Squier is a pretty old brand in the instrument and music business, as it has built instruments since the 19th century. That is contrary to the popular belief since most of us know them as a subsidiary brand of Fender. Which is also true. The company has delivered some exceptional budget versions of some of the most famous Fender guitars, both electric and bass guitars.
Squier has a pretty large range of guitars in production and I think that most of the instruments in its range deliver exceptional value for the price. While I can confirm that the sound quality might not be the same as the original Fender models, they are pretty close to some differences. Nevertheless, they are excellent guitars, and for that reason, we will talk about them today. Check the best options in the market, see what makes them good and so much more. Now without further ado, let’s get on with it.
Which Are The Best Squier Guitars?
5. Squier Bullet Mustang
We are going to kick off this list with the exceptional and laid back, Squier Bullet Mustang. This is the simple version of the Mustang with two humbucker pickups to give you the Kurt Cobain vibes.
The design of this guitar is classic Mustang with the double-cutaway shape, that resembles the Strat very loosely. It comes in a blue or black glossy finish and white pickguard that looks pretty good in my opinion. The scale length is at 24-inches, which is a bit shortened but it is pretty good.
The pickups on this guitar are two humbuckers that give the heavy and large sound that you expect from a proper Mustang. The hardware is pretty standard as well, nothing bad but nothing to note of. The sound is pretty good and can be used for a long-range of genres out there, including jazz, punk rock, grunge, and many more.
4. Squier Contemporary Stratocaster
Coming up next on our list we have the Squier Contemporary Stratocaster. This is one of the most interesting Strats as they have modified it to play more contemporary genres, such as metal and hard rock, on top of that it is pretty affordable for everybody.
Like a proper Stratocaster, the Squier Contemporary Stratocaster has the classic and timeless double-cutaway shape that has done wonders. It is made out of solid poplar and there are different color schemes available including Black, Dark Red, Pearl White, and Ocean Blue, all with a metallic hue to them. The neck is made from maple and features the modern C shape.
The hardware of this beast is pretty much better than most Squier Strats with two Active humbuckers, that deliver a perfect performance combined with the electronics. The other parts are pretty standard, however. It doesn’t have the classic Strat sound, due to the pickups but overall I liked how it sounded, as it was heavier and more refined.
3. Squier Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster
Moving on in our list I have the Squier Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster, which is a guitar that is not the best option for beginners but for those that want a serious guitar that can deliver a priceless performance. In addition to that, the price is pretty solid as well.
This is a pretty interesting guitar combining the features of the classic Telecaster and a semi-hollow body guitar. Delivering the rock and roll heritage with the natural resonance that comes with hollow bodies. It is made out of mahogany and has a maple neck with 21 medium jumbo frets. The F-hole looks pretty good and I think that especially jazz guitarists will love its looks.
The Squier Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster has a thru-body bridge with three chrome barrel saddles. The tuning pegs are of the vintage fashion and the pickguard is large enough to cover most of the front side. In terms of pickups, it is packed with standard Tele single-coils with Alnico V magnets, with one tone and one volume knob that go along with the three-way selector.
2. Squier Classic Vibe 70’s Telecaster Custom
The runner up on this list is another Telecaster, namely the Squier Classic Vibe 70’s Telecaster Custom. It is a value-based Custom Telecaster that has one of the best features of all your beloved Teles with the added features of the Classic Vibe line, definitely the best bang for your buck.
The Squier Classic Vibe 70’s Telecaster Custom has a modified Telecaster body achieving nearly a double-cutaway, but it is a great recreation of the classic. This guitar rocks a solid poplar tonewood on its body with a maple neck. The neck has a nice radius that gave perfect playability to this guitar at a 9.5-inch radius.
The Squier Classic Vibe 70’s Telecaster Customise pretty interestingly in terms of pickups and electronics as it is designed for more aggressive playing styles. To do that it has employed an impressive Wide Range humbucker pickup at the neck position for a more aggressive tone and the other end, it has the single-coil Alnico coil to deliver that classic Telecaster twang, definitely the most impressive.
1. Squier Affinity Stratocaster Beginner Pack
On top of the list I don’t have a guitar, but instead, a complete package that will get you started, the Squier Affinity Stratocaster Beginner Pack. This is definitely the best option for people that want to get started with playing the guitar, as it has the guitar, an amp, cables, picks, gig bag, and straps in the same package.
The guitar itself is an entry-level Affinity Series Stratocaster that delivers a great feeling but has a modification that allows more guitarists to progress on this guitar further. It has an added humbucker pickup that is an essential part of modern genres. It has the classic C-shape and has 21 medium-jumbo frets that make this guitar extremely easy to play.
The amp is also excellent, coming in from Fender, the Frontman 15G, offering 15 watts of power to you. This is the perfect amp to practice and even can handle jamming in smaller venues which is great. It has tons of controls and you can also plug your headphones in it for silent practice sessions.
The difference between Squier and Fender
As far as guitar manufacturers go, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation is a giant, largest in the world when it comes to this industry. It has manufactured a large number of instruments you can choose from, ranging from super special Custom Shop models, to Made in the USA models, made in Mexico and Japan lines, and so much more than you really can lose count. Yes, it has budget models as well in its range, under the Squier name.
Squier has been an interesting name that has been always a great suggestion for beginner guitar and bass players. I can say that a lot of Fender guitarists have graduated from affordable Squier models. I can say that 90 percent of the past Squier owners have started with Squier Starter packs, which have been excellent options as they included the guitar, the amp, cables, and the strap in the same body, which is excellent.
In the past, Squier only released more affordable versions of the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazz Bass and Precision Bass guitars, which have been very basic, in its Standard or Bullet range. However, in the last few years, we have seen some excellent models coming in. Even some guitars that have been available as Custom Shop models, well the budget version of them, but then again they are pretty good making themselves as solid options for those who want better guitars without spending a lot of money. These models have made people wonder if it is worth buying a Fender model anymore. But there are some differences you will have to be careful about.
The biggest difference between a Fender and a Squier version of the same model guitar is the price. I have to say that all Fender models are significantly cheaper than their Squier counterparts sometimes by more than $500, which is a bit crazy when you think about it. This is the thing that makes more people go to Squier models. However, some other differences between them affect the other aspects of the guitar.
While the number of models is pretty much the same, and Squier has some interesting instruments that are not available in Fender’s range there are some big differences mainly in the tonewood and composition aspect. If you get a standard Squier Stratocaster, and a standard Fender Stratocaster you will notice that the tonewood of the latter is significantly better than the former, by a large margin at that. This is recognizable from the sound of the guitar by the pros only, however, you will see that the Squier models don’t have the best quality control and sometimes need a little more tuning and setup after the unboxing.
Hardware and pickups are also pretty different between the two brands. For example, the hardware is a pretty problematic thing in most Squier models. The hardware is mostly from unbranded manufacturers and lower-quality materials. On top of that when you try to swap them for different ones it becomes a lot of hassle due to different dimensions of Squier guitars. Squier models also use lower quality pickups in general, for example, I have noticed that most single-coil pickups are made out of bar magnets instead of pole magnets which can make your guitar sound a little different than expected.
The bottom line is that Squier makes cheaper and guitars of the lesser quality compared to Fender. However, overall I can say that all of the guitars in its lineup are pretty exceptional models. I always recommend them to beginners as they will deliver superb playability and sound while keeping the prices low. Also if you want an upgrade and can’t splash out a lot on a new guitar, Squier Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe series are exceptional options for you and I recommend them to everyone.
Things That Make a Good Squier
There are several things you need to check out before buying a Squier guitar, let’s check them out.
– Sound: While it is the most obvious thing you need to check out, it is also the most important. Normally some guitars sound better than the others, and when buying a Squier guitar compare them with models in the same price range. If you start comparing the sound with Custom Shop Fenders or other high-end guitars you are in for a disappointment. Check if it sounds good and if it delivers the tones you are looking for.
– Build Quality: This is also a factor that you need to be careful when buying a Squier guitar. These guitars like I said earlier don’t have the best quality control so the build might not be the best, but overall don’t have any large defects that might make them unreliable overall. After the body check the electronics and hardware and see if they perform well enough before buying.
– Feel and Playability: It is important with any guitar you buy, for it to feel natural. You will know from when you grip it for the first time, and when you hit the frets, if something feels off, it probably is. Some feel better than the others of course, but it is good to know that the guitar you buy at least is playable.
– Design: Normally you want your guide to looking good and like an extension of your personality. So this is not something that will depend a lot on the Squier or any other brand but for your personal taste and preference.
While some people like throwing the ‘You get what you pay for’, it is not always the case when buying Squier guitars. I seriously think that they are excellent models that deliver some great value for the price and great accessibility to a lot of beginners. Especially with Starter Packs that deliver everything you need in a single package. I hope that now you are ready to go on and buy yourself the best Squier guitar, don’t forget to check out the top picks section to get an idea about which one is the better model for you. Have fun with your new guitar.