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Old 10-25-2009, 09:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What are the differences between an American strat and a Mexican strat?

i currently play a mexican strat (im poor) and i always wonder what makes the american version worth 600 bucks more, someone enlighten me and fill me with jealousy
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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as far as i can tell it's a matter of replacing the stamp on the headstock.

i've been playing a mexican since the mid-90s. i've tried a friend's legit made in america one a few times. i like mine better.

the main difference is lower QA and cheaper materials. aesthetically speaking the wood on my neck isn't the sexiest. the grain goes all weird on one half. the american just felt more solid. better pickups as well. aside from the pickups i figure it's the difference between making sure it's built up to the specs on a checklist and making sure it's built right. that might be worth $600 to some, only your own hands and ears can answer that one.
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I tried out a mexican jazzmaster a while back, I hated pretty much everything about it. I know I shouldn't compare the two when I've only played the mexican version but damn, the action was whack, it sounded like a ****ing buzzsaw, and just overall felt cheap. I know the higher end teles are just as good (if not better) then their american counterparts.
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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well the thing is, im left handed so i can't even try out an american strat without ordering it (and putting the cash up upfront) so thats why i made this thread.. and from the sound of things, i'll be stickin with my mexi strat, it hasn't let me down yet anyway
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Americans are better, I've got a mex, and my mate has an american. His sounds better. I prefer the feel of mine, but that's only because I'm used to it. Mexican strats have lower quality everything.

You could upgrade bits of your mex...

You notice the pickups most, the americans have a much clearer tone, and pickups are easily replaced, so that's easy.

There's no need to replace the tuners unless your mex doesn't hold tune very well. If this is a problem, maybe replace the string tree with a better one before you shell out for tuners. Check the nut's well lubricated too.

The bridge parts make a reasonable difference too, and it's hard to replace them with american parts because the mexican guitars use metric measurements, and the american parts use imperial. Callaham guitars do a MIM upgrade pack which is designed specifically for upgrading mexican fenders, so that would take care of the bridge parts, you'd maybe get a bit more sustain, and perhaps a more detailed tone.

Electrics should be fine, you could replace them too, but I wouldn't bother unless they were broken. If you like the feel of the neck, it's a nice neck, and replacing the neck or the body is more like building a franken-strat than upgrading it really.

If you made all these changes, there's no real reason your mexi shouldn't sound every bit as good as an american. Take it for a pro-setup at a decent music shop too, have them check the fretwork and everything. Voila... Gorgeous sounding strat
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Musicophile View Post
The Americans are better, I've got a mex, and my mate has an american. His sounds better. I prefer the feel of mine, but that's only because I'm used to it. Mexican strats have lower quality everything.

You could upgrade bits of your mex...

You notice the pickups most, the americans have a much clearer tone, and pickups are easily replaced, so that's easy.

There's no need to replace the tuners unless your mex doesn't hold tune very well. If this is a problem, maybe replace the string tree with a better one before you shell out for tuners. Check the nut's well lubricated too.

The bridge parts make a reasonable difference too, and it's hard to replace them with american parts because the mexican guitars use metric measurements, and the american parts use imperial. Callaham guitars do a MIM upgrade pack which is designed specifically for upgrading mexican fenders, so that would take care of the bridge parts, you'd maybe get a bit more sustain, and perhaps a more detailed tone.

Electrics should be fine, you could replace them too, but I wouldn't bother unless they were broken. If you like the feel of the neck, it's a nice neck, and replacing the neck or the body is more like building a franken-strat than upgrading it really.

If you made all these changes, there's no real reason your mexi shouldn't sound every bit as good as an american. Take it for a pro-setup at a decent music shop too, have them check the fretwork and everything. Voila... Gorgeous sounding strat
that was incredibly well thought out, thanks for those tips man, thanks for takin the time i rly appreciate that, i can think of a few things for my next check now
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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yeah... an American Strat's wood is more expensive, also if you were to have them next to eachother, the neck on the american strat is not as thick around the back. I dont know - how that effects the price, but just a fun fact. Also maybe the pick - ups? i dont know for a fact but alot of the time thats the main factor for as far as price along with how old the wood itself is.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Musicophile View Post
The bridge parts make a reasonable difference too, and it's hard to replace them with american parts because the mexican guitars use metric measurements, and the american parts use imperial. Callaham guitars do a MIM upgrade pack which is designed specifically for upgrading mexican fenders, so that would take care of the bridge parts, you'd maybe get a bit more sustain, and perhaps a more detailed tone.
you said this last time you talked about mexican strats and it still doesn't make sense. regardless of what number system is used to make the measurement the object is still the same size. considering the mexican strat upgrade on the Callahan page doesn't actually include a bridge... (it's a block, saddles, and a bar). the issue is not the number system but the spacing between the screws, it's something to consider if you have a slim vs. standard bridge as well, regardless of where it's built.

@reiko - being that you're a lefty let me plant the seed for LTD guitars into your head. they sell their lefty models at the same price as their regular right handed models. the quality varies throughout the series though, a 1000 model is obviously way better than a 200.
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