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Japanese Fenders: Comparing to American & Mexican

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japanese fenders

In today’s article, we’re going to take a close look on Japanese Fenders. If you’re wondering if these guitars are better than American and Mexican-made models, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place! Undoubtedly, Fender guitars made in Japan are really popular, but are they actually better than the regular models?

The truth is that Japanese Fenders feature a really good quality and in most cases, they are on the same level as the American-made models. On the other hand, there are a lot of different models, so it’s tough to compare them. But in general, Fender MIJ guitars are definitely worth it.

Let’s dive deeper with research to find out what makes these guitars so special. We’ll compare the MIJ models with the guitars crafted in Mexico and American. Hopefully, today’s article will help you with finding out which model is a good fit for you.

Fender JV Modified Series

Fender recently announced a brand new series of guitars – the JV Modified Series. If you want to read more about these guitars, I wrote a detailed article about it. Here’s one of my favorite guitars from this series – Fender JV Modified ’50s Stratocaster.

Japanese vs American Fenders

Both American and Japanese Fender guitars offer an amazing quality, so it is really difficult to pick a clear winner of that battle. I’m sure that we all know that Fenders made in the factory in Corona, CA are usually considered as the best and they’re also the most expensive at the same time.

But the truth is that the tone and feel of Fenders MIJ is really comparable with these American-made guitars. Some guitarists think that they’re actually better, but it’s all really subjective. Nevertheless, considering the fact that they’re usually less expensive, they are a really good value for the money.

From what I’ve read, some of the top MIJ models feature the quality comparable with the best custom shop Fenders. Whether that’s true or not, the high quality of Japanese Fenders is definitely a fact.

Here’s a direct comparison of these guitars – feel free to check it out. To be honest, when you listen to these guitar tones, it’s not that easy to hear any difference.

Japanese vs Mexican Fenders

Things get really interesting when you start comparing Japanese and Mexican-made Fender guitars. In the end, the Mexican models are generally known to be a little bit worse than American-made models. Still, the difference between these guitars is not that huge and it’s actually unnoticeable for amateur guitarists.

Similarly as before, it is almost impossible to clearly say which of these guitars are better, because it’s all really subjective. While some people will prefer the feel and sound of Mexican-made guitars, others will be satisfied with the Japanese-made guitars.

Here’s a really good video that compares Japanese, Mexican and American Fenders – make sure to check it out as well.

My Experience With Japanese Fenders

I played on a few Japanese Strats during my journey as a guitarist and I was always amazed by their quality. I particularly enjoyed their attention to detail – I have a feeling that guitars from that region are made with a much better precision. Maybe I was just lucky, but I never experienced any problems with setup on their guitars.

It’s time for some bro-science! Based on my own experience, I have a feeling that the American-made Fenders are a bit more soulful than the rest. When you play on them, you can feel and hear their story. The Mexican Fenders have a bit more character and they sound really old school, while the Japanese Fenders feel and sound really classy.

Of course, other guitarists may disagree with that and that’s completely fine. Personally, I’d stick with the American Fenders – I just love their quality and feel. Nevertheless, both Mexican and Japanese Fenders also offer a really high quality suitable for both beginners and more intermediate guitarists.

How much are Japanese Fenders?

The prices of Japanese Fenders vary a lot and they can cost from $100 to up to $1500. There are a lot of different factors that affect the final price of these instruments: the year of production, their quality and their general shape.

Overall, sometimes it’s possible to find a really good deal in a low price. Getting a guitar which is that good for only $100 or $200 seems like a huge opportunity. So if you’ll notice a cheap Japanese Fender in your area, it may be worth to check it out. There’s a high chance that it’s going to be awesome!

Where can you buy a Japanese Fender?

If you’re interested in getting a Japanese Fender, there’s a few places where you can get it. Still, it all depends if you’re looking for a new or used guitar.

Guitarists who are looking for new Fenders MIJ should definitely check out Kurosawa Gakki – they ship guitars from Japan internationally. Still, considering the taxes and delivery costs, it may actually be really expensive. Another Japanese site that you can check out is Ikebe Gakki.

The best option is to start searching for a reliable and used Fender guitar that was made in Japan. There is a lot of them out there and they’re regularly showing up on online auctions. I highly recommend checking out sites like Reverb – there is a high chance that you’re going to find a good Japanese Fender in there that won’t break your budget.


As you can see, the Japanese Fender guitars are really interesting. Out of my experience, most of them feature an exceptional quality and attention to detail, which is comparable with the American-made models.

What do you think about the Fender guitars that come from Japan? Have you ever used a Fender MIJ? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with me and visitors of the blog, I’m really interested to hear more about your experience!

Thanks for checking out this post, hopefully it was helpful. If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:

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