We all love Fender, but we don’t love spending thousands on a guitar. Luckily, Fender Player Telecasters are made in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, close to the US border south of California, and are much more affordable, yet just as awesome as the American made guitars.
Or are they really?
A brief history of Fender Musical Instruments
Founded in the fifties by the legendary guitar builder Leo Fender, the brand has created some of the most recognisable instruments in history. The Stratocaster is the most famous, copied most often, and popular electric guitar in history thanks to its presence in popular culture, as well as the amount of famous artists using them.
The predecessor of the famous ‘Strat’ was the Fender Telecaster. Designed and built in the fifties, it was named after the recent invention of the television. The Fender Telecaster is also one of the most famous and recognisable instruments in the world, used by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, and Jimmy Page. Whilst being primarily used by guitarists that favour genres like country and blues, it’s used in virtually any style of music. Over the years there have been a ton of different models and flavors of Telecaster, as well as a wide range of Telecaster copies from other companies.
Historically, Fender’s guitars have been built in two different places. The high-end fancy Fenders have always been built in the US. The lower-tier budget-friendly Fender guitars used to be made in Japan, but have shifted over to Mexico.
The Fender Player Series – Mexican-made Glory
The Fender Player Series replaced the ever so popular Fender Standard series. Designed in the US, built in Mexico, these guitars offer the real Fender experience at slightly more budget-friendly prices. Most Fender Player Series guitars cost between 500-750$ new, and similar Mexican Fenders often range between 300-600$. This puts it in the perfect budget range for serious guitar players who want to step up from their cheaper (often Squier) guitars.
Within the Player Series, Fender makes basically all beloved models, with multiple finish options and construction types. Within this series, you’ll find everything from Stratocasters to Mustangs and even famous bass guitar models like the Fender P-bass and the Fender J-bass.
Fender Player Series guitars are all made in the world renowned Mexican Fender factory. This factory has been pumping out amazing instruments for many years, and will lilely do so for many many years to come.
The truth about the US made v.s import made guitars is that it really doesn’t matter anymore. These days, basically every factory has the same machines (CNC machines) and very skilled staff working on and supervising the factory floor. What this means, is that especially in recent years, guitar prices have gone down, but quality has gone up. It’s very hard to find a really bad Squier guitar anymore, because they simply don’t exist in large quantities anymore.
Quality control is another thing that people often complain about on guitars that were not built in the US. The truth is though, Fender will not let a single bad guitar leave the factory with a Fender logo on the headstock. They have to guarantee a certain amount of quality if they don’t want to be criticized for the production of faulty instruments. This means that Mexican Fender guitars will be just as strictly checked as the American models. So there’s no point in worrying about finish flaws, or faulty electronics on the Meican Fenders as opposed to the American Fender guitars.
Advantages of an American-made Fender Guitar
Maybe you’ll think “Why bother with American guitars?” after all that, but there’s in fact some valid reasons for it.
First of all, there’s a much better selection of guitars wit ]h different features, like pickups and their configurations. Also, finish options can be a huge advantage, as the Fender Player Series doesn’t have very many finish options for the different types of guitars.
There’s also the added charm that comes with an American made guitar. Especially if you live in the USA, as you can say that your guitar was built in your own country. American Fenders also often come with extras like matching hardcases for the guitars.
The last reason for buying an American Fender could be the better resale value. American Fenders tend to lose less value than the Mexican Fenders. This can be crucial for someone who likes to buy and sell guitars and retain as much value as possible.
Conclusion – Are the Mexican Fenders just as awesome?
In a way, yes. They both use the same building technology and come in a wide variety of specification options. The Mexicans are a little more stripped down, yet very affordable and really great. And the Americans are just a bit more luxurious and have a certain flair to them that is unmatched by any other guitar. So, both types of Fenders are amazing in their own right. And that’s what really matters.