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've played guitar for over 35 years, and I've probably heard it all when it comes to Squier criticisms. Personally, I consider many Squier models among the best electric guitars for beginners. 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 the pros and cons of Squier by Fender. By the time we're done, 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.
How Bad Are Squier Guitars?
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.
Unfortunately, quality control is something to watch out for with 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 sometimes 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.
Why Squier Guitars Are Worth the Money
Though there are a few negatives, it certainly isn’t fair to dismiss Squier guitars. While the points above are sometimes 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 one of your best bets and will provide excellent 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 an inexpensive first rig for a beginning guitarist for around $300. You can also find , which contain a guitar, a Fender amplifier and all the accessories you need to begin playing. Squier starter packs
In my opinion, Squier starter kits are a smart way for beginners to get into the guitar without spending a lot of money. You don't have to hunt down each individual piece of gear - everything comes in one box. While the instrument may be of the lower-quality Affinity series, the amp is good enough to be used for the rest of your career as a practice amp.
The Squier Strat Pack
Squier Guitars for Advanced Players
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, and in my opinion quite a bit better than standard Squiers, but still very affordable. Many musicians find them on-par, or in some cases even better than, Player Series Mexican-made Fender guitars.
As for me, I think they're close, but it's still tough to beat a real Fender, even the Standards. However, if you are on a tight budget I think it is a good idea to take a close look, especially at the Classic Vibe Series Strats.
I have been really impressed with the Squier Contemporary Series in recent times as well. I suggest checking out the Contemporary Strat HSS.
Guitars in the Classic Vibe and Contemporary Series are some of the best electric guitars under $500 you are going to find. And, yes, they are Squiers.
Squier Guitars FAQ
How much does a Squier guitar cost?
Squier guitars range in price from around $180 for the Bullet Series Stratocasters and Telecasters up to around $500 for Artist Series, Classic Vibe Series, and Contemporary Series instruments. Beginners can get an Affinity Series Squier for about $200.
Are Fender and Squier the same?
Squier is a brand owned by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. That’s Fender. While Squier and Fender are not the same, they are brands within the same company. Other brands owned by Fender include Jackson, Charvel, and Bigsby.
What is the difference between a Squier Strat and a Fender Strat?
While they look almost identical, there are significant differences between a Squier and Fender Stratocasters. The most important is the quality of the materials used. Squier guitars are affordable instruments, and they use budget components where Fenders feature premium components. Fender’s pickups, hardware, electronics, and woods are all of higher quality than what you see on Squier Strats.
Why is Squier better than Fender?
Squier is better than Fender for beginners and guitarists on a tight budget. Fender guitars are fantastic, but some guitar players can’t justify the cost. In these cases, Squier is often a better choice. You can get a real Strat or Tele for a fraction of the price of a Fender. Even though they may not features the premium specs you will see on the Fender, Squier guitars are still very good for the money.
What is the best Squier guitar?
The best Squier guitars are in the Contemporary, Classic Vibe, and Artists Series.
Top 10 Squier Guitars
- Contemporary Stratocaster HSS
- Contemporary Telecaster
- Classic Vibe ‘60s Stratocaster
- Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster
- Classic Vibe ‘50s Telecaster
- Contemporary Active Stratocaster
- Jim Root Telecaster
- Classic Vibe ‘70s Stratocaster HSS
- Classic Vibe ‘70s Stratocaster
- Contemporary Active Jazzmaster
The Jim Root Tele
Should You Buy a Squier?
The decision to choose a Squier should be made with a total understanding of what you are getting. Comparing Squier to 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. If you are just starting out you are smart to check out some of the best Squier guitars for beginners.
The Classic Vibe and Contemporary 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 a player looking to make the jump from a less expensive Squier. These are some of the top electric guitars for intermediate players.
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.
Squier by Fender: Your Opinion
Would you consider owning a Squier guitar?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Are Squier and Fender guitars and basses the same size?
Comparable Squier and Fender instruments are the same or very similar in size, depending on the specific guitar or bass. Fender guitars have a scale length of 25.5 inches, and their basses a scale length of 34 inches. Squier is the same.
However, both brands have smaller instruments in their lineups, such as the Squier Bronco bass which has a scale length of 30 inches, and the Fender Jaguar guitar which has a scale length of 24 inches.
Body sizes and styles will vary slightly, not only between Squier and Fender, but also between Fender instruments from different eras. These differences are incredibly subtle. Neck shapes vary. The weights of the instruments vary, depending on the wood used and the routing of the guitar, and the contours of the body may differ slightly when comparing different eras.
For the average beginner who is interested in a Squier, none of this should be of concern. A Squier made today is designed to be an affordable alternative to Fender, and so will be almost identical at first glance.Helpful 87