Guitar Review: Is Squier by Fender a Good Brand?
What is Squier by Fender?
Squier guitars and basses are among the most popular instruments sold online and in guitar shops around the world. A couple of things account for this. For one, they are inexpensive instruments, with many models costing under $200. This makes them accessible to beginning guitarists, or even experienced players looking for a solid foundation for a project guitar.
Another reason Squier guitars are so popular is the Fender name. Since Squier is owned by Fender, arguably the most successful guitar company in the world, you know when you get a Squier it is something more than an average beginner's guitar.
Fender makes affordable versions of their Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Jazz Bass and Precision Bass under the Squier brand. This puts these classic designs in the hands of new musicians who otherwise couldn't justify spending the money. These guitars might cost less, but they're every bit a Fender
The Squier reputation varies, and people seem to either love them or hate them. Some experienced guitarists say they are the best deals in the guitar world. Other advanced players dismiss them as beneath them. But if you're considering a Squier you're probably new to the guitar.
Maybe you've heard both sides of the story, and your biggest question is simply: Are Squier guitars any good?I
I've played guitar for over 30 years, and I've probably heard it all when it comes to Squier criticisms. I can't help notice that the loudest complaints often seem to come from those who aren't really sure what they are talking about. For new musicians, this has to be pretty confusing.
In this article I'll break down of the pros and cons of Squier by Fender. By the time we're done hopefully you'll have a better idea of what these guitars can do for you, and whether they are a good fit for your budget and skill level.
Squier: The Bad
Let's get the negative points out of the way and then move on to the good stuff. You've most likely heard them all already, so here are the issues one by one.
1. Squier guitars are low-budget instruments intended for newbies who have never touched a guitar before.
Some of them, but this isn't a bad thing, depending on your goals and skill level. Most professional musicians would not depend on Squier to meet their needs, but if you are a beginner they are about as close as you're going to get to a real Fender guitar without shelling out big money.
2. Squier quality control is not the best.
True enough for any guitar in this price range, and this means it's important to buy from a retailer, either online or locally, with a good return policy. If you're buying in person, it’s important to check out many instruments before you decide on one.
Inspect the neck alignment, the fretwork and the electronics to make sure everything has been assembled correctly. You should do this on any guitar you purchase, but inexpensive guitars in particular can exhibit minor issues.
3. Squiers are tough to play and keep in tune.
Sometimes, but this is usually due to bad setups, and inexperienced players who do not know how to work on a guitar. Often it is not a fault of the guitar itself.Straight from the factory no guitar is set up perfectly, but for Squiers this is an especially evident problem.
There may be issues with the fretboard shrinkage or expansion, causing the frets to appear uneven and pokey. The action may need to be adjusted to make the guitar is easier to play. All of these problems can and should be fixed by a good guitar tech if you can’t do the work yourself.
4. Squier guitars are not designed to last a lifetime.
Maybe not, but if you take good care of yours it certainly could. The materials and construction are intended to result in an inexpensive guitar for a novice player who will eventually move on to something better. Squier hopes that means a new Fender guitar someday, but for now they'll to give you just enough of a Fender taste to keep you hooked.
Unfair? Not really. You won't regret becoming a Fender junkie for the rest of your life, that's for sure.
5. Squiers sound awful.
This is a complaint from experienced guitar players, for the most part. Or, just as often you'll hear it from guitar players who don't know any better, but heard it from someone else. The Squier sound is similar to the Fender sound with a few differences veteran guitar players may pick up on.
Squier pickups are a little weaker, and the body materials used do not allow for the richness of tone found in Fenders. Again, Squier is hoping to please a demographic of beginning guitarists, not veteran tone freaks who are extremely picky.
These are low-budget instruments that sacrifice a little sound to keep costs affordable. For the money, Squier guitars sound just fine.
If you are a newbie, a Squier is the perfect first guitar. You can grab everything you need in a starter kit like this one!
Classic Vibe '60s Stratocaster
Squier Guitars: The Good
Though there are negatives, it isn’t fair to completely dismiss Squier guitars. While the points above are certainly true of the Bullet, Affinity and Standard lines, it’s tough to find a better guitar out there for the price. If you have around $200 to spend, Squier is your best bet, and will provide the highest value for your money.
Squiers are meant to be inexpensive guitars for beginning players, and they are very good at exactly that. Many players, even after they have moved on to more expensive guitars, still have their first Squier and regard it with affection. Fender, through the Squier brand, has done an amazing job of giving beginning guitarists exactly what they need.
There are a bunch of Squier guitars that, when put together with a small-wattage practice amp, make in inexpensive first rig for a beginning guitarist for around $300. Fender also produces affordable Stop Dreaming Start Playing starter packs, which contain a Squier guitar, a Fender amplifier and all the accessories you need to get started playing.
This is a smart idea on their part, and they sell a bunch of them. While the instrument may be of the low-quality Affinity series, the amp can be used for the rest of your career as a practice amp.
Some Squiers transcend their name, and have started to forge a new legacy for the brand over the past several years. The Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified series guitars have gained a well-deserved reputation as great instruments.
They are more expensive guitars, a cut above standard Squiers, but still very affordable. Many musicians find them on-par, or in some cases even better than, Standard Mexican-made Fender guitars.
Squier has some great guitars and basses in the Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified series. They are definitely worth checking out.
Hear the Squier Vintage Modified Strat
Should You Buy a Squier?
The decision to choose a Squier should be made with a total understanding of what you are getting. Expecting a Squier or be as good as a Fender isn’t realistic, and you would only be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Squier guitars are aimed at the beginning guitarist, and they fill that niche well. They are affordable, provide value, and serve as a great starting point for the career of a new guitarist.
The Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified lines are fine extensions of the Squier brand, providing options for more experienced players while still remaining affordable. They're worth a look for a veteran player who wants to expand his collection, a beginner with a few extra dollars in his pocket, or an intermediate player looking to make the jump from a less expensive Squier.
There is nothing wrong with Squier by Fender guitars, as long as you understand what they are. Choose your guitar wisely. If you decide to buy online be sure to go through a reputable source with a good return policy.