The Fender Standard, Made in Mexico Telecaster

Chances are, if at any point in your life you’ve ever considered purchasing an electric guitar, you’ve picked one of these little things up. It’s Fender’s attempt to make sure that every human being on the planet can own something with their name on it. Fender bought a factory in Mexico, slapped their name on it, and now they kick out versions of their most popular guitars, the Telecaster and the Stratocaster faster than Hostess kicks out Twinkies and Cupcakes. Moving past my comparison of the most famous guitars to cream-filled snack foods, most of these Fender Mexico guitars, aren’t really discussed on the Internet. For the most part, if you see someone talking about a Fender, it’s worth more than $1000, it’s custom, or it has someone’s fingerprints on it that make it worth more than its weight in gold. And I must admit that I am also guilty of such a crime; almost all of my reviews are guitars that cost more than a thousand, but there’s no better time to rectify my mistakes. So, to fill the void that exists due to reviewers penchant for trying to keep guitars like expensive jewelry instead of something like a toaster oven, I will write about this guitar in detail, so you can read it before you go to a Music store or a music website. I’m not going to deny the power of a music website’s comment section, but for the most part, if you read those you will read only one of two types of reviews: the person who is so happy about their instrument that they can’t be quiet about it, or the person who is so angry at their instrument that they too, can’t be quiet about it. There aren’t many contemplatory posts in the comment sections, just 30 words, more or less, explaining 1 of the 2 aforementioned categories. So, now that that’s out of the way, lets get to it.

The Telecaster being the first mass-produced, solid body electric guitar already gives it some well-deserved pride in the realm of guitars. And since it is the first solid body, it sets the bar for conservative looks in solid body guitars. A plain finish, 2 single coil pickups, and a basic neck set the definition for the minimalist electric guitar. Oddly enough, it became one of the most iconic items in amplified music. Known to break out blues, rock, rockabilly, country, jazz, punk, and – Courtesy of John 5 of Marilyn Manson – even metal. The telecaster will be around forever, but the question this entry asks is, is the Made in Mexico Telecaster doing a good job to continue the legacy?

The Specs: The standard telecaster shape carved from a block of Alder, a maple neck, and your choice of a maple or rosewood fretboard. I’ll discuss the differences later, but for the sake of this post we’re going to be talking about the one with a maple fretboard. 21 Fret neck with Medium jumbo frets, fender Made in Mexico (MIM) telecaster pickups with a 3 way pickup selector, 1 volume and 1 tone knob. Unlike classic telecasters, the bridge on this has individual saddles instead of the 3, and this is another thing i’ll address later in a little bit more detail as I try to keep my opinions and judgement out of the specs section.

The Neck: I’ve been wrestling with the possibility of being able to call a neck “boring.” It might be a good thing because it gives you time to think about the other things on the guitar, but if being able to ignore the neck is what defines “boring”, then the neck on the MIM Telecaster is far from boring. It has Fender’s standard C neck profile (Still looking for exact measurements out there. If anyone has first fret and 12th fret measurements, send me an email or leave a comment) which has, to my knowledge, remained similar for a very long time.

Now I get to the maple vs. rosewood discussion (with myself, mind you) that I intended to come back to, and now here we are. There are a few pros and cons, each of which one should consider when purchasing a MIM Telecaster. On the maple pros side, the tone is brighter and classic Telecaster. On the rosewood pros side, it’s warmer, has a little softer feel to the fingers because it doesn’t get satin finished, and has the dark rosewood look, giving a very unique telecaster look. On the cons side of each, maple gets visually dirty quickly, you can see bad fretwork (Another issue I intend to come to in the neck section, guaranteed to be a long section) very easily, and the finish they use on the MIM Tele for the fretboard is pretty bad. On the rosewood side, you’re not getting a truly real telecaster, it gets dirtier and is a lot harder to clean than a satin finished maple fretboard.

The biggest issue on the neck is the fretwork. I dare say some of the poorest i’ve seen. What’s odd is that i’ve watched videos of the Made In Mexico factory, and they don’t look like incompetent workers. They look like people who know how to make a guitar, but when I see the fretwork on the maple necks of MIM Teles, I start to cringe. I think of how my finger is going to feel running over those sharp edges when I move up the neck too fast. Stewmac sells fret finishing files for pretty cheap, so I can’t imagine that they can’t round the edges like Ibanez does on their Prestige models. It would take a few passes, but would make a world of difference.

The Body: Alder accompanied with maple is a pretty bright combination for a guitar. The old telecasters were made out of Ash and the Fender American classics are made out of ash, but Alder is the choice for the MIM. And one thing that made the telecaster notorious, leading to the invention of the Strat was the lack of a beveled body and carved arm rest. Players sitting and playing guitar would get the same fatigue they get from sharp acoustic edges, but faster because the body was heavier and more compressed into certain areas. I’ve seen modifications on the idea through Peavey guitars. They make a tele-style guitar for Jerry Donahue, the guitarist for the Hellecasters, and they round the edges just enough to keep the telecaster look but take away some of the faults of a squared body.

The Electronics: The MIM uses slightly more powerful pickups to make sure that their reasonably priced guitar doesn’t have a sound too focused in one tonal direction. The lower output pickups being more aimed towards clean playing, and the hotter Highway One pickups aimed to be a little more rock oriented. These seem to land in the middle to be as versatile as 2 single coils in a bright body could possibly be.

The Hardware: The tuners are fine. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But what I did say was different was the use of a bridge with individual saddles for each string instead of a 3 saddle classic style bridge. Fanatics out there will say that it’s not a telecaster unless it’s got the classic brass 3 saddle bridge, and I completely agree. However, this is trying to be as real of a telecaster as possible to the guitarist on a limited budget. The thing about the 3 saddle bridges is that they aren’t that great for intonation, and just when you think you can angle one of those suckers, it moves. So for the sake of this guitar, I think a six saddle bridge is good. You can adjust each string’s action and intonation, a necessity on a guitar with a neck that probably isn’t as straight as it should be, and frets that aren’t as level as they should be.

One of the big gripes about teles is the output jack. It’s one of the worst parts of teles, and uses some seriously bad ideas. In order to have it stay in, you need to tighten a screw on the inside that pushes out a bent metal piece and locks it in place. Warmoth creates a jack plate with 2 screw holes so you don’t have to blindly fiddle with the output jack to get it back into the guitar. It’s too bad Fender didn’t pick up on it or just switch to a recessed input jack like an ibanez or a standard flat jack plate. I’ve fussed with this thing for long times after some repair sessions, and this is definitely some bitter icing to put on a cake made with hours of guitar work.

The Whole She-bang: When you plug it in, you get something reminiscent of a telecaster tone, and reminiscent of a telecaster feel, but all in all this isn’t such a great guitar. The only true possibilities for it are as a base for some massive Frankenstein experimentation like pickups, sanding, paint and finish. When you get one, it’s poorly set up, it has bad fretwork, mediocre neck finishing, and the burdensome input jack plate that you know you’re going to have to worry about in the near future. If you walk into a guitar store and you look at it from afar, and it looks like a telecaster, but when you get closer you figure out really fast that it’s not a real Telecaster. There are some guitars that when you pick up, you feel like there’s a reason you’d spend the money on it, and i’m not going to lie, this isn’t one of them. I have yet to be slightly impressed, let alone blown away, by anything that has ever come out of Fender Mexico. I mean, at least Fender Japan created some good instruments and had some quality control, but Fender Mexico is about the same as a Squier, except the spelling is different on the headstock.

Do yourself a favor, if you’re planning on getting a Fender MIM Telecaster, have a game plan. Plan on re-crowning the frets, filing the edges, replacing the bland pickups with ones more suitable for whatever style, be they tele-sized humbuckers or classic Fender Pickups, and plan on setting this thing up from scratch. If you can work magic on a guitar, this might be right up your alley as a project guitar. In fact, I think it’s most redeeming quality are how much you can do to it to make a Tele unique. Say you get it at the start of your guitar career, you can update it to your preferences as you go along because it’s a Fender, and has more replacement part options than a Honda Civic. On that note, it might be a perfect beginners guitar after a little TLC from someone experienced, but if you plan to buy the Fender MIM Telecaster and hand it to someone straight from the box/store without someone looking at it, be sure to give them the receipt too.

The Pros: Tele styling, semi-tele tone, Fender name, Fender neck feel, easily upgradeable and changeable

The Cons: Poorly done frets, mediocre satin-finish, boring sound, output jack, and pretty much everything else I missed.

The Grade:


Filed under electric guitar, Fender, Fender Guitars, Fender Mexico, Fender Telecaster, guitar, guitar player, guitar review, Made in Mexico, telecaster, Uncategorized

266 responses to “The Fender Standard, Made in Mexico Telecaster

  1. blade

    What your buying is a stamped neck with the Fender name on it.. And for the price, you think the quality would be up to snuff.. Come on.. some decent alinico stock pickups would have suffice and yes a better fret crowning so you don’t leave slivers of your hand on the guitar.

    in my opinion, it’s too over priced…only to be modified again to becone a players guitar..

    never the less, any experienced player will eventually lead to a tele.. they are beautiful and unique to look at..

    if you don’t care about the fender name stock, get a squire and soup it up… your better off.

    • I own a “95” Fender Telecaster, made in Mexico, squier series. I ended up putting in Dimarzzio Vintage Twang King pick-ups in it. It is not just that i customized it, but the feel of it is just great. I would put it up against any other Fender any day. So yes, they are worth the price, if you want to soup it up some.

    • Joe

      i’ve been playing professionally for about 50 years..I played the originals when they were new! Fender had intonation and tuning probes forever. The pickups were so unique and full of character, they became iconic, rightfully so. Among my working guitars, I decided to buy a toy without spending as much as I have in the past. I bought a 2008 Mexican natural blonde Tele. The previous owner put noiseless pickups. I gotta tell ya’ the guitar plays great and kicks ass!!! Stays in tune and the neck is VERY comfortable. So…did I get lucky or you just have to judge guitars on an individual basis. PEACE

      • Gil

        I am a classic rocker from the 80’s and have owned and own numerous guitars from Strats to Gibson Les Pauls and have always leaned more towards the Fender Strat. I just bought a black cherry 2006 Mexico made Telecaster off of a woman and it belonged to her husband that passed. He had changed the pick guard to white pearloid. This is one of the nicest guitars that I have ever played and owned. Just a beautiful guitar with a great neck, stays in perfect tune and has a great sound, I just love it!!
        Can’t say enough about this Mexico made Telecaster. So I will have to agree with Joe’s comment, Did I just get lucky and get a very well made one, or as he said, you just have to judge on an individual basis. PEACE

    • Felix

      I had a MIM Classic 50’s Telecaster and it was beautiful. At the same time I had a MIA Tele which sucked in comparison.
      Recently I have just purchased a standard MIM Tele and I must say that, although I agree with your comments about the fretwork the pickups are pretty sweet sounding.
      The amp I use is a Marshall JTM30 (2×10″) so I guess that would help with the ooh soo sweet tones the Tele produces but nevertheless it’s a great sounding axe.
      My other electric is 1956 Goldtop (P-90s) so it (the Tele) has a lot to live up to but,…since I’ve purchased the Telecaster the Les Paul hasn’t come out of its case.
      Alder body, maple neck, there’s not a lot to do if one wants to bring a MIM Tele up to MIA standards.

      • gordon

        ridiculous. Every fender neck is made in Corona Ca. This means that ALL fender guitars made in Mexico, Korea, Japan, and India, all have necks made in Corona Ca. This is a no issue.
        Try adding locking tuners, or ventage tuners. Change the ugly six saddle bridge to the vintage three saddle type. Change out the piece of shit output jack that ALL telecasters come stocked with, no matter where they are made.
        ok, now you have a really decent guitar and you have only put about $50.00 more bucks in the guitar.
        Been there, done that

    • gordon

      I have a 2009 MIM Fender Telecaster “standard” with a maple fretboard. This fretboard is an absolute piece of junk. It has thud spots all over it. I paid 400 bucks for this guitar NEW.
      Don’t be an idiot. Stay away from these guitars. get a Peavey T60. They are built like tanks and sound exceptional. The Peavey T60 will never fail you.
      Fender has NEVER corrected the constant quality control problems with their fretboards.
      Fender has never corrected the constant problem with Telecaster instrument jack cups. They fall apart and are absolute junk. Fender has known about this problem for at-least 60 years yet never corrected this.
      I am sorry. If you are a Fender person. Perhaps you should re-think this.

      • heinz

        You are correct, I have 4 t-60’s and they are well built. I also own several Fender Tele’s, just harder to find a good one.

      • peavey t60s havnt been made since the 80s and thats because they suck cock. dont talk shit about the 2nd best guitar in the U.S OF FUCKIN A

    • Andy M

      Hi Gil, that’s well-said. I think you and I might be of a similar vintage, perhaps me being even more ‘matured’! Don’t for a minute think you ‘just got lucky’; the excellent Ensenada gear seems to have a significantly higher strike-rate of good ‘uns than USA, at least up until the new American Professionals – but at exorbitant cost. MIM are great instruments AND competitively priced, no need to ask anything more. I remember in 1978 a new USA Strat was £275 here in England; and MOST of them sucked in one way or several; appalling quality control I got a new MIM Tele in 2002 for £329 and it whups a few friends’ US guitars. I know this because more than one of them has tried to persuade me to sell it to them 🙂

  2. Hey, any new reviews and stuff..can’t wait to read more of your materials…

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  4. Very true.

    I have been playing for about 7 years, touring across the country for about 4, and have been using a mex tele. I got it used when I was 16, it’s mz0 circa 2000-2001.

    It was a little sketchy at first, but the neck was already worked on. I replaced the pickups with s.duncans, new 3 saddle bridge, and output jack with screws from warmoth.
    Eventually I bought an custom ash body as well, which truely effected the color, and texture of the tone.

    After the work done, this thing plays, stays in tune, and feels about AS good as the americans. I personally think better because I shopped exactly for what I wanted as far as pickups and wood sound. Also, it has been extremely reliable on the road.

    So I agree strongly that, this is great if you are into completely customizing this guitar into what you want. I wouldn’t want to buy a more expensive american just to drop another 400 into it and end up with a $1000 guitar when MIM $300 plus the customs you really want you’ll end up at the price of an american, but with the stuff YOU want in it.

  5. “I wouldn’t want to buy a more expensive american just to drop another 400 into it and end up with a $1000 guitar when MIM $300 plus the customs you really want you’ll end up at the price of an american”

    Is exactly why I bought a cheap, used MIM tele for $150, threw some Lollars in, and someday maybe I’ll replace with an ash body… why do all that on a more expensive guitar when you’re just gonna replace half of what you’ve paid for plus the price of new components.

    I didn’t find the frets that bad, but it could be that they’ve already been filed down… Or I have replaced my hands with METAL ROBOTIC BIONIC SUPERHUMAN ONES!

    • mike

      USA all the way. I’ve owned 7 teles.. 4 USA and 3 MIM.. No comparison kids. I’ve been playing since 65 and my new USA tele is light years ahead of MY 67, 71 and 85.. and my MIM’s dont come close. Spend the extra $400.00… it’s more than worth it.

  6. wellspout

    just bought one, a ’96 mim lake placid blue in immaculate condition, nary a scratch for $200.00…but guess what?, it is not in the same class of playability, or tone as my cherished yardsaled $15.00 ’89 korean squire tele, and here’s why: the pickups don’t cut the mustard, the machine heads also suck, and the neck has no magic like the korean replica does possess in spades, so yes you are correct, if one upgrades the pickups which is absolutely a necessity, and patiently breaks the neck in, it will probably be almost as good as the squire. stock retail is over-priced for what you get, or rather not get…whereas the asians can (and do!) knock-off leo’s genius with aplomb….

  7. Mony

    have you tried other mim tellys, especially ones with manufacturing dates starting from 2006 (there are rumours that they improved quality control from 2006)?

    Well just picked one up, and the fretwork is P.E.R.F.E.C.T.
    I dont like the thing that it doesnt have a bone nut, just some plastic crap. The other problem is finish – it has that squierish really thick paintjob, that does not “improve” tone.

    Replacing a nut and removing paintjob (use hot airgun for that), new nitro finish and voilaa – you got one mean twang axe.

    It honestly compares to low end MIA Fenders(even without modifications), so you just could check out the newer versions.

    PS! I have tried several MIA fenders, and there are some lemons as well. I also own a Gibson, so i have some idea how high quality guitar should feel like. Therefore I suspect you had a lemon MIM.

    • Felix

      I aggree!
      Last week I bought a used 2006 MIM Standard Tele, the pups are soooo sweet the neck and frets are a touch rough but a $60 visit to my tech will remedy that.
      For $600 AUSD i.e. $496.20 USD (about half the price of a newbee) it’s been a good purchase.
      But still,……I still can’t help myself, I’ve ordered a pair of Brierley “Harmony Special” custom pups for it.
      These pickups leave your Seymour Duncans etc for dead, they are half the cost and Mick makes them to your own specifications.
      $160 AUSD ($132.50 USD) a pair.
      He doesn’t give up neither, if you don’t like the tone, send ’em back and he’ll do it again till it’s right.

  8. Dan Kerr

    These sound like the same sort of discussions that I used to read regarding the differences between pre-CBS strats, and CBS versions. Now the CBS guitars are going for thousands!? Did everyone forget that they are no good?! (ha ha)

    I’d love to take all you gear groupies, blindfold you, hand you different guitars to play, (the few who can play) and let you grade them. Do you think you could hear the American from the Mexican from the Japanese? Can you hear the nitro finish or custom shop pickups, or the ash/alder body? If we put a real 52 tele in the mix, do you think you could pick it out? If guitar players could all hear that good…………

    • Felix

      And your point, Dan?
      Sounds like you just can’t stand to see people enjoying themselves. We LOVE our electric guitars and we love gasbagging about them, so what?
      Go find someone else and try to spoil their fun, leave us alone, will you?
      Maybe you could go to the local Hells Angels hang out and hang some crap on them for discussing the pros and cons of Jap crap vs Harleys.I’m sure they would welcome your input.

      • Keith

        I think he made his point, and based on your reply, I bet it stung. To restate and elaborate on his point, sure, talk about what you like and what you’re interested in. Nobody will fault you for liking something. But when people babble on about how one type of guitar sounds a lot better than another, please be aware that you’re basically bragging about your equipment and putting somebody else’s equipment down. You can do that if you like, but don’t get flustered when someone asks you to put up or shut up. End of the day … if you are blindfolded and someone randomly straps a Squire, a MIM and an American Standard to you, how much would you bet you could tell the difference without plugging in? With plugging in?

    • topherchris

      right on ! i get so sick of all these tech heads and their hot air . you can play or you can’t! it really does not matter what guitar you are playing . my mex tele is great , holds tune and does what my fingers tell it to do. all these haters need to get a life and move out of their mother’s basement. SHUT UP
      AND PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • primera

        Very very good thread here about teles. I wrote earlyer here about the mim tele. I totally agree with you. But there is one thing: Yes, the important thing is whether you can play and what you do with your fingers and hands. – BUT a not- so -good guitar has not-so -good sounds in it self(unamplified) , and the pick ups do not give very good sound either. The necks often are all-right. This means that you do not get the good sounds, and the response on your fingerwork is not the best. What i am trying to say is that the guitar needs to be relatively good. However: a beginner can use anything for learning long as the neck is ok and the instrument is properly adjusted.
        But the more skilled guitarist will not get so much out of a “cheap” guitar.
        Regarding mim teles : they are very good intruments and among the best buys, – and yes: you always go back to teles and strats. Fender are wonderful manufactureres who make very good instruments at a rel. low price ! Keep up the good work Fender ! And finally : The thing is that good sound costs. A goood el.guitar sounds shit on a cheap amp. -and also shit if you put it through digitalication. To enjoy the a fine el. guitar you MUST have a good amp. The sound gets not better than the weakest link.

        best regards
        from norway

      • Paul

        I totally agree with you, Dan and Kieth. Yes man, sit them all down blind-folded, pass them a Japanese, American and a Mex tele to ride on, i won’t be surprised if a Mex is favoured. .. But it is all fun reading what these guys said … for whatever they are worth.

    • miguel

      your right on,get a soulful guitar player on a mim and he`ll make it sing,cry etc. i saw buster benton ,a blues player,on a japan made guitar way back when, people were saying they`re bad and he was doin it to it,`nuf said…

      • miguel

        also i saw hound dog taylor playing beautiful loud blues on a cheap guitar and a silvertone amp,man, many a player wish they could play that good.and they`re playing $1000 guitars .

    • mike

      I agree..back in 71 when I bought my American CBS tele..everyone said I should have gotten a “pre CBS” axe. I’ve had both including MIM..and it really depends on each guitar and the player. I’ve played USA, MIM, MIK.. Some good and some bad. I do believe Gibson has a much better OC than Fender who would probably let me make them in my garage and slap their logo on them for a vig. My thing is if it’s set up the way you like, feels good.. U can always make it sound good.

    • Paul Alyn

      If someone can’t hear the difference between an ash body Tele with Custom Shop Nocaster pickups and a 3 saddle bridge and a stock Standard MIM Tele they’d have to be deaf and I’d be happy to demonstrate the difference too anyone who cares to listen. I have both guitars. (oh, and I can play ’em too)

    • Jimmy

      You got that right…!

  9. Gary

    good review, but I agree with the guy with the 06′ tele. mine’s the same. No problems with the neck. Pickup’s aren’t the best but they aren’t bad. It’s also true about the snobbery that exists. I mean, lets be honest, a Japanese Fender probably beats an american for quality anyday. It’s only the fact people want ‘american’ that the prices are higher than japanese.

  10. Dave

    If you live long enough, you see and read some interesting things. I own a 1985 Jap-Strat that I bought new. I remember reading the reviews bashing the Jap-knock-off not too long after I got it. Now, it’s better than American? Oh well, I bought the MIM Tele the other day. I don’t play professionally although I have some pro-worthy guitars that are real quaility – by most standards. The MIM Tele looks, and sounds pretty darned close to the real deal for the money. (as was pointed out) If you want to impress the critics, spend a bunch of bread. If you want a knock around Tele that does a reasonable job for the money, and don’t play (or record) professionally, buy a MIM unit. You’ll be happy.

    • gordon

      well, it’s ridiculous to think that someone who lives in mexico or korea can’t assemble a guitar the same as an american. it’s so bigited and moronic. if the materials are the same, guess what, IT’S THE SAME GUITAR. no matter where it’s made.

  11. MIke

    Well, I picked up a new black one with s/n mz2011201 at 250 EUROs. I had to fix the bridge settings and change the strings. The neck is nice and easy playable, no baseball bat. The frets are perfect and the sounds are Telecaster. The output jack has a screw from the outside and the review concerning the individual saddles is just unprofessional. Bad review, to be polite!

  12. I have a mim tele, It’s a 1992, maple neck,red string’s throught the bridge. It had a dunkin little 59 in It when I got it, The neck is very fast and stright.I think thay made them better in the early year’s of the plant in mexico.anyway I will replace the pickup’s with custom shop texas special’s and a upgrade kit for the rest. nice guitar for the money. Ain’t nothing like a new engine

  13. Robert

    All fretwork for Fender necks are done in the Corona plant !…So if yours was bad,it came from the USA plant …not Mexico….I have a mid 90’s MIM Tele deluxe and the neck is on par with the USA models…the higher priced MIM models have some nice workmanship..much nicer then the standered MIM’s….

    • FrankO

      I agree with you. Southern California might as well be called Mexico anyway. Most the employees at the Corona USA plant are in fact Mexican also.

  14. Andoy

    I sense more than a hint of snobbery at play. The MIM Tele is not as bad as all that. I have a new one and overall its pretty damn good. I’d give it a B or B+, C- is overdoing it. Replace the pickups and the bridge, and its pretty damn great!

  15. onetoomany2

    I own a number of guitars. Gibson es 335, American strat, the new American VG strat, 68 tele and so on. I also have the MIM limited edition rosewood veneered telecaster.
    The MIM tele is a great guitar. I put a little set up time into it and a little light fret work and it plays as well if not better than any of my guitars. Don’t get caught up in guitar snob town. I’ve owned some American standard Strats that I couldn’t wait to trade or sell out of. The MIM strats and telecasters are every bit as good as any guitar out there. Take some advice. Buy a decent guitar and spend the rest of your money on lessons.

  16. ryan o hara

    am looking for plans for a telecaster with measurements…any ideas where i could find them??

  17. stratman2617

    I’ve had American Strats and Teles and MIM Strats and Teles and to be perfectly honest, the difference is so negligible it isn’t worth $800 or more. I just bought a MIM Nashville Tele Deluxe Series and it plays and sounds great. We’ll go out and buy a Toyota or Hyundai or some other Jap car and Oooh and Aah over it but when it comes to guitars they better have made in USA on ’em. Where’s the logic in this? I guess some people just enjoy spending money. If you think its worth it go for it.

  18. Art Vandelay

    That about a bunch of pretentious bullshit. I’ve been playing for 30+ years. I own 16 guitars, Gibsons, Fenders, Ibanez, etc.
    Mex Tele’s aren’t made to please artisans, they are to give younger players an affordable instrument that is playable and has a reasonably good sound.

    If you want to review performer’s guitars, review them as performers guitars. Don’t review entry level crafted guitars as performance instruments.

    • Paul Ricketts

      Excellent comment. I own 80+ guitars and I agree 100%. When my kids decided that they wanted to play I bought them MIM’s. Took them to my luthier and had them set up. Their guitar teachers all commented on what “Great playing guitars they were”, and asked who performed the set-ups. They have both gone on to “better” guitars, yet they still pull out the old mim strats and fall in love again. Mexicans by nature are artisans. I believe they take pride in their craft. There is a town in Mexico called Poracho. All they make is guitars. I’ve seen the most beautiful guitars ever in the windows of their shops. There is NO question in my mind that they love making guitars, AND take pride in doing so.

  19. I make custom electics, and own 15 that include most models mentioned and then some. More important is that each song I write is never recorded untill I play it with most of my instruments.
    The bottom line is somtimes the mim captures the spirt of the song.
    A great guitar player can make a shit Guitar sound good. A shit player cannot make the best Guitar sound good.
    Learn to play and decide what sounds good to you. You will never win an argument on a specific guitar is far better than another. Play well, work on your technique and be a performer. Guitars are like women, you have to try them all before you commit.

    • What a fantastic read these comments are. I love it. Especially the “guitars are like women” comment. I am buying a used Mexican Tele tomorow, having become obsessed with the want of a simple, classic concept. The review did not scare me off. I thought it was probably pretty accurate, not a total tear down, but written by someone who knows more than I do. The comments, however, have bolstered my confidence in the decision. I am looking forward to my men intimate relationship – alabet a cheep date.

    • Jimmy

      “Guitars are like women, you have to try them all before you commit.”
      Good thing for you guitars don’t carry AIDS…

  20. Al

    I recently bought a MIM 60’s reverse strat, it’s beauitful, sounds great, action is ok for $500.00. Have a 2006 MIM strat it plays great, in fact the neck is sleek and smooth but sounds ok. I bought a SX Tele an early 50’s knock off from ebay for $109 + $14 shipping, this thing is as well crafted as the 60’s reverse headstock strat. The neck has a real nice finish, frets are smooth, however the neck pickup sucks, but for the money I cant complain! I’ve been playing for 30 years and have owned many guitars including CIJ strat (which hands down was one of the best guitars I ever owned. I am positive that the SX is equal to if not better than a Squier and Maybe a MIM Tele. I think were starting to pay for the name. By the way the SX Tele has the same specs as far as body thickness. It’s solid Alder wood.

  21. E

    I enjoyed reading your review, but I’m gonna have to give it a B-. I’m taking points off for not discussing whether or not it’s a string-through model, the electronics, etc., and also for using a few too many (and I’m guilty of this myself as you can see) parenthetical side notes. 🙂

  22. You just cant beat the quality of a decent old strat, they just play like a glove.

  23. Lloyd

    I’m not an experienced player,nor a wealthy man in fact I’m at entry level but I’m loving the guitar. I’ve sat in music stores and played every solid body I could get my 42 year old hands on and yes, there are a whole lotta guitars that sound and feel better than a Mex tele, but at my level – is a MIM tele a mistake? I hope not because I’ve just put one on lay buy. For $850.00 should I consider an alternative? The MIM tele still feels good and I guess I can have it worked on at a later date though I’m not really up to date on this prospect. As mentioned I’m a learner, but one day I’ll be an intermediate player (on a budget) – and I think this instrument will serve me well during my journey. Of course, by the time I’m 60 I expect to be ‘reasonably advanced’ – I’ll buy a tele delux and hand over my trusted MIM tele to my son. I don’t believe that I’ll EVER regret the MIM tele purchase, especially if it takes me to higher guitar proficiency.

  24. Lloyd

    I would seriously value ANY advice from an advanced guitarist on a MIM tele purchase. I’m not a wealthy man, but I’ve got 2 hours a day – every day to devote to learning the guitar. I’ve got a budget of $850.00 I have an accoustic, but I need an electric solid body so I can play continually and learn my penetonic scales / scale tone harmonies etc. I also have a robust 2 yr old who loves to play the guitar with his Dad while running his toy cars over the strings and body – which is why I need a robust guitar. I love the look and feel of the tele – I’m guilty of a little romantascism over the tele which is why a strat would never do. Is the MIM tele a good entry level instrument? Can I up-date the guitar to make it sound better as I progress as a guitarist and at what cost? Will it EVER sound as good as an American tele? Should I seriously consider an alternative instrument at $850.00 or as a beginner is it a ‘safe purchase?’ As mentioned, I would seriously value any comment from advanced guitarists who understand ‘budget’ and remember what it’s like to be a beginner who loves playing the guitar.

  25. FatAlbert

    850 for a tele mim? They start at 400. I got mine used for 237 at Guitar Center + $50 setup last summer. Get a 400 mim tele and you should be all set.

  26. Albert

    I have a 2006 MIM Tele, and, honestly, I love the guitar, it´s smooth, very good sustain.

    I´ve ungraded it first, with a DiMarzio Tone Zone T bridge pick up, and WOW I have an American Standard Strat, and the sound and feeling of both guitars are great!! The next mod, will be a Twang King neck pick up, because its has the standard one.

    In my opinion, this guitar, with a good pickup ungrades, has a 10!!!!! almost my favorite guitar!!!

  27. t-ele

    I agree mostly with what you’re saying. As an owner of 06’mim tele: the output jack is rubbish, the pups are too punchy to even be on par with a tele sounding instrument. The neck particularly on my guitar is actually really good. Great frets and a good satin finish. The bleached maple look gets me down but that is my only concern. The body, neck, tuners and electronics (pots, capacitors) are all pretty good. The bridge and pups have been replaced on mine and now a much nicer sounding guitar. I agree with you about the brightness of the timbers (aka maple and alder) and you seriously have to counterbalance it somehow.

    Its is a project guitar and out of the box yes very disappointing. Yet if interested this is a very luthier inspiring project. I think I have learned more about guitars from the flaws than any other instrument and there is something satisfying in that.

  28. Steve

    The Mexican Fenders have made great strides in recent years, and I will advocate that they are excellent instruments. Lets face it, most of us aren’t rock stars, so why do so many people deem it necessary to spend thousands of dollars on a guitar to play at a $300 gig?

  29. Mike McD

    As a player for 35 years, guitar tech and one time guitar shop owner, I laugh at folks that deride MIM teles and strats. As noted above, the necks are USA necks and problems with sharp frets are due to dryness and poor care of inventory. USA guitars do the same thing when dried out, just check out the Big Box stores which fail to humidify its electric guitars.
    Additionally, the emotional rant betrays an anti Fender bias. Fender has done a fabulous job getting good products into the hands of young players as well as good products for gigging in rough settings. As for the pickups, improvements can be done, but more in the directions of some specific sound the player wants (HM, etc). The stock pickups are dang good.
    I appreciate a great high end $1500 American Fender like many, however, I have enjoyed MIM strats and teles and have not had any problems with bad necks or components.
    One more thing: anyone who prefers Chinese Squires (not Korean) to a Fender Standard disqualifies themselves from credibility.

    I see as comedy people who buy guitars and then can’t resist changing out the pups and pots et al because of a mythical Quest for “the sound”. I have seen $2000+ guitars gutted for cheap “hot” pickups etc. and the valuable ($400) pups discarded. In this case in mind, the player eventually returned and BEGGED for his old PUPS to re-install.

    “The Sound” is in the heart and fingers!


  30. Mike McD

    One more thing. Cheap buyers often end up going to the big box GC and buy a Fender off the wall and then complain about the lack of setup etc, like the writer of this “review”. However, the fact is, an independent committed guitar shop would have setup the guitar and prepared it for sale. Fender relies on its dealers to do this. In case you have dissed the wonderful local guitar shop for the giant negligent store, here is what you should do:
    Go to the Fender website and get the setup guide and 1) adjust the neck, if necessary. 2) adjust the saddles. 3) Intonate the guitar. 4) Adjust the pickup height under the strings.
    OR, GO TO THE LOCAL GUITAR SHOP AND ASK THEM TO DO THIS. IT WILL COST YOU ABOUT $40 OR $50. Then………. be amazed at how this made in Mexico guitar feels alive and sounds GREAT! The better the amp, the better it will sound. Blame shoddy Retailers for these problems, not Fender. Believe it or not even the best Guitars need some setup when they arrive at the retailer. (Taylor usually needs the least care, most are just about ready to go…)

    There you go.

  31. Max Kramer

    I bought a MIM Tele off ebay abut 2 years ago and love the neck (straight as an arrow) and low action. The frets seem fine to me, but I’m no expert (although I’ve been playing for 40 years!). The tone is pretty much classic tele, but maybe middle of road to some ears. I’ve had 3 teles in my life- an early 70s model which had a rather metallic sound on the neck pick-up, an American one bought in the late 90s that was fine-great sound and feel, and a 52′ reissue (ash body), that was light in weight and tone, so I sold it. I would say this tele rates well generally, and even the satin finish is OK. My only complaint is the weight–heavy (like most!).

  32. Don Stout

    My wife bought me a MIM Tele for anniversary this year. I own american strat, jackson,peavy t60,ovation eclipse, and an SG. I am completly blown away with the sound and feel of this tele. I am 41 and have played since I was 9. I have tried out tons of guitars at guitar center and I would not trade it for any I have ever tried or owned. I guess maybe I got lucky on this one or they have improved recently

  33. Mike

    My son got a mim telecaster last year. He wants an American one. For the most part people say the only real difference is the finish and the electronics (not an expert that’s what I’ve been told).
    I was wondering if replacing the pickups with say Texas Specials and replacing the switch with a 4 way is better than getting an American? Problem is that Texas Specials and a 4-way also don’t come on the less expensive Americans.
    I’m really asking is $200 in hardware going to get him closer to the sound than a $1000 investment in a new guitar?

  34. cyber swim

    you know, i just bought a 90’s model tele.. it has a real nice neck humbucker and a few different features than what most tele’s typically have… i really like this thing.. i usually play a standard strat and a gibson l6s… this might be my new fave…

  35. soul snap

    maybe the pre 2006 mim teles weren’t up to scratch but just got my hands on a gem the neck is perfect playability superb and stock pickups upgradedand tone is gorgeous very warn and soulful. Been playing for 27 years and this guitar is as good as many far more expensive mia models ive owned there is far too much snobbery and bias in the game if u want a great sounding very playable tele for sub 500 dollars go check out the latest mim standard tele

  36. soul snap

    maybe the pre 2006 mim teles weren’t up to scratch but just got my hands on a gem the neck is perfect playability superb and stock pickups upgradedand tone is gorgeous very warm and soulful. Been playing for 27 years and this guitar is as good as many far more expensive mia models ive owned there is far too much snobbery and bias in the game if u want a great sounding very playable tele for sub 500 dollars go check out the latest mim standard tele

  37. daniel

    i own a mim telecaster ,violet color , the frets and the neck feels great it is from the 2000 year
    i just change the stock pickups for a texas special
    that upgrade the sound the guitar doesn’t have a problem.
    i think that is a period between 1995-99 that the mexican made guitars were made poorly,and affected the quality control, i live in mexico if you go to a music store the guitars that you see here are like the ones that usa dumps,in all brands not only fender,i was esceptic about buy a mim but i try one and is good really good just one advices dont prejudge better is to prove what you will or think to buy try it first

    • Paul

      I have in my collection a 1995 mim telecaster which i love. I actually bought it from a small store in the USA and had it shipped to Scotland when I was still living there. This was bought without trying it out and I have to say that Straight from the box, other than fresh strings and a tune up this guitar has been superb. I play it through a blues jr amp and the two work so well together. The neck is excellent and I like th factory pick ups. I dont see the point in buying guitars to canibalize for parts or to try and improve, I usually by because I like the sound as is.
      I have played and owned more expensive guitars but I think that the tele while not high end is a great sounding and playing guitar. I’ve been playing close to 25 years, gigged and recorded and would have no issue using the mim tele anytime, any where.

  38. Donny

    all i really have to contribute is that MIM’s are a hit or miss. I’ve hit it right three times now and can’t be happier.

  39. Rand

    Re-crowning frets is only for after a fret leveling, and is simply to get their round shape back, instead of the flat spots that leveling puts into them. Plus, you can’t level loose frets. Period. The frets must be checked to see if they are high or loose. If they are just uneven (high, but not loose), go ahead and level them if you know what you are doing. If they are high, but loose, no amount of leveling will fix that high fret. You’ll just experience the same problem later. You must glue any loose frets in place, then level the frets, and THEN re-crown, and round the fret ends. And, on a maple fingerboard, have fun messing with glue on all that nice finish you have there. A glue and press fret job on a maple fingerboard even gives us techs a bit more work than a rosewood or ebony.

  40. edzep54

    I’ve got 4 American Fenders, and 6 MIM’s and I enjoy playing all of them. Some need (or needed) a little tweaking, but none of them are less than a good guitar. A guy recently said to me ‘it’s not ‘where’ they’re made, but ‘how’ and that makes a lot of sense. I’ve owned guitars built in China, Taiwan, Indochina, Korea, and Japan and have been generally pleased with them as well. Either I’ve just been really lucky, or I’m clueless (:-0).
    I don’t think I’ll ever have the shop skills required to do a really professional set up (or the patience!) but a basic understanding of set-up procedure goes a long way in turning a perceived lump of coal into a gem. A recent purchase of a Squier Vintage Modified HSS Tele convinced me of the ‘how’ vs. ‘where’ comment – this guitar, constructed in India, had a neck as good as ANY I’ve encountered on ANY Fender I’ve owned. Was the next one off the line just as nice? Don’t know, but it’s just one more Fender branded guitar that I’m happy to own/play. I do not work for Fender, but I’ve made many contributions to their bottom line over the years.

  41. Oswoody

    I stumbled on this editorial while researching my
    MIM Tele. I have had acoustics for 40 years. This
    is literally the first electric I have owned. Although I have played many other types. I found this tele on craigslist and thought what the heck.
    I gotta tell you, I am incredibly happy with mine. maybe I got the one that is the rare one of the batch but mine plays great, looks great and does all I need it to do. A friend of mine collects real Fender electrics and he was very impressed with it.
    I guess I just lucked out.

  42. mac

    Bought a ‘mim’ Telecaster 2008. The neck is spot on & beautiful to play. The ‘revoiced’ ceramic pickups I found too ‘hot’ and midly sounding so replaced them with some custom 50s’ Telecaster spec by ‘Giovani’ that are equal or better than Seymour Duncan spec for less than half the price! The plate and Saddles are 6 but so is the American ones unless you go for ‘classic’. I compared this guitar side by side to an american one and they sounded the same with the same neck feel. I don’t fall for the”must be Amercian to sound good” bullshit!!!! I paid £ 450 (around $800 ??) for a left hand sunburst and love the guitar regardless of where it was made! I make it sound good with 34 years playing behind me!

  43. chi

    Bought a mim Telecaster,resanded it and found it constructed of 3 piece alder,not 5. Pickups are ‘highway’ sounding so changed them for vintage ones.The guitar now sounds too piercing but then so are early Telecasters!The neck is maple and is superbly smooth and fast to play compared to my strat.The frets are well finnished. My only gripe is that the “skunk strip” is slightly proud half way along so will attempt to buff it out!

  44. well this is not an unbelivable guitar. It is a solid playing guitar. When you do a few minor upgrades it is a good guitar. The day I bought mine I also played a Valley Arts Guitar Tele. The Valley Arts guitar was $2000 the MIM Tele was $325. I’m not going to say that the MIM Tele was just as good, but the Valley Arts was not 6 X’s better. It was probobly 3X’s better. So I bought the MIM Tele and I have $1700 to do upgrades! The upgrades I want.

    Nice guitar and plays better than the price would suggest.

  45. Ah Sam

    The Mexican Fenders have made great strides in recent years, and I will advocate that they are excellent instruments. Lets face it, most of us aren’t rock stars, so why do so many people deem it necessary to spend thousands of dollars on a guitar to play at a $300 gig?

  46. Jimmy

    You’re a fucking idiot.

    You’ve gotten half the facts wrong and your snobby shit-ass attitude invalidates every opinion in your faggot head.

    I hope you get cancer of the asshole and die alone you fucking shithead.

  47. tlo

    Hey Jimmy –

    Relax. It’ a guitar review.

  48. Jeff

    Back in 96′ I bought a new MIM standard Tele .It sounded great ,but I must admit the frets were a bit rough on the sides of the neck ,I distinctively remember the caluses I’d get on my hands after a long jam session. Also ,that 96′ model didn’t have the string -through body set up. If I kept it ,I would of had the 6 saddle bridge replaced with the 3 saddle.
    I just bought a brand new 2008/2009 MIM Tele for $425. Cdn.(same as what I payed for my old one 13 years ago!) ,and I must say the frets are SO much smoother ,and well…perfect ! It sounds great ,and plays great ,but like the earlier one I had , the 6 saddle bridge will get replaced with a 3 saddle .
    I’ve tried the Squire Teles ,and they don’t even compare -the frets were sharp on all of them ,and the PU’s sucked ! I can’t justify spending more than $7-800. on a guitar ,so for the money I’d say the newer MIM’s are well worth it !

  49. yossi

    i dont understand what you all want.
    its a great guitar,
    not the best but great, you are spoiled rich boys that dont know what to do with guitar. the only problem i found is the fact that she dont know to play hard rock bu8t thats not her goal anyway.

  50. Robert

    MIM teles are nice guitars,…but whats up with the Fender price increase?,,,$550 for a MIM standard?..they are good guitars but not that good!!..almost a $1000 for a MIM “road worn”..ouch!!

  51. alex

    I agree with your rating. baught one the other day, returned it the next. i feel that you were modest with the c-. you really have to pay big bucks to actually get a good one

    • rod

      you don’t have to pay big bucks to get a good guitar and a good can have a $300 guitar and sounds like stevie ray vaughn.It’s how you play it.Fender MIM is not that bad at all.Just change the pups to fender vintage noiseless pups and it will sound exactly like a Fender Tele American made,or even better.

  52. tommy

    I AM a pro player out of Nashville, toured for years. I had two USA teles from the 80s that were crap. I currently play a Ric 330 and a MIM 69 thinline reissue tele, with the mahogany body. It’s a 2001 model and it plays incredibly well, much better than the 2 USA made tele’s I had. There’s lemons in all brands, including Taylor and Gibson (I know, I’ve had ’em).So unless you have tried more than one (which I doubt), don’t go condemning a whole line unless you know what you’re talking about!

    • FrankO

      Im also a pro and couldn’t agree more. I even have a Cheap Davison LP that I bought to hang on the wall in hopes that would-be thieves would steal the 200 dollar guitar thinking it was a 2000 dollar guitar and it feels just as solid as my 85 Gibson Les Paul standard. The only difference was the stock pickups and electronics sucked bad but I put in some good Dimarzio humbuckers and you can’t tell the difference now.

      • Mike

        Play both.. a lot of them.. If you are a good already know the difference. They cost more for a reason..It aint the USA logo. Nuff said

  53. Bill

    Let me get one thing out of the way, I am just a dumb-ass bass player. But 40’s years of experience earning a living by playing a “Fender” rather than writing uninformed opinions of a “Fender” earns me some cred. Also, I own and play a MIM Telecaster which I bought in 2000.

    The reviewer is either a pretentious ass and/or a shill for a manufacturer other than Fender. I would bet the deed to my house that he is simply a pretentious ass. Let me add that he also exposes his deep prejudices toward the craftmanship of our hard working Mexican neighbors. He makes this evident when he implies quality issues with the neck on the reviewed guitar are due to being MIM. The moron should have known that all Fender necks come out of their Corona plant. I have owned countless basses and a few guitars over the past 40 years. The single most important factor in quality at the point of delivery is the retailer. I have seen quite a few high ticket guitars, from every guitar manufacturer, that were unplayable out of the box. A reputable seller will insure that their guitar inventory is stored appropriately and that each guitar is properly set up prior to delivery. Manufacturers understand that a properly set up guitar is, most often, specific to the tastes of the individual guitarist. As such, they rely on the seller to set up each guitar prior to delivery. So, if you purchase your gear on line or from a mega store, you take a chance and you can plan to spend some of the monies you save on having a guitar tech set it up for you.

    Certainly, SOME of the materials used in the manufacturing of MIM guitars are not top of the line. In order to make guitars affordable and accessible to the novice, this is absolutely necessary. The key is to reduce costs without negatively impacting the playability of the finished product. A plastic nut? Alder body? The finish of the neck? Hmm….nothing here that affects playability or intonation. Furthermore, Fender was wise enough to modify the pickups in order to account for the brightness of the alder body.

    The bottom line is, that in an attempt to make guitars affordable for families, Fender has done a very good job of trimming both labor and material costs while still producing a product that retains much of the character of their signature models. Most importantly, their MIM products are highly playable, an important factor to a novice musician.

  54. Bill

    A last thought on the ethnic prejudice of the reviewer: First, his words:

    “The biggest issue on the neck is the fretwork. I dare say some of the poorest i’ve seen. What’s odd is that i’ve watched videos of the Made In Mexico factory, and they don’t look like incompetent workers. They look like people who know how to make a guitar, but when I see the fretwork on the maple necks of MIM Teles, I start to cringe.”

    Hmmm, the necks are made in Corona, CA.

    A link to an independent reviewer’s article about his tour of the Ensenada, Mexico Fender Facility.
    This is very enlightening:

  55. Todd

    Back in Dec. 2007, I posted some comments about the MIM Tele on Harmony-Central. Here are some excerpts:

    I did a little research on the Mexican Fenders vs. the American Fenders. It is a subject that often comes-up in these forums. First of all, both the Mexicans and Americans start out in the American factory in Corona California. The lumber is delivered to the Corona plant where it is sorted and made into bodies and necks. The necks are also fretted at Corona. The American made Teles get a body made from three pieces of Alder bonded together. The Mexican Teles are made from Alder blocks with Alder veneer on both sides (about 6 pieces). The wood comes already bonded together from the lumber supplier. Fender just cuts and routes the slabs into bodies…The bodies and necks for the Mexican guitars are then sent just 130 miles south to Ensenada in Baja California where the wood is sanded and finished and the guitars are assembled. The two plants are very close together.

    …The action is just right. I can’t find any gaps where things are fitted together. There are no loose or noisy switches, etc. The frets could be a little smoother, but they won’t make your hands bleed or anything like that.

    The Mexican Teles have a polyester clear coat. The American Teles have a polyurethane clear coat or, in the case of the vintage models, a nitro finish. The polyester clear coat is easier to apply without screwing it up and is less expensive than the polyurethane coat. The polyurethane coats require more time to dry. Polyester is very durable. The downside is that it may detract from the tone, very slightly, when playing mellow (Jazz), but it doesn’t make much difference when playing heavy metal.

    I have never had to seek help from Fender. However, I do like the fact that it is privately owned company. Fender was bought, from Leo Fender, by CBS back in ’65. Things went downhill from there. But, in the earlier eighties Fender was bought from CBS by Fender employees (with the backing of investors). I think Fender is putting out good products these days. From what I am able to tell, they pay the Mexican employees a decent wage by Mexican standards and the quality control at the California and Ensenada plants seems to be good. I don’t know much about their Asian operations. I don’t want a guitar made in a Chinese sweatshop where people are paid 37 cents an hour for working in 110 degree heat on 12 hour shifts.

    I would have to say that this Mexican Tele sounds as good, and is of as high quality, as the American made Fender Stratocaster that I owned in the seventies. And, the new Strat that I bought in the seventies cost a lot more money (after adjusting for inflation).

    Some of you young guys don’t know how lucky you are to have available good, inexpensive guitars like this one. Back in the sixties and seventies the inexpensive guitars were awful. Eventually, the Japanese guitars (like Ibanez) got better, but try learning on a cheap Stella and see how you like it. Overall, this guitar is a great value.

  56. PJ

    I have a 2008 mim tele that’s alright-
    You’re right about the fretwork– it’s the worst I’ve ever seen but I spent about a week bending the strings up and down on each fret (in my spare time, watching TV I’d just sit there with tele in hand breaking the frets in), now it’s as smooth as ever-
    The input jack is just like my squier tele which has had nothing but problems, so far none with this one but it’s only a matter of time.
    Other than that, I really can’t complain, it has sufficient tone to work with and get some pretty decent sounds- you can’t overdrive it alot without a noise gate otherwise the noise will drive you insane.
    Anyhow, I think your review is a little overcritical, I can get some really great sounds out of this little guy… It may not have as much twang spank as a “real” tele but there are other types of tones that are interesting enough.

  57. Rob

    I think you’re way over analyzing in an effort to post a cool blog. I’m 40 and I’ve played since I was 8. The MIM guitars are really nice. In fact, I have recently played more than 30 on a major test-run and have concluded that they’re a really good guitar. Some exceptions of course. Hell, I played two MIM Stratocasters and ended up buying one. It had been put away to collect major dust, but I scored it for $140.00 bucks, then I added a new pickguard, did some adjustments and now I have one helluva nice Strat that sounds killer. I can see you sentiment, but another country doesn’t equal= SHIT! Pull your nuts together and play some more MIM Strats and Tele’s.

  58. Rick Cee

    I’m an American living and working in Korea. In the shopping district at Osan (Songtan), there are two music stores. Both of these stores sell Fender Strats that have “Made in the USA” printed on them and selling for roughly $230. After reading up, I found that the SN’s printed in these are not consistent with the SN’s on USA Strats sold on web-stores or on eBay (the SN is a 7 to 8 digit number; no letters). In any case, I think these are Chinese knock-offs. Has anyone ever experienced one of these instruments? I was about to buy one but opted to buy a standard (MIM) from Musician’s Friend. A friend of mine said that they are really good but I have no knowledge of his experience level.

  59. Marcelo Maya

    Fender Telecaster Standard Mexico… The best guitar of World. For me.

  60. stingray

    it’s all about the fingers… crapy player on a first class guitar, stays a crapy player… first class player on a crapy guitar…
    i own different guitars from bottompriced till high end guitars… i like most of them, also my 98 mim tele

    • Ron

      crapy player on a first class guitar, stays a crapy player. True. I have a first class guitar. American Telecaster. I need all the help I can get. And those that hear me say it makes a difference.

  61. Michael Grove

    Hello, I have been given the chance to buy a (used) set up MIM ’04 standard tele for $200. Google failed to provide results, so I rely on you guitar experts to provide me with answers.

    1) Is is worth it? Or more specifically, since it’s before the ‘magic date’ (’06), does it just happen to be a poor guitar?
    2) I want to replace the bridge pickup, but I don’t know with what. I’m in several bands, two of which are third/fourth wave Ska. What kind of pickup should I slap on to deliver a good upbeat Ska-tone, but also a great distortion? Under $200 would be awesome.
    3) Lastly, how hard would it be for me to replace the pickup myself? I have no previous experience.
    Thanks in advance.

    Warm regards,

    • what’s 4th wave ska?

      i have a duncan quarter pounder in the neck of mine, and while it’s starting to be a little harsher sounding than i really want it to be (my ears changing, and me spending more time playing country and surf than punk or post punk recently), it’s a pretty acceptable clean sound, it’s got some nice bite to it, and i think it’s a pretty acceptable ska sound. you want a nice crisp attack more than anything else, unless you’re playing stick lines, which this also works for.

  62. i think i have to respectfully disagree with you on this, or else i managed some great luck and scored a jem.

    i got my fender mexican tele in i think ’95, used, for about $300. it’s been my main electric guitar for almost the entire time since, and the only reason i put it down for the past few years were a brief infatuation with a epi dot and spending more time with my acoustic dread, mandolin, and banjo playing old time and old country.

    i may have a pretty serious bias with this guitar, having grown up with it as a musician, but my eyes and ears have gotten much more critical over the years, and it still holds up, and, is in fact, probably my favorite electric guitar i’ve ever played.

    sure, i managed to literally destroy the bridge pickup while playing in a really raging post punk/goth band (pick up cover came off, no store was willing to sell me just the cover, and eventually the coils unraveled), and i had to replace the stock saddles because i was breaking strings like crazy, and the stills in the saddles kept unscrewing themselves and stabbing me in the palm. i play much harder than most people, and this probably wouldn’t be that common of a problem. i wound up getting a new bridge pickup and some graphtec saddles, and i’ve been pretty happy with the guitar ever since. also, the rear strap button came off, and i wound up sinking a much deeper screw into the wood to hold it on.

    all of this should give you some kind of idea of what kind of life this guitar has lead , and outside of occasional trips to the instrument emergency room, it’s served me admirably and seems nigh-indestructable.

    also, i don’t know what it is, but the neck is the single most comfortable tele neck i’ve ever played. if this guitar ever really got trashed and the neck was salvageable, i wouldn’t hesitate to get a new body and electronics for it.

    i think i probably just lucked out and got a nicer-than-usual one, though.

    i also think there are a lot of perfectly serviceable guitars out there for under five bills, and i often see diminishing returns when you start spending closer to 1k or more on a guitar. this is completely not the case with banjos or mandolins, though, where you’re lucky to get something decent for much less than that. anyway, i digress. if another one just like mine is out there for $200-$300, i wouldn’t hesitate a second to tell someone they should snap it up.

  63. yohmmy

    What kind of pickups should I go with (in my MIM tele), to get that close-to-strat sound out of my neck position on the 3-way switch??

  64. søren Kirkevang

    jeg har købt, en telecaster mexico, med stringeindsæt ved stolen. jeg ved at guitaren er fra 1992, og jeg har aldrig hørt sådan en fenderlyd i 45år. jeg kan ikke beskrive den. super super.

  65. Georgie Porgie

    I have a new Mexico Tele I bought last week and it was manufactured just a few months ago, perhaps in September 2009 and it is perfect, no blemishes, straight neck and it was set up and intonated at the factory correctly. My frets are perfect height and spacing and no edges stick out from the sides of the neck. The review pans these guitars, mine is worth a lot more than the 500 dollars I paid, I have a 1980 hard tail Stratocaster natural finish with a maple neck so I know what a Fender is supposed to feel and sound like.

  66. hermann

    I have read some very good reviews here. Thank you ! You are one of the best testers talking no bullshit. About Mex Tele :

    I bought a mex standard tele a couple of years ago. I guess it is not like some of the expensive Teles I have tested, but I love it anyway. It has none of the bad sides that are experienced on the one tested here. I really love the neck and overall quality is very good. It is a very fine and good sounding tele for the price. It was also perfect set up from factory, intonation and all. I bought it the same day as I tested it in the shop. Love at once ! Have been playing guitar for 35 + years. – I even changed mics to persumably better ones but I find that the stock mics must have been quite ok.

  67. Larry Thatcher

    Being the chief cook and bottle washer at a studio I can provide some data. The studio has an American Tele and a Mexican Tele. They both weigh 8.3 lbs (5-100ths of a lb. resolution). Appears to me that both are Alder. This MIM Tele from ’07-8 by the SN, has a bone nut. Both Teles have 6 saddles, which I prefer over the vintage 3 saddle design. The MIM has hotter pickups over the USA model. They both appear that they could have the necks and bodies shaped in the same factory, which is probably the case. Both are custom set up and play/sound like they should.

    • hermann

      Yes. And where does this lead us ? Body and neck made at the same factory sounds very possible. It must be to expensive to run two production lines for this. What then makes the difference is mics, electronics, surface treatment, more or less cosmetic details, finish AND quality control.This CAN make a very different guitar but not necessarily.

  68. Dick L

    Bought a mim tele new in the box, sight unseen last March for just 389, have not played anything else since. Have only compliments, particularly like the pickups, hotter and not so thin and piercing as on the old tele I used on occasion, a 1952 owned by our rhythm player. My LP custom set me back 575 in 1970, wish they had mim teles then. You can’t hear gold plating and a fancy finish, midnight wine and chrome look great from any distance.

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  70. Marxho

    I think people always ask too much and offer less than what they ask for. I know a lot of guitar players that talk a lot about instruments and music equipment. It’s like they’re very knowledgable about guitars, amps, stomp boxes..everything! They also have and still buy the most expensive stuff to play with. If you hear them talking like that you’ll immediatly think that those people must be so great with their instrument, because of the way they talk and of course they’re very proud about how expensive and how good their tone is, but guess what… a lot of musicians belive that they know everything about instruments and which one sounds the best and which one sucks, and then when you suddenly hear them playing they really suck, but the curious thing is that they’re using the most expensive equipment! all the money they spend getting the best quality instruments is just running trhough the toilet, just because the TV, DVDs, and magazines make them think that they’ll be great players if they get those expensive instruments.

    A good musician will make any kind of instrument (cheap or expensive) sing really well, so do yourself a favor, learn how to play an instrument right and then you can talk about them.

  71. I recently checked out a MIM 72 ri tele custom
    I really wanted one because I had one back in the early 80’s anyway I tried out the MIM and it totally turned me off to the guitar . really bad craftsmanship
    The bridge pickup hole actually went beyond the metal pc that surounds the pickup and the neck was not that great I rate it a 3 on scale 1 to 10 and for $600 I expected more.

  72. John

    I have owned both Mexican and American Telecasters and Stratocasters. There is a noticable quality difference. I found 2001-2003 models to be better guitars than newer models.
    With the Highway One series and the new American Special series you can get an American made guitar for under a grand. For me it’s a worthy extra expense. But if you are shopping and considering a Squier or a Mexican Fender Standard then go with the Mexican, but buy it at a store that will setup the guitar as part of the purchase, and try out the guitar for yourself. Buying unseen and unplayed guitars can be a risky thing to do.

  73. I recently came across one of these on ebay…been wantin one for a while
    now i own a 2001 Fender Standard Telecaster(mim) black w/ white pickguard maple neck
    i paid 320$ us for mine
    i had to have this because i love tom morello from rage against the machine
    i have read this whole article now mind you my guitar was bought used, but this guitar was well worth the money. The twangy deep sound the neck pickup w/ maple neck gives is brillant. i have been playin guitar for 3 years but have owned 5 guitars. still have 4…i hated my jackson lol
    but so far none of the concerns noted came across. my only beef is the borin bridge pickup…it sux
    none of my guitars can compare to this because its so unique of a sound…my advice is never buy a guitar brand new…because most of the time you change stock pieces anyways..
    great buy well worth it..

  74. sorry to keep goin but i forgot to mention how thick the sound is on this pup…not flat at all and i play thru a marshall mg100 hdfx half stack (want a jcm 800 tube but yea $ lol) i also dial back the volume and play in drop d….best suited for anything blues to rock…nothing heavy unless pickups changed
    tuners are ok…same wit sustain….anymore questions or concerns feel free to reply and i will try my best to help
    thx for reading

  75. Dad03

    Recently came home with a MINT, barely used 2007 mim maple neck tele from a pawnshop. Compared to the Fender Telecaster “Squier Series” circa 1997-8 (strings mounted to the bridge assembly), Squier MIJ JV Stratocaster (1983), MIJ Squier Stratocaster (1985) MIJ Telecaster (2000), which were all part of Fender’s affordable lines I owned and played extensively, this guitar was a smoking deal or $180.00.

    Let’s say you get a chance to get one for say 50% of new price, you absolutely can’t go wrong.

    I live in a dry climate, and while some other posters mentioned it, IF YOU DON’T KEEP A HUMIDIFIER IN YOUR CASE, the neck will shrink and the frets will poke out from the edge of the fretboard requiring a low-cost shaping/filing job. No biggie, but generally, this can be avoided with a little care (lots of guitars with bound necks in this market are all checked along the edge of the fretboard because the store never sold a guardfather with the guitar!)

    When buying a guitar, go to a guitar store on any other day than a Saturday and try out a few different brands, but at least compare apples to apples as its a waste of time to try a Les Paul, then a PRS, then a USA Strat, then a MIM Tele; If you know for sure you want a tele, just compare guitars that are supposed to do what a Tele does, you will save yourself some headaches. A really good thing to do is to even rent one from the music store; it’s cheap and you get to spend a whole month with it before committing to buy it (make sure the one you rent can be purchased tho as stores may have different accounting rules for the rental pool vs the store inventory).

    The C- rating is on this review is harsh; the MIM Tele will do a great job for anyone who needs a good solid workhorse at a decent price, and who doesn’t need to worry about it being stolen or severely damaged as it can be readily replaced and modified to suit your tastes.

  76. Everything you have said is very true indeed, however you are looking at this from a professional’s point of view. As a Fender dealer we sell many more min than Americans now just because of the economic situation. Here in Rhode Island we have a large number of professionals but many more high school students willing to buy a mim to get started. What we do is thoroughly inspect each guitar, if there are no defects we set it up, and we service that customer as he or she grows and would like to do some upgrades. As a professional musician I would rather buy a $2000 guitar, and a working business owner I am very happy about the Mexican factory as long as I am careful to return bad pieces, as all dealers should do. Maybe if when you from a mom and pop instead of Guitar Center chain stores the experience would be cheaper and more reliable

  77. domino

    i just purchased a MIM from guitar center they told me it was a 57 replic but looking at it i know better. i called fender and gave them the serial number the infor they gave me was its a April 2010 model, natural finish, tex-mex pickups and ashe, also its a standard MIM tele. The sound is awesome and i had to modifly the input jack with a gibson flat plate, why teles dont do this i dont know cause i seen squires teles have flat plates. i play it though a Deville 2-12 and a Deluxe 1-12 by way of Boss DD3. i like the heavy feel.

  78. I’m not saying you should have bought the guitar from, although if you had you would have paid less, or at least got more extras. Did guitar center give you a free hard shell case with the purchase. If they did not then you should tell them you saw the guitar at a cheaper price on rhodysound and see what they say about their guaranteed lowest price.

    • domino

      i compared the prices and they are the same but no guitar center didnt give a free case. but then again they didnt know it was a standard with tex-mex

  79. Pingback: How many strats is too many? « chimey clean

  80. joe clune

    i very recently decided to try out to play in a local band. showing up to the rehersal room with a 2009 squier standard hhs was not my idea of cool but money as always is tight so i decided to checkout both guitar centers in my area looking at epi lp’s even the cheaper gibson lp studio and naturally fender strats and tele’s. what i found at guitar center was 3 broken eip lp necks that they tried to sell as new full price, not epiphone’s fault but still not good to see on the showroom floor. 2 gibson lp studio’s with weak tone at best even using a full marshall stack they sounded weak. so i left guitar center and went to a local music store that was privately owned and i had been to before . its where i got the squier wich he set up perfectly for me. in his store is where i found my lil gem! i know this is all about tele’s but the other main factor in the thread is MIM… what i ended up with is a absolutly beautiful 2010 fender strat mim with a maple neck/fingerboard and flawless black paint. my only complaint is the typical fender hum in position 1 and 5. i also changed the white pickguard to a black one as a tribute to my favorite player.”you all know who”
    my guy set the action and intonation up before i left with it and it has become a favorite of my 8 guitars. none of them cost more than 500$$$ so all in all if you can afford to switch the pups to something noisless and maybe warmer if you also have a maple neck. and play the shit out of it.its worth way more than the 499$ i paid. any guitar company will have its flaws thats why you try before you buy. MIM is every bit as good as MIA. especially if you play in local bands or living rooms. plus a ding or dent wont make you cry on the 499$ axe unlike the MIA 1500$ guitar.

  81. Just got a MIM Tele used , no major blemish , it has the old style Fender Frets , not the large Med Jumbo , I like the action , intonation , nice neck , has a good ‘Tele” sound , yes if you could line up 5 or six Tele’s and compare them all , who knows .
    I have to add what others have said also , it’s not the guitar but the player , yeah ok , the same guy said that when you get your hand around a neck thats right , you will know it . As for the craftsmanship , pretty damn good for inexpensive . Still have to look up Ser # and see what in in this sweet Tele .

    • domino

      just look up fender website their contact number is there and if you give them the serial number they will tell you all that you want to know about the guitar is free. guitar center has a way of selling guitars that are seconds and not telling you, the first tele i got the two of the frets were push though so far they split the neck so now i make sure that i check every thing before leaving the store its bad enough that after you buy from them they charge an extra $75 to set up. i’ve owed about ten different kinds of guitars but i always go back to a tele

  82. Thanks for all info ……..
    For someone as my self that has never owned a tele , there is much info that has made me aware of a Tele’s sound , why it is what it is , between My Paul , and a 78’Strat and a Vox amp with models of amps and effects , I am having fun with it all , Pickin with Da Boys , it’s all blues to me .

  83. Trojan Horace

    I bought a 2nd hand Mexican Strat about 10 years back – and played it back-to-back with my Pre-CBS 1962 Strat, and couldn’t tell on play back which was which. I agree that off the shelf the Tele’s need setting up a little more obviously than the US built ones put together further up the road (though using mostly the same Mexican staff) but the price differential between the various models is absurd. It costs $100 to $150 for a good professional set up. None of the recording artists who make a living from the sound of their guitar are using anything that hasn’t undergone major refinements but a Mexican Telecaster, well set up, still represents great value for money… and looks great too. The original pre-cbs Telecaster bridge was frequently ditched- because it’s crap. Making sacred cows out of old instruments makes next to no sense when talking about solid body electric instruments.

    • primera

      clearly spoken !
      I tried a mex strat recently in a shop where I tried many
      different strats, also some costing lots of money.
      I was surprised by the impression I got from the standard mex strat. The standard american sometimes makes you wonder if it is not overpriced. But let us agree on this : Fender makes very good and good sounding
      instruments for not so much money.

      If they only could make some strats that do not have the vol.pot so near the bridge. I wonder how many players who really find it useful to have it that close. To many its only makes it difficult to play and to use the guitar.

  84. Spike

    Q: What is the differance between an American Fender and a Mexican model?

    A: The bloke who makes the American one has a green card.

  85. Paul

    @Spike: Yes.

    You also have to factor in the fact that Fender made some major changes in the construction and finishing process of their Mexican Teles starting with the 2007 model. So if you buy one made since then (as I did), what you’ll get will be a lot better than the one reviewed here (I recall reading somewhere that this one was a 2006).

  86. Jonas

    Bought a MIM Telecaster last year new.

    Changed the electronics components and put in Bill Lawrence
    Keystones pickups. This guitar sounds absolutely killer.

    No problems with frets and so on.

    Cheers/ Jonas

  87. Mike

    I’ve owned a 65 tele, a 71 tele 2 mim teles a 59 strat, an 84 strat and 2 mim strats. All I can say is My 59 strat other than the old Deluxe tuners was like butter. I loved my old teles and one of the mim was every bit as good . The other, not even close. Same with the strats. Like always, look at it and play it and listen to it. Every one is different. Now if I still had those old axes…

  88. benji lacson

    hi guys.. nice review i bouth 1 tele MIM but idk the diff between the body MIM on made in Japan.. is the MIM bigger that made in japan?

  89. FrankO

    I have 2 MIM Teles and one is just as you described it and the other you can’t tell the difference between it and my MIA Tele. I would say the MIM’s are inconsistent. Sometimes you win sometimes you have some work ahead to get it right. I put a SD Hot rails in the one I like and it just screams. The soap bar pickup sounds as good on both MIM teles for clean and bluesy stuff as they do on a MIA. Im thinking about putting a MIA neck on the MIM Tele with the awful fretwork and setup. I have already customized the paint and pick-guard on it.

  90. I’m a novice guitar player with a few used guitars. My 2000/2001 (not quite sure) MIM Telecaster is my main guitar. I have had no complaints about the neck, actually quite the opposite. I find it very comfortable and easy to move around. It’s thinner than my Ovation’s neck, and is the perfect size for my hands. I am very slowly making modifications to it, thought they are mostly cosmetic (changing the silver to gold). I am planning on changing my pick ups to EMG active pick ups T-Set (specifically made for the Telecaster). This is not because I dislike the factory presets, but I have played many of my friends’ guitars that had EMG active pick ups and I preffer them more. I, of course, have strap locks and plan on getting locking tuning machines. All in all I love this guitar. It sounds great on my Line 6 Spider 3 amp, and every other amp I’ve played it on.

  91. Patrick

    I bought a 1966 Telecaster with a rosewood fingerboard for $195 43 years ago because it looked and sounded like Mike Bloomfield’s. At that time there were 50’s maple fingerboard teles in beat-up condition selling for under $100 in some Atlanta pawn shops. I still have that guitar and it has survived getting hit with pool cues in bar fights, getting soaked with beer and sweat and being briefly stolen twice. I also have a Strat and a Les Paul and they’re great but if humans still have fingers 100 years from now that tele–the first good guitar I ever owned–WILL KEEP ON TWANGIN’.

  92. Don

    After many years I decided to get back into playing and decided on a Tele. Labor Day 2010 I bought a new MIM Standard Ash Tele at GC because of a VG sale. The setup was pretty good right out of the box but took her to a technician here just to get things cleaned up. Very little needed to be done. Truss rod just needed a little fettling, frets smoothed and polished, pickups and all other components were checked. New strings were put on. That’s about it. If I have one complaint it’s the thick plasticy finish on the body instead of a thinner lacquer finish.
    I have been extremely happy with her and you can’t beat the price. Probably the best deal going right now for a Tele.

  93. im an user of a tele american deluxe i bought 1 year n a half ago.
    an olympic white one. i really do like the neck (43mm, i think 1-11/16), but i prefer the neck of a red stratocaster strat i own, as well (-model strat-, golden controls, my father bought her in the States in 1980-82), 40mm neck, i think, a better width for my small hand, in order 2 play with my thumb. im cleanin n repairin it at this moment. never did it before. and she needs it! im lookin 4 a -not chinese or asian- acoustic one… ill have the big baby taylor i think… cheers from a coruna, galicia,spain

  94. adny

    I just came across this blog about a year after I first found and enjoyed it. It’s still great, and still provoking comment. I imagine many people; learners, experienced players and all things in between read what others say here as part of trying to make a purchasing decision. This is useful but no substitution for going to (lots of) stores and trying guitars. You will find what feels right and what doesn’t, and that’s what will make you choose what you choose.

    I own and play many instruments, some to a high standard. I play live and have done a lot of recording going back a lot of years, for all sorts of bands and projects. Sometimes that’s how I’ve earned my living. My opinion of my 2001 MIM Standard ‘Tele? (had it from new) Well, having compared every Fender back-to-back I found more inconsistency – in terms of build quality and playability – in the USA-made instruments than any other Fenders. Get a good guitar and you’re away; no matter where it was made. Get the best you can afford. Of anything, but especially guitars. IMHO the Mexican instruments are often simply better made, and better to play. And more affordable. The Standard ‘Tele is a true Swiss-Army Knife of a guitar., a guitar for life.

  95. adny

    PS: if one is into modding, some upgrades such as swapping the bridge for a vintage style without surgery can ONLY be done on the MIM’s!! Oh, the irony!

  96. Matt Sullivan

    What i find funny are the prude, arrogant, “Only shop american made” idiots who obviously havent a speck of understanding of fender guitars or any guitar for that matter. They attack the workmanship of a value guitar…The value my friend is in the fact that they DID cut some corners, but to be honest, the corners cut are some pretty unnescessary features. Yes, the fretwork can be terrible….i would say 80% are good to great on these though…not to meantion this jack issue. I have never had a problem specifically with a fender jack…atleast no more than shitty ibanez or even a gibson for that matter. The pickups lack a bit to be desired but when you are paying literally 400 dollars less, what the heck do you expect. A terrible review with little help…Fender mexican built guitars are a great value in comparison to many if not most of the crap coming out today. Pick one up and play it..if you like it, buy it..if you cant get passed the mim logo, waste your money on a us made or a Gibson…

  97. primera

    I wrote in this thread earlier. It has become a very interesting and informative one. What I would like to know is what pick ups to upgrade to. I changed the originals on my mex tele to one Di marzio twang king (or something,bridge) and an original Fender on neck. I just buyed them used and had no ideas of whether they would represent an improvement. Do not think they did.They changed the sound, but only arguably better. What should I upgrade to ? I just want a really good original tele sound.

  98. Dezzy

    I have a 2010 MIM Tele and I have to say it’s awesome, the fret work is great, its really smooth and does not have any rough edge around the fret work, paint job is good and the pickups sound amazing, I mean this thing purs when I plug it into my hot rod deluxe. I am upgrading the pickups to tex specials, only because I like their tone anyway, I am putting a chrome nut on as-well which when done will make this as good as any american made tele for half the price. I like your review, but can not agree with you and only because of personal experience, every 2006 + tele I have seen has been up to a good standard.

  99. timesflyin46

    I retired from Fender after thirty years with them, I own a good collection of tele’s and strat’s but the one I play the most is a 99 mexican telecaster, I keep my frets clean using 0000 steelwool several times a year, otherwise it is stock from the factory and it is my favorite. The old saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder also applies to guitars and their sounds.

  100. P

    Wow….that’s the most ridiculous review I have ever read. What a gear snob. I’ve played thousands of guitars over the years and when it comes to electric guitars, price means absolutely nothing. When you go to your local guitar center and play ANY guitar that’s been baking under those extremely hot lights for a couple of years….with no humidity…it’s going to have issues with the frets. Wood shrinks when it dries out. Sometimes simply hydrating the guitar will improve the situation and in some cases you may have to file the frets. But, this is true for all Guitars whether it was made in USA, Mexico, Korea, China, Indonesia, Japan or Siberia and whether it costs $150 or $150,000.

  101. P

    I should add….that “Tone” has a lot to do with how well you play. You can go out and buy the exact same rig, guitar, effects, cables, etc as Eric Johnson or Brent Mason but you ain’t gonna sound like them. Perhaps buying an inexpensive guitar and using all that extra cash on lessons is the best way to get a good “Tone”….for some.

  102. Mike

    I’ve owned dozens of classic guitars and have played long before most of you were born.. since 65. I’ve owned 50’s fender 60’s fender . mim mik.. mij.. Usa is the best overall there is.. in my opinion. As far as playable.. Mim is fine but my 09 usa tele is the best I’ve ever had. Forget the greasebucket tone , the ashtray’s all bs, i’ve had them all from 55 to 09 and this is the best axe I’ve ever owned other than My Gibson Tal Farlow which nothing can come close to other than my old pal Jerry Miller’s L5. Maybe…

  103. adny

    Well said, “P”. It’s too easy for gear-junkies to bang on about the instrument and lose sight of what the thing exists FOR: to be a musician and express onesself. Respect.

  104. rj

    biggest blast of hot air I’ve seen lately. Love the detailed description of what was wrong with the tone…. my guess is the player.

  105. I definately know people who say the difference between Mex and American standard teles is minute and with a bit of extra money and changing the “Std.” parts to suit your more individual style works to make a good guitar.. It has a good base… whereas others basically say they are squiers with “Fender” written on the headstock…. but playing one in a shop makes me personally think they are ok.. nothing “wrong” with it….

  106. Dezzy

    They are defiantly not squires with Fender on the head-stock, who ever said that is talking out their arses, which they probably do a lot of. A pro musician ones told me, after 30 years in the business, that mex strats were identical to USA ones if you stuck a usa made bridge on, tuners were the same, all necks made in usa, with USA vintage pups they would look and sound the same, he said the workmanship was identical, and the only reason people think the USA ones played better was, because they had told them self’s in their mind it was better, he said quality control in mex was identical to USA, and USA reps watched over the process at the mex site. U get a custom shop mex and it will be as nice as a USA one for half the price, its nice to have USA on head stock, but why I don’t know, as in my own opinion, if an instrument plays well that’s all I want at the end of the day, looks and names are meaningless. Squires are not made as nice as mex ones thou, and the reason for that is, if they made them the same, everybody would be getting them, as only a fool would pay double for the same guitar. I own a USA strat and its great, but I have to say I buy mex all the way now, half the price for the same instrument, I would be out of my mind to pay double, however I do buy used USA strats for the same price as A new mex, only because selling them gets your money back..

  107. Mickey Rodericks

    I have a stock 1992 mim Tele that I picked up for 250$ & an all stock 2002 52 RI Tele that I bought for just under a grand about 8 years ago. After doing some minor edge fret filing on the 92 and truss rod neck adjustment, I must admit that it plays just about as nice as the 52 RI (The early Mex-teles had a fuller C-style neck than the one’s that are made today and feel a lot closer to a 52 RI). Also, the 92’s pickups sound pretty close in tone quality to the 52 (I took the blindfold test & I was very surprised). I also like the fact that you can set the intonation much easier on a 6 saddle bridge then the traditional 3 saddle bridge which can be a royal pain in the butt. All in all, you do have to do some work on the Taco-Tele to get it up to par, but it’s well worth it and you can save some serious $$$.

  108. Marc

    I am a newbie guitar player. I have no idea where a C-chord is. I do not know how to complete a scale or anything like that. I am going to buy a beautiful Fender Telecaster Standard MIM guitar in Arctic White from the Guitar Center for $499. I do not give a darn about the snobby review of this guitar. When i get good, i will upgrade. You get what you pay for so why would a $499 guitar be better than something >$1000. Your review is out of context.

  109. Fender Mexico have improved majorly in the last 2 years, or so I’ve read. I have a standard MIM strat and I love it. That said, when I was trying out guitars most of the Mexican Fenders were no better than my old Squier. Some of the standards are great, but be prepared to play through a lot of shit first.

  110. Andy

    I think that you all need to go out and shout up your streets. what a load of shite is being talked about mexican vs usa. you get good n bad from both. get a life.

  111. Bob W

    I just bought a 2002 MIM standard Tele “as new”. It kinda OK – liked the tone but couldn’t get the action as low as I would like – frets started buzzing.
    I paid a luthier $150 to level and re-profile all the frets. – Boy – what a difference!
    Now plays beautifully. I’ve tried out a few new USA Teles in guitar dealers but they were not well set up. My guess is that Mex Tele with a properly set up neck is going to be better than anything straight from a dealer

  112. Rich

    I don’t know. I think that either you got a lemon, or maybe the made-in-Mexico Fenders have declined in quality through the years. Because I bought a Mexican tele (actually a lookalike to the one you show at the beginning of this post) in January of 1997, and I’ve been completely satisfied with it. I eventually replaced both pickups with stack humbuckers to make it a bit more recording-friendly, but that was the only modification to the guitar in nearly 15 years. The entire guitar has a very solid, well-built feel and nice balance. The neck and the fretwork are fine, no dead spots or any other problems at all. One interesting characteristic: it seems to create some very bright, chimey overtones, especially when using a very distorted, high-gain sound. If I end a guitar part abruptly, it produces this bright, bell-like echo for a split second afterward. It took a little bit of getting used to, but I’ve actually come to enjoy that characteristic and find it useful in the stuff that I write and record. (Interestingly enough, I also have a Mexican built strat that I bought in 1994 that has the same characteristic. Actually, I’ve been totally satisfied with the quality of that guitar too.) I’ve looked at the Mexican-built Fenders in recent years, and they seem fine to me in terms of quality. So I have a feeling that you just got hold of a bummer. Anyone else who’s interested in this guitar, don’t sell it short. You may be very pleasantly surprised by it.

  113. dezzy

    I agree with you totally man, people that do these review’s have not got a clue, some have only barely left collage, and can not possible have that kind of experience of someone like yourself , they do the same job in the mex factory as they do in the USA one, do these people think the mex factory tell their machine to cut ruff edges lol the only difference is the USA stamp, and maybe the paint job, the custom shop one’s have had more care, but not £1000 more, and these master build’s that are £4000 + beat’s me like, what more can U do to a guitar apart from cosmetic, and the kind of cosmetic’s U can get on a guitar is not worth £2000 more, it is a joke, the part’s on master builds are identical to some custom shop, pickup’s are no better than over the counter duncans, they are just selling them to the snobbery kind if U ask me, because I would not pay £4000 for any strat unless it was vintage to collect. Anyway the guy who rote this review is talking out of his arse, I have 2 USA strat’s, one a deluxe, and it is not different to my mates mex deluxe apart from the price

  114. Dan

    I have a MIM Telecaster with two Humbuckers and a single coil -SN MZ5072903.It plays wonderfuly,nice smooth fretwork and great sound.It also has a five position toggle switch.Any idea when it was made ?

  115. Ron

    Nashville model. Made in 2005

  116. Great guitar mintmimtele2001 mint midnight wine!

  117. Ron

    I wonder why there so many complaints about the tele input jack? I have been playing teles for 15 years and have never had a problem. Ditto for everyone I know that play teles

  118. JB

    Well the review is great…all that state there is true no question ask…one reason why fender move their work force to overseas like Mexico and Japan is to reduce overhead expenses to the materials and labor. My opinion is don’t under estimate low cost guitar…if I could afford a fender that cost a couple of thousand dollars why not…but in reality is I can’t…I owned couple of squier guitar one tele and one strat, now i am planning to buy a fender strat made in mexico…I say it is poorly made but the tone is great for me…those guitars can sing…the only thing…is it did not flash like those fenders made in USA…only burden or I would say the best in some sort for those low cost guitars is the modification for the hardware…it cost money, but those modification can bring out the beauty or the beast out of it..but those modification is not as expensive like buying a so expensive fenders made in USA…maybe after those modification i can beat out the ferrari using honda civic..there is no perfect guitar…perfection is coming to the person who is holding or playing it…

    • Mike

      Ok kids.. here’s the skinny. granted..there are some good MIMs out there. Squire? Junk in my opinion. USA is a better axe in almost every aspect. The differences may seem small but overall..if you have the money..go USA. The better you get, the more you will understand.. The new Teles are better than the old vintage my opinion.. I’m old, owned vintage Teles when they were new.. It always comes down to comfort. The more comfortable you are playing an axe..the better you play, the more you want to play. I’ve been playing longer than most of you have been alive. The few hundred extra bucks is worth it. I’ve owned MIM MIK.. and USA>. USA is overall a better axe..My opinion..

  119. Vladamir Horowitz

    OK, I am over 50 and have played many many guitars through many amps over the years.
    One of my most expensive guitars was a 1978 MIA Tele custom with the 2 Humbuckers. All matched maple body and neck, solid body and strings through body. My amp at the time was a genuine Fender all valve Twin Reverb, and together they sounded awful! Very tinny on the bridge or too muddy on the neck pickup. No medium mellow sound was avaliable. The Setup was not good and the intonation was nearly impossible to set correctly with the 3 brass saddles. I changed out the old bridge for a 6 saddle unit, which improved things a bit. Still the intonation was a pain as the more treble you add, the more you hear the flat/sharp notes and overtones of slight incorrect saddle adjustment. This guitar in the end drove me crazy trying to get a well balanced pitch on open and barr position. This was a guitar I felt like i was fighting with to achieve what I wanted. At the time, I also had a cheap $200.00 Les Paul custom knock off made by Ibanez, ( A lawsuit model) . Now I’m not a Gibson fanatic but it did do everything right from perfect intonation, super low action without buzz, and an array of tones that suited my playing style all night, from dinner music, through wedding walz’s to Deep purple and AC/DC at the end of the evening. Suffice to say that the Tele stayed in its case and was only used for a backup guitar. My point is that not everything with a designer label is the best. Except for my latest acquisition.
    My latest purchase is a $400.00, 2010 sunburst MIM tele, and this thing has progressed leaps and bounds over my older “real” deal in ’78. It sounds wonderful, plays like a dream and holds it’s tuning for ages. As a direct comparison, it rates much higher than the MIA unit, and there is no “bad neck” “bad fret” problems anywhere as pointed out in this very negative and biased review.
    I currently own 10 guitars, all decent units, and they all sound different in there own way, and are a pleasure to play, each one suiting my mood on the day. The MIM tele is a class act, and has become my favorite axe, because fender have done there homework and made an instrument that is instantly playable, no matter where it was assembled, and will actually talk back to you if played well, and is a joy to bond with. For years I have been searching for a particular tone, and the MIM tele delivers in leaps and bounds. So creamy, bluesy and indie and it has become a great experience in personal music excellence.
    If you are looking for a GREAT guitar and have limited finances, do not hesitate to pick one of these up in a music shop, and be prepared for a wonderful experience. Also, no not pay an any attention to the review at top as this is from someone who has obviously picked up a lemon to try out, or just hates the name “FENDER”??
    Thank god you did this back in 1948 Leo, and it only got better. The world for musicians would be a worse place without these wonderful instruments. Nothing about this MIM tele is cheap or sub-standard.
    Bye the way, all this glorious tone and playability comes out of a $300.00 Roland 60w Cube amp….Enough said.

  120. Ron

    I own a road worn MIM Tele a MIA standard tele. Both 2008. I have buyers remorse. Th MIM road worn is the best guitar for me.

  121. Mike K

    I must say that imo this revue is a load of bollocks. Must have a dodgy gtr cos my brand new chrome pearl tele is fantastic value for the money. Not a problem with frets, jack plug, nut, anything. I have a 96 Lester, a 2004 SG and the new tele plays as well as any of them. Didnt even set the string height out of the bag. None of my mates find anything wrong with it either. If your keen going mex and saving some hard earned dosh go try for yourself.

  122. What the author completely fails at – is that he’s comparing apples to oranges. A $500 guitar (standard Tele) vs. a $1,000 guitar (American Standard Tele). These are two different levels of product. This was obviously more of a rant than a review. As has been noted, all necks are completed in Corona, CA., bulk parts are shipped to Ensenada for final assembly and finish. Some pickups are wired in Ensenada, some are not. Depends on the model. They’re all Fenders no matter where they’re assembled. The Ensenada plant makes the lower priced Fender models. . . because they can. Sorry, whoever wrote this article is a twit.

    • primera

      Hello. I have written some earlier in this thread. Of course you are right. I am very interested i the differences between cheaper and more expensive guitars. Take the standard mex tele dicussed here, and the am std Tele. WHAT is the real difference ? Somebody in this thread told that the std mex has solid wood center and plywood sides in the body. This is quite understandable and makes it possible to produce the lower priced mex with not quite the same sound as the more expensive am tele with solid wood in the whole body consisting of 1,2 or three parts ? Is this corect ? Can you tell more about the differences ?

      best regards Primera

      • Primera,

        Sure. I can tell you the difference. I’m a guitar tech. 35 years playing and repairing electric guitars. I currently own 25. 10 Fenders, 4 of which are American Standards. I’ve completely torn into my share of Ensenada made Teles and Strats. Let me first assure you there are no plywood models being built that I know of (I can’t attest to Squire models). All Fender necks are cut in Corona, CA. (not Squires though, completely overseas). Necks with the American moniker will be finish sanded, fret detailed and sealed in Corona. Some necks go to Ensenada unfretted and some go fretted. But Ensenada finishes the process there to varying degrees. Same with the bodies. Blanks are cut in Corona and shipped to Ensenada. Nicer lumber selects (less imperfections, classic figuring, more symmetric grain patterns, etc. will be set aside for higher priced models, (aka American or Custom Shop) BUT half or most of the SAME lot of lumber will go to Standard models that happen to be completed in Ensenada.

        For the most part that means more glued together bodies for Standard models. That’s not a “bad” thing though. We’ll just call them “mutts”. 99% of American models are 2 or 3 pieces glued together anyway. Ensenada might add 1 more to the mix. But they are not plywood. I’ve drilled and routed Standard models and have never run into plywood. There. That question is answered. I have a FSR Aged Cherry Tele with only 2 pieces of Ash in the body. Mexican made. So it all depends on the model and in general, the clearer the finish, the better the wood selection for that particular run.

        Fender Corporate (Scottsdale) designed the plant in Ensenada – not to build crappy guitars, but to cut assembly costs. Manual labor is less in Mexico than the US. Building guitars requires lots of manual labor. There’s your big cost savings.

        Other “general” differences:
        • Polyester finish on Standard models. Nitrocellulose on American Standard (Polyester is less toxic and less expensive to apply. Holds up better in the long run. Don’t let bloggers gripe about this also. It’s more about the thickness of a guitar finish than the base the finish is made of that helps the wood resonate slightly more). Your ear will have to decide which finish “sounds” best.

        • Different electronic components. Different coating on the pickup winds, (aka less expensive). American Standards generally have “No Load” pots.

        • Different tuning machines. Standards use Ping tuners. They are not the best or the worst. Tuning machines on the American Standards are better quality.

        • American Standard necks are finer detailed. The necks generally have a micro tilt adjustment, higher mass tremolo blocks (Strats), higher quality saddles and set screws.

        Overall, yes, the American Standards are better. But you pay twice the price of a Standard model. They just aren’t in the exact same class. I am certainly not a beginner and I have a couple of excellent Mexican made Telecasters.

  123. I recently bought a used MIM tele, black with an mz serial number. I got the tele and a LIne 6 Spider 1 amp for $400. The Spider sounds great in the studio, but when I’ve tried to play it onstage, there are always major problems, not sure why. But the TELE. This guitar is great. I play rock, country, fusion, anything really, and I’ve been playing for decades professionally, in bars and arenas…so I know what a good sounding and playing guitar is. I also have a 53 tele that people marvel over, and it’s great and everything, killer tone, though it’s not really an easy guitar to play. The MIM tele is a dream for playability and though it doesn’t have the exact tele tone, at least it’s not a boring Di Marzio tone. I like the tone for a lot of the rock stuff I do. I have no problem with the bridge, I’m used to the stock vintage tele bridges and I’m not that great a fan of it, because I like good intonation, if there ever is such a thing. (I own around 14 guitars) The neck on this thing is killer. True, the frets could be a tad more rounded on the edges, but it’s not a major issue, maybe I got lucky. Intonation is real good, I was surprised. No problem with the input jack, which my old tele has! BUT……I think I got some bogus tuners because for all it’s playability and good tone and looks, this thing will not stay in tune. When I got it, it had light gauge strings, and seemed like it stayed in tune OK, but I put Ernie Ball 10s on it, which still feel light….and the tuning went haywire. I’m gonna change out these tuning machines because I’m sure that’s the problem. I might even rout it out to make it chambered, but not sure, I like that sound, but I like the sound as it is. Guitar could be a bit lighter though… I don’t like black guitars so much, so I may rip the paint off of it. Either way, I’ll def get a tortoiseshell looking pickguard.

    So, there’s MY review. This guitar is fast as castor oil through a cat…I love playing it. I’m sick of maple necks, frankly, but this one is a pleasure to play. I don’t know what the radius is on this, but it blows away the vintage radius necks, I can do bends all up and down with no fretting out. Hard to imagine anyone not liking this neck, or this guitar. Also, the neck is straight and doesn’t move, so that’s not the root of the tuning problem.

    Peavey T-60s. I have one of the first ones, bought it at Hi-C music in Boca Raton, Fla in 79. I tried about 20 of them, and bought the display model. It was/is a great guitar, but the thin neck…I like fatter necks. Thin necks are a lot harder on the hands. I have pictures of Sly Stone playing this guitar, I had carved it out and painted it to look like an Alligator, so this guitar got a lot of attention in the 80s.

  124. dave

    I have two mexican teles.both are good of them I would not change for anything.yes,really.
    both are chopped and hot rodded. thats what they’re for.
    while we are on the subject,the best pickup i have is an asian gretsch knock off.
    it’s all hype.

    • mike

      If I find a MIM that plays as well as my USA 09..I’ll buy it and have no qualms about where it was made. Up to now..I haven’t found one.

  125. e-Roc

    I own a post 06 MIM Telecaster, and I don’t think the neck is nearly as “boring” as this reviewer says. In fact, I am making upgrades to the parts I don’t like because I LIKE the neck so much. MIM’s are basic, no frills models. Mine has worked fine stock, but as my playing has matured, so too has my ear. So yes, I am switching the stock ceramic pickups because they do sound a bit thin to me. I am also switching the el cheapo 6 saddle die cast bridge for a vintage style 3 saddle compensated bridge. I had the frets dressed and I get professional setups. With a few modifications I believe MIM Teles can become a nice workhorse guitar for any player, and will still cost you less than the grand it will take to get an American Tele.

  126. Matt

    Lots of pros prefer the sound and feel of the mim strats and telecasters. This article sucks.

    • Vladamir

      Yeah, like Ronnie Woods playing one recently in concert in the USA. You don’t get more Pro than that.

    • Michael

      I was pretty shocked (close to be pissed) about the sheer negativism. And I admit I am biased because I have a MIM Tele and I do love her. The fret work is amazingly good on mine, not crappy at all like the several eastern copycat axes Iowned before (and got rid off by now).
      But maybe mine is revision (bought it used in Spain last year) and so this article served a good purpose in the end. Thanks for that 🙂

  127. I have one of these “Sweet Machines” , replaced the switch with a three way and the pickups to Fender Tex Mex pickups …………..
    Everything else is Just Peachy about this guitar , plays (action ) just great , stays in tune ……… no complaints what so ever ! Well , I have One Fret around #13 that could use some lowering , but Hey . this is a great guitar , especially since I got it for $350 used , and it has not a blemish anywhere !
    Love it !!

    • primera

      I have written here earlier. Now I wonder if anybody can give me a tip about which pickups are good upgrades. I already have changed to Di Marzio Twang King (bridge), and Fender Nnoiseless (neck). This did not give much improvement over the original ones. I will also put best quality hardware for plate and bridge.. Brass 3 piece . I am quite sure this is something that might improve sounds. Comments ?

      • e-Roc

        Check out the Bill Lawrence Keystone Tele pickups. There are a couple vids on youtube if you search. They sound awesome, get great reviews, and are cheaper than most boutique pickups (got a pair for less than $100 bucks!) The only down side is the shipping takes awhile, because it’s a small company run by Bill and his wife Becky, but it’s worth the wait.

      • primera

        Yes, heard about these. Guess they would be worth a try. Thanks ! – And dont you guys think that upgrading hardware,( plate and bridge ) makes a diffrence or ?

      • MIM pickups are just slightly hotter than MIA pickups. Upgrading the hardware will make a little difference, but not a HUGE difference. You can get a little more clarity from aftermarket pups, depending if you also upgrade the pots, caps, switches and wire. Most players upgrade hardware due to reliability issues. If you want the most difference, change your amplifier. That’s the other 60% of your sound.

      • primera

        Agree. It so happens that I now have both a wonderful maple neck 2011 std Tele and the good mex Tele. It is true that you need a good amp too. And 60% founds fair. Only is that there is a sound gap from the mex to the std tele. The am std tele is a better instrument in many rsepects and sound so much better as indicated by the price difference. But instruments are different too. Have tried not-maple neck 2011 am std that do not impress that much. Conclusion ?

      • beez1234

        I am lucky enough to own a 2011 Mex Tele and I am so proud of this fact alone.
        Unfortunately there is a whole lot of cheap garbage try hard guitars out there for musicians who want to get serious about music, at very affordable prices, and it’s a shame that, that is just what they are.
        I for one am honored to own a genuine Fender guitar and not a knock off unit from god knows where. It does disturb me just how much hype there is about the AM/Mex debate and there should not be. They are both wonderful instruments in there own right, and should be treated so.
        If you own a Mex unit, just be thankful that it is built to a very very high standard, and has Leo’s logo on it. It will also last forever, and he would be proud to see it standing in your music room.
        I would not swap my Sunburst MEX Tele, with it’s lacquered neck and 6 saddle bridge for the world.

        PS. this is not a reply to Primera, as he has a lot of useful comments, it was just easier to hit the reply button.

      • MrGorgyPorgy

        I do not recommend the brass 3 saddle bridge. They are old technology and as far as setting intonation they are a nightmare. The 6 saddle bridges are much better and Fender Twang King pickups are incredible.

      • Mike

        Very disappointed with an American Standard Telecaster I played in our local shop. Sure the maple neck was super shiny and felt nice but the stings going up the neck were right over one side of the dot markers with the bass E sting nearly on the edge of the fretboard! and the high E had a big gap. The nut was cut too low and there was a bit of buzzing on the 2nd and 3rd fret positions.
        Don’t ever tell me MIA’s are better. This was just plain shoddy workmanship, and I wouldn’t have bought it no matter what price it was.

        On another note, the store owner told me that he recently took delivery of another telecaster 2012 STD model, (MIA) on the headstock with USA serial number, and he later discovered that it was made in China!! with no attempt to cover up the fact that it was a rip off. Buyer beware!
        As for my own MIM sunburst Telecaster, it’s still the best thing I have ever bought and absolutely sings through my valve amp. Super low action without buzzing that even my Les Paul Custom has a hard time keeping up with.
        I Have to agree that the 6 string saddle is a MUST if you are a perfect harmonics type of guy like me. I had a brass 3 saddle one once on a MIA Telecaster Custom, and it drove me crazy!
        Also great video on utube touring the Mexican factory. Seems like all the manufacturing is done right there, and there IS a quality control center too, unlike some negative comments I’ve heard.
        Long live MIM’s….

      • Mike G

        Yes..MIA Teles are better overall. Of course it depends on each player and the setup but overall, USA is a better axe. Is the difference worth twice the price? Yes if you can afford it but no if you can’t. I’ve owned so many Teles Pre CBS ..CBS, and Strats over the years and a few MIM as well. The CBS were better players than the Pre CBS even though today the old 50’s teles are worth a fortune..Then they were nothing special. There is nothing wrong with a good MIM but the difference though small.. is worth it if (you can afford it). I was never defensive about owning a MIM because it played fine..Not as fine as my new USA but every bit as good as my old 69. I never had issues with the 3 saddle bridge but I can see where it could be an issue with intonation. As far as sound, with the effects used today, you can get almost any sound you want from either. If the thing plays well, tunes well, it’s a Tele and the rest is in your hands.

      • primera

        This is one of the better comments. I changed pus on my mex std tele to see if there was big improvemenmts but negative. I am sure there can be very good examples of mex and weak examples of am. But the am std teles are meant to be the more expensive and better of the two,and so they are. I have both, But I still love my mex which was the one I bought first. It is a flawless and very good instrument. But I have no doubt that the am std is worth the extra cost compared to the mex. If the mexicans were given the materials and the possibilities they could of course have done the same thing , – or even more than that. I also must add that there are so many different variants around that I am sure one can find wonderful mex teles that stand forward compared to an american variant. Anyway the fender factories make very good and priceworthy instruments !

  128. Lefty

    Rookie player here, and a southpaw too. While looking for my first electric I played a few, including cheap used Ibanez, and a MIM Strat. After playing only my Yamaha acoustic I felt that I was jumping out of a Cessna, and into a fighter jet. Being a lefty getting my hands on a variety of guitars to try out was definitely a challenge. I wasn’t comfortable with anything I’d picked up… until I got my hands on a MIM Telecaster. Right off it felt great, played nicely, and had a beautiful resonance, and sound to it. I’m no judge of great guitars, but I know that the MIM Telecaster was a more comfortable guitar than anything I’d previously handled. Add to that this was in 2012, and I was playing a guitar that had been in the shop sinc 2005 becuase they hadn’t had a lefty customer that liked the midnight wine color, so the price was right too.

  129. thommy berlin

    I’ve been a fender player since the 1970’s. I have owned nearly 150 strats and teles, from nearly every year they were made. (yes if you can find a pre cbs axe they are cool) Here’s the truth. Fenders suck. The electronics suck, the set up sucks, and half the time the necks won’t tune. I don’t give a damn about the ‘finish’, or where they are made. That being said, the Stratocaster is the most expressive solo instrument ever built, and the Telecaster is my first love. Collectors piss me off, and so do guitar snobs – and generally because they don’t know shit about what makes a guitar PLAYABLE and what doesn’t… ‘course that doesn’t mean they won’t try and get 2000.00 for some useless mid 70’s POS, and when you get enough of them doing this the market pulls away from the guys who actually use them to make music on…

  130. Vladamir

    My only upgrade to my 2010 model has been a Vitamin Q 0.33 microfarad capacitor. This had cleaned up the tone even more and the pups are no longer an issue. Sounds great and for $5.00 plus postage!! I refuse to change anything more now. Perfect tele sound. Look on ebay. Note to earlier post: I have had genuine brass 3 saddle bridge, and 6 saddle steel bridge on same MIA Tele. Outcome, No difference in sound, worse intonation with brass type. One again, the hype wins out.

    • primera

      Thanks for your information regarding change of bridge, and about the capacitor.

      • Vladamir

        It’s worked out well for me, and I hope that mentioning a few little mods that people will not be sucked into such a biased and touchy subject. It HAS come from playing “live on stage” experiences over the years, so I hope my 2 cents worth holds hope for the more open minded of us.

  131. Dave

    Oh Hell, I’ve spent the past 7 months saving up for a Mex tele, and I’ve just happened upon this site, and now I haven’t got a clue what to do. I’m a tone hound, Les Paul Standard/Jackson/Martin/Laney/Vox (sold the Boogie Mark4 to give my kid a great 16th birthday, and it was too big for the front room anyhoo) so I’m a picky bugger as far as sound goes. Always thought a Mex was as close to a USA as you could get, but within my budget (retired) but now all these comments have me worried as heck. I’ve only tried a few Teles at GuitarGuitar, (but I’ve heard them for years) feel a bit stupid trying an axe without the cash to buy one on the day, I liked what I played but they were all USA s, all they had in stock at the time. The kit I’ve got ,over many years,I bought when I could still work, and it’s quality gear, almost all of which has been given to my teenager !, now my pension dictates my budget, but I NEED (yea , right 🙂 a Telecaster for the sound my others won’t give me (Metal but much more toward Nashville, not asking much hey ? !) When I get the cash together and make the shopping trip am I going to be THAT disappointed? At this age, and budget, this will probably be my last guitar so…your thoughts please? So when I land at the shop I know what I’m looking for in a Telecaster (budget £450 -£550 ish) but something I won’t have to upgrade straight away to be happy with (set up i can do myself) also I’m after a thin neck (thin D profile?) like a Jackson not a Les Paul for these aged old paws 🙂 all thoughts welcome, cheers !

    • jerry

      I’ve been playing 45 years..ok a few more than that. All teles are different. i find one I like and the rest is in my hands and gear. Throwing crap on any tele defeats the purpose.. Hot rails..No.. Most everything is in your hands. if you can play..You’ll find what works.. Too much screwing around with a good guitar screws your mind up.

    • Vladamir

      HI. Dave. I won’t rave on any more except to say the necks on these units ( well the later ones) are solid and well rounded. Not shallow at all. I like that because it is strong, and stays in tune and once the truss rod relief is set, you can forget it as bending or warping is not an issue.
      This model did surprise me on how much metal sound it can produce.
      If you need a slim neck though, this may not be what you are looking for.
      Test out as many as you can.
      All the best.

      PS. Jerry, your spot in the money in my opinion. My slight mods are only tweaks for my own satisfaction. 🙂

  132. Claude

    Just purchased a 60 year special edition American Deluxe. They had two IDENTICAL 3-tone finish in the store. One had a nick on the body from some kid banging the counter with it. Played them both. They wre two COMPLETELY different beasts. Left the store with the Nicked one, which gave me a powerful throaty sound as opposed to the other one which was strikingly thinner sounding.
    They were obviously both masterpieces with the obvious Tele sound and feel. But bottom line, no two guitars are the same. Different tree, different manufacturing day.
    I’m a firm believer that there are Squires out there that can outshine my Deluxe sound-wise.
    But there are different ears that prefer different sounds. Find a guitar that leaves you thrilled, that you want to play every chance you have.
    The MIA Tele’s are obviously well-built, classic beautiful Guitars which is one of the reasons I bought it. But if the “not nicked Deluxe” would have been the only MIA in the store, I might have very well walked out with a MIM or a Squire…

  133. Don Olson

    The reviewer needs to bring this up to date. So far I’ve had two MIM tele’s, a Standard in Ash and a GC special Copperburst. The fit and finish on both were excellent. I had the Ash setup buy a luthier but not much needed to be done. and the fret work was fine with no sharp edgesVasically all he did there was polish the frets a bit. This one had the 6 saddle bridge and no issues there. The pickups were a little on the hot side but no matter, it’s a Tele after all. there were no intonation problems at all. Just a little adjustment and that’s it. I played that for about a year and then picked up my second, the Copperburst. Alder body, maple neck.
    Fit and finsh again excellent. Neck needed nothing, the frets were polished and when checked level. I didn’t bother getting this to get setup as it only needed a slight adjustment getting the strings a little closer and a minor personal adjustment to the pickup height. Actually, replacing the stock 9’s with a set of Curt Mangon standard 10’s made a big difference.
    Hardware: This one came with the 3 saddle bridge and again, no issues with intonation with just a slight adjustment easily made. The control plate is reversed with the pickup switch at the bottom. The pickups are slightly warmer but have plenty of punch. I have found that comparing between the MIM’s and MIA standards and I have played several of each that the “B” and “E” strings are a bit brighter on the MIA’s but the bottom 4 on the MIM’s are quite a bit richer and fuller played through the same amp (65 Twin Reverb) at the same settings.
    As a side note at GC I had my two MIMs and the store manager decided to do a blind test against a couple of MIA standard Tele’s as there were several fairly good guitarists in at the time. Some with Tele experience some without. Without exception everyone prefered the MIM’s in all areas.
    Another side note Both my instructor, Bill Harkleroad and his guitar builder John Suhr feel that the MIM’s Fenders are the best bang for the buck going right now.
    I have since sold the Ash standard and kept the Copperburst. The money is going toward having a Suhr built Telemonster. There wasn’t anything between two but the Copper’s neck felt just a hint quicker than the Ash model. It was a tough choice.
    BTW, the Ash was a 2010 and the Copper is a 2011.
    Mr. Blogger, I feel that your data is a bit dated as in here you are sounding very snide toward a model of insturments that are very fine indeed and for $350/$400 really can’t be beat. I’ve played bluse, rockabilly and jazz and they do it all.

  134. Merv

    Ok people are you up for a challenge? I have just recorded myself playing over a blues backing track. I used a tele and a strat, one is a Mexican instrument and the other is an American instrument both by the way are played through a fender deluxe reverb amp. I would be interested to see how many of you could tell which was which.

    And so it begins!!!!!!

  135. Andy Moore

    I’m kind-of frustrated – but not so surprised – to see people on here still criticising this guitar. My 2001 MIM Std Tele has the same excellent frets/intonation/setup/playability/mojo as it did when I got it 10 years ago. I’ve played other guitars including all sorts of Tele’s since but have had no reason to trade it for any of them.

    To all the real musicians who chose, bought, love and – most importantly – USE their Tele’s: respect and love. And to the gear-junkies who nit-pick just for the sake of getting their words read online? to quote Frank Zappa:

    “Shut up ‘n’ play yer guitar” !!


    • primera

      Have both av very good mim tele and the 2011 60 anniv am std tele. Have used the mim tele several years. Expected a better guitar in all respects byuing an am std. And so it is. Simple : They are different products. You get what you pay for. Sound in the 2011 am std is awesome, maybe partially due to the hated strat blocks. Guess they make the sound more open and living.

  136. I can’t say I agree with this review at all. I own a 2006 MIM telecaster w/ the “60th Anniversary” medallion on the headstock. I paid approximately $500 CDN for it new. To start with the neck is straight (no string buzz at all) and the fretwork is fine. There are no sharp edges whatsoever (contrary to what the reviewer wrote above). The guitar holds its tuning well and sounds great. Now, I may not be the best guitarist around (far from it, actually), but I do have the privilege of knowing two extremely gifted guitarists that have both played my tele and said it is an easy-playing, great sounding guitar. Both of them have made that guitar sing much better than I can and neither had anything negative to say about it. FWIW, I play it through a 50 watt solid state Marshall amplifier I have had for years.

    • primera

      Yes the mim std tele is a very fine instrument. Impressive quality and good sounding. Nice handwork with no flaws. Have enjoyed mine for years. Fell in love with it on the spot in the shop and bought it . BUT- the sound and playabilitu in my new am std tele2011 /60 anniw with the impressive laquered maple neck is much better. Specially soundwise.. But also a even better handcrafted product. Just what the price difference indicates. Should be no surprice either ?

  137. Blake Abel

    Damn people!!! IF you have ANY heart and soul you can stretch fishing line over a coffee can to make beautiful music. Get whatever makes YOU happy. Life’s way too short but as shown here there is alot to laugh about. Thank you for the smiles!

  138. Since Gas Prices are on a steady rise, Don’t you think it is time to do something? This kit will teach you how to save money, the environment, and you will learn all there is to know about how to make your own electric car.
    Imagine having to never spend another dime on gasoline again. You can convert a car to electric this weekend.
    – You Won’t Regret it!

    • Me

      Lovely comments there Sean, but what planet are you from? This is a planet called “Earth” where we love to talk about musical instruments.

  139. Rob

    I guess I should have bought the Japanese Telecaster I could have bought new in the box for 380 US. it was a beauty. Thanks for the input, I am not much of a player, but when I certainly notice a huge difference between US and the Mexican, but the Japanese one was really quite impressive. Did you do a review on mij?

    • As a rule, Japanese guitars are very well made instruments. Kinda like their cars.

      • Mike

        I saw and played the 2012 contoured body Tele recently and it was really disappointing compared to my own 2011 model. . Very Strat sounding and thin with no bass. The Tele prides itself on it’s unique sound by not only pickups but mostly by the amount of mass wood that is used on the body. I mean, look at it…it’s a huge slab of solid wood compared to a Strat. This is where the colorful tone originates.
        Fender really have gone too far this time in my opinion and taken the Tele out out of the Tele.
        Anyone else tested or agree with this?

      • primera

        Interesting about the 2012 version. I have the 2011 and it is very good as a Tele. I will remember this next time I have the chance to test a 2012. I guess that if one search the REAL and very typical Tele-sound,specially from the bridge PU, there are other versions that sound even more typical. — But I do not want the edges for fixing the ashtray. Many “original” types have this. AND I do not love the strat bridges either. Fender is giving every buyer a problem to get rid of the sticking screws if they buy a new tele now. !! Why do they do that ? It is much work to get rid of it. I have recently adjusted the neck-angle with the fine-tilt adjustment on both a very good Strat and my tele 2011 to make it possible for the screws to disappear. But then you must raise the end of the neck slightly so that it is not in a very good contact with the body. For a purist like me, I am worried that this may reduce sustain.

        Opinions ?

  140. This is by far the most inaccurate portrayal of a Mexican Telecaster I have ever read. Considering I own several Fender and Gibson guitars, I found the views portrayed here to be flat out ridiculous. Sloppy fret work? Bad finish on the maple boards? All I can say is you must of received the worst made Tele ever made in Mexico. The Telecaster is the “pride” of the Mexican factory. The luthiers there are just as skilled as in Corona, if not more so. The only guitar I own that is not USA made is a Standard Telecaster. This is not to say I haven’t owned “overseas” guitars in my life. I can see no difference at all between the 2011 Mexican Telecaster and my American Standard Tele. The pickups are equal. The frets are perfect and there is no sign of “cheap” anywhere on the guitar.
    Being a collector of 6-strings for 30 years now, I have owned everything from a Gibson Page #2 to a Epiphone Junior. If you want to talk about lousy guitars, talk about the new Chinese made Epiphone guitars. Mexican Tele’s are made 45 minutes away from Corona. Most of the parts used in Mexican Tele’s are american. Mexico has a long history of making quality guitars that goes back hundreds of years. Thumbs down to the reviewer. I’m sure he’s just another guitar snob that thinks if it doesn’t say USA on it, it’s crap. That should tell how serious to take this review.

    • If you can play guitar, you can make any guitar sound good. I have a friend that has been a professional player for around 20 years now. He uses a Indonesian-made Strat.

      • Mike

        Well said Jeff. Musical sound and nuance is in the hands of the player. Although my Mexican 2011 Telecaster is still my Number one instrument, I have currently built an SX brand Vintage Stratocaster, and after a few modifications to the pickups, tone capacitors and bridge, It stands alongside my Tele with pride. Like the Tele, it has perfect fretwork, great intonation, and a yellow vintage neck with small frets that feels like butter, and a joy to play.
        It also has the old style Kluson ( hole in the top ) tuning pegs that I love and tidies up the head stock well. ( Sorry to go off topic there but it just shows what can be done for a little extra cash. )
        I have learn’t one invaluable lesson though. 60% of your sound is in the Amp that you choose. I recently bought a 5 watt Epiphone tube amp, and the Tele has never sounded so sweet.

      • Mike Gotcha

        I’ve been playing longer than most here have been alive. Since 65 USA is a better overall guitar. In my opinion..The new USA Teles are far better than the old Pre CBS. and CBS models .I have owned them from the Broadcaster to a 2010.. USA I have owned many USA , MIM and set them up to my specs. The MIM is a fine guitar if you get a good one..USA is a better guitar if you get a good one. The sound for me is mostly in the hands and the amp..(In my case) ( Other people play my axe..sounds totally different) The guitar is basically 10%.. If you’re comfortable with it and like the sound..even if it was made on the moon, you’ll play better. The best axe on the planet won’t made an average player good but it wil make you want to play more which makes you better. .Bottom line is the more comfortable you are.. The better you will get regardless of where it was made.

  141. Yes, USA made are generally better guitars. But Mexican Tele’s are very good guitars for $500. And I totally agree with the two comments after mine by Mike and MIke Gotcha.

  142. Robert Cullen

    I have 11 guitars, 5 Gibson Les Pauls, a PRS, an Ibanez, a Schecter, a Jackson and a Charvel. I went to my local Guitar store with a budget of £2k for number 11, a Tele. I tried 2 fancy American jobs and they just did not feel right. I was about to leave when the salesman said ‘here, try this’. I was blown away, just what I wanted and it felt great. £385 cash and it was/is a Mexican Baja Tele Classic Player and I now own it!!!

    • I Agree Robert , I have one also , it is just great . Love IT !
      People and their taste , amazes me sometimes . I did put some Fender Texas Specials and a 4-Way switch in mine , not that I need to . Just playing with my Toy , Enjoy that Jewel , I surely do mine .

      • Andy Moore

        Well said both. It’s good to see clearly genuine players who are not exclusively (merely?) Fender-worshippers rate this great instrument.

      • There was not One Thing Wrong with my Mex Tele when I got it ……..
        I also have a Paul and a Custom shop Strat ……… between the three I’m a happy camper . Many sounds to choose from . I have to say if i don’t play one for a while (week or two ) It CALLS , PULLS on ME .

  143. mydystopianfuture

    I really like your blog

  144. mydystopianfuture

    Reblogged this on mydystopianfuture.

  145. jones

    Well, here’s some slobbery snobbery . . . .
    And all true, even my opinions . . . . .

    I can play, and my main Fenders are a ’64 Strat and a ’66 (ash) Tele.
    (I got I think 74 stringed instruments last time I checked).

    I have played pro since ’66, and have played/or recorded with a long list of big shots like Duane Allman, Neil Young, Bernie Leadon, and on and on blah blah blah (se habla blah blah).
    I have a couple of MIM Tele’s (just bought a nice ’95/’96 one today), about a half dozen MIM Strats (including a “Player’s Strat”) and a similar number of MIM P and J basses . . . etc.
    My main ax, my ’64 Strat needs a fret job and most of my guitars could stand a setup. So what, sez I. I’ll get around to it after I wash the car . . . . and clean out the garage . . . and . . . . .

    To me, MIM stuff is the working man’s Fender. Fender didn’t start out in the forties and fifties making foo-foo crap for posers and rich people, they made relatively cheap working man’s guitars. And did it well.

    I love me some Mexican Fenders, but then again I REALLY love my 1935 D-28 Martin, and I ALSO love my $65 plywood top Takamine Jasmines (I got four of ’em) . . . . . (see my Amazon review under the name of “Swamp Rat”).
    So I say vintage guitars are great. High end guitars are great, but you don’t need a Ferrari to get to the grocery store . . . meaning if you got some chops, and the guitar doesn’t suck, then as Zappa used to say . . .
    . . . “shut up and play”.

    It ain’t easy to build a great guitar and sell it for a couple of grand.
    But it is also damn hard and laudable to make a good cheap guitar.
    In the words of Lyle Lovett,
    ” . . . . Viva Mexico”

    • primera

      Guess you can find not so inspiring am std teles and terrific mex teles. I have a mex std tele and am std tele 2011 with the fantastic laquered maple neck. The am std cost twice as much as the mex and sound is 35 % better and playability better due to the wonderful laquered neck. Differences in sound have complex reasons. Selected materials, high quality hardware and allowed more workingtime pr instrument. Of course the mexicans could have done the same job given the possibilities. One of the reasons why the am std sounds better is the tone control bypass. I am sure you can find terrific mex teles and not so inspiring am std.

  146. dennis hawkins

    i have a taco strat and a green card tele, when i bye and istrument i bye it for what it is. im a retired player, still do scales and coards with my boys. my first ele was a kustom hustler from 1965 with a old alamo 3 tube amp. In 1968 then a 1973 200 hustler amp, black tuk and roll. i have fenders, gibson, ovations, yamahas, etc. i picked up a 2000 taco sunburst strat for 125 dollars 10 yrs ago. beings ive been working on guitars for since 1970 I got it as a project one. boy was it a project one. the neck has dents and scratchs all up and down the back and the body has had the paint chipped off in several places on the bottom,it felt gud and i new i cud make a gud beater out of it. i was really impressed with the feel of the taco strat, it had a nice feel, running some scales, frets felt gud and the neck felt just ausum even with all the scratchs and dents, its amazint that when it has a cirtain feel that cirtain imperfections cant be felt, i honed the neck and worked the frets and all the action, i like a 060 and 050 on the 12 fret for action, and set the bridge to the neck, found the pups to brite and took one magnet of the dual mags on the neck and middle and left the bridge. i use mostly neck and middle. set the pup poles with a straight edge level with the frets except for the g string pole, put it flush with the plastic cover. then lowered the bottom to equal the output level on a sound meter. it sounds ausum. thru my fender jam- priceton reverb 212 plus- and fender ultra chorus. and the hustler and the alamo too. this strat has such sound and feel that i left the body and neck as is. it seams that a guitar isnt worth playing until it is broken in and u pay to get a road worn guitar. the green card tele, made in the usa, is a 1997 american standard that had a special order # 118 of 125 one piece light swamp ash body, fender vintage noisless pups, wilkenson off set 3 piece saddles, clear finish, that 1970 feel. i worked over the neck, honed and polished the frets, set up the action and pups, top level with frets and bottom down to balance sound level on meter. yes the tele does have more of the tinier sound compared to the strat, its a tele! the problem is the one i love to play the most and has the best over all tone is the taco strat. its has alot to do with what u play and how u play. i do alot of finger picken, with and without a thumbpick. and i use a med thumppic for all my picking with a pick. i dont use the bridge pup, mostly middle and neck and both on the green card tele or neck. and yes amps play a big roll to and yes all of my amps are solid state, excepted for the alamo. that alamo is from the 50s. yes the strat is more comfortable to hold, hence the change in design a long time ago. both of these guitars are ausom to play, they each have there particular sound u need for that particular song u need it for. but i perfer the taco strat over the green card tele. yes there are some good one and some not so good feeling guitars. if i had of listened to several people 10 yrs ago about all mex made guitars are not the same in feel and sound than the amarican ones then i wouldnt have gotton a chance to have bought this road worn, battle scard sweetheart that i love some much now. as for as all the reviews ive read, there all good reviews, u have to under stand and read between the lines what the person is saying and what he wants from a guitar. my style of pickups and pickup positions is more like eric clapton. he doesnt do the birdge pickup. or very seldom.

  147. MrGorgyPorgy

    Mexican Telecasters are fine guitars. In 30 years of playing, I have owned or own just about everything and my favorite guitar is a stock Mexican Telecaster. Its a 60th Anniversary Tele with a maple board. I gig with this instrument and have never been let down. Fenders were made in the early 50’s as parts guitars. This means they are made to easily fix or swap out necks etc. I now own two guitars. A Gibson Cloud 9 Les Paul and a Mexican Tele. Both guitars are awesome for what I play. The Gibson is just prettier and more work went into making it. The MIM TELE is a fine instrument and bares no resemblance to what is mentioned in this review. I give the Gibson an A and my MIM Tele a B+

  148. Stuart

    thought to check some reviews on the Tele as i have a friend says his Mexico Tele has better tone than my evh wolfgang pevey as i thought not in same ball park (tone deaf)

  149. dean

    Can I just say , I have just sold my squire affinity on ebay , for £200ukbp a lot of money for an affinity you may say, this was a MIC jobby blond with maple fretboard , well doctored , new pups ,standard 50s new tuners , great guitar , sounded bloody lovely . I miss the guitar it was fun to play very nice easy fret board with lowerd action , , my point is I spent something like 130 ukbp on top of the price I paid for it to make it fell ,sound and look better , I didn’t change the bridge kept the original one much easier for internation ect , I have just received my midnight wine MIM telecaster which I paid 270 ukbp for .A used guitar , luckily the previouse owner tells me he had it set up proffesionally by a well known uk guitar tech to a famouse band , nothing has been changed on it , just frets filed , the internation done , and a new set of bullits. Well I,m over the moon ,I am so impressed with this model , I cannot fault it , its an MX04****** serial so its 2004/5 , it realy is a superb guitar if I was to buy an MIA it would probably cost me twice the price so my recommendation is , guess what ??????????????? yip think about it first , then when you have , buy what you can afford , me personally , I would buy a mexicalo rose , and play the hell out of , fore what is cost.

  150. Mickey

    It really all depends on this: are you willing to try out a whole mess of them (used as well)… because if you are, you’ll find a good one and yes, you might have to do some work on it, but it still beats paying 5 or 6 times the amount for a ’52 RI model which MOST people (including myself) will keep at home & gig out with the Mexi-model.
    My mim Tele is a 1992 (which I bought used after trying out a whole pile of them), and the neck profile (a full C/U combo) is almost the same as my 2002 52 ri. After a little tweaking the mim Tele plays just as nice, while the pickups sound very strong and clean. In all honesty, I even had someone make me a decent offer for it after hearing it through an old Fender Twin reverb. No, it really comes down to the individual guitar…I’ve played some mid-60s Fenders that were dogs, while playing some of the “dreaded” CBS 70s Teles & Strats that were excellent. You just have to be willing to do some searching until you find the right one.

    • Lucky Phil

      All I know is I had a MIA Tele genuine 70’s model that played like a dog, and sounded like nails down a blackboard, through my Fender Deluxe Reverb that blew tubes after every 2nd gig. The perfect setup you would think. All MIA Fender! Hell no. I sold the thing 6 weeks after buying it. Terrible intonation, tuning pegs that would not stay in tune, and a thin lacquer that chipped at the drop of a hat. A working man’s guitar for sure, I was always working on it, trying to get ANY sort of decent tone and stable harmonics from it.
      It had to go. Didn’t look at another Tele for 15 years, until my 2011 Mex Tele turned up in a second hand shop. I will never look for another as I believe I got a real good one. It does everything it’s supposed to, has oodles of tone, and stays in tune with perfect harmonics. Playing a Tele is one thing, but playing one that sounds so sweet and you don’t have to touch the tuning pegs all night is a dream. My search is over.

    • Andy Moore

      This is the most sense I’ve seen on here for a VERY long time!!

    • Andy Moore

      Some wisdom at last!

    • Dean

      I guess I was lucky , I managed to come up trumps on the first MIM I bought , happy new year.

  151. jones

    Well, my feeling is that MIM Fenders . . . . the ones I have seen . . . are like sex and pizza . . . . they’re all good, but some’s better.
    Seriously . . . I have never laid hands on a MIM that I didn’t like.
    I seen some bad Squiers, but never an MIM . . . . now I seriously might be just too easy to please, but let me say this . . . I have been playing pro since the sixties, and in addition to my old USA 77-78 Jazz Bass, ’64 Strat and ’66 Tele, I have the following (MIM) at this time:

    Tele – 1995/1996
    Tele – 2006/2007
    Vintage Player Strat – 2003
    H-S-S Strat – 2003/2004
    Strat – 2001/2002
    J Bass – 2007/2008
    Fretless J Bass – 1998/1999
    P Bass – 1991/1992
    P Bass -1998/1999
    P Bass – 2006/2007

    I am not a trader or collector per se, I just play them, have a studio, and like to have two pretty identical guitars onstage at all times in case of string breakage . . . . . so I like to have a backup for my main guitars . . . . and sometimes I just feel like playing one of the MIMs . . . . And for whatever it is worth, I don’t play Epiphones to back up my GIbsons . . . . I have duplicate Gibosn LPs & SGs, etc.

    My point is this . . . . I have yet to pick one up that I didn’t like. I like my USA stuff better, but I really think that I have yet to see a bad MIM. Now I could be just easily impressed, or have low standards or something . . . . . but if that were the case, wouldn’t I like the Epiphones too?

    Peace and Pizza

    j . . .

  152. Eddie E.

    I have a Fender Telecaster made in Mexico MZ7206779 Can you tell me about it?

    • Andy M


      Made 2007-2008. Unless it’s been under a car I’m sure it’s a nice instrument.

    • T.C.

      Stratocasters are made in a factory. Telecasters are made in heaven.

      • jones

        T.C. . . .
        Best comment I’ve seen on this page.
        Even tho I am a Strat player primarily, and have been for a long time, I will never forget my first love with the Telecaster . . . having already been a pro acoustic player for a couple or three years before picking up electric guitar.seriously . . . seems Leo really somehow got the “Tao”, or spirit of all music that went before and rolled it up into a somewhat new invention, the solid-body electric . . . and the Tele channels all the old time acoustic spirit more than any other slab electric . . . and I have played Les Pauls and especially Strats for decades . . . The Telecaster is an experience that no other guitar can equal, or even understand . . . . made in heaven indeed. I seldom play my old ’66 Tele, but when I do, it humbles me . . .

        Make Lunch, Not War

        j . . .

  153. Third, distributors are so confident in its skills that they give money back guarantees for people today who try it out.

    • Dean

      I love my telecaster , strats are two a penny here in the uk , even though mine is a mexicalo rose its gorgeouse I love her , she sings the blues better than any other guitar invented , god bless Leo for inventing her , for the sound , the style , the feel will never ever be beaten , sorry but love is The Fender Telecaster.

      • Mike

        I must agree. There is a resonance, and sub harmonic that is un matched in guitar tone thst you can only get from a Tele, and this comes from woods, shape, thickness and design alone. On the electrical side…a couple of mods I have made to my Sunburst that give my the tone I’m looking for have been putting in a 0.050 mf vintage capacitor, a 1meg Volume pot, -( a-la Mustang) for excessive twang. which can be rolled off bit decreasing the volume a bit if neccessary, a Vintage 52 neck pickup, and leaving a ceramic hot pickup in the bridge position. This give me so many vintage tone differences which I love. The ceramic neck pup, also give a very dirty growly overdriven tone if needed, so mt whole tone spectrum is catered for from rock-a-billy to metal. Awesome guitar with a couple of mods.

  154. Wayne Poulin

    Hi: I recently purchased a 1994 mexican tele. The only question about it is that it came with a normal lipstick pickup at the neck and a single coil chrome lipstick pickup at the bridge. It looks original can anyone tell me if it is original?? Jazzman

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  156. Doc

    Been jonesing for a tele for years. Finally sold ’03 my mim strat (for $300) and bought a ’99 mim tele (for $300) just a few days ago. Debated the purchase for over a month. Played it once a week back to back with a $1700 mia tele that just did nothing for me. I kept comparing them hoping something would click that would make me fall in love with the American one, just never happened. It wasn’t just these two, though I did play them the most. There were about six of them that I tried out regularly, 2 mim and 4 mia, ranging from $250 to $1800. The ’99 mim was by far the best of the bunch, pups are a bit thin sounding when thinking of that classic tele tone, but that is easily remedied for considerably less than the 14-1500 dollar difference. And call me crazy if you want, but a used guitar always sounds and feels better than a new one…

    Of the dozen guitars I own, this one ranks right up near the top for playability, sound-wise, they’re all unique in their own right, if they weren’t I’d only have one wouldn’t I?

    I can’t really tell if the reviewer got a lemon, has an axe to grind with Fender, or is just a pompous expensive guitar lover, but I have to disagree with most of his points (except the jack, it’s shit). But in all fairness, maybe I just lucked out and happened upon a great example… The thing is, there seem to be a whole lot of folks who have happened upon great examples of these guitars.

  157. I could not disagree with you more..Do you have an axe to grind with Fender or what? (no pun intended I assure you) It’s like any instrument, play several and you’ll find your gem. Yes, they’re less expensive so it will take you several to find that “One”, but you will find it. The MIM’s are more than just for beginners. They are work horses for the working musician. I’m not saying that the MIA’s aren’t better… Of course they are. However, if you are looking for a decent backup on a budget, you’ll be very happy with these. It’s not that these are Squiers ya know!

    • mike

      MIM Telecasters are an exceptional guitar for the money. Love mine and play it every single day. Gorgeous finish and built like a tank.

  158. I had my Standard Telecaster set up by the L&M luthier/tech as soon as I bought it, which took care of any woodworking problems, and within a year I replaced the ceramic pickups with Samarium Cobalts. With a bit of work, I ended up with a guitar as good as any Tele out there. (At the time, you needed to buy the American deluxe to get SCN pickups by default.)

    As for people who spam you with the idea that the three saddle bridge affects the tone, that’s abject nonsense. Telecaster tone is almost entirely contained in its highly microphonic single coil pickups… Don’t let anyone sell you on any of that spam about saddles.

    • Mike

      I concur. Although the 3 saddle bridge is authentic as WAS a fan, I have reverted back to my Warmoth 6 saddle unit, for proper intonation purposes with no difference in tone. I have fitted vintage 52 pick-ups, vintage tuners, and a perloid scratch plate. Best thing I ever did, and contrary to the review, the neck is rock solid, straight as a a die, buzz free and a joy to play. Out of 12 guitars in my collection the Tele comes out on top every time.

  159. I bought one around 2008. A mexican one. Its perfect. Absolute pristine sound. I tried about 50 different tells in various shop and that one was the one. A mexican one. It really is built like tank, i dropped it several times, is still just fine.The neck pickup is just from another planet, amazing cleans. Never use the bridge pickup, but don’t see a point in it anyway. The neck plays like a dream, never had any trouble with it and the guitar stays in tune really well. I played a couple of high priced tells in the shop that sounded like absolute garbage. People have to use their ears to buy a guitar, not the size of their wallet.

    • Mike

      Well said Phil. I have had mine for 3 years now and you just can’t kill it. Sturdy as a rock, a tone to die for, and with these new NYXL strings, it NEVER goes out of tune. it’s a different animal in the fender range and Leo sure did nail it the first time. If anyone ever tells you the necks are below par, I personally can’t see it. Straight as a die and no buzz with incredible low action and lovely profile, and perfect harmonics with my new Vintage 3 brass compensated saddle bridge.

      • I own two Gibson Les Pauls. My first guitar was an 1986 Fender Strat with a floyd Rose bridge. Made in Japan. at that time Even the Epiphones that were made in Japan were made better than the Gibsons! This is why that same man made the ESP Eclips. I owned an American strat that was a 2013, than it had problems unlike my MIM strat . The American strat vibrato bar the hole that it screwed in the bar striped. in two days. I took it back for a PRS that cost $1200 and it was such junk. The coil slitting volume broke. I fought and fought with G center. then they said they would give me $250 for it. I tried the MIM Baja did not trust it because of the push in coil splitter. Then I tried the Nashville then the mexican reissue ,and the USA Tele the neck on the USA had a lack of varnish on the maple I went back and forth and decided from experience that on the 1952 Teles are solid and the MIM was no different than the USA but name, and it was made cheep.. If it was made in China no matter what I would not get it. I also owned an SG that the frets cut my hand. so the idiot that claims the American is better just did not look.

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  161. Reg parsons

    Mex guitars rule !!!!

  162. Reg parsons

    Mexican of course

  163. joe hill

    You must be a gibson guy.fender makes a great guitar usa or mim

  164. Kevin

    Pretty harsh. I have nothing but praise for mim. I don’t see the bad fret work you talk about. I’ve seen bad frets on $5000 Gibson’s.
    Sounds like price tag snobbery to me.
    They feel, sound and take a beating just as good as the American ones do at half the price.
    But what do I know. I’ve only been playing 45 years.

    • Mike

      Spot on. Pure snobbery,bought on by dedicated red necks. My MIM TELE is pure heaven. 6 years in. Still wouldnt swap it for tbe world. Such a unique tone. Neck as straight as a die.,Tuners that stay in tune, and a 3 brass saddle bridge with better intonation that 6 saddle variants…Love it.

      • Mike Gotcha

        I commented like 6 or 7 years ago. I have owned a lot of Teles USA and MIM. Now MIC ..Things have changed. I always said if you feel comfortable playing it and like the tone..It works. I just picked up a Fender Squire Vibe M.I.C.. Frigging blew my mind. never thought it would happen. This axe plays as good and sounds as good as my 69.. and my 2010 USA Strat.. 400 bucks.. I am amazed. It doesn’t matter where it was made..It matters how it plays. USA MIM MIC MIJ.. To each his or her own.

  165. Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  166. Hi there great article I have played tele’s all my life over 40 years. I have played americans and mexico. Didn’t find any difference in the comfort or playability. However,I had to change the pickups. I installed the noiseless series and I must say they’re great. Some don’t like them. Don’t know why but it’s probably preferences. I have a 94 moroon meican tele which has six individual saddles. They are on a slant. Don’t know if this makes a difference in sound or playability or not. First one I have ever seen like this.

  167. chris

    i would say that it was a very kind review if you love a challenge and really enjoy tinkering ( like me )this is the guitar for you if you want buy one for an instant gig’er it isn’t for you. Ive been a luthier for about 25 to 30 years if you do want to buy as a instant gig’er buy an Ibanez or a Squire

  168. Alan Moore

    When I bought my Mex Tele in 2002, brand spanking new,I had up to a £1000 to spend. I tried all the teles in the shop,US and MIM,but the one I got roared, was nice to play and made in Mexico…it cost £349.99 then whereas the US ones were double that price and, quite frankly, not as good…a tele should be a monster one minute then a cool country vibe the next….this one has given me both over nearly 20 years and the frets are fine….

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