Fender Japan "vs." US made

felis

Most Honored Senior Member
Nov 27, 2013
5,097
Antwerp/Belgium
IMG-20221115-090345599.jpg

My perception deviates from what is mostly being told, because this is what I see on my 1992 MIJ factory original.
 

alnlvntntlv

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 1, 2022
30
Tel Aviv, Israel
Great looking guitars OP..

Thread is tilted towards the CIJ / Japanese models that were mostly under appreciated (except for those in the know) for many years and I get that.. Quality is quality.

But I get pretty myopic around a stock Strat Plus..

I Like the sound of pinch harmonics and single note slides on the lace sensors..

The Black Pearl Dust / Burst Plus is stunning.. 🤤
strat plus is a top top guitar I bought it new when I was a Kid so I'm used to it, I just bought the Japanese a few months ago and couldn't believe how great they are! also top level but the plus might as well be the best strat they made..:) it's much better than the Japanese for technical stuff if you wanna play some Steve Vai but have to have a strat;) and the lace sensors are really amazing also.
 

Stratomike

Strat-Talker
Mar 17, 2018
251
Vienna
"That they are generally good apart from the electronics."

And yes, US pickups and electronics.
I see your point, however that general wisdom probably does not include US components which are (were) typically only standard in higher priced models :) I have one of these as well, and love it.
 

Headstock

Strat-Talk Member
May 19, 2015
71
London, UK
My 1985 E serial MIJ has a great slim neck, from the factory. It's also not covered in thick shiny poly, so at least some from that time period don't fit your description. I've never seen an MIJ that does fit that, though I'm not saying you haven't. Mine has the best neck I've ever played on any guitar. Though I have played some MIA Strats that had necks just as good, and I have an American Strat with a neck shaped by Herb Gastelum that is also just as nice.. A great many MIJ owners love the necks and it's not because they're fat, because a large number are not.
What do you consider to be the dimensions of a fat neck, or a slim neck?

Agreed. The three Strats in my avatar photo are all 1980s Fujigen MIJ and they all have great necks. They're all very different, but all great to play.

The CAR guitar is notionally ST54 but has a pretty pronounced V-profile whereas the two-tone sunburst is ST57 but has a much bigger, more rounded neck in something like a boat shape. It almost feels like these two should be the other way around. The ST62 is a 1986 E-serial and has a much slimmer neck C-shaped neck with a nice taper. It also has a fabulous slab rosewood 'board too. My one Tele is a mid-80s MIJ TL52 and it has a properly chunky D-shaped flame maple neck which is a delight top play. The neck on my ST62 is remarkably similar in feel and shape to the one similar original Strat of the period that I have played (late 1961). Yes, the finish is different but while I'm sure mine is poly, it's definitely not thick and plasticky.

MIJ Fenders of that period are genuinely very good guitars but they also have to be taken in their wider context, which was Fender ramping-up competition with the other replica instruments of the same period, so they were well-built within the context of their price-point at the time. They were always vintage-style guitars, never cork-sniffingly correct detailed vintage reproductions, even the more expensive variants. I love them for what they are, not for what some of the more recent internet mythology would purport them to be.
 

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
205
Uk
Sounds like there are is a lot of knowledge about this subject here. Any one care to help out a old guy and help me find out a little info on this guitar. I bought this guitar from a friend in the late 80s. It plays good but the pickups are not the best sounding. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks
Brian
No offence but just type into Google “Fender Japan Stratocaster 362 forum “
You will find everything you need to know and far more than a single reply in this thread can give you.
Always type in forum if info reqd. that way you get the enthusiasts knowledge.
 

Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Jan 23, 2020
5,840
NW LA
It's cool that you have both of those. Both should be fine guitars and close to equal in build quality. It's interesting that the MIJ has a fat C profile. They varied, but most were a shallower C or oval. Mine is unusual, with a fattish D-profile with a lot of taper.

BTW, unless the MIJ is an ExTrad model it's not a reissue of anything. It's superficially a '60s-looking Strat, but with lots of features that don't replicate a '62.

Why is it called a ST62 62 Reissue, then? Look it up on ebay, reverb, or anywhere. It's listed everywhere as a 62 reissue.

What you're saying is like someone saying an American Vintage Reissue isn't a reissue of anything since they never released any exactly like those.
 

thomquietwolf

Dr. Stratster
Silver Member
Dec 2, 2010
21,540
Peardale CA
Hey guys just for fun these are 91 Strat plus, top of the line American made, and a 1993 Japan 62 reissue. Having played them both a lot I would say that the Start Plus is probably a more versatile and a better work horse guitar (mostly because of the slim neck and the 9.5 inch radius) but the Japanese feels more luxurious and plush, the fat C neck on it is really magic... Quality wise in terms of craftsmanship and attention to detail they're both flawless:)
Which is which

(
 

orneryduck

Strat-Talk Member
Nov 28, 2022
65
FL
Hey guys just for fun these are 91 Strat plus, top of the line American made, and a 1993 Japan 62 reissue. Having played them both a lot I would say that the Start Plus is probably a more versatile and a better work horse guitar (mostly because of the slim neck and the 9.5 inch radius) but the Japanese feels more luxurious and plush, the fat C neck on it is really magic... Quality wise in terms of craftsmanship and attention to detail they're both flawless:)
I’ve never played a MIJ but have heard nothing but praise for them. I used to have a 94’ Plus and I do miss it dearly
 

archetype

Fiend of Leo's
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,690
Western NY, USA
Why is it called a ST62 62 Reissue, then? Look it up on ebay, reverb, or anywhere. It's listed everywhere as a 62 reissue.

What you're saying is like someone saying an American Vintage Reissue isn't a reissue of anything since they never released any exactly like those.

Fender Japan never called it a reissue and never marketed it as a reissue. It's just a feature set that's superficially 60s-ish. People started calling it a reissue on the Internet and the myth won't die. The only ST-62 that could be a feature and hardware replicating "reissue" model would be an ST-62 Extrad and those comprise probably less than 1% of the world's ST-62s.
 

stratman323

Dr. Stratster
Apr 21, 2010
39,392
London, UK
Brian
No offence but just type into Google “Fender Japan Stratocaster 362 forum “
You will find everything you need to know and far more than a single reply in this thread can give you.
Always type in forum if info reqd. that way you get the enthusiasts knowledge.

I disagree. If we do as you suggest we leave ourselves open to all kinds of misinformation which never gets challenged. To take one example, last time I checked there was a website (I think it was UK based) called something like Planet Botch & it was riddled with minor but significant mistakes about Tokais. A Google search will take you there & what they guy there says is stated as fact & there is no way to challenge things & say "hey no that's not true".

On a forum there is that option. If I make an incorrect claim about Tokais, felis or someone else will correct me. False claims get challenged & questioned. And you get to know who the reliable people are.

You don't get any of that with a random Google search. So no, that is bad advice there.
 

Headstock

Strat-Talk Member
May 19, 2015
71
London, UK
Why is it called a ST62 62 Reissue, then? Look it up on ebay, reverb, or anywhere. It's listed everywhere as a 62 reissue.

What you're saying is like someone saying an American Vintage Reissue isn't a reissue of anything since they never released any exactly like those.

The MIJ models came about at a time when Fender USA was in flux; the CBS to management buy-out was happening and Fender were also losing sales to competitors who were blatantly ripping-off their classic models and undercutting Fender prices with overseas manufacturing, mostly in Asia.

Some of those competing replicas were pretty so-so and not very accurate, but they were reasonable and cheap. Others were very well made indeed and carefully replicated the body and neck carves from classic ‘50s and ‘60s Fenders, as well as other details such as bridge (and, for the Strat-types) tremolo designs. The electronics were not necessarily spot-on but they were close enough to create classic single-coil Fender sounds.

The Fender Japan models essentially cashed-in on this, allowing Fender to follow this trend and make their own version of the Japanese clones of classic Fender models. The body and neck carvings were generally very good indeed, but the electronics were (mostly) so-so, with a few exceptions that used US-made components. The finishes were very well done with classic and classic custom colours but (mostly) utilised polyurethane rather than nitrocellulose, although this was reserved for some special editions at a higher price point.

The MIJ Fenders also came in several different flavours: some had entirely vintage-style bridges, tremolos, electronics (anlthough many electronics were at a cheaper price point) and tuners but others had more modern fittings and therefore fall into a different category.

Overall, however, even the vintage MIJ models from Fender Japan (TL52, TL62B, ST54, ST57, ST62, etc…) are best described and either “vintage-styled” or “vintage-inspired” rather than true full “vintage re-issue” models. The bodies and necks are great but the finishes were mostly polyurethane and the electronics, whilst acceptable, were obviously built to a price point.

This, however, is often not well understood and sellers on Reverb and eBay will often play up the “vintage” character and the (in my opinion over-inflated) semi-mythical status of ‘80s MIJ to push up prices. Like I said earlier, they are genuinely very good (and I love mine) but you also have to understand them in their true context.

I hope that helps to clarify this!
 
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Stratomike

Strat-Talker
Mar 17, 2018
251
Vienna
Fender Japan never called it a reissue and never marketed it as a reissue. It's just a feature set that's superficially 60s-ish. People started calling it a reissue on the Internet and the myth won't die. The only ST-62 that could be a feature and hardware replicating "reissue" model would be an ST-62 Extrad and those comprise probably less than 1% of the world's ST-62s.
Indeed, they never called it reissue. In the 80's they had Vintage, Current, Boxer and Collectors series. Vintage (Strat) models would be 54, 57 and 62. Even while technically incorrect, I don't have a problem with anyone calling them Reissues. Esp. the higher end models (not just ExTrad) are much more than superficial recreations in my book. I think the problem is much more the generalization of all MIJ = mythical outstanding quality, and some sellers ask crazy prices for low model tier Strats (indeed with cheap electronics and poly finish), taking advantage of uninformed buyers. See @Headstock 's comment.
 


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