Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

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Mojo Johnson
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Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by Mojo Johnson » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:32 am

Hi folks,

Sorry if this topic has been done to death, but I have been noticing some interesting trends on guitar resale value and associated perceived value and wanted to get your perspectives.

Specifically, I just bought a brand new MIM Vintera 60's Jaguar. It is really nice. It should be, because it costs $1049 USD. Now I saw a 1997 CIJ Jaguar selling for $800 on Reverb - more than $200 less.

From a spec perspective these guitars are very similar, except that the Vintera Jag has a cool OTM finish with matching headstock, newly designed pickups, CTS pots. On the flip side, it has a Pau Ferro fretboard - a perceived negative. The CIJ Jag in question has an upgraded Mastery bridge and rosewood fretboard. It is a nice sunburst finish but I'm not sure about the electronics.

So my question is - what do you all think about the future valuation of these 2 guitars and the overall bang for your buck? I have a couple of days before my 30-day money back guarantee on the Vintera Jag expires, in which case it is mine forever. The economist in me views returning it and pulling the trigger on that CIJ Jag as a good financial decision in the short-term (I get $200 back and I won't need to buy a new bridge). However, I am also seeing MIM offsets, especially those with matching headstocks like the TVL JM, selling for $1300+ on the market while the valuation of CIJ offsets seems to be diminishing respectively.

I do like the color on the Vintera Jag (and the feel, sound overall is great) so I really think I'm just going to keep it. Part of me wonders if it would be a better investment to flip it for a CIJ though.

What do y'all think?

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by mbene085 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:51 am

I think you shouldn't buy guitars as investments. Worrying about future value is a fool's game. Nobody sees the hits and misses coming. A few years ago, the pawn shop supersonics were being liquidated because nobody wanted them. They're now worth 4-5x that price new. Meanwhile, if you bought a Pawn Shop Jaguarillo during the same sale, you'd have a hard time even selling it right now.

If you're a real flipper and know it's only a matter of time before you sell the guitar, then it's always smart to buy used. New guitars depreciate like cars the second you drive them off the lot, and then it's up to fate whether the used value goes up or down over time.

$800 for CIJ with a Mastery is a good price these days. You could easily sell the bridge and guitar separately and likely make money whenever you sell it...IF that's the game plan.

I think you're misunderstanding the marketplace. CIJs have been going up very steadily compared to the last 10 years. Used MIMs haven't. Your example of the TVL is an outlier because it is already the most expensive Mexican offset out there, it's a current model, and its price new has gone up several hundred dollars over the course of its existence. Plenty of MIM offsets have terrible used value...just look up any of the blacktops, the jaguarillo, etc. In fact, if you want an MIJ comparable to the TVL (rare, artist model, unique colour), check out the prices on the purple sparkle Mascis JM. They've gone batshit crazy over the last few years and are currently somewhere around double what they ever cost when they were new.

But really, you should buy and play guitars you actually enjoy because...that's kind of the point.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by shoule79 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:13 am

Hard to compare new vs used prices. The Vintera selling used is going to be roughly 30% less than $1049, so all things considered the CIJ is worth more.

Having a Mastery bridge is a big upgrade for me, so I wouldn't even think twice about going for the CIJ. The only thing I really give the new MIM's a leg up on is the upgraded pickups/electronics. There again though, the CIJ Jag pickups weren't as bad as the JM ones.

At the end of the day, if you like the Vintera and see yourself keeping it/playing it for a long time, i'd say keep it. Neither are extremely rare or are ever going to be investment pieces. They will increase in value, but mostly due to inflation. My AVRI JM appears to have went up in value vs its new price 15 years ago, and would locally sell for just under 2K (Canadian). Seems like an increase over being a $12-1300 guitar new, but when you compare it to the cost of a new comparable model which now goes for close to 3K, you see that it hasn't really appreciated, the market has changed. The CIJ will likely always be worth a bit more due to age/eventual scarcity vs the MIM, but you are never going to make much off either.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by marqueemoon » Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:03 am

I switched out a MIJ for a modded MIM (Road Worn) earlier this year.

It had the options I wanted pre-installed and a Staytrem dropped right in. It’s a way more usable guitar for my purposes than the MIJ was.

I have vintage guitars where resale value is more of a consideration, but that really wasn’t the point here.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by Squareball » Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:05 pm

If I was you i'd be happy with the brand new Vintera in an amazing colour and not worry about the CIJ.
You could always get a mastery bridge (if you need it) down the line.
Most second hand guitars are cheaper when the model is still in production. - I reckon the Vintera IBM Jazzmaster and the OTM Jaguar will be in high demand when those colours are discontinued.
This was a reason the Japanese models shot up in price due to the supposed closure of Fender in Japan. Weirdly enough there are still models being made though.

Regarding second hand prices and investments, I see so many Japanese offsets going for ridiculous prices now. A rare colour might be worth it, Firemist or astec gold but they are now nearer the price of a second hand American offset. So it depends what you want.
As an example of the wayward prices at the moment i recently saw a Silver blacktop HH Jaguar up for sale in the region of €900.
I mean, it's a lovely guitar but that is a stupid price.
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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by cestlamort » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:02 pm

Always buy what you enjoy. Worst case: you have a guitar that you like.
Use value on both is probably the same.
Exchange value (esp. in the future) will be what it will be. I don't see a sunburst CIJ jag skyrocketing in value (there are lots of sunbursts, the cool CIJ stuff are the "custom" colors, etc. and the "tort" on the CIJ stuff is not appealing to me, at least), but I'm often wrong.
And, basically, even if whichever guitar does skyrocket in value, you won't be able to cash in on the price increase unless you sell it. So, you're just hedging against not being able to buy it later.
As others have said, there's no point in speculating. If you want to make an investment, pony up for a vintage one and roll the dice on what that'll be going for in 5-10 years. (Are vintage refin jags undervalued? My Barron's subscription keeps not getting delivered, so I can't weigh in... Kidding. Well, not about the delivery hassle).
Aesthetics: pick whatever you like.
Remember, too, that a handful of days from now, both will be used guitars.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:08 am

From what I've seen CIJs have appreciated in value at an alarming rate compared to MIMs. CIJ Jags and JMs could be had for about £250-£275 all day long in the early-mid 2000s; those same guitars routinely go for twice-thrice that now. As an indicator of inflation, my monthly rent has not yet doubled between 2000 and 2020.

I'm not sure when they started making offsets in Mexico, so maybe a comparison of the more common Tele is more apt: on that same timeline, a used MIJ Tele cost about the same as the offsets at the time, as did a used Mexican Tele, despite the perception that the MIJ version was a shrewder purchase.

Nowadays the CIJ/MIJ versions of any Fender seems to realise a price tag that acknowledges its quality, which up until recently was reckoned to be better than MIM. As MIM quality has become more appreciated we might see a further adjustment, which I would guess could be MIJ versions of bog-standard guitars - i.e. sunburst, black, and white finished Strats, Teles, and Jaguars with non-limited appointments - dropping in price. (That's 'sold for' price, not asking price; buyers adjust to falling values faster than sellers.)

Interestingly, if you go further back in the MIJ timeline, there doesn't seem to be a huge price differential between Squier- and Fender-branded Strats and Teles, as they're perceived to be pretty much the same thing in quality terms; in fact the '94 Strat I bought recently cost quite a bit less than MIJ Squiers from around the same era that were available locally at the time.

So if you're looking at a CIJ Sunburst Jag in long-term investment terms, you'd do better to hold out for a rarer version - maybe from the '66 B&B line, or a hard to come by colour. If it's best value in quality terms, that same Jag, with the upgrades you mentioned will not disappoint you, though it probably won't be noticeably better than the Vintera, rosewood board and Mastery bridge notwithstanding.

Personally, I'd always buy used, but I've seen this backfire on me in recent years, as even fairly unremarkable things like the VM Squier VI have gone up rather than down in price, contrary to my presumption that I'd be able to buy one for 2/3rds of the new price a year after they came out. Anything from a limited run might be the shrewder purchase nowadays, but as mbene's post spells out, this can be a bit of a gamble.

As almost everyone else is saying, buy the guitar you really want. If I had to choose from the two, and was planning on the Mastery 'upgrade', I'd go for the CIJ as long as it wasn't anywhere near in need of a refret, because it'll be fine, it's cheaper, and if it does fall in value over time it at least comes with a 'parting out' safety net of the Mastery and the rosewood board neck, both of which have their fans; opt for the Vintera and you can probably knock about 20-30% off the price if you decide to sell it, even in pristine condition.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by Mojo Johnson » Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:13 am

Thanks for all the feedback, guys. At the end of the day, I don’t think I’d be any happier with the CIJ Jag than I am with my Vintera, so I decided to stick with it and stop mulling over what might have been.

I absolutely love the color of the Vintera Jag, and the overall vibe. However, you should know that I did encounter some QC issues with this model which has been weighing on my mind:

1.) The 1st one I got had a bad pickup from the factory and it was returned/replaced.

2.) I got a new one a week later and this one had some issues too:

- The vintage style bridge completely collapsed during a gig (the saddle grub screws on G and B strings unscrewed themselves and bottomed out the strings on the bridge). I know this just happens with all VS bridges - I dealt with it with nail varnish for now.

- The low E tuning peg was also faulty. It would spin and spin like the gears were stripped and wouldn’t tighten the string.

I was pretty upset at that point because I had played 2 gigs with it and it failed on me in both in different ways. I almost returned it then but I decided to just buy a new set of tuners for it and I haven’t looked back.

So this Vintera Jaguar already has a story. Not a really fun story, but one that strangely endears it to me. I also really like the way it looks, plays and sounds. Despite these QC issues I had to deal with (and the nagging thought that I’m eventually going to need to invest in a different bridge) I feel it’s a good guitar.

Now, what got me thinking about the CIJ is just that I heard they are of superior quality, the Mastery and the RW board appeal to me, and it looks like a screaming deal.

All said and done though, I’m going to continue to enjoy my Vintera, hopefully for years to come.

BTW - I am sort of a guitar flipper, which is why I initially asked about market value. As much as I tend to fall in love with certain guitars, I eventually change up my style and start craving the next thing. Finances being what they are (and being a husband and father of 3) I usually have to sell a guitar to get the next one I crave, so I am mindful of resale value of everything I buy, you know... just in case!

On a side note, I truly admire guys who keep one guitar forever and beat the ever living shit out of it until it becomes a part of them. I’ve never been able to do that with guitars.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by ludobag1 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:07 am

it dépend of what you want ,cij and mij have better choice for color than mim ,but they grow up in price for rare colors (too much for my taste ,a cij in car with matching was 600 € six years ago and now 1000 €) for the price of used cij with pickups needed to be change you have a new mim ,also you ve got a case ,cij are in gigbag
i have a classic 60 jag fiesta red that i sale also like my cij in car with matching (i don't bond on jag :fp: i want but not) for me the overall quality of the mim was better than the cij ,way less lighter and better pickups ,nitro instead poly (but poly doesn't afraid me cause it is more resistant than nitro and less trouble for putting the guitar outside is case )
to me if you find the color of your choice cij it could be cool despite a pick up change needed but the mim have us spec then easyer to change guard and parts ,for the same price i will buy all for color purpose but at this time mim are my first choice (used market for mim is evermore interresting )

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by jvin248 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:23 am

.

You did the best option. Used guitars are seeing a lot of upward price pressure right now that will evaporate quickly in the next year or so as economic issues collide and people are selling to get cash.

.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by Larsongs » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:18 am

The Guy is asking $800.00.. He'll probably take less.. Asking price & Selling price are 2 different things.. Long term value of Mass produced anything is anybodies guess.. But usually to have a dramatic increase in value it has to be Special in some way...

Like some Artist making it famous, or it has magic Pickups, they're very limited Production or some world class Luthier built it..

Generally run of the mill Guitars depreciate over time..

If you want a Jag that will retain it's value & possibly appreciate over time you should be looking for a USA. A good bet is a mint Used AV65.. Meanwhile you'll have an amazing Guitar to play..

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by Beyer160 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:10 am

At this price point, you shouldn't be thinking about guitars as investments. I like to try out different instruments, so I flip a lot- I know the current market value, and if I see something cool that I feel is underpriced so I can play for a few months then make a few bucks flipping, I'll go for it. Resale value of import guitars is always going to be volitile and highly dependent on your local market. Right now we're living in an ahistorical bubble that will quite likely burst within a year, so really, all bets are off.

From my experience with the Classic series (I've never played a Vintera though), I'll take a MIM offset all day long over CIJ. Lots of folks like CIJs though, so you really ought to play them both to form your own opinion.

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by Ceylon » Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:39 pm

For what it's worth I have a CIJ Jazzmaster from 1994, which is meant to be one of the better years. Early production Japanese Fenders have a better reputation than later for whatever reason. I also have the same exact Jaguar that you do. Mine didn't have any QC issues, and I switched the bridge for a Staytrem, but it's every bit as good of a guitar in any respect I could think of, with the added benefit of nicer electronics and pickups from the get go.
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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by Mojo Johnson » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:51 am

Ceylon wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:39 pm
For what it's worth I have a CIJ Jazzmaster from 1994, which is meant to be one of the better years. Early production Japanese Fenders have a better reputation than later for whatever reason. I also have the same exact Jaguar that you do. Mine didn't have any QC issues, and I switched the bridge for a Staytrem, but it's every bit as good of a guitar in any respect I could think of, with the added benefit of nicer electronics and pickups from the get go.
I really like the Vintera now that I've got it sorted. I read your NGD thread a few times while I was waiting for it to arrive - I like the way yours' looks with the white pickguard too!

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Re: Long-term value of CIJ vs. MIM Offsets

Post by jakeisjake » Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:25 am

on one hand...you have a guitar that you like a lot.

on the other...one you don't know if you'd like.

from experience, I say keep the one you like.
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