disposable income but don't play guitar that often, I will still sure as hell purchase a sweet-ass Rickenbacker, just, like, to have a sweet-ass Rickenbacker. And play around for half an hour once a month.

nabisco, Friday, 14 August 2009 21:11 (thirteen years ago) link

do u know if the japanese ones are still a bitch to buy in america?

― call all destroyer, Friday, August 14, 2009 8:33 PM (1 hour ago)

yep, like nearly impossible.

genereal disease (jjjusten), Friday, 14 August 2009 21:56 (thirteen years ago) link

This deals with the guitar as an investment thing and came about after I read something related and non-sensical in the Wall Street Journal. Before the bottom fell out of the economy, Guitar Center was pretty regularly sending me a catalog with featured investment-type guitars, things so thoughtlessly
ridiculous only people with egos and bankrolls so big you wouldn't want to stand in the same room with would buy.

However, haven't seen any similar promotions in about a year.


Gorge, Friday, 14 August 2009 22:25 (thirteen years ago) link

I was at this guitar shop down the street the other day (waiting for them to quit haggling with this kid who wanted to buy an amp for less than than what it cost the store to have it on their floor) and I saw a "distressed" guitar whose cracks and dings had been PAINTED on! And then one of the store guys tried to convince me the "cracks" were REAL! I mean it was clearly airbrushed or whatever and even had a clear coat over it.

°⌉ 3⊥∀N (╓abies), Saturday, 15 August 2009 03:31 (thirteen years ago) link

yep, like nearly impossible.

There's a pretty steady eBay grey market though as long as you follow standard buyer-beware principles. I found my Japanese Strat XII from a local guy this way

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 15 August 2009 09:55 (thirteen years ago) link

three years pass...

man this thread is kind of interesting in a historical sense, didn't realize that i had scooped the (now failed) IPO on here that long beforehand. also the shift of fender has gotten weirder, with the new run of models that are fender branded and made in china. really the big winner in all of this appears to have been G&L, who are probably having the best year in the history of the company. how things change etc.

one of the prime reasons cited for the IPO failure was the amount of unpaid invoices fender is sitting on from guitar center/musicians friend (30-30% of fenders total income iirc), and the general feeling in the business community that they will never get paid.

kind of bittersweet to feel vindicated abt all of this because i do love fender guitars (well some of them. mostly older ones) and it's a shame to see the company go down this path.

but enough abt that, somebody come up with a weird fender question, im bored

tiniest homeless (jjjusten), Thursday, 6 December 2012 20:40 (nine years ago) link

so they now make guitars in usa, mexico, china, japan (still??), any other places?

sry that's not really a weird question.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:01 (nine years ago) link

still some korean production as well, not sure if they have anything out of indonesia. various rumors abt the starcasters (which are bizarrely unmarked with country of origin) being made in india (this is not good, those have been some pretty terrible guitars throughout history)

tiniest homeless (jjjusten), Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:14 (nine years ago) link

have you ever heard stories about someone attempting to insert their Fender rectally? if so, how far did he/she get?

(look, you're the one who asked for weird questions)

I loves you, PORGI (DJP), Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:19 (nine years ago) link

did i ever tell you about the dude who got his arm stuck in his acoustic guitar and drove over to the shop with it hanging out his car window

tiniest homeless (jjjusten), Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:21 (nine years ago) link

hahaha yes you did, classic

I loves you, PORGI (DJP), Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:23 (nine years ago) link

iirc the special technique you used to get his arm out of the guitar was "pull arm out of hole"

I loves you, PORGI (DJP), Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:24 (nine years ago) link

we i lived in india we bought some really awesome/awful and cheap musical equipment for various shitty bands i was in. "ivanez" guitars e.g. i vaguely remember a wah-wah pedal that had a string between the expression pedal and the base.

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:25 (nine years ago) link

thats actually a sort of timehonored tradition tho, at least with volume pedals, the old ernie ball/fender/dearmond volume pedals all ran/still run with a string loop.

tiniest homeless (jjjusten), Thursday, 6 December 2012 21:45 (nine years ago) link

oh cool, i guess it was an artisanal handcrafted wahwah then

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 6 December 2012 22:22 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

Library coworker of mine did this interview with the guy who did the Fender history book:


Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 3 May 2022 20:11 (six months ago) link

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