Fender vs Squier
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Fender vs Squier – Which One Is Better?

Fender and Squier: How Do Their Guitars Differ?

🎸 Fender, and its sub-brand Squier, currently rank as the top-selling guitars in the world.

In fact, Fender reported the highest number of sales ever in just 9 months in 2020.

However, while the two have one big thing in common, massive sales numbers, many people are more interested in their differences.

If you’ve been wondering about Squier vs Fender, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s dig into some comparisons and distinctions to help you learn about two of the most legendary guitar brands out there.

Direct Comparison

Countries of Origin

Fender

USA, Mexico, Japan

Squier

Japan, Korea, China, India, Indonesia

Price Range

Fender

$599.99 and up

Squier

$179.99-$499.99

Popular Signature Models

Fender

HER Stratocaster, Brent Mason Telecaster

Squier

Jim Root Telecaster, J Mascis Jazzmaster

Quality Reputation

Fender

Yes

Squier

Yes

Distinct Feature

Fender

Incredibly diverse selection for all players and genres

Squier

Beloved by DIY Guitar Modders

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FAQs & Common Questions

With Fender and Squier offering so many of the same products, it is natural to have questions about the differences between the two. Maybe you want to know about how the spec sheet difference impacts price?

Or what’s the difference between the Strat vs Tele within both brands? Let’s jump into some frequently asked questions with detailed answers below.

Is Squier As Good As Fender?

The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as some might make you seem. With obvious price differences, most associate Fender’s premium price tag and reputation as the superior guitar and bass line.

The same question could also be asked of Epiphone and Gibson. In contrast, Epiphone is still very much thought of as an affordable brand, while Gibson, compared to Fender, has seemed to price itself out of the reach of many players into what is perceived as elitist territory.

Squier Guitars

Still, Squier has upped its game to the point where some of the high end Squier guitars are just as studio and stage ready, if not more, than some low end Fender products. At the end of the day, it will all come down to what you’re looking for in a guitar.

There are multiple factors that influence a player’s choice of instrument. Everything from historical identity, rarity, or price point, down to a simple choice of color.

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If you want a truly robust instrument, a perfectly set up guitar that’s been gone over with a fine tooth comb, Fender products are better.

On the other hand, if you want a perfectly functioning, sweet sounding guitar that won’t break the bank, Squier may actually be better.

What’s The Difference Between A Squier And A Fender?

The two biggest differences between the two brands are the price points and countries of origin. Squier is meant to be the affordable line of Fender guitars, meaning you can get a Tele, Strat, or P-Bass that is made overseas to cut costs.

Additionally, it comes down to the details that go into making a better instrument. Fender branded instruments will have better quality woods, hardware, electronics, and more man-hour time put into finishing processes.

When you first pick up a guitar, there is no mistaking an instrument that’s had the extra time put into the small things that elevate it – the human touch. But it has to be paid for!

Which Squier Is The Best?

Just like Fender, Squier’s best guitar comes down to a Strat vs Tele faceoff. Squier’s highest quality line is the Classic Vibe series, which recreates popular historical Fender models for less than $500.

For the money, the Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Telecaster is widely considered one of the best affordable guitars on the market, not just the best Squier.

Check out this side by side demo of a Tele vs Strat from the ‘50s Classic Vibe Series to decide for yourself.

Additional awesome Squier guitars include:

  • Squier Classic Vibe Starcaster
  • Squier Contemporary Telecaster
  • Squier Affinity Jazzmaster
  • Squier Paranormal Cyclone

Are Squier Bullet Strats Any Good?

Squier Bullet Strat HT - Laurel Fingerboard - Brown Sunburst

Plain and simple, YES! Squier Bullet Strats are an incredibly affordable option for beginners or DIY guitar modders. They even come as part of a beginner package with accessories like an amplifier, strap, and guitar cable.

Why Are Squier Guitars Bad?

Generally speaking, Squier guitars are not bad at all. In fact, they are often underrated because they lack name brand pickups or hardware.

Their overseas origins also tend to lead to assumptions about the quality. Squiers are not perfect guitars, but Squier guitars are by no means bad and offer supreme value for the money.

Is Epiphone Better Than Squier?

Another tough question, especially because Epiphone and Squier make such different products despite the similar price point.

Ultimately, no Epiphone is not better than Squier, especially when you consider Squier and Fender have sold more guitars than any other company from 2015-2020.

But Squier makes affordable Fender designs, so if you are looking for a Strat, Tele, or Jaguar Squier is a better bet than Epiphone!

Breaking Down Fender Vs Squier: What We Looked For

We’re not here to tell you which brand is superior to the other. In fact, we want to shed light on how wonderful all these products are depending on your needs.

Whether you are considering a Signature model Jazzmaster, Mexican vs American Strat, or are interested in a Classic Vibe Squier, there is a guitar for everyone here. Here are a few key differences to consider.

Price Difference

It’s not uncommon for the price of a guitar to be the main driving force behind a purchase. Everyone wants to get the most guitar for the money.

However, sometimes cost doesn’t equate to overall quality, so it is important to understand why the prices are different.

Fender Logo

Fender

Fender guitars cost more because of where they are produced. Paying the factory workers in the US and Mexican factories simply costs more than it does overseas in Asian countries.

While there is certainly a price difference attributed to the upgraded features and parts in Fender guitars, most of the price difference comes from the labor associated with building guitars in North America.

Squier Logo

Squier

As stated above, it is just so much more affordable to mass produce guitars overseas. Squier guitars also feature overseas made copies of things like Fender pickups, tuners, and bridges which cost less to produce separate from the already cheap assembly.

Sound Quality 

The way an individual guitar sounds is often subjective, with each musical genre and player having their own definition. Squier vs Fender guitars certainly sound different, even if both have generally impressive sound quality.

Other than the natural qualities of the tonewoods and quality of the hardware, the most important sonic factor is the pickups. They’re the engine behind the sound.

Moreover, one of the first places a guitar manufacturer will cut costs is in the electronics. Whether it’s a Squier or a Fender, the quality of the electronics can make or break your sound.

Fender Logo

Fender

Fender is known for pioneering so many iconic electric guitar sounds. When comparing Strat vs Tele pickups, Fender has a strong reputation for reproducing their signature tones in every guitar, be it Mexican or Fender. The sound quality is undoubtedly high.

Squier Logo

Squier

Squier’s whole mission is really to clone those Fender sounds and tones and bring them in a more accessible package. But can you cut production costs and still maintain an authentic vintage-stlye tones?

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They certainly succeed in doing that, especially with the Squier Classic Vibe series. In our humble opinion, they sound eerily similar to original Fender guitars. So much so that it hardly warrants replacing the pickups.

Even when you put the Squier Bullet vs Affinity lines up against each other, the distinct Fender sound is there.

Build Quality

Overseas production quality has drastically increased in the past decade. This has been a net positive for consumers like you and me, who can get better products without having to dig deeper into our pockets.

Fender Logo

Fender

Fender very well may be the industry leader in build quality. Even Mexican Fender products are known to last a lifetime.

And on the off chance they don’t, Fender’s modular guitar design makes it easy and affordable to swap parts in and out for upgrades or repairs. But if Fender is on the headstock, you can expect top notch build quality.

Squier Logo

Squier

Squier is no slouch when it comes to build quality either, with drastic improvements from past decades. Many Squier guitars come out of the box ready to go, with smooth action and sweet pickups.

Quality control certainly lags behind Fender a bit, but really it should be on the dealer to make sure that you don’t get a lemon or beat up instrument.

Pros and Cons of Each Make

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Fender Guitars

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The Good

      • Higher quality control
      • Higher resale value
      • Wider selection of guitars

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The Not So Good

      • Moderate to expensive price
      • Not as DIY mod friendly
      • Not sold as beginner package

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Squier logo

Squier Guitars

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The Good

      • Incredibly affordable
      • Lots of guitar for the money
      • DIY mod friendly

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The Not So Good

      • Lower Resale Value
      • Some parts need upgrades
      • Less quality control

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Which Brand Is Right For You?

Ultimately, Squiers are beloved by beginner players because they are an affordable way to learn guitar. Squier guitars even come with a free trial of Fender Play, their proprietary online guitar instruction program.

If you are a beginner or want to start learning guitar, Squier may be right for you.

Now, if you are a player who has progressed through lessons, upgrading to a Mexican or American Fender could be the right choice for you. The smoother playability and reliable tuning make Fenders a tad more stage or studio ready.

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