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Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
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Playability
68
Sound
72
Build
67
Value
69
Score
69
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Playability
68
Sound
75
Build
80
Value
64
Score
74
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Side to side spec comparison >

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Music Man Cutlass RS HSS

Reasons to Get
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster over Music Man Cutlass RS HSS

Release Year
2023 vs 2017
From a more recent year
Number of Frets
21 vs 22
Warmer neck pickup
Neck Profile
U Shape vs Cutlass RS
Comfortable neck with more grip
Pickups
SS vs HSS
Beautiful cleans
Nut Width
1.615'' (41mm) vs 1.625'' (41.3mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Bridge
Fixed vs Tremolo
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Fretboard Radius
9.5'' (241.3mm) vs 10'' (254mm)
Easier to play chords without muting strings
Value Score
69 vs 64
Better price/quality relationship

Reasons to Get
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS over Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

Fret Material
Stainless Steel vs Nickel Silver
Best fret material that will last forever
Neck Profile
Cutlass RS vs U Shape
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Switch Positions
5 vs 3
More tone options
Pickups
HSS vs SS
High output with beautiful cleans and tone versatility
Number of Frets
22 vs 21
Allows to reach higher notes
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Nut Width
1.625'' (41.3mm) vs 1.615'' (41mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Bridge
Tremolo vs Fixed
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Fretboard Radius
10'' (254mm) vs 9.5'' (241.3mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend

Other Key Differences
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Music Man Cutlass RS HSS

Bridge Pickup
Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele vs Music Man Custom Humbucker
Different Bridge Pickup
Neck Pickup
Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele vs Music Man Custom Single Coil
Different Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Basswood vs Alder
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple vs Figured Maple
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Maple vs Figured Maple
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 4-2
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Bone vs Compensated
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Music Man Cutlass RS HSS

Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Nut
  • High-Quality Frets
  • From a High-Quality-Standards Country
  • Top Pickup Brand

Common Weaknesses

  • Neck-Through Build
  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Weight Relief
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Prices

SET PRICE ALERT
SET PRICE ALERT

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Which One is Better for Beginners?

Both meet 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players. If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, you can't go wrong with either of them.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple
Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America. Find out more about Maple.

Basswood is a lightweight type of wood that isn't as expensive as other popular choices for guitar building. It gives more power to the mid-range frequencies. Its color can vary from pale white to light brown. Find out more about Basswood.

Woods Used in the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS

Figured Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Figured Maple
Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder

This wood has beautiful patterns only found in specific types of maple.

Alder is the most popular wood that Fender uses in most of their guitars nowadays. Even though they say it's because of its balanced tone with an emphasis in the upper midrange, it probably is because it isn't too expensive, and it's also pretty lightweight—more than Mahogany. Find out more about Alder.

Winner: Music Man Cutlass RS HSS.

Pickup Configuration

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has an SS configuration while the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS has HSS pickups.

SS is the classic Telecaster configuration. It's used mainly for playing clean or with low-gain distortion, and it's very popular for the country genre because of their brightness. It doesn't give you as much versatility as a Strat SSS configuration, but you might like the cleaner look of a guitar body with fewer pickups.

On the other hand, HSS provides a great balance if you like to play with a lot of distortion, but also love to use clean tones. You'll get a lot of output at the bridge position, but you'll be able to play bright clean tones at the other positions.

Pickups Quality

Both come with very good pickups from at least one of the specialized brands in the market. With pickups like these, you probably won't need an upgrade anytime soon.

However, the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a slight sound quality advantage when taking into account other factors like the type of pickups, magnet, position, etc.

You can purchase similar pickups to the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's and use them on any guitar:

Both use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster.

Versatility Comparison

Some instruments offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

The Music Man Cutlass RS HSS gives you 5 switch options while the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster gives you 3. This means that the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS gives you more options to find the right pickup combination for the type of sound you want to achieve

Neither of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's switch options
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Music Man Cutlass RS HSS.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 54
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 72
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
Pickups 90
Sustain 65
Versatility 70
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 75

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster compares to the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster is built in Japan while the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS is made in United States.

Japan has a long history of high-quality guitar building. Little has changed in terms of their manufacturing and quality control over the years. Many guitars made in this country can be compared—and even beat—others made in the US.

The United States is considered one of the best electric guitar manufacturers in the world. A guitar made in this country is supposed to have world-class quality control. Nowadays, guitars made in other countries can beat some of the ones made in the US, but most of the time, this country offers the best you can get. Of course, that comes at a price.

Winner: Tie

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a Bone nut. It's a type of nut found in high-quality instruments. They sound similar to Ivory since they give a lot of sustain and a bright sound (at least when striking open strings). The only problem they can run into is that you may get a bone piece that simply doesn't sound as well as others because that's just how natural materials are.

On the other hand, the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS comes with a Compensated nut. Each hole where the string sits at the nut is cut at a different distance from the bridge, which compensates for the different amount of tension that each string is subject to. This fixes most intonation issues across the fretboard, so it gives great tuning stability.

Winner: Tie.

Fret Material

Most fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most instruments end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive models come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

In this comparison, the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS is the only one that has stainless steel frets. These frets will basically last for the entire life of the guitar. They will never need polishing nor replacement. And not only that, but some people also notice that bending and vibratos are much easier to perform when they upgrade to stainless steel.

Winner: Music Man Cutlass RS HSS.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's brige is a Fixed. It's a simple bridge that is very beginner-friendly since it doesn't require any set-up. You can swap strings easily. It might also give more sustain since it doesn't have complex moving parts that make the strings lose vibration. However, it doesn't have the same versatility as a tremolo bridge.

On the other hand, the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS's is a Tremolo. Tremolo bridges give you more versatility than fixed bridges. They let you perform the intense vibrato effects that would be impossible with a fixed bridge. However, since the bridge floats and there's less contact with the body, the strings lose sustain slightly faster. They can also be a bit harder to restring and set up correctly than fixed bridges.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

The Music Man Cutlass RS HSS has the best tuners of the two because they are locking tuners. They'll help to keep your guitar in tune because they allow you to tune it without wrapping the strings around the posts. This avoids variations in the tuning due to the strings changing position at the post after a bend. They come at the disadvantage of being slightly heavier than regular tuners. Also, it makes it a lot easier to restring.

Winner: Music Man Cutlass RS HSS.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

Both have a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Tie.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
  • Made in Japan
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compensated Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Quality of materials 66
Features 50
Quality Control 85
Build Quality 67
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
Quality of materials 81
Features 65
Quality Control 95
Build Quality 80

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar might be to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Nut Width
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Nut Width
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS Nut Width
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS has the wider nut with 41.3mm (1.625'') vs 41mm (1.615''). This is a 0.3mm (0.01'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster and Music Man Cutlass RS HSS's Scale Length
Both have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both have a scale length of 25.5".

This is the scale used in most Stratocasters. It's slightly longer than the typical 24.75'' size found in Les Pauls, and it's one of the main reasons why Stratocasters have such a bright sound in general. A longer scale also means that the strings will have higher tension. This will help you get lower action without suffering fret buzz, which will also be helpful when playing in lower tunings without having to increase your string gauge.

However, this also means that there will be more separation between frets, which can make it more difficult to play. Also, bending the strings will require more strengths due to the increased tension, but remember that a tremolo guitar will offset this difficulty.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Neck Profile
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's neck profile
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS Neck Profile
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

In this case, both have different neck shapes:

The Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster has a U type of neck. This is also referred to as ''baseball neck'' because of its shape. It's usually thick, which is why some people with big hands like it. However, they can also be thin, similar to a C shape, but with more shoulders for a better grip.

The Music Man Cutlass RS HSS, on the other hand, has a C neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

Fretboard Radius

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Fingerboard Radius
Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's Fingerboard radius
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS Fingerboard Radius
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS's Fingerboard radius

Most guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

In this case, the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster's fingerboard radius is smaller, which means it's more curved than the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS's. This extra arc will make playing chords easier in this model. You won't be as likely to mute the strings, especially if you have big hands. However, playing single notes and bending will be easier on the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS.

Still, both are closer to a Stratocaster radius than a Les Paul, so both of them will favor chord playing rather than soloing.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

And after taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that the Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster favors large hands more than the Music Man Cutlass RS HSS.

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster and Music Man Cutlass RS HSS Frets Size
Both have a similar Medium Jumbo fret size

Both have a Medium Jumbo fret size. These are slightly shorter than full Jumbo frets, so you'll still feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings. However, they interfere less with your fretting hand than medium-size frets. This is a good size if you like easy-to-press frets, but would still like to feel a bit of the fretboard when playing.

Final Playability Scores

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster
Bending & Vibrato Ease 65
Chord Playability 90
Solo Playability 50
Playability 68
Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
Bending & Vibrato Ease 65
Chord Playability 75
Solo Playability 65
Playability 68

Specs Side-by-Side

Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster vs Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
General Fender Made in Japan Limited International Color Telecaster Music Man Cutlass RS HSS
Brand: Fender Music Man
Year: 2023 2017
Configuration: SS HSS
Strings: 6 6
Made in: Japan United States
Series: Made in Japan Limited International Cutlass RS
Colors: Blue, Brown
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Basswood Alder
Bridge: 3-Saddle Vintage-Style Strings-Through-Body Tele with Chrome Barrel Saddles Music Man Modern Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: Fender Vintage F Stamped Schaller M6-IND locking
Fretboard: Maple Roasted Figured Maple
Neck Material: Maple Roasted Figured Maple
Decoration: Black Dot 1/4 Black Or White Face Dots
Scale Size: 25.5" 25.5"
Shape: U Shape Cutlass RS
Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Medium Jumbo Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 9.5" 10"
Nut: Bone Compensated
Nut Width: 41mm (1.615'') 41.3mm (1.625'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele (Single Coil / Passive) Music Man Custom Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele (Single Coil / Passive) Music Man Custom Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Switch: 3 Way 5 Way
Knobs: Dome Bell
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 1