Normally the difference between the standard Fender brands and the Squier brands of guitar are clear and plain, but in the 90s, a number of guitars were released by Fender that blurred this distinction. The Fender "Squier Series" of Stratocasters will not be familiar to many guitar fans, but in this piece, we'll take a look at this unique series and what marks them out from the usual budget range of Squier guitars.
Following my recent experiences with a Fender Stratocaster that I bought at eBay, I thought I would put together this page to help other potential buyers spot if they are getting a standard or "Squier Series" Stratocaster. It turns out that the one I bought was not a standard Fender Stratocaster despite being sold to me as one. What I didn't know, and nor did the seller was that this was in fact a "Squier Series" Stratocaster.
I'd not heard of these sort of guitars before so at first was a bit worried I'd bought a dud. Don't get me wrong, it is a lovely guitar, but I uncovered a surprise when I took the neck off to make some adjustments. There in the neck pocket was a stamp that said Squier. I was initially horrified thinking I had a cheaper body stuck on the guitar neck, but turned to the internet to try to learn what was going on.
Before I'd played with this guitar I hadn't suspected that it was anything other than a Fender Stratocaster. The body was a lot more solid and heavier than the Squier Stratocasters I had tried from the same era. It all felt right and sounded great. I couldn't believe that this was actually a cheaper built Squier, it felt too good! As it turns out, Squier in this case signifies something different to the Squier brand.
So, I set off on searching to try and see if I could figure out what was going on. My searching led me back to 1993, and a budget range of Fender Stratocasters, that were most definitely not the lesser Squier, but something else instead.
Fender Vs Squier
Firstly I think for those who are new to Fender and Squier guitars, it's worth giving a quick overview of what the differences between the two brands are. Firstly, Fender have been producing guitars since the 1940s. Their history is well covered elsewhere, but for the electric guitar fan, they are one of, if not thee premier guitar brand. With classic and often copied models such as the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster, Fender guitars are omnipresent in the music world.
Despite their undoubted appeal to guitarists, there is one barrier that will stop many players from owning a Fender, and that's their price. Whilst not as heavy as some other guitar brands, the prices would be a cut to high for many. With this in mind, Fender introduced the Squier range of guitars back in 1982. The brand was Fender's budget solution, giving them the ability to use their classic guitar designs at affordable, entry level prices.
Whilst the Squier brand utilised these classic and sort after Fender models, they were able to build them for a lot cheaper to make their budget range a huge success. The guitars were built with cheaper woods, cheaper components and cheaper labour in the far east. The earliest Squiers are much sort after as their quality was very high, but as the brand developed and new factories opened in different regions, costs came down more along with the quality of the instruments.
It's wrong to think of the Squier brand as inferior, as a well built one in the right hands can sound as good and play as well as a fully fledged Fender model. Unfortunately though, the Squier brand does come with a slight stigma, due to its budgetary origins. As good as Squier guitars can be, most musicians will use them until they are able to afford a proper Fender. Most guitarists would rather see the plain Fender logo on their guitar than the 'Squier by Fender' that Squiers display.
The Fender "Squier Series" Stratocasters
Whilst there can be no mistaking the Fender and Squier brands, around 1993 a new kind of Fender came out that would blur the boundary between the two brands, causing confusion and skulduggery for years to come.
The period at Fender was marked by a number of changes in production, with new Asian factories coming online, and one of their production being hampered by a fire at their Mexican factory. There was also lots of production changes and movements for the Squier brand. As part of their drive to expand the budget side of the business, presumably to increase sales turnover, Fender brought out the Made In Mexico Fender "Squier Series".
Typically, the "Squier Series" Stratocaster is a Fender guitar, roughly on a par with the current Mexican Standard. However, if it was on a true par, then the guitar could not have been sold as a budget model. The prices were generally mid-way between the standard Squier Stratocasters and the standard Fender Stratocasters. The cost savings came in the both the way the guitar was manufactured, where it was manufactured and the components used.
Standard Strat Body Meets Far Eastern Parts
At the time Fender used its overstocked American cut necks and bodies to construct the "Squier Series." Apparently, these parts were shipped down to Mexico where they were put together with the cheaper components. These guitars utilised cheaper electronics from the far eastern factories alongside pick ups made in Mexico. The cost savings from the use of these cheaper components meant that from 1993 to 1998, the "Squier Series" came into the market place as a slightly cheaper Fender standard. These "Squier Series" guitars carry a couple of prominent features that easily allows them to be recognised, provided those features haven't been tampered with.
All these guitars have a Fender logo and branding on the headstock that is solid black (see the picture above) and on the ball of the headstock, where on a standard model it would say "Original Contour Body", it instead says "Squier Series" (picture below). Other Fender guitars of the time featured the gold and black logo. It's not known if all the "Squier Series" guitars feature the logo on the ball of the headstock, but the solid black logo along with the other features should be a strong pointer.
Another feature to look out for is the plastic pick guard, as there is another noticeable difference that will help identification. Unlike the standard 3 ply pick guards on the standard Fender Strat models, the "Squier Series" has a single ply one. Presumably this was another cost cutting exercise to bring the price of the guitars down. As well as these physical differences, further identification will be helped by the serial number, which would begin with one of the following: MN3, MN4, MN5, MN6, MN7 or MN8.
I'll also mention what I found to be the case on my guitar and a number of others I've seen dissected on the forums. That's the Squier stamp in the neck pocket of the guitar. I haven't confirmed that this is true of all "Squier Series" guitars, but it is in the examples that I have seen. As most buyers are unlikely to remove the neck, this feature, if it turns out to be correct, is not such an important one. If it is a "Squier Series" the body will be a standard Fender body whatever the stamp is.
As the Squier label carries its own baggage due to its budget nature, it's widely thought that many of the people who owned these "Squier Series" Fenders took steps to hide the name, despite the fact they owned proper Fender guitars. It's often mentioned that owners tool to removing the offending "Squier Series" logo from the ball of the headstock, by sanding it off.
This isn't necessarily so, as not all "Squier Series" guitars are thought to have had the black logo on the ball of the headstock. There have certainly been cases of people sanding it off, but if the guitar doesn't have the logo, it could be just because it didn't have it in the first place. Either way, this has meant many a person has bought a "Squier
Series" guitar without really realising it. I myself have fallen victim to this, as the guitar I bought had the decal sanded off.
The Good News Is
If you have one of these "Squier Series" Fenders, you do own a proper Fender, and not a lesser Squier. The body and neck will be the real deal, and if you want to improve yours, you can do so by upgrading the pick-ups, tremolo and electrics. And, there's more good news - due to the way people think of these guitars, wrongly considering them as Squier when they are truly Fender, these "Squier Series" Stratocasters can be found for considerably less than the standard Fender on the second hand market.
Unlike me though, who bought this blind thinking it a proper standard Strat, you should now have the info you need to either stop you buying a "Squier Series" Fender without knowing what the differences and weak points of the guitar are. Alternatively, you can use this info to help you locate one that will get you a decent Fender Strat for less than you would normally expect to pay.
Everyone I've seen mention their own "Squier Series" at the various guitar forums I trawl are more than happy with these guitars. If you want a proper Fender but can't afford it, but don't want own a guitar displaying the Squier logo, then buying a "Squier Series" could be the way to go.
Squier Stratocaster @ Amazon
Questions & Answers
Question: I ran my Stratocaster through the Fender Serial Number database and it said it was a 1984 Black PBass. Is that why you obscured your serial number?
Answer: It's fairly common practice to hide the serials, I think in case anyone wants to take one and reuse it on a Partscaster or something similar.
Rob Yee on June 14, 2020:
I own one and it is such a great sounding instrument, feels like the real deal (because it is). Just had new tuners, trem and electronics and you get an incredible guitar. And the best part: got it at a pawnshop for just 90 bucks.
Jim on June 13, 2020:
1993 made in Korea Squier name in middle of head, I think black.
Further down but not at the ball it says Stratocaster (in smaller letters) by fender.
Anyone knows if these are decent for $150
Dave on May 26, 2020:
TO NICK; You are wrong! These are great guitars. The wood is easily as good as the standard Fender counterparts. The necks are super nice, have excellent fretwork and rolled edges. Regarding THE PICKUPS; Secret weapons! Those ceramic magnets and slightly higher output make a typical wimpy strat bridge pickup hold its own! I replaced the bridge with a $30 genuine Fender standard bridge and that it! I own 12 strats ranging in value from this one up to 3K and this is one of my BEST playing strats and the tone is fantastic too. With the higher output it is a "go to" guitar for certain things.
Joe G on April 30, 2020:
Check the pots on your silver label MIKs. Mine came with dime-sized 500k pots. She's still all original from 1992 and is as "stratty" as it gets.
Rob on April 29, 2020:
Strange that there is no mention of Fuji Gen plant or Fender Japan. I have a 1992-93 MIJ with gold spaghetti Fender logo and “Squier Series” on the ball of the headstock. “M” serial. It has a very smooth playable neck with rosewood slab board. 7.25”. Truss adjustment are head (no walnut plug). Body is 3-piece with veneer top and bottom. It’s heavy. Looks like Alder. Very clean routing. But... It had cheap diamond tuners. Cheap trem plate and saddles etc. Cheap tapered zinc block. Cheapo, small pots, cheap selector, horrible pickups. Clean Soldering but cheap wire. So I swapped ALL the parts. Everything. Its on it’s 3rd set of fret wire. Now medium jumbo instead of vintage. Only original part remaining is the claw. Even the springs are replacement. She’s always played well. Now she sings loud and clear too.
Cam Greer on April 22, 2020:
Tim Gordon on March 28, 2020:
I bought a 1989 replaced the pickups mojotone texas pickups fender tuners on of the best necks i have ever played squireq1 stratocaster the best guitar love it
steve strat on January 11, 2020:
in response to nick.i have played some of the pre CBS guitars. some had more of a wooden sound than guitars made later maybe because the bodies were 4/5 one plank.However they used tiny fret wire. I 've seen it worn down to the wood on the first four frets Some guys replaced it with bigger shortly after purchasing their guitar..And the machining tolerances were not as good as today. They were making guitars on production machines designed to produce furniture. I.E. neck shims. Old body, new neck is my precription.
Ugly John Stanage on December 31, 2019:
I bought a Silver label Squire Series in 93 and upgraded everything. Gotoh Tuners, '54 Alnico Pickups, New Electronics, Vintage Tremelo, the works! The Guitar sounds so Sweet that it will bring Tears to your eyes! I will stack it up against ANY Strat on the Planet.
Larry Demoret on December 14, 2019:
What is the difference between the black labeled Squire Series strats that were made in Mexico and the silver labeled Squire Series strats made in Korea? Thanks.
steve strat on July 06, 2019:
I really doubt that the necks on any of the squier series strats were made in the U,S. as they are all 21 frets. Some of the bodies may have been. Mine is a 3 plank with the middle plank PERFECTLY centered & EXACTLY 5 inches wide.I also agree the bodies may be poplar. Mine is the lightest weight strat I have ever picked up
Arty on April 17, 2019:
I recently picked up a Fender "Squier Series" Tele from 93 but mine was made in a Korea and the Fender logo is silver with black outline rather than black. I actually found this article as I've been trying to dig up more on it but haven't had too much luck. I can say it plays well and has some heft to it. The fellow I bought it from actually also had a MIM 90s "Squier by Fender" Tele that he let me try out as well and it was a quite a different beast- the weight being the most noticeable difference, in that it was very light weight and felt much more like a modern Affinity Tele. It's tone was also different, it was very bright and clean and didn't really have that twangy garage sound I expected of a Tele. Both were cool guitars but ultimately I'm happy with the "Fender Squier Series" and wouldn't be surprised if in Korea they were also using the nicer wood with cheaper electronics as is stated hear about the Mexican ones, can anyone confirm that?
Ohmslyce on February 28, 2019:
I have a Squier Series stratocaster but the logo isn't solid black, it's black outlined silver and the pick guard is a 3ply.. Any info on this particular model?
Brix78 on February 25, 2019:
I have a 96..Im guesiing traditional series..unless the head stock was sanded, but read some didnt even have the marking so w/e. Anyway my question is the stock pickups..anyone have any idea what they are.I switched mine out for noiseless, but never really knew what they were..they didnt sound half bad as I recall
Steve C on January 25, 2019:
I bought a Squire Series Tele years ago, it plays as well as any Fender I've played. I did change the pick ups and bridge, drilled the strings through the body. Excellent instrument, I left the Squire Series logo. Thanks for the info!
Mikeharris7 on December 14, 2018:
Per Dan Smith of Fender (see interview on reverb), the Squier brand wasn't originally introduced to be a budget brand but was introduced in 82 to differentiate branding between the Japanese and American production lines due to complaint of the lack of such by distributors and vendors.
Huddy on October 06, 2018:
Note: 96 on the were called the "Traditional Series" and did not have any script on the headstock ball.
Claim - Squier Series MIM strats are really American Bodies and Necks with cheaper electronics.
Here's my concerns with this. This article leads people to believe that the Corona Factory just shipped down completed parts and they just slapped in import electronics (cost difference of maybe $15-20 including pickups) and they were just able to save people $700? How does that make any sense?
If there's any truth to this it goes something like this. "Hey Bob, our factory burned down. Can you sort out all of your reject wood that you haven't touched so we can come get back to work a little quicker?" "You got it, Hector!" Bob replies.
All the forum peeps keep say is "Man this Squier Series Strat is really great! All I had to do was replace the nut, replace the tuners, replace the bridge, replace the pickups, replace the controls, and give it a good set up."
Good god man! That's all you have to do to any guitar!
If they were ready to go American components how come...
-there isn't a walnut plug for the truss rod?
-the tuning machine holes weren't drilled to 25/64"
-the bridge mounting isn't drilled for 2-point tremolo
I've had 4 of these over the years. They're great. But I just don't buy the folklore that they were US bodies and necks near any stage of completion.
Fyl on September 30, 2018:
Bought a telecaster neck, black Fender lettering, MIM, traces of sanded-off Squier Series in corner...
Neck is 1 piece maple with skunk stripe and microtilt, but drilled for tiny cheapie tuners
Excellent neck, once reamed for 10mm tuners. I ended up reshaping the heel to fit a strat pocket and bolting it to an MIJ strat body.
Added a Duncan Hotrail and 2x Fender CS 69 singles..... excellent guitar.
Nick on September 17, 2018:
Life is too short to play a shity guitar.it is better to to have one single good instrument to invest your time in than a bunch of guitar looking things that were made to a severe price point.They are just building purposely sub standard stuff..nothing worth preserving.These guitars you are talking about are cheap in quality.
This article is rubbish as well..the main spec in an electic guitar is wood ( then craftsmanship built and electronics) no mention of what wood is used..it's often poplar in those a soft rubbish wood for a guitar.
A real Fender Stratocaster is the one Leo Fender made..anything compromising that is a con.An "American Standard" is no where near the real thing and even a Custom Shop Stratocaster is in some ways compromise.The equivalent today to the real thing is when they get one guy there to make it for you asking him to be selective concerning wood.
You guys are looking for a good guitar in the price range of a families monthly electric bill,it's just out of reality.
JoDie on September 02, 2018:
Ant thoughts on MIJ Stratocasters, also with the "Squier Series" logo?
Jodie on September 01, 2018:
All 90s MIM necks and bodies were CNC cut in the US. Squier Catalogs listed the Fender Squier series as Standards.
Reggie on August 25, 2018:
Russell Guy Said:
"I recently purchased a Squire that was made in the Cail.plant when the Mex.plant was burned to the ground,all the numbers match,it is a E 9 series which means it was made in USA in 1989 and there were only a couple of thousand made in USA between that few months until they rebuilt the Mexican plant,from early 89 to to 90 and that model was a N90 made in USA,Mine was a closet find with all the case goodies a set of strings from 89 a leather strap that still looks brand new and the original"
You facts are just inaccurate Russell. Fender began making guitars in Mexico in 1989 intending to replace guitars that were previously made by Fender Japan. As the Mexican plant production ramped up, Fender supplemented output by building some Squires in their U.S.A. plant in 1989-1990.
The fire at their Mexican plant that you refer to, did not occur until February, 1994. You are correct that the facility was only out of commission for a few months. However, the USA plant is rumored to have helped pick up some of the slack until the Mexican factory reopened. But of course all of this occurred several years after yours was made.
Good luck and I hope this information is helpful.
12bArS on August 13, 2018:
My 1995 "Squier Series" Strat has a USA, Corona neck & body with cheap tuners & pickups. I swapped out the pups & it's 90% "American Standard." Get your info straightened out.
Prohu on May 08, 2018:
I own one of these guitars left-hand bought in the '95. Great guitar.
steve strat on May 06, 2018:
I have recently seen a 95 stratocaster on ebay that has a standard mex body with the flat bottom hole in the neck cavity. Maybe only the 93's & 94's have tooling holes that look like the ones found on bodies made in the USA from that era
stv on March 28, 2018:
Got an early 90s model with classic 50's pickups. Been a solid guitar and played many a jams and gigs. Hadn't played it much lately after I got a US Deluxe strat but is a work horse. Actually, about to trade it so it can get some use and I can get some gear I have been eyeing.
Fenderluvr on March 26, 2018:
i actually have one of these guitars got it for $200 , it did not have the squier logo nor was it sanded off but i knew it was a lower end strat just by looking at it ,,but i doug the neck and weight so i got it ,, i love it i put another $350- $400 into it and it plays / sounds as good as any standard strat Mim or Mia or other wise ,, great article
musichabs on February 15, 2018:
can someone tell me what i got? It just says Squier by Fender and stratocaster written out in smaller print..ill post a pic if i can. no country of origin or serial number..nothing under neck or body.
steve strat on February 14, 2018:
I have an american vintage tremolo sitting on a shelf and the six mounting screws did not line up to the holes in my body. only the mexican tremolo fits. It sounds like some of the bodies were drilled to fit american tremolos before being shipped across the border. These guitars may truly have been a mish mash of parts
thedudeabides on February 10, 2018:
I disagree, good sir. I have, in fact, a 94 Squier series and I upgraded every single part, from the tuners to the nut to the pickguard, trem, etc. to Fender USA parts and they are an EXACT fit.
16 months ago
The black label series Squier Telecaster ,Stratocaster,and P Bass are NOT USA or American parts compatible ! MIM is metric ,ALL USA PARTS ARE INCH try and put ANY USA made parts on ANY MIM guitar and they won't fit! THe body is thinner on the MIM and the USA screws will pop through the neck , the Tremolo block won't fit the spacing and the block is too long , the back plate is offset on the 2 center plate screws , the 6 in a row Kluson strip runs over the edge on both sides, the pickplate screws won't align ! The California Series late 90's guitars that have an AMX serial number are the mixed parts MIM and USA call Fender customer service and tell them your serial and they will tell you your color and model !
steve strat on January 14, 2018:
oops, I meant to say that when I first saw it online I thought it was a 1999 fender classic series body not a AVRI
steve strat on January 13, 2018:
I bought mine as a loaded mexican body with 57/62 usa custom shop pups & usa vintage harness & pots. I could see it was not a mexico body by the tooling holes . At first I thought it was a 1999 american vintage reissue series which were also bodies that were cut in the usa and shipped to mexico. I didn't see the squier stamp until I received it in the mail. Its very faint. I installed a mexican standard neck maple fretboard 91/2 " radius. I built the entire project for $ 464. It sounds amazing
Russell Guy on January 04, 2018:
Mine has a 3 ply picguard on it,wbw,Torino Red,when I bought it the volumn pot was a little scratchy,so I took it to a great tech at my local music store,he in formed me that it had the dime sized pots in her which usually mean 250s,but mine are 500s,I did some more digging around and the pups turned out to be JM ALNINCO 5S,OTHER THEN THE PETINA ON pick GUARD TURNING THAT funny shade of green,if I were to put hang tags and clean her up,for being 29 years young she is in mint shape,she came with a small Allen for the saddles,a FENDER wiping cloth,a few picks,a humidifier pack from 1989,a new set of Fender strings,09 to 42 marked on the pack with a rainbow the year 1989 and a bad USA FENDER CASE FROM 1989 STILL HAS KEYS,ITS almost to pretty to play,I'm just a begginer and learning,and I've strumed some high dollar strays and that do not sound half as good as my US made 89 Squier,I'm still trying to find any and all info I can on her,like how many were made,were did they all go,I know they only made them for about 7 or 8 months,I was told they did not make over 20,000,and I was also told they were made in the Custom shop,any help would be greatly appreciated,THANKS Russell
Dan Mackay on January 04, 2018:
I just bought a 96, no squire series logo, looks like it was never there, cheap tuners, electronics and bridge, sounds and plays awesome though, I paid $350.00 last week, I hope I didn’t overpay, I’ll still modify a little at a time because I truly love the way it feels and sounds, I played a $199.00 squire at gc recently and it feels as cheap as it’s pricetag, thanks for the info!!!
steve strat on December 17, 2017:
oops i forgot to take of the rear cover before i measured the body thickness, its actually 2 26/32". I have the same 1/2 inch long indentations in the neck pocket also. and mine is a 3 plank body with the center plank measuring 5" wide. it also has the 1 ply cream colored pickguard which has some small cracks . I plan to replace it with a 3 ply. mine also has the same black check mark in crayon . It looks like a chisel was used on yours to remove a high spot removing part of the check mark
steve strat on December 16, 2017:
I bought a squier body with the exact same stamp. mine has 2 sets of tooling holes. (4 all together) Like american tooling holes from that period, but not the the flat bottom hole found on mex guitars & squires. the body is a whopping 2 29/32 thick. the 6 tremolo mounting screws are different spacing than american. The blue date stamp is unreadable
robpidgeon on December 06, 2017:
how do i know what kind of wood i have?...I removed the backplate, all sprayed, the input jack, also sprayed, i do not believe that the front has ever been removed.
Alf on November 20, 2017:
Wood Body is cheaper too, not ash or alder, holes from pickguard can tell, they get loose fast.
Russell Guy on November 19, 2017:
I recently purchased a Squirt that was made in the Cail.plant when the Mex.plant was burned to the ground,all the numbers match,it is a E 9 series which means it was made in USA in 1989 and there were only a couple of thousand made in USA between that few months until they rebuilt the Mexica plant,from early 89 to to 90 and that model was a N90 made in USA,Mine was a closet find with all the case goodies a set of strings from 89 a leather strap that still looks brand new and the original Fender made in USA CASE also,it's like I opened a time capsule,Toronto red with a maple neck and maple fretboard,whom ever bought it threw in a couple of the humidity bags and keep this ax like it's brad new,heck it sounds as good if not better than a new custo elite
robpidgeon on November 09, 2017:
I have a 1995 fender stratocaster "Squire series" MIM black with a maple neck, black logo with squire series on the ball, it also has a 3 ply tortoise pickgard, has anyone ever seen one of these with a 3 ply pickgard? every forum that i read states that they only came with a one ply, by the way, i love it.
Brandon on October 31, 2017:
I have one of these and it is hands down my favorite strat. I've owned many different Fenders, and this one has the hottest pick ups! Compared to my American Deluxe, it blows it out of the water. I got this guitar in '97 for $100. It was my first guitar, and I will never get rid of it.
CTraleigh on October 27, 2017:
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
RG on October 07, 2017:
Fender also made an American, Mexican and Korean version of the Squier Series all of which are nice guitars and of course in that order. The American is very difficult to locate, I'm not sure how many were made, I would guess not that many. But them all up if can find them. I've got several of each and love them
musichabs on September 23, 2017:
i just recently bought a Squier by Fender "Stratocaster" from what i believe is the early nineties. The logo is solid black and says Squier by Fender Stratocaster..It has a maple neck comparable to any Fender Stratocaster ive played and a very solid body compared to the other newer chinese Squier that i own. There is an S stamped on the inside of the pickguard. No other serial numbers..or country of origin markings..the tuners are different than most of the Fenders or Squiers that ive seen..wavy...and work great. Ive been unable to find much info on this..no obvious sanding off of logos etc..it came with 500k pots for volume and tone. I t was very dirty and had obviously not been played in years. After cleaning it up ..it s a really nice axe...anyone else with info on this would be appreciated..can send pics...thx dave
Leonard on August 03, 2017:
Have the mn5, blk.
Thanks for the information!!!
pieterjan on May 04, 2017:
I own a 'spuie'r series' strat for several years and i am very happy with the quitar. Yes, I replaced the pickups but the feel of the neck is awsome! Will never eve sell it..
Greetings from the Netherlands
Patrick Rossi on April 11, 2017:
Very interesting article DaveL !
I have a question : do Telecaster Squier or other Fender type guitars exists who present the same caracteristics ?
Greetings from France !
gddaddy on February 03, 2017:
Now I'm really confused. I have a guitar that says "Stratocaster" on the headstock. It also says "Made in Korea". The serial # begins "CN" and the numbers after that identify the guitar as a 1993 model. Clearly this is a Squier.
But you said all Squiers will have a solid black Fender logo. Mine is Gold w/black outline. Has anyone else ran across one of these?
gary wilson on January 12, 2017:
Will a se series squier neck from the 90'- the 2000 era fit a 1996 Jimmy Vaughn mexican strat?
Hazer on October 21, 2016:
I bought a Squier 98 made in Mexico - California edition. It plays and sounds sweet. This guitar still has the Squier logo with no Fender logo on the headstock. When I bought the guitar I could have easily bought a made in USA Strat that was about a thousand bucks. I compared the two for quite a while through a fender amplifier. The Squier had far better tone and a better neck for really gliding up and down with smooth lead. So rather than be a fool who is concerned with " the label. " I went with the Squier love this guitar it has a real personality all it's own with a specific tone that is harmonic. I'm no tech nerd but as George Martin states in his book " All You Need Is Ears. " I saw an awesome Red Squire the guitarist from the Chili Peppers played. As someone above stated learn to play really well and maybe you will be blessed with a sponsorship from Fender. Peace
Joe G on October 05, 2016:
The MIK version I have is NOT metric.
Arty49 on August 21, 2016:
OK so I just bought a Squire Strat that has an MN8_____ serial number. A gold with black out line Squire logo. Made in Mexico decal on the back and solid maple neck. Anybody got any info and/or value info? and it weighs 7 pounds if that helps any
GruhSix on August 14, 2016:
Yep this is exactly the guitar that's for sale. That's the head stock. Mn4 serial number,
Squire series in the ball. Thanks this is the best info all in one place.
Your the best, I like knowing what I'm getting rather then getting what I thought I was getting.
Trigger96 on July 02, 2016:
I recently purchased one of these "Squire Series" Strats for $140.00. The body and neck are solid and the hardware is rusty. So since I know what I purchased are US parts, it will be upgraded and built up as a David Gilmour "Black Strat" clone.
TheDudeAbides on May 16, 2016:
I recently picked one up in a pawnshop. Maple fretboard, red body. $106 b/c they thought it was a cheap ol' Squier
Rudy on April 20, 2016:
VintageGuitarz, do you know how the Korean Squier Series compares to the Japanese? Thanks!
el bib on March 20, 2016:
i have both japanese fender squier series 93/94 with spaghetti logo and mim 95 the japanese one is definitely the better guitar,i gig with it often,but the mim is a good strat the body and neck are really good beidge,tuners not so though i dont really have any major tumimg problems with it.as for it mainly being played by beginners lol while irs nor my main strat,those being a usa g and l legacy,japon fender foto flame strat 97 and the afore mentioned japon squier series the mim squier series still gets playrd and ive been playing for years,my mim has staggered pole pups on when i bought not sure if they are originals but as far as i know the pups on the mim squier series are the same as the mim standard of the time only difference being tuners,bridge and scratchplate
VintageGuitarz on February 03, 2016:
You've COMPLETELY ignore the far superior Japanese made "Squier Series" Stratocasters of 1994 through 1995! These had bodies and necks made with Fender supplied 1957 and 62 templates and PuPs using a Japanese invented Alnico/Ceramic hybrid magnets and they were all HAND WOUND! These "Jap Squiers" are far superior to the Made in Mexico Squiers!
STRANGER4LIFE on September 06, 2015:
Its cool seeing all the positive comments regarding the "Squier Series". My opinion is just that. My opinion. Most people who end up with one of these seem to do so in the beginner stage of their playing days. I think that has a lot to do with their positive views of these particular Fenders. Seasoned guitar players who've owned and played more guitars than a woodchuck can chuck have long since established personal standards of what makes one guitar better than another. Thats fine and usually helpful. Fender players can be fiercely loyal and highly knowledgable about their guitars - and for good reason! Buuuut, sometimes that loyalty can be blinding. Theres no better example than anyone who belives the only true Fenders are the ones made in the U.S. All others be damned. Im not a label snob or anything. I realize there are diffrrences across the product line. But the Fender company would never and should never label a product to be anything than what it represents. Which is why I laugh at anyone who looks at my MIK SS and passes it off as a cheap mislabeled Squier. Its nice to have the big, grey Fender logo to look at on the headstock. But that's hardly the reason it feels, and plays, and sounds as amazing as it does. People have a habit of buying one of these and immediately bastardize it before even playing it. I've been told how cheap the electronics are and that the laminate body is less than desirable. However, the sum of its whole as it came off the showroom floor is, to me, the key to what makes my so-called cheaply made budget guitar sound the way much more expensive Strats wish they could sound.
Ben S. on September 05, 2015:
Just my 2 cts regarding Fender - Squier - Squier serie guitars from the 90's :
I was a teenager in 1993 when I broke my Piggy bank and bought me a brand new American Standard Stratocaster in 2-tone sunburst.
I loved that guitar. It was my only electric for a few years before I started building my very own guitars and bought a few broken ones to fix on eBay. When I got a decent hand at building I sold my American Standard (for way too cheap) and regretted it the day after. I mean it was my first real good guitar and the one I learned to play on.
A couple of the guitars I bought on eBay and fixed were japanese Gibson copies from the late 70's - early 80's (Burny brand) which, to me, are as good if not better than the real thing.
So when I saw a local ad for a black japanese Strat I went to check it out. The guitar was decent, very good, it had the perfect neck (satin, thin but not too thin, rosewood fingerboard and faultless workmanship) and played and sounded great. Didnt care much fof the bridge and tuners though. It was a 1996 Fender Squier series. I bought the guitar.
Now the seller had another guitar in a corner of the room. I asked him about it. He told me "yeah, I'm selling it too but I haven't listed it yet". Headstock said Squier silver series. It was black with a maple neck. Apparently it was a 1994. I tried it and it hit me : "this is my old American Strat!!". Truely wonderful guitar. I bought it too.
When I arrived home, my wife said "you already have so many guitars... I hope you didn't buy another".
I told her not to worry, that no, I didn't buy A guitar. ;-)
Anyway, some of these old Squiers or Fender-Squiers are true gems for the price, they just might need upgraded pots and hardware.
Manuel M. on August 15, 2015:
Alguien pudiera decirme que tipo de maquinaria trae (clavijas)?
Allen on June 27, 2015:
Great article! I picked a 95 Squier Series up at a guitar show today that had a nice set of SA's in it. Once I got it home I noticed "Squier Series" at the top of the headstock was lightly sanded off.. I kinda panicked thinking I overpayed for a guitar I played for 10 mintues and fell in love with. Your article has put my fears to rest, and you are 100% correct, these play nothing like a normal Squier, I'm so glad I got mine for the price I paid! It's an excellent guitar!!!!
Norm the Robot on June 04, 2015:
Hi. I recently acquired one of the Korean Cor Tec Squire Series FENDER Strat. It has the big Fender Logo in either gold or silver script with black outline (guitar is at home so can't recall which) & tiny little Squire Series on the ball. It has a single ply pick guard. Someone gave it to my dad and he was going to try to sell it. I saw the squire series and I discouraged him by explaining a squire was not a true fender and he would probably end up getting like 50 buck due to the condition. The persone who gave it to him did not take great care of it I think - the pickup selector is kind of Finicky and volume pot was a little crackly. So he asked if I wanted it and I said yeah.
I've got to say, it does not feel like a cheapo guitar when I play it. I know that the electronics/pickups are ok, but the body is alot heavier than squire strats I have played at guitar center. And the neck just feels awesome. One of the smoothest and most confortable necks I have ever played on. I just love it. One thing that really stands out to me is that every squire strat I have played the frets are a little sharp at the edges/corners, like they need to be filed down a little. On this neck they are totally smooth. I don't know the technical term but they taper smoothly down to the edges of the neck which make for very smooth playing. When you slide your hand up and down the kneck (when you are playing) you can't even feel the ends of the frets. I don't know if it is significant or not but another detail about the neck that I never see on othe squires is that it has the dark stripe along the back which I think is related to the truss rod.
I definitly plan on upgrading pickups and fixing it up a bit when I can because like I said it really FEELS like a quality guitar when I play it.
NicoFrance on April 05, 2015:
Thanks for your interesting article. Having buy exactly the guitar that you describe, I ask myself for years if I really had a real stratocaster : ) I'm glad for all the information you provided and while it is not now my main guitar (I have a Les Paul Trad., a real one ; ). ) I have to say that this Strat "squier series" '94 is very pleasant to play. Cheers!
Simone de Fabris on January 27, 2015:
I bought one of these about 3 months ago and actually it is the best guitar I have ever played :)
Electronic components are of the lowest quality as well as the bridge and tuners... but it sound very good. As a user said before, I've found mine very very light and when I play it unplugged you can hear the sound resonating in the body. I would know which wood is the body made of.
It's a HSS model black with white pickguard and it was made in 1996
Jasmin Ganic on January 26, 2015:
I have this one too, but can somebody tell me, why on the back of guitar neck, when neck is screwed, there is inscription "FENDER SRV"
Hans on January 03, 2015:
I have another guitar like Sander and Devlin (HSS, 3-ply pickguard, silver logo and a single tone pot - broken and freely rotating on mine). One interesting detail: it has the same sort of budget trapezoid tuners as seen on low-end Japanese Strat copies/repros (Greco. Tokai, Fernandes etc, below the 50k yen level) during the 70's and 80's. I was quite surprised to see them on my '95 - '96 guitar. Do other MIM Squier Series Fenders have these as well?
Sander on November 21, 2014:
I have the same strat as Devlin: MiM Squier series, HSS configuration, 3 ply pickguard, 1 tone, 1 volume, Floyd rose II and silver logo with black outline from '95. That makes this story incomplete.
I send an e-mail to Fender (Europe) and even they couldn't tell me a lot about it:
"We tried our best to bring out some information. Unfortunately there are only a few information from this era left. What we can say sure: The instrument is a Standard Strat, the Squier series instruments eventually became Standards or the Traditional series."
Dennis on October 20, 2014:
I purchased my Fender Squire in 1989 . made in USA as it says on the headstock. Bought it at Guitar Center for 299.oo on one of their Sale of the Century weekends..lol.. I only buy guitars according to how they play, action,sound etc. not just looks. Mine is white, not my fav. color then but is now. It played better than a Fender Strat they wanted 650.00 for.Nice lookin guitar but the Squire definitely outplayed it.I own Certain Ibanez electric and acoustics, Alvarez acoustic, Taylor acoustic. The Squire and Taylor play and sound better than any I have played. I recently had Seymour Duncan pickups installed and im very very happy with my squire. It is still my daily player at gigs or at home for fun. I have been playing for 40 yrs and will play against any other guitarist of my caliper with my Fender Squire anytime.
Dave on September 30, 2014:
I also accidentally bought one of these on ebay in 2002 thinking it was a regular MIM strat. Given I paid $205 including a tweed hard case it's pretty hard to say I got "ripped off" but I was clueless about these at the time. I replaced the tuners with Grover locking, pickups with Fender hot noiseless, and I put some graphite saddles in the bridge plus 3-ply guard and cover. Everyone who plays the guitar loves it and says it sounds great. I figure I have about $500 all in on it and have a far better axe than the stock MIM. If you believe the lore about American bodies and necks so much the better.
Jeff Mercer on July 24, 2014:
I own a beautiful 1993 Fender Squire Stratocaster, blonde body, beautiful maple neck, serial number starts with "VN" no one has talked about these particular Strats as yet with the VN as the first two letters in the serial number followed by numbers,
Axes are us on July 24, 2014:
I bought myFender, Squire Series black label Strat in a pawn shop for $80.00 in the late ninties. Black body, maple fingerboard. It was pretty bet up. Mine has very small frets. I just kept the neck, body and jack and replaced everything else. It does not have "squier" in the neck pocket. It doesn't have the same tooling marks as a MIM Strat body, and as stated peviously, was made in USA. The neck is too narrow at the heel to accommodate a vintage spaced tremelo. It is louder unplugged, rings better, and sustains as well as any of the 30 or so Strats I've been through in the last 30 years, regardless of where they were made. I finally replaced the neck on it this year, since the frets were very worn. The body on mine is extremely light. The entire guitar weighs just under 6 3/4lbs. I've also, just this week, found a "Squier Series" Strat made in Japan on Guitar Center's used web site
ran5150 on March 06, 2014:
KISS PROGRAM. Keep it simple stupid. If you bought a Fender Squire made anywhere for good price, and your a beginner learning you will be happy. If you get better and confidence is up, nothing wrong with upgrading. I have played professionally and for enjoyment. I've had cheap and expensive guitars. I learned early. Quality remains long after price is forgotten. When you buy a Stratocaster made here in the USA, its gonna play and sound much better than a basic Fender Squire. However there is a price tag attached to anything built to a standard and high quality. I am now playing a Epiphone, and a Fender Squire. Epiphone is OK. ONLY. I will say the Fender was given to me free of charge. The best guitar ? A free one! I adjusted action, pick ups, and set intonation and Amazing Grace, it played really good and
Sounded surprisingly good . Found out its one of those MIM Fender Squires made in 1994 .I have played live with worse that cost me more. I am surprised no doubt. I'm a Fender fan as well as Gibson, Peayo EVH, and several other quality guitars. I guarantee you one thing, if you have a really good guitar player, he can make most anything sound good. BUY A GUITAR THATS affordable. Learn and practice hard and then play even more. Maybe some day those very large expensive Manufacturing Companies will be giving those guitars to you for your autograph.
johnnyguitar773 on October 11, 2013:
I bought an affinity squire stray sn CY98.... it had a solid thick body, small headstock, rosewood board and 22 frets. Feels as good and better as any stray I've owned or played. Is it possible that this could be American Stock assembled im china with cheap parts? Btw... I snatched this baby up for 30 bucks. I also own two 80's jap strats, a Jimmy Vaughn stray, and an American deluxe strat. The build quality on this squire is as good as the jap ones and the jimmy Vaughn for sure if not better. It plays and feels great. Awesome sustain (unplugged)
Gary H on August 04, 2013:
I have a MN4 precision bass and I added custom shop pickups and replaced the pots and pick guard. Sounds good to me!!
David Arce on June 26, 2013:
I have one and I didn't know anything about it. I'm really happy I found this. Thank you!
man keadal on April 21, 2013:
Recently i bought a guitar. through online. it stated on it backheadstock crafted in ibdonesia with serial number. S/n ICS10018859. anyanybody can tell me this type of squier? they said its rare. sorry english not good
jess64 on November 22, 2012:
I have a squier strat that was built in 1989 I believe.The only thing I've ever done to it was change the tuners.I put the vintage style fender tuners on it and I have to say it is one of the best playing and sounding guitars I have ever owned.
STRANGER4LIFE on August 30, 2012:
First, I know this is an older subject but remains relevant as more and more of these still somewhat on the scarce side (atleast in the US) fine guitars are being discovered in closets and under beds with their owners seeking info on just what they have.collecting dust.
With that out of the way, I'd like to comment, adds, and stir the ot
Toivo with L Series Strat on December 19, 2011:
Hello, VintageGuitarz CA
I do not see anything wrong with this gentleman's (explanation) article about his knowledge of the "SQUIER SERIES" Strat. I do not think he is discussing everything you are in his article. He is trying to state his opinion about the guitar he has purchased.
Snarkesor on December 03, 2011:
I just found one of these on eBay a week ago, just the neck. Fender Stratocaster, Squier Series, Made in Korea, with a CN2 S/N. Even with the Korean tag I figured something was different. I'm wondering if this would possibly be USA or Japan neck? It is very clean and the decals are perfect.
VintageGuitarz CA on October 20, 2011:
Too much of your information is Naïve and/or Totally incorrect!
First off - Squier is a brand name only (there is NO Squier or Fender owned factory that makes them.
2nd - Fender bought the name Squier and the string making company using it in 1965. The name remained unused until 1981 and Fender abandoned the string operation within a year of buying it.
3rd - Fender CONTRACTED ESTABLISHED off-shore guitar companies that ALREADY had their own factories to make the guitars under the Squier or Fender brand. NOT as you wrote "The period at Fender was marked by a number of changes in production, with new Asian factories coming online,..."
4th - There has been over a dozen OTHER companies that made these guitars from 1981 threw the present. Examples - the First was FujiGen Gakki of Japan that made Squier's and Fenders FOR Fender from 1982 - 1996. Then Tokai Gakki (infamous for the "lawsuit" Fender and Gibson knock-off of the 70's) and Dyna Gakki took over from 1996 - 2010. The Korean companies Young Chang (famous Piano maker), Cor-tek (Cort guitars), Saehan and well known Samick made the Squier's and Squier II's also from 1988 thru 1998. Cor-Tek's Indonesian factory makes those POS Indonesian Affinity models, as well Yako of China and a couple companies in India. For a couple years, Squiers were even made in the US by two undisclosed companies that Fender has hidden well.
5th - The Mexican factory is the ONLY factory that Fender is actually an owner "Partner" in, they are not a 100% owner!
How do I know this? My Uncle worked for Fender in Santa Ana in 1960 through CBS in Fullerton and the "new" Fender in Corona when he retired in 2000. He was the companies equipment engineering manager for production.
PLEASE do better research before you claim to offer an article that only gives far too many incorrect facts.
DaveL (author) from UK on October 07, 2011:
I'm not sure, I don't know much about pricing - have you tried searching completed auctions on eBay? You might be able to discern a price that way.
Gary on October 07, 2011:
Sorry for the typo, I meant *Floyd Rose* tremolo.
Gary on October 07, 2011:
I have a "Squire Series" myself and have been looking for all the information I could find on this guitar. It's white with a black neck,floys rose tremo, and on the head stock it has "FenderStrat"/"Squire Series" all in black. The serial #MN34114460 and made in Mexico. The guitar is in mint condition,has only been played three times and sounds great.
I have one question if anyone can give me an answer!
What is this guitar worth ? What is the value that you would price it at ??
Any feed back would be appreciatted !
Thank You, Gary
devlin on June 20, 2011:
I'm also have one of these fender. Bought new at reputable shop in 1994, made in mexico it has floyd rose II tremolo system , 3 ply pickguard, HSS pups with only one volume and one tone knob (not like usual strat with 1 volume and 2 tone knob). The headstock has big Fender logo (silver with black outline) stratocaster decals and small Squier series decals at headtock end. I never sanded off the small squier logo. Many people said that this guitar was modded and fender logo was fake. I'm just laughed at them. But this one is special ( for me..) since fender is not producing anymore with floyd rose trem. Quality is not bad, and body is still heavy (still alder maybe) not basswood, neck is nicely thinner than original US strat (my opinion)..the minus thing just the electronics wiring sucks, standard pups and maybe fretwire need replacements..I just changed mine with dunlop jumbo..:)..For me this is still fender, not squiers..
mike on April 21, 2011:
In '96 Fender stopped calling them the "Squier Series" and renamed them the "Traditional Series". I think the TS guitars were made until '98 or '99. The TS is identical to the SS except for the lack of the "squier series" printing on the ball of the headstock. The TS still had the black Fender logo just like the squier series.
DaveL (author) from UK on February 22, 2011:
I was talking about the MIM ones - I wasn't aware of there being other Squier Series guitars made in other regions, however, just this week I have spotted a Japanese Squier Series guitar, and now your Korean one. I wonder if they were made for different export markets as is sometimes the case.
dave on February 21, 2011:
you're talkin about the mim squier series, i assume. my korean fender stratocaster squier series has different details than yours, one being fender is in black and silver, no squier stamp in the neck sock, and has a three ply pick-guard....
guitartabbeginner on January 24, 2011:
Great article. I was not aware that there was a "Squier Series" Strat model. This was quite informative and interesting. Thanks.