Critical Look: Fender Squier Stratocaster Review

fender squier stratocaster

Designed back in 1954 by Leo Fender, the “stratocaster” has become ubiquitous among all electric guitar players across the world. Almost everybody is familiar with the look of the Fender Squier Stratocaster and it has been played by some of the best guitarist in the world.

Because the design of the Fender Squier Stratocaster is so popular, it has also become one of the most copied guitar looks over the past half a century. In my travels around the world I have seen strat look-a-likes in China, the Philippines and in Africa. The problem is that for most beginners, a Fender Squier Stratocaster costs a bit more than they are willing to pay.  Enter the Squier Fender Series.

Is “Squier” a Fender?

In short, despite what you may read elsewhere, the answer to this question is YES.

Back in 1965 Fender bought a US-based string maker named Squier. Fender had produced entry-level electric guitars before but had never modeled them after their popular line of Stratocasters and Telecasters.

All of that changed in 1982 when Fender introduced the Fender Squier series of guitars. Fender produces their Squiers overseas (mostly in Asia) and use cost-efficient materials, which is why they are much cheaper than your average Fender.

A Fender Squier Stratocaster Review

For those searching for a beginner electric guitar, it’s not uncommon for that search to begin with the Stratocaster. It may not end here, but it should definitely start here.

What’s Great about the Squier Strat

For starters, thing people love most about the Squier Strat guitar is the famous contoured body. It feels exactly the same as the pricier Fender Strats.

The contoured body is just the start. Everything from the classic headstock of the Squier Stratocaster to the placement of the 3 single-coil pickups is identical to its older brother. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the 5-way switch (which switches between different combinations of pickups) and the sweet tremolo.

If you’re a fan of how the Fender Squier Stratocaster looks, there’s no doubt that you’ll be pleased with the Squier Stratocaster. Thankfully it’s also not bad to play either. There’s a lot that plays into the tone of an electric guitar – from the onboard electronics to the amplifier, but “out of the box” the Squier Stratocaster guitars have a good sound. It’s easy on the fingers and the maple neck is smooth to travel the fretboard.

Guitar Headstock challenge!    Yamaha Pacifica Electric guitar review

Differences: Squier Strat vs the Fender Strat

Of course, when you’re looking to mimic a Fender Strat with a budget under $200, you should certainly expect a few compromises. Whether you plan to use the Squier Strat as a beginner guitar or as a backup guitar, it’s good to know the differences between the Fender and the Squier.

The biggest difference between the two, other than the fact that Squier is manufactured in Asia while Fender is made in the U.S.A., is materials. Both use Alder wood for the body of the guitar but Squier relies on a cheaper, lower-quality Alder. The pickups on a Squier, as you would expect, don’t compare with those on the Fender.  You can say the same thing most of the hardware including tuners, bridge hardware, etc. Most of this can be replaced, of course, but that will take a bit of technical know-how on your part.

When it comes to construction, the only glaring problem with the Squier Strat is the neck. If you’re a beginner guitarist you won’t notice and you should probably just skip this paragraph. For the experienced player, however, you’ll notice a lack of precision in the neck of the Squier Strat, especially if you want to make any sort of adjustment. With a Fender Strat you have the option of making minor adjustments via the Micro Tilt at the neck attachment. No such adjustment exists with the Squier Stratocaster.

If you’re a beginner guitarist, the Squier Strat is an excellent option. For those more experienced guitarists looking to purchase a backup guitar, make sure the guitar has been set up properly and be prepared to invest money in better pickups.

Squier Options for Beginner Guitarist

So here’s the best part about considering a Fender Squier Stratocaster as your first beginner guitar: excellent options. Other than the typical color options that you’ll get with most any guitars, there are also some other specs that might interest you:

The Traditional Squier Affinity Strat

The most popular of the Squier series by far is the Affinity Strat. It’s a proven guitar that is well-priced, even though there are both cheaper and more expensive options (as you’ll see below).

Squier Affinity Strat


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For the Super-Budget Conscious

Squier offers the Squier Bullet Stratocaster, which uses basswood instead of alder and ceramic pickups to save you money. For less than $150 you can get a Squier Bullet Stratocaster bundle.  This includes a case, strings, winder, tuner and other items that a beginner guitarist would find helpful. This is your best option if you’re strapped for cash.

The Black version of the Squier Bullet Strat

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For the Younger Guitarist/Traveling Guitarist

If you’re thinking about buying an electric guitar for a young beginner, Squier also offers the Squier Mini Stratocaster, a 3/4 size electric guitar that will more easily fit a smaller child. It’s also not a bad option if you want a smaller travel electric guitar. Personally I prefer to travel with an acoustic guitar, but if the electric is your preference, the mini will suit you just fine.

Squier Mini Stratocaster by Fender

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For the Quality Conscious

If you’re on a budget but you’re still willing to pay just a few more dollars to squeeze out the best quality guitar you can get, there’s also the Squier Standard Stratocaster. It’s a step above the affinity series which means you’ll get:

  • An agathis body
  • Better Alnico pickups (which out-perform the Affinity pickups by far)
  • A slimmer neck (for easier playability)

Squier Standard Stratocaster Electric guitar by Fender

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Final Thoughts on the Squier Stratocaster

For a beginner guitarist who wants to learn on the electric, you can’t go wrong with a Squier Stratocaster. My guess is that after a year or two, you’ll probably want to upgrade your equipment.  But, at least with a Squier Strat, you’ll be able to sell it used for more than $20. It carries the name “Fender” and that will serve you well later on.

More advanced players will notice that the amplified sound of a Squier Strat doesn’t quite compare to that of a true Fender.  But with a little investment and a few modifications you can fix that easily. The Squier series does it exactly what it aims to do.  It provides the look and feel of a Fender electric guitar at a price that allows most beginners to thoroughly enjoy.

144 thoughts on “Critical Look: Fender Squier Stratocaster Review

  1. A lot of us “advanced players” play Squiers, especially the Standard Strat. Many people will replace some electronics or replace the bridge and trem with and all steel version, but the wood and the necks of many Squier models are very good and many of us older players-who have owned Fenders-really like the various Squier Strats. When they are properly set up they will hang in with many “better name” guitars, and They are VERY comfortable players. I have 3 Squier Strats made in various times and places, and they are all very good quality guitars.

    1. Thanks for adding your input, Mark! Good to know that there are many people out there who have the same affinity (ha…get it?) for the Squier electrics.

    2. I own a Squier by Fender with nice solid Bridge and nice Tuners that are ingraved with Squier on the back! The pickups are hot,the Guitar feels good and plays Good! Made in China # CAE-0040505141 bought this in a pawn shop guitar still has the plastic on pickguard which is a 3 layered pickguard I’m Baffled !

    3. i have owned 2 squier standard strats both garbage the first one i bought from musicians friend the workmanship was horrable made in china junk my second bought new on ebay frets wore out within 6 months routing was sloppy pickups were not alnico like they were suppose to be tone controls wired backwards jack plate holes drilled to close to edge wood broke out no longer would hold screw fret job was terrible and so on so now i play 2 modified yamaha pacificas 112v and a 112j way better than squier junk these guitars are even better than a mexican strat fit finish workmanship compareable to american standard strat my other electrics are a samick greg bennett malibu made in korea 3 piece american alder body eastern hardrock maple neck fingerboard wilkinson tremolo grover tuners and now it has fender usa pickups pots switch nos from around 1989 best guitar i have ever played then a highly modified mexican strat

      1. Hey Hardin, I’m glad you were able to find the Pacificas that you like, but for the record it doesn’t sound like you bought an authentic Fender Squier. Incorrect wiring and a terrible fret job make me wonder if you were sold a knock-off guitar. It’s possible, at least.

      2. It sounds like both of the sellers saw you coming and jumped at the opportunity! Never buy a guitar sight-unseen. Yes, you may be able to find some really bad Squiers. But, it certainly is not my experience. I always heard of and thought of Squiers as junk. And, even though I always wanted a Strat I never considered them as real, viable instruments. They were junk, period! So, I never bought any electric besides my mid-range neck-through BC Rich Bich; a very sexy guitar. Then, while on a trip to our local pawnshop I found a 2004 Squier Strat Affinity. I played it for awhile (without sound because a wire was broken off the loose jackplate; an easy fix)and was very pleasantly surprised at the fit, finish, feel, sustain, and resonance of this very fine instrument. I bought this guitar for $40 because of the no-sound issue. Since then, I have made many improvements to it. Now, it is my #1. I love it! I still have my Bich, but I never play it. I can’t put down the Squier. This guitar has busted more than one misconception I’ve had, because I never would considered using ceramic pickups. But, these ceramic single-coil pickups are awesome; a little noisy yes. But, that is one characteristic of a true single coil pickup; very powerful and “stratty”, with tons of “quack”. And, you wont ever get that from any humbucker. So, do yourself a favor; reconsider Squire, and play before you buy this time. It probably won’t be perfect. But, it’s an excellent platform for experimentation and will grow with you on the road to finding that sound you love, too.

      3. Drivel, youre either a liar or am idiot.Ive been repairing guitars for over forty years and most of what youve written is the juvenile scribblings of someone who cant walk and chew gum at the same time. Squier standard strats are excellent, Ive had several, have two currently and have set up dozens, youre talking complete rubbish. Grow up and learn to play.

      4. Have you never heard of spelling or punctuation? You are also talking utter rubbish. I’ve had a Korean Squire for about 15 years and with modifications, it plays better than a ’62 Strat that I had from new many years ago!

      5. …. and all that without even taking a breath. You ll find ,;.: very useful to write. Hope your guitar knowledge is better than your writing.

      6. slow down just a minute and use some punctuation (punctuation is what helps keep people reading).
        Just as a counter- I own a 1983 Squier that the luthier wanted to buy from me and a partscaster from 2 “junk” Chinese 2007/09 Squiers that I’ve modified to make into a Ritchie Blackmore special.
        I can assure you both are fine guitars to play. The first because it was great from inception, the 2nd because they are easy and inexpensive to make what you want them to be. And in each case the routing was top notch
        I think you were sold a pup! (make that two pups)

      7. it does sounds like you were duped, It can happen – it’s in Fender’s interest to make sure their Squier range doesn’t reflect badly on them.
        My 1983/83 well set up SQ series Squier strat is an absolute gem (even though nearly 11 lbs).
        And my much newer and much lighter Squier Contemporary Strat is also a joy to play. Much different sounding with its HH configuration.
        I aso used Squier parts to make myself up a Ritchie Blackmore special replete with scalloped frets. I did this because the basic material is so good to work onwards from.

    4. I have owned many many Strat guitars over the years. The 60’s Classic Vibe Strat is as good as any including my 62 Fullerton RI. In fact, I like and play it more.

      1. I’ll second that vote on the 60’s CV Strat… and raise one for the 60’s CV Tele! I picked up the Squier Strat in a trade not really knowing what it was and was was totally shocked at the sound and playability. Wasn’t long before I went with the CV Tele and love it just as much. BTW, both of mine were picked up used.

    5. I would like everyone here to know I just bought a Squier Affinity strat brand new from a reputable music shop and its absolutely stunning to look at.Its pure white with a grey flec pick guard,it plays and feels excellent I know it has some cheap parts but I dont mind.It has 2 single coil pups and a humbucker.Im not a professional guitarist but still play pretty good after 40 years.I think the people below that bag squire are pedantic and have probably been ripped of on a few occasions.I think for hobby guitarists theres absolutely wrong with Squiers.

    6. I agree , don’t underrate the Fender Squire. I have a hand full of different squire models. I’m 64 years old I’ve had more guitars then you can shake a stick at I usually picked up American made Fenders and Gibson’s .
      Once I got my first Squire I was blown away. It looked good sounded very good, Etc. A proper set up and most of the time you’re good to go, How ever if your looking for upgrades it’s easy to do. Most of the time it’s more asthetics than sound in my experience. For a minimal cost you can change. Locking tuners are another upgrade. According to what model changing out the tuner pots maybe an option?
      Like on many guitars even big dollars smoothing out the end of the frets if needed. Well these are just a few thoughts from am old rocker..

  2. Hi

    I love Fender guitars and have a few strats and teles of my own,(USA,Mex and Japanese made).
    I also have a Squier Bullet strat. This is a really amazing guitar for the buck! Construction is of a very high quality and no fault could be found.
    Although the pickups are “inferior” to the Standard Strats, it still delivers good tone. I like playing the blues and the neck pickup delivers nicely indeed.Why Alder or Basswood should be a point of concern, heaven knows! Both woods last you a lifetime,so, what the heck?! Also the hardware used on Squiers are supposed to be inferior, but so what? Is it going to rust after a while, or are the tuners going to last only up to a point? I can never get the exact reasons behind this figuring! If you’re a first time buyer or even a hardened riffer, try the Squier, you will not be disappointed! Best built electric and tone for your money!!
    The other selector settings are also nothing to be scoffed at! All in all I am impressed and the second Squier Bullet is on its way!

    1. Thanks for your take on the Squier Bullet Strat Pierre! I agree with you – if you’re a beginner guitarist there is a lot of this that won’t matter much. You can always replace the pickups with something that sounds much better.

      When it comes to hardware, I’m not worried that it’s going to rust, I’m worried that the pots will all the sudden stop working or the three-way switch will become so loose that it won’t stay well in a particular position (which has happened to me on a cheap electric before).

      Again, thanks for the comment Pierre!

      1. I own Fender Strats and ive owned Squires the quality and build are as superb as Fender and also a great weight too.To a beginner or professional Squires are great guitars but to an experienced musician pickups on a Squire don’t compare to a Fender the sound clarity isn’t as good and I find the 5 way toggle is a little too flimsy for my liking but other than that upgraded a Squire with the right set up and intonation it’ll be just as good as it’s big brother

  3. I went into Guitar Center and asked which starter guitar pkg was the best quality for the $. I ended up putting the $199 pkg on layaway. Now I am wondering if I should switch to the $249 pkg? Both guitars are Squier Affinnity, but I think the more expensive one is the way to go? I know the cheaper pkg has smaller wattage amp, but the guitar not sure? Which one do you think I should get, or should I just go for the Yamaha ? I already have 3 great guitars, but I figured wth better learn on something else.

    1. Hey Kathy! Thanks for the comment. There are a couple differences between the $199 and $249 Squier Strat packs but I’m not sure if you’ll be able to tell much of a difference. As you noted, the more expensive pack comes with a 15G amp (vs a 10G amplifier) which might produce a little more volume but, frankly speaking, neither will be anything you want to take out of your home and play in front of people. I wouldn’t base my decision on the amplifier here.

      The only major difference between the guitars is that the $249 Strat is actually a Strat HSS, which means that instead of 3 single coil pickups it has 2 single coil and a humbucking pickup. With this setup you can achieve a few different sounds out of the guitar, including one that sound a lot more like a Telecaster. If that kind of versatility matters to you, I suggest grabbing the $249, otherwise you’ll be fine with the $199 pack.

      OR, if you already have all the various accessories (you mentioned you already have 3 great guitars), then buy a nicer guitar without the pack. That’s also a good option.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Josh,I just want to recap my squier story Im a 61 year old Aussie so please forgive the grammer and bad spelling.I went in to my local muso shop wanting to buy something brand new but cheap.I picked out a red squier bullet had a play and thought there nice nothing wrong with those.Out of the corner of my eye i noticed a white one didnt know much about them so haggled with the guy on price.we agreed and I know he probably made a bit of cash out of me but thats ok hes got to earn a living.Didnt take much notice when he was packing it up for me.When I got it home I couldnt believe It.If there was a Miss universe for guitars this would win,I absolutely love it,It sounds and plays perfectly.So in my book there absolutely nothing wrong with Squire Affinities.

  4. I’m a 62 year old guitarist who has played for 50 years. I have owned more American Standard Strats and Teles then I care to count. I own one of each as we speak. My son bought me a Squire hard tail Strat for fathers Day. We added new pots, a set of Seymore Duncan California 50 pickups and installed a graphite nut…..This guitar is amazing….I’ll put it up against my American Standard any day.

    1. I agree with you Mike. I’m been at this for over 40 years and my Squier will hang with the best of them. I have it set up exclusively for jazz. I replaced the tuners with Grovers and will be replacing the front pickup with a Kent Armstrong. This is way more than a beginner guitar. Just ask Jack Pearson.

      1. Nice to hear that Kevan
        I have just taken up the guitar in my later years purely as a hobby
        (I was a keyboards player) and taking some advice I bought a second hand Squier CN which I was informed was a 1990 Korean built model it actually really does look brand new as it was a collector who owned it so has not been used much.
        But the main thing being a total novice it is nice to hear that it was not a waste of money buying it ( I paid £130 with a fender gig bag)so by the looks of things not cheap but if it does the job I’m happy.
        thanks for the post Kevan

      2. Jack Pearson and his blue Squier Bullet are truly amazing. Squiers are great guitars in their own right and are a great platform for customization and modding, besides being great for beginners too. An electric guitar and especially a stratocaster are a very simple design, not rocket science.

        You do not have to break the bank to get something decent. Squiers are an honest guitar.

    2. I bought a fender squire bullet for 149.00 and bought a no buzz brass nut because my brother told me it will make the tone a lot nicer not that it sounded bad to begin with , but I was amazed at how good it sounded after having that nut put on it ! I just bought another 1993 squire start mij for 383.00 and it sounds great but I’m not 100% satisfied , at least not until I buy a no buzz brass nut and 6 brand new chrome rolling saddles and the intonation and action set . I’ll have to pay the luthier I use at Coffey music to do the work for me but I know when he’s finished with it its going to sound great !!! 🙂

  5. Great article, Josh!
    I’ve owned American made Strats in the past and bought a 2003 MII Affinity for the princely sum of $75, just recently.
    The build quality is impressive for a guitar of any price.
    My main quibble is that the tone pots are atrocious! Those will definitely be due for a switch-out.
    The pickups are surprisingly good for an inexpensive axe. They’re capable of more quack than a pond full of Mallards. That’s a plus in my book. If I didn’t want that sound, I’d have overlooked this guitar completely!
    The neck is streets ahead of other guitars in it’s class and that probably goes double for the bridge. Both are quite solid.
    It will get some quality time on the work-bench, but that’s only to make a really good guitar that much better.



    1. Thanks for the comment, Bob! I agree with you about the pots – best to just buy new ones at the same time you’re buying the guitar.

      At the very least, this “quality time on the work bench” will just give guitarists some good practice, especially since if they mess up, it’s not an incredibly expensive guitar!

    2. Yes Bob, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have a 2004 Indonesian Affinity Strat I bought from our local pawnshop for $40. It had a broken wire on the loose jackplate. So, no sound at tryout. But, that didn’t worry me; it’s an easy fix. It’s quite a solid guitar with a fine neck; I can’t even complain about the fretwork. But, I think those pickups are phenomenal. I play mostly Texas-style blues. So, that gritty, raw tone from those ceramic pickups is perfect. And, I don’t even mind the 60(120)-cycle hum from them. Because, lets face it without it all the other characteristics of those pickups would change also. And, after a quality setup it’s perfect. My only complaints, and this can be said of all Strats, is the six-screw tremolo; the tuning instability is unbearable. So, I’ve blocked mine for now. But… in two days a Babicz FCH tremolo and a Hipshot Tremsetter will be delivered. Then, I’ll finally be able to set it up like Leo designed it to be, only a bit better. But, also I have to say that I cannot stand a Strat with the large CBS-era headstock. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does. Lately, I’ve even considered going so far as to rework the headstock to the more desirable (in my opinion) pre-CBS shape. I have the templates, the skills, and the tools, I just need to grow the cojones to do it.

      1. Don’t do it. I was the same but sorta grows on ya. I don’t no if it adds a certain tone but it does have a Unique look which only Fenders have. Hendrix played em sometimes,a historic and funky look which sticks out On stage.

  6. Just bought the usb squier strat and I have to say, the tone of this guitar sounds waaaay better than expected. I own a tele/ strat hybrid anniversary issue, and my new squier sounds much better than it. If these are “inferior” pickups, I’ll take em’ anyday….sounds incredible through my behringer vt30

  7. Hi, I bought a used squier affinity for 50.00I love this guitar the sound, but need it a good upgrade. So I got a good deal on a loaded pickup on eBay for another $ 50.00 with a dean nostalgia an a Bill larence picks. I turn into a beast with the punch of the Bill larence and the sweet tone of the dean nostalgia. I just can’t put this guitar down it great and for less than half price new but better.

  8. It might be worth mentioning that the Squier Standard Statocaster features a full size strat body, unlike the Bullet and the Affinity.

    Aftermarket hardware upgrades such as a tremolo block might not fit in the Bullet and Affinity series.

    1. I bought the $199.00 Squire Affinity couple of months ago. It is definitely a full sized body guitar.I did a intonation/string height setup and cranked the truss rod 1/2 righthand turn. It plays like butter and rings like a bell. The pickups are very good. The 10G amp is more than enough for home use. It really sounds like an old twin. But I wish it had reverb. Still–the amp is very well constructed and won’t break your back lugging it around. This is my fourth Squire.

  9. Bought a used squier standard strategy for $90 I must say it is a solid built, good looking and sounding guitar.Will give it an upgrade at some point.Very playable as is. I hope the cops aren’t looking for me cause it was a steel.

  10. hi i’m from Indonesia,and i have a squier standard candy apple red made in Indonesia,that’s an amazing guitar,i love my squier and i’m proud having a aquier standard. and,with a candy apple red,it’s looks like fender jabocaster matthias jabs,haha…

    1. Thanks for the comment, Noorman! Glad you’re enjoying your Squier Standard. The Candy Apple Red is a great color and hopefully it lasts you for a long time.

  11. I own an American Strat (has a American Special Series 2 tone sunburst body/Tex Spec PU’s SSS) but I replaced the neck with a Fender maple 22 fret birdseye small headstock with 2 butterfly stringtrees) BUT…… to be honest it has to fight for play time because I favor more between my (Cherryburst Squire Standard Strat w/ the Alnicos or my Modded Cherry Red Affinity with a replaced 2 point non fender type bridge and loaded with I think 52 or 57 SSS black Pu’s.

  12. hi i have just bought a fender squire strat 50th aniversary 96 cost me 80 do you think its a good bargain or? does any one know what type of wood they are built out of and what is the best pickups to upgrade,

  13. Hi,
    I have been wanting to purchase a Squire and I have reviewed a few on YouTube. Could you suggest a few models that would be nice for a intermediate player? I am ok to stretch my budget a bit but I want a good guitar. I read all the different comments here and this forum is great! Keep up the good work!

    1. just today saw a fender strat china made for 99.00 bucks looks brand new no buckle ma burst not sun burst thanks terry

  14. Why no love for the Classic Vibe series?
    I’ve got the CV-50s Tele…and I’m seriously gassing for a CV-60s Strat.
    I’m a little surprised there’s not a mention of them.

  15. Hi Josh, Im a beginner and am looking to buying an electric guitar. I have narrowed it down to the fender squire standard stratocaster and the yamaha Pacifica 112j. Which one do you reckon I should get largely based on sound quality and overall guitar life. Thanks again 

    1. Wow, great question Ashley. I’m not sure there’s a “right” answer unfortunately 😉

      They’re both going to be great beginner guitars that will last you as long as you need and have a decent resale value. If you’re looking to upgrade the guitar parts in the future, there’s more help to do that online with the Fender Squire, even though you can upgrade both guitars equally well.

      My suggestion is to try them both out in a store and decide which one just feels right. If that doesn’t help, just look at both of them and make a gut decision on which one looks right to you. Ha!

  16. Hey Josh, i think I’m leaning towards the Fender squire stratocaster. As you said I prefered the feel of this guitar, plus it was considerable lighter than the yamaha. Thanks for the help 

  17. I’m just starting out playing and was looking at one of the starter packs, but a friend suggested I look at used equipment. I brought a Squier Standard Stratocaster but it has 2 hummbucker Pickups its from 2004, I have not been able to find that model in any catalog, how can I tell if its been modified or should I not care about that.

    1. Just look under the pickguard, and check things like the solder joints. Are they clean and neat? Any old solder joints on the pots? Are the pots the correct size? (Google images for comparison.) Any signs of another paint job?

      There were a few different variations of the HH (double humbucker) Squiers in ’04. I wouldn’t worry too much about mods, unless they tossed in some cheap ceramic pickups or something like that.

    2. Tom, the only thing about those humbuckers is that you will not get that traditional Strat tone everyone raves about; mainly Strat “quack”. My suggestion to you for now though, is to not worry about the pickups. We tend to get caught-up in the hype that goes along with playing guitar, or any other hobby, really. So, save your money; it’s too hard to come by. And, there are far too many people who want to take it from you. For now, just play and learn. Play all that your fingers can stand to play. And, then, play some more. Get good. Then, later on, after you have learned a bit and begun to develop your style you can make the modifications necessary to achieve the tone or feel you want. You’ll have a much better idea of what to do.

  18. Hi,

    I bought a 1997 affinity strat, a fender mim maple vintage neck, custom fat 50s, Cs 69 and a seymour duncan ssl 5. Black 1 ply pickguard and polished the edges. I fitted a neck on switch, and I shortened the tremelo arm. Also fitted a mim fender tremelo and upgraded to a big steel block. Guess what…. it’s a David Gilmour Strat now☺

    I also have a Classic Vibe 50s, and a Korean 50th anniversary strat.

    very good guitars, all 3 of them.

  19. I agree with Werner; the Classic Vibe is an AMAZING series on the Squier line. I’ve owned a CV ’50s Strat for a little over a year and I’ll put it up against any American Standard Strat (not to mention that it’ll blow the doors off the MIM version for about half the price). And while Squier doesn’t publish the fact, the pickups are Tonerider Surfaris which sound absolultely amazing. This is a fantastic guitar for players of any level of experience and at a very reasonable price. If you get the chance, be sure to check one out.

  20. I’ve read the review and most of the comments. And the one thing bugging me here is the constant use from the reviewer of it being ok as a beginners guitar. Yes it is a good guitar for beginner but that’s because of the price! No parent is going to risk big money on a guitar for a young beginner… Look at ebay the amount of ” new” Squiers there!
    I have custom shop US Fenders and vintage ones. But I still love my Squier. It’s stunning when you consider the cost. And if it was only slightly modded with different pickups either way, unless you saw the name Squier on the headstock the average guy wouldn’t notice the difference. There is a lot of snobbery over the Squier. I’m not a snob. And this guitar stands up easily to many expencive pro guitars out there.

    1. I have been a professional musician, with a touring gigging band and session guitar player for 50 years. I have a vast collection of vintage guitars to new ones. There is such alot if snobbery and rubbish written about guitars. Wood is important on acoustic guitars and semi acoustic electric guitars not so much as with solid body electrics as these are processed to what you wish to get sound wise. It makes you wonder how any of the guitar players of old in the 30’s onwards were able to play on their instruments or get their sounds we all admire by the way some of the posts go on. If you can play then you can play. If you are a beginner and you like your guitar then don’t get caught up in all the hype. You may however wish to change your brand, Fender for Gibson, etc, Echo for a Martin or Larivee or whatever. Personally It could have Micky Mouse on the headstock for all I care. If it tunes and is playable, then happy days. Of course do have fun with experimentation with guitars, but all the hype about this that and everything else is somewhat nonsensical. Enjoy learning, progressing and playing. Have fun. Companies who are making guitars and parts are having a great time selling product and upgrades 🙂

  21. Hi Josh,

    great article. I have a Squier Stratocaster bought new in 1992 that I need to sell. I was wondering if you can give me some guidance as to how much to ask for it. Does the fact that it is relatively old increase its value? I got an offer for CAD$ 150 which I find too low, but given that there are several other similar (but much newer) guitars for sale for $150 on the same site (even including cases & amps), I’m skeptical why the person contacted me instead of them. It makes me think that I’m undervaluing it.

    Also, is there a way to look up the guitar’s serial number? I haven’t found such a site yet. Mine starts with an “O”.

    I’d be most grateful for your insight.

  22. I have several Strat Squiers and a genuine 59 Stratocaster, I am a Luthier by trade and a performer too, I swear by the Fender Squier range. I have three Bullets, three Affinities and a Standard. They all play beautifully after a decent setup.
    My most recent purchase was a red Bullet that I went all out on. After giving it a fret file and polish including neck adjustment, I added internal blocks to fill the pickup holes in the body, turning it into a standard body style ie: three single coil cavities.
    The Squier range have a large pickup cavity that is designed to take either three single coil pickups, three humbuckers or any combination thereof. Some folk would say that changing this makes little difference, and it may just be my imagination but, to me it made a huge difference to sustain and feedback control-ability.
    I took some photos of the Bullet without the scratchplate, and the standard Strat body, also without the scratchplate, created a template on my computer and cut the blocks out using my CNC router. I glued these into place, lined the new cavities with copper shielding, and then went on to replace the pickups and scratchplate with DiMarzio area 59 and 61 pickups and a 3 ply scratchplate including CTS pots and a CRL switch. While I was at it I replaced the tremolo block with a solid steel block, and the tuners with Gotoh machines… oh and I fitted a bone nut to top it all off.
    Now as I already mentioned I do own a 59 Stratocaster, but guess which guitar gets the most use, plays the nicest and has the best sound of all my guitars? You guessed it… Red (as I call her). At much less than half the cost of a genuine Stratocaster, she makes an excellent stage guitar too. After all, I’m just not game to take the real one out into the pub world.

    1. The solid steel block was possibly the best upgrade I made to my Squier Standard Stratocaster. I like to describe the difference as “more articulate”, as well as more sustain.

  23. Love your site. Just bought alleged Squire Strat body on ebay but mine has no number on it. Where is the serial number or any other demarcation by Fender that this body was made by them? Seller didn’t volunteer year. Said “1 & 5/8 inches” thick if that helps. Can you help?

    1. That’s the right width for an Affinity, and probably a Bullet, too. My Standard is 1 & 3/4, same as a Fender.

  24. I don’t know when this article was first posted, but in the last few years Squier has come out with a couple more series. The Squier Vintage Modified series, and the Classic Vibe series. The CV series is getting rave reviews everywhere you turn. Many think it is possibly THE best guitar value made today.

    As for myself, I have a 2007 Squier Standard Stratocaster (Indonesia), which I purchased new in ’07 or early ’08. Since then, over time I have added GFS Texas Pickups, Fender 250k pots (+TBX), Fender 5-way switch, full size steel block, bent steel saddles, Switchcraft jack, Gavitt wire, plastic/graphite nut, copper foil shielding, and roller trees. I like the guitar so much that I opted for an Indonesian made Squier Affinity (BSB) after I decided I wanted a Telecaster in January of ’14. (It is the “starter pack” version, with 22 frets and a string-through body.) The neck on this beauty is even better than the Strat’s. The only mods, so far, are Fender 250k pots, copper foil shielding, and roller trees.

    If I went off on what sounds like a bragging tangent, it is because I appreciate a work of art. And I especially appreciate a very reasonably priced work of art.

  25. Hi! I am 16 years old and have been playing guitar for a year and a half. I have a Squier classic vibe 50s strat. It originally was white with a gold, aluminum pickguard. I have replaced the pickguard with a plastic 3 ply WBW pickguard and replaced the bridge single coil with a Seymour Duncan nazgül humbucker. I also replaced the tuners with aftermarket vintage style locking tuners. (I actually installed those all on my own so those might not last as long as they are supposed to. Haha but seriously though. I have totally customized this guitar with stickers and extra things I didn’t mention. In other words, this is MY GUITAR. It’s like nothing else and I don’t want another guitar. I am actually pretty good, and would call myself an intermediate guitarist. I would say within the next few years I will be advanced. I play very aggressively (Lots of punk and hard rock (green day, van halen, nirvana) for an hour or two a day. As I said, this is my baby, and I don’t want to have to upgrade. Will this guitar last? I don’t care if I have to replace hardware every now and then. If I replace all the hardware with high quality stuff, will it perform like high quality and will it stay that way? Also, will the wood stand the test of time? Thanks!

    1. Hey Tom, thanks for the comment! The Squire Strat USB isn’t a bad guitar, but I think you need to consider your needs as a beginner guitarist. Does connecting your guitar to a computer really inspire you? Will you need the capability in the first couple years?

      In some cases I think it might be a better use of your money to just get a better quality guitar instead of all the flashy electronics. That’s just my opinion, though 😉

  26. Josh, thanks for a qiuck response. I can play only at night so I have to use headphones. Is it possible to connect headphones to amplfier? If yes, is it better to buy usb guitar + headphones or guitar + amp + headphones? I will not need amp at the begining and can always buy one later.

    1. Hey Tom, the great thing about the Squier Strat USB is that it has a built-in headphone output so you don’t *have to* get a amp when you first start. You’ll want to get one eventually, but if you’re just playing for yourself, I would save my money 😉

  27. Wish I was playing my guitar right now!
    HI I bought a new 2004 Squier Affinity but did not play it much cause the neck width was only 40mm and i need 42mm. about nine years later my wife bought me a fender telecaster and I was reborn! I started playing guitar again and loving it (even bought a Fender Mustang I v2 amp to go with it, love that amp and Fender Mustang III v2 I just bought as well!) so after playing a while i started giving the squier strat a second look and then switched the neck with a fender strat neck (2004 fender standard strat) and eventually bought a loaded 2014 standard fender strat pick guard. Rock and Roll baby!!! But I do agree that squier makes excellent guitars for pros and beginners!
    thanks for the thread dude and rock and roll.

  28. I purchased a mexican fat strat with a floyd rose. One of my favorite guitars to play and I got it new for $500 wine color. The kids at the shop played it through a fender amp and plugged in an american strat to an identical amp and played them side by side. They couldn’t hear any difference between the guitars. ( I was told some of the Mexican strats got the previous years guts / leftovers) I decided to not touch the guitar ( I am prone to removing the guts and getting all Seymour Duncan pick ups – this is what i do to most of my other guitars. ) I have a China Squire strat that played nice but sounded like complete dog poo. I threw in a JB jr a cool rail mid and a double stack neck side. I can get Adrian Smiths clean tones at the bridge ( sounds really nasty with my ibanez SD9 sonic distortion pedal) and throw the switch to the neckside and it is SRV all day with excellent sustain through the entire range. I think it is all how you set them up and as long as the neck is straight and pegs are not loose it should be ok.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Alex, and you make a good point. Even cheap electrics can be made to sound incredible – just make sure you’re starting with a good body/neck!

      1. I put a 2004 MIM Fender standard strat neck and a 2014 MIM loaded Standard strat Fender pick guard on my 2004 Fender Squier Affinity Artic White body. I love this guitar. Is the Affinity Body inferior or could it be detracting from the sustain?

      2. Can you tell me if there is any significant difference between a Affinity Esquie Strat made in 1995 and one made today?


  29. Is a Fender Standard MIM body as good as a Fender Squier Affinity Body dated 2004? Is there a difference in sound? I still have the original tremolo block and original bridge on my Squier Affinity.

    Thank you

  30. I’m 43 and I started playing at age 14. My first Squier was a 2002 Bullet Strat, that I bought because it was so cheap, I just thought I’d give it a go. I ended up playing it for about 10 years and I was quite amazed by its playability (it was given a proper set up) and its nice familiar Strat sound. Build quality wasn’t bad either, as some people will have you believe. I never had any problem with it and the neck was actually really nice. Of course you can find better tuners and pickups. But mine was actually pretty good, stock. So I kept it this way. I currently own a Squier Affinity Tele, a Vintage Modified Stratocaster and a Classic Vibe Jazz Bass. And I love every one of them. The Affinity plays and sounds great. It’s hard to believe they’re so cheap. The VM and CV are very well built instrumemts. In fact I played a Fender MIM at the store when I bought them, both times. And I just liked the necks and pick-ups of the VM Strat and CV Jazz Bass better than the Fender MIM versions.
    Now I can see why Fender are advertising Squier guitars and basses as ‘beginner guitars’. Obviously they want you to think that you will eventually need to spend an extra 1.000 or more on your next guitar. But this is total BS. Get a Squier! You’ll like it! : )

    1. Good point as to Fender marketing. I have met many a good professional muscians that play Squiers.
      I have a Squier Affinity body with the original tremolo/bridge but changed out the pups and all electrics for a loaded Fender MIM Standard strat 2011 pickguard and had a 2003 Fender MIM standard strat neck put on it.

      1. Good point. I been playing since 1989. I find that the squier I have is perfect all around. I keeping it all stock. I even keeping the tuner. I used 11 bullet fender strings and I made my own guitar nut cream that I apply on the guitar nut for tunning stability. Stay in tune even at my violent playing. Very seldom it goes out. When it does it. It’s out of tune very slightly. I adding a live video of myself. Playing with another guitar. I will make one with the squire soon..
        Watch “Gracefully Yours” live show. Me on guitar “Gracefully Yours” live show. Me on guitar

        I am using a MIM strat with dimarzio pickup on neck and bridge on this video. But my squier sound much better. I m buying a conductive shielding paint to deal with the 60 cycle on the squier. I find the pickup on the squier fatter , grittier and more row tonality. All ceramic pickup. After that it will be ready for live show!!

  31. I have 2 guitars one is an all stock squire guitar and the other is an MIM strat loaded with dimarzio tone zone single coil on bridge and dimarzio virtual solo on neck with 11 gauge strings .. Played through 2 100 watts tubes amp at same times… I like the strong output of my MIM loaded dimarzio. But no matter what I do…I can never find that sweet spot that my cheap all stock squire gives me. For some reason my squier is more balanced and more open, more sustain with clear mid tone, sensitive to the touch ceramic pickups .. Versus my MIM with dimarzio alnico 5 on neck and ceramic tone zone on bridge. Not very sensitive to touch.. I can’t understand why my dimarzio tone zone being a ceramic pickup doesn’t sound anything like my cheap squire ceramic pickups. I had read all over the web about any info on Squier pickups. Some like it some hate it.. I think it does come to the person who is playing the guitar. Like saying that one person likes raw jalapeños but the next doesn’t. It is all to the persons preference. What you like I may not like. What I like you may not like. Now where can I find an identical set of the Squier pickups I have ? I really think my Squier is much better than my main guitar.


  32. I am a 30 year old looking to begin playing the guitar. The only thing I know for sure is that I like the range and sound of the Stratocasters and I’m sure that this is the guitar for me. I have a co-worker that has a Squier Strat that he is offering to sell me for $150. He is a pretty stand up guy and has been playing the guitar for decades. He is looking to sell the Squier because it was his son’s guitar but the son never fell in love with playing. The guitar looks to be in great condition. He says it is Japanese made and he purchased it over 20 years ago. He says it would include a carrying case, amp plug (no amp) and strap.

    Do you think this is a good buy? I have seen Squier strats for sale on ebay for as low as $85 but I do trust that this particular guitar has been well taken care of. Am I being taken advantage of or is he genuinely selling me a great guitar for a great price?

    Any advice would be great! Thanks!

      1. I am not sure what the going rate in your area is for used squiers, in Chicago they are $60 -150. I got a 1998 Chinese affinity for $70 in fair condition. It seems to me to be worth $250 or more. I am moding the 1998 to relic look with loaded mint green pickguard, new trem and block, bone nut and new tuners – all for less tha $150. By improving your electronics (pick-ups, volume and tone controls) and new tremelo and block you will sweeten your sound and add some sustain.

      2. I think I would jump at the chance to buy that. Make sure you can play it, ie the necks are sometimes a bit narrow for adult fingers…I know mine was…but it may be perfect for you.
        On the Strat-talk forum, I think alot of the experienced guys on that web site would kill for a chance to buy a 20 yr old Squire Affinity from Japan.

        Good luck!

  33. Hi Josh. I’m looking to buy a used squier standard strat, but I want one made in Indonesia and the one I’ve found locally was made in China. I noticed that the China neck isn’t as nice as other squier standards I’ve seen before. The frets are sharp on the sides of the neck and not dressed very well. I can work out the frets issue, but I’m concerned if there are any other quality differences between the Indonesia and China made squier standards? (pickups, tuners, bridge/saddles, intonation, etc.) Thanks.

  34. Very nice article 🙂 I have a Japanese Squier Strat I got 19 years ago (almost to the day), but after I moved on to Gibsons, it doesn’t see much action. I can’t really bring myself to sell it, as it was my first guitar, and I do really like the neck on it.

    So, I’m currently consider whether a change of pickups would see me get more use out of it. Any advice/ experience? Seymour Duncan Everything Axe would make it very versatile, especially with coil splits and the 7-way mod, but would it lose its Strat-ness? I mostly play stoner rock, but dabble in everything. Well, that’s a lie, not country or jazz.

    Thanks for your time.

  35. Hi there i own a 07 squire SH0758425 crafted in india looking at upgrading sumtime really nice to play and workmanship is exceptional.

  36. I have been a bass player for many years, I currently play a 5 string. I wanted a 4 for some open mic/small venue work. I refused to even look at a Squier. At the store there was a used black on black Squier Jaguar modified, picked it up played it & brought it home. I have owned a Fender precision and a Fender Jazz, the Squier is made as good as both. Plus sounds BETTER than the Fender Precision.

  37. I’m 62, 3,000 plus paid gigs since 1968, 3 CDs on Indie labels (last one in 2009). Have owned many high-end Strats and Gibsons throughout the years. Have sold all if them due to economic demands just to pay rent, car repairs, emergency dental work, etc..aka Life, haha.

    So…now I have a Squier Classic Vibe Strat (6O’s model)..LOVE IT…as good as any high end American Strat I’ve ever owned..all still stock with Alnico’s, etc.
    I also have a 2003 Squier Affinity
    Telecaster (52-copy) with upgrades…Bill Lawrence pickups, upgraded pots/caps_ even redid the headstock with vintage Fender Telecaster water-slide decal…refinished the headstock, honey-laquer…did same to the neck and fingerboard… she now looks and sounds like the REAL DEAL… wouldn’t take the $500 I have invested in her for it. BETTER than an American made Tele, IMHO.
    I just recently bought from a pawn shop, for $70…a Squier 50th Anniversary Strat…black with rosewood FB. Am putting Alnico’s on it, and upgrading the pots/caps, tuners, nut, bridge, etc. Going to metamorphosisize her into a MacDaddy stage/studio player.

    I play through a Crate V-18 tube combo…upgraded speaker, tubes, and Reverb tank. The amp sounds as good as a Fender Deluxe Reverb…maybe better. I’m happy as a free-soaring eagle flying a mile high.

    1. Sounds like FUN! Texas Mike. I am 62 years old and started playing guitar again about two years ago. My wife bought me a Fender Telecaster, used, for my 60th birthday. I am so thankful to get back into it. I still play the songs I played in my teens and twenties, Dylan, Harrison mostly. But just love it. I am considering doing an open mic some day.
      Thanks for your input!

  38. Hey Shivaom, why wait for “some day” to go to an open mic? Life is short. Do it yesterday. You won’t be sorry, I PROMISE.
    Go for it, Bro! You wanna know what the result will be? You will go back the following week, and the week after that, and so forth. You will be so glad you didn’t wait for “some day”.

  39. hello I have a cort g200 electric guitar and I will like to know witch is the best between this cort g200 or a fender squire Stratocaster? I really want a sound that’s the nearest to a real fender”s sound (and if the squire is the best witch kind of series I pls need indeed help

  40. i picked up a 96 50th anniversary squier NC serial number and man i dunno what they were thinking but with a few cheap mods this guitar is easily on par or better than mim fenders ! no lies full alder body 42mm nut killer rosewood fat neck ,,shezzz,,, i love the Squier logo when iam finished!! oh this was brand new for 75 bucks had to take the plastic off the guard,seriously i wish someone who owns a usa strat would give an honest review side by side !I STILL CANT BELIEVE THE WORKMANSHIP !!! would like ta hear from others who have the china 50th annv

  41. I have owned many many Strat guitars over the years. The 60’s Classic Vibe Strat is as good as any including my 62 Fullerton RI. In fact, I like and play it more. This response was originally added to a previous reply but was meant to be current.

  42. My main player is a ’60s Classic Vibe Strat w/rosewood FB…three-color sunburst. She is an astounding looking and sounding guitar. I will be keeping her totally stock. The Alnicos on it, I understand, are made by Roadrunner. I’m now in the market for a ’50s model Classic Vibe Strat, which have the maple FB, and sport a little different Roadrunner Alnico set acclimated to the ’50s Strat in terms of K-output. Slightly cleaner than the 60’s model, which again, sound dynamite.

  43. Duhhhh….my bad. I meant TONERIDER pickups. Not Roadrunner pickups.

    Check out the thread in it’s entirety, after clicking on this link;

    This will explain why the Alnicos on the Classic Vibe sound so good. Bear in mind that TONERIDER pickups are made in China, which is why they are less expensive. The same quality of pickup, if manufactured in the U.S., would cost twice as much…and the Classic Vibe would list for $689 instead of $589. The workmanship and the pickups are why this guitar is superior to the Mexican Strat….and the Mexican Strat lists for more $$ than the Classic Vibe. As you know, the Mexican Strats have Ceramic pickups, not Alnicos….and the seating of the neck into the body cavity is not as tight a fit as is with the perfect seating of the Classic Vibe. Moral of the story is that Chinese manufactured guitars have higher quality control, apparently, than Mexican made guitars.

  44. I have three Squires now. A flat black modified, a shiny black Mexican 95 and I just bought a red 08 Indonesian. I like them because they are light and easy on my back. If you have to play standing up for 5 hours a night, then the Squire is an awesome guitar. They really fit your body nicely. I love my Squire. I also have a 74 strat. But I love my Squires.

    1. Hi Martin. I have an 04 Indonesian Squire Strat, white, bought it new in 04. But all that’s left of it is the body and the bridge and the jack. I switched out the neck for a Fender Strat Mim neck, and I switched out the electronics, pups, and pick guard for a fender MIM standard 2012 Strat. Have you done any mods to your Squires?

  45. I have two Strats, an ’86 Superstrat MIJ w/ Rosewood fingerboard and the Schaller Tremolo and an ’84 MIJ Squier Bullet w/ Rosewood fingerboard and a “normal” Fender Tremolo.

    The Squier plays every bit as nicely as the MIJ Superstrat. I did replace the pups in both guitars (Lindy Fralin Split Blades in the Superstrat and Bare Knuckle Abraxas in the Bullet).

    They outplay any American Standard I’ve ever felt/played, though I am partial to 22 frets, which both of mine have.

  46. Some of “advanced players'” sniff out some good Squiers every now and then. I picked up two Aztec Gold Anniversary Classic Vibe Strats. I played the first one and it felt so good, the wood was beautifully figured and a rumor had it that Tone Rider was contracted to build the pickups. I chose it over a $2000 Les Paul that the fret board was uneven and was not smooth or as pretty figured neck wood. I’ve owned several Les Pauls, Strats and Teles. Once I did a professional set up on the Aztec Gold Classic Vibe Squier Stratocaster it has been one of the best sounding and playing guitars. So much so, I searchedand found another that again has some beautiful figured Maple wood neck and has smooth work done on it that is appealing to any player. I was so much impressed by both of these identical guitars, I thought I have to check out the Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster. Sure enough. Good pretty figured wood that is smooth and feels good in my hands. I don’t know who built the pickups or other electronics which is a minor weak point, it has become my goto Tele out of all my American made Teles. Nothing against them, something about it just makes me feel right at home with it.
    My point is play, listen and look the guitar over very well and if it is appealing to you buy it, because it most likely will inspire you to play more, learn more and possibly recreate some songs. Enjoy it and have fun with a musical instrument. Don’t settle on just a name or price. Some times the best fun is the least expspensive route. – T

  47. Got a ’52 Tele reissue (1982 Fullerton) in ’84 and thought it was well set up. Bought my son, for Chiristmas, an Indonesia Affinity Strat in 2000 which never played low E in pitch until, in 2013, I added a 3.5mm neck shim. At a gig, some dude commented on the “high action” of my Tele which prompted me to learn setup. Bought a few books and spent 6 weeks watching UT videos (setup is an art, and I had to develop my own). I added some basic tools (understring & feeler gauges and precision calipers are best) to my tool kit. Added a second hand Indy Affinity Strat to my stable in ’14. Cleaned the pots and switches with Deoxit and put WBW perloid pick guards & trem covers and Cu grounded foil cavity liners to both Indy Strats and set them up perfectly–thanks, Galeazo Frudua etal. Gave the now-perfectly-playing 2000 BACK to my son as a “15th Anniversary” Christmas present. Will never understand “relicing” If I kick dents & scratches into my car, is it worth more? LOVE the thinner body of the Squires, and feel sorry for the “Emperor’s New Clothes” dummies who waste their money on a decal. I think the “Custom Shop” baloney is a pant-load.

  48. I have a Squire Tele that says “Made in Mexico” on the back of the headstock. I have a Squire Stratocaster that has no “made in….” anywhere on the headstock or anywhere else I see. Anybody know where the Strat was made?

  49. I have a first year Squire…’81? ’83…hard shell case, black nickel hardware. Japanese. Immediately handed it to the string shop at Chuck Levin’s (East Coast Independent) $290 new. Immediately: New EMG’s w presence pot, new machine heads and Floyd Rose! All black on black with maple neck. Still Have It! One Badass Ride.

  50. …just picked up an Indonesioan made squire? Seafoam Green, Black Hardware, maple neck, sanded all gloss off what looks like a matte finish, HSS…I suspect I paid a bit too much? $140 10% off, Damascus MD consignment store…plays like a dream, gonna replace machine heads, anyone have comment on what this is? It is so nice I’m probably gonna change bridge humbucker?(hotter) never seen Seafoam or surf green squire…gorgeous looker and player!

  51. Josh, terrific article! About to buy my first electric 6-string. Liked my Fender P-Bass back in the day, but I’ve read enough concern about the cheap Strat tremolo, though, to be leary. Question: if I block the tremolo, will that completely solve the issue of the guitar going out of tune?…

  52. Loved the article! And I totally agree with your take on Squiers.
    With guitars, there’s a big difference between ‘cheap’ and ‘inexpensive’. Squier falls into that second category.
    I currently own 12 guitars.. 7 of them Squiers. Two Vintage Modified Custom II, two Affinity, a Squire ’51, an ’89 Korean of unknown model, and the latest.. a sort of odd duck.
    That latest was something that my wife found at garage sale. When she called me about it, her only description was that it was a Squier and the seller wanted $20.
    What she brought home was a 2004 Quilted Maple Squier Standard Deluxe. Color me HAPPY!!

  53. I’ve been a Fender fan since 1992. I was 21 then, and I got my first electric when I was 16. A Les Paul copy. Purely for the sole teason Jimmy Page played one. I hated it. It made playing guitar seem so difficult. Then discovered at my first ‘garage band’ get together (while showing the drummer who was also new to playing drums) that he was playing the song all wrong. So I sat at the kit for the very first time in my life and was able to play a Zeppelin song.
    Wasn’t long after that i realized my natural ability was as a drummer. A few years passed and I was drumming for a band and saw how effortless the guitar player worked his Strat. During breaks he let me fool around on it. And wow! This was night and day compared to the Les Paul copy I first tried to learn on. A few months later I saved up $200 and got a new Squier Strat. Less than 6 months later I was in a new band…but this time as the guitarist! All thanks to that old faithful Squire. I was super busy in my 20s finishing up college and working and ended up selling it. A few years later I missed it and having a higher paying job bought a Mexican Fender Strat in 2000. I stlll have it. But I’ve always been a tinkerer and had gotten into repairing guitars for the fun of it. And being burned by several awful and expensive guitar techs. It was just a hobby but grew into something more. I started getting friends asking me to set up their guitars to play like mine. I’ve been doing that for years now. Last summer I was in a pawn shop and picked up a Korean early 90s Squier. I was blown away! The maple fretboard and guitar felt incredible. So I plugged it in to see what it sounded like. Unfortunately the pots were busted off and couldn’t hear much. So the pawn shop let me take it home for $40 out the door. Picked up new pots on the way home and that Strat was jammin that night. And very well I should add. Somehow I started seeing Squiers for sale used on Craigslist for ridiculously low prices. I’m talking $30! Now they were nearly all owned by people who neglected the care of them and they all needed some kind of work done. But every one was repairable. So I would fix them up give them a good set up and resell them in Craigslist for cheap. I wasn’t doing it to profit. It was fun for me. I loved taking a neglected instrument and fixing it up and selling it for a price new guitar players could easily afford. Usually for $60-$75 depending on how much I had put into it. It was a great feeling watching the new owners eyes light up as they tried it out. After a while I started getting calls from friends of people I had sold the refurbished guitars to, asking if I had a leftie or something else. Now I work on Squiers every day. I’ve gotten into making ‘custom’ Squiers that I base off the super high end American versions. Offering paint jobs and special wiring (like the 7 way selector switch and push pull pots that activate the bridge pickup whenever you want it)’ I’ve made ones that Squier just doesn’t offer and people are stoked to get something unique that plays well,
    sounds great and looks great! I’ve made several David Gilmour ‘black Strat’ replicas for the Pink Floyd fans and lots of relic guitars in vintage colors not available from Squiers. I’ve had a ton of fun doing it. I guess my point being, these are great guitars. Easy to work on and are great platforms to modify. I haven’t come across
    a single one that couldn’t be repaired. And I’ve had some
    badly bowed necks but learned how to clamp them back into a good solid straight neck again. By now my garage is a Squier repair shop. I have one part just for woodworking when I get one that has damage to the body or neck. I have my soldering station to replace the bad pots and wiring. And recently built a paining booth with a professional spray gun. I probably buy at least one a week and still just do it for the fun of it. As long as my costs for parts are covered I’m not concerned with making a profit.
    Last week I received an email out of the blue. Someone asked if I could turn his Squier P bass into a fretless bass and he offered to give me an older 90s Squier Strat in trade for doing it. I met up with him just last Sunday. He gave me his bass to defret and hid Squier Strat, it was flawless. When I got home I opened the case and showed my wife. She was my girlfriend back when I sold that first Squier I bought. The one I got in the trade was identical to that first one. It’s a rare color they haven’t made for years and rarely ever see. It’s Vintage White. She said ‘time to take it all apart huh?’ Which is usually the first thing I do when I get one. Take it completely apart, clean every single inch of it and the hardware. Replace the pots, repair any dents,dings and psint it and put it all back together and give it a good set up. I just closed the case and said ‘nope! I’m not touching this one. It’s perfect. And I’m keeping it’ she replied ‘I know you are’
    So it’s now a permanent addition to a few I’ve gotten that were rare gems that played and sounded so great I had to hang onto em. One is the Korean made I got at the pawn shop, one other that’s incredible….and now this one that reminds me of that first Strat I fell in love with and always regretted selling.
    Needless to say….my Mexican Strat doesn’t get much use these days. When I pick up a guitar I tend to always pick up a Squier.
    They are so highly underrated for being the best bang for the buck by a long shot.
    Hope you enjoyed my story of how these guitars have given me so much pleasure for so many years. Whether it’s from playing them or working on them.
    I now have three Squier Strats, a Tele, an Affinity Jazz bass and a Squier P Bass Speical. I love them all.
    Apologies for typos and any grammatical errors. I typed this all on my iPhone.
    Great webpage you have here!!!!


    1. This is the best analysis of the Affinity Strat I have ever seen. My first Fender was a 1982 Telecaster “52 Reissue. 30th Anniversary (first Reissue). In 1984 when I bought it used, ($495–consignment), from a GUITAR shop, I assumed that it was well set up. I played a few (sing for your supper) gigs with it and in 2009 a guy played it and said the action was “very high.” I read The Fender Telecaster Book which looked at a dozen Teles and EVERY ONE said, “could use a setup.” Since then I have been learning (and continue to learn) proper electric guitar setup. My son moved out in 2010 and left his 2000 Squier Affinity Indonesian Cort Strat which we never could get the low E to play in tune. After I figured out the way to wedge the neck angle (increasing the nut-to-bridge length), and learned the correct specifications of the 25 different adjustments, it plays as well as any guitar I have ever played. I got another Affinity IndyCort Strat which Galeazo Frudua (YouTube) showed me how to set up the tremolo (never “whammy”) bar with a post-it note pad an Allen Key and #2 Phillips. Week before last, I set up my friend’s 20th Century Chinese Affinity HHSS Strat in full float and have yet to have it come back to me for hard-tailing (tuning issues). There is so much religious folklore that “…if a guitar costs less than $1000, it just COULDN’T BE ANY GOOD” due to cheap hardware, shoddy build quality, ect, etc., not to mention how many Strat freaks never pass up the opportunity to show everybody how smart THEY are by telling how stupid everybody else is. Many say that the Affinity is “too thin”, a quality that I think makes them BETTER than American made Strats. Combine this with the fact that they play just as well (properly set up) with the 3-1.5X Fender MIM price tag, for UNDER $100, and acquiring an excellent guitar at an affordable price becomes a true no-brainer.

  54. I have owned some of the most vintage of Fenders (early 60’s Strats, a ’52 Esquire…all back in the day when you could buy them used for $200) the only guitars I have now are a recent Gibson SG Special and a used Squier Affinity Strat. I like both of those guitars but pick up the Affinity more often. The ceramic pickups are good sounding and unless you are putting in Bardens or some other boutique pup…there is nothing to be gained by putting in anything less as they will not surpass the pups already there. I like the feel of the Affinity neck even more so than on the CV series. The maple on the neck of my Affinity is FLAMED. Go figure.

    1. Flamed? You scored! That’s the only complaint I have about mine. Not that pretty on the back and some green grain on the back of the neck. I bought it at a pawn shop and saved a few bucks. It’s the HSS and a burst so the paint job and pickups made up for it. Those ceramics can really light up the front end of an amp, I think their better for hard rock.

  55. I would like to let all off the above know that I have just bought a brand new Squire Strat Affinity from a reputable music shop and its stunning to look at.Its pure white with grey flec pickguard.It plays and feel superb and sound excellent.I know theres some cheap aspects but I dont mind.I think some of the people bagging squier are being pedantic.It has 2 single coil pups and a humbucker at the bridge and its a lot of fun.So I think some of you a have bought some bad stuff without real looking at it.Im a hobby guitarist but i still think you could use a squire on stage.Theres nothing wrong with these guitars if you source them from the right people.

  56. My first Strat was a Squier, the Limited Edition Cherry sunburst model with mint pickguard introduced in 2003. This model sold so well that they eventually folded it in to their regular line and AFAIK it is still available today. I was especially happy to get the original version with the 8-hole pickguard. I have since performed a series of upgrades including a set of Fender USA pickups which, truth be told, are only a tiny bit better than the Squier Alnicos. I also replaced the jack, switch and pots with American parts. Done. Very satisfied with this guitar. IMO Squiers can be transformed into excellent players with a bit of TLC. Get rid of the plastic nut, and changing the bridge adjustment screws for shorter ones that won’t garf your hand are two quick fixes that improve things a lot. A bit of fine tuning on the neck won’t hurt either; the amount required will vary from guitar to guitar but with a bit of work that neck can be made very comfortable. That’s probably the one thing about Squiers; they are made in different countries and so you might have to look harder to find a better quality one; some are not as good.
    As to the Classic Vibe series, all bets are off. These are fantastic affordable guitars that don’t owe anybody any apologies! I would take one of these over a Standard Series Fender any day of the week, and they’ll give an American Fender a run for the money.

  57. Just bought my second Squier Strat. An Affinity. It is my favorite Strat at any price due to the slimmer body and thin neck. In my amp the ceramics sound better than the Alnico Squier Standard pickups and the Tex Mex set have as well. If Fender made a US Strat with the Affinity slim body and neck I would buy it for the pedigree and long term resale. Not everyone has fat fingers. I am going to sell my Standard. The Affinity is all the Strat I need. One more thing. The current production Standards do not have a thinner neck. It has the same neck as a US Standard. The ones built in the 90s and around 2001 had the slimmer neck so my advice before buying a Standard try an Affinity before you pull the trigger. You may find it to be the superior instrument especially if you have thinner fingers or smaller hands. My 2 cents!

  58. Hi there just watched the video on the quires I have played guitar on and off most of my live and I have known nothing but fender. I have never owned a fender but I am so chuffed I am perching a Fender Squire Standard Stratocaster I’ve played some and the sounds and the feel and action are just awesome. So roll on Wednesday can’t wait?

  59. The squier strat was the second guitar i ever bought (the first being a marlin sidewinder). It was a Korean number with a plywood body in lake placid blue. As a kid one of my best buds was Mark Potter from Elbow (then called soft). He played an borrowed my guitar many times as a backup guitar for gigs and juat as I did he thought it was a fantastic guitar for the money. The necks on those Korean strata were spectacular and competed with a usa strat for playability. All that let the guitar down was plywood body and the “thin” pickups. At our live volumes this could be easily hidden in the mix.

    Over the years as I have picked up new guitars I replaced the ply body with a solid ash body which has been gun oiled to perfection.

    I replaced the pickups with a fully loaded “Gilmour” scratchplate brimming with heavy alnico and parrallel/series switching from a small boutique pickup manufacturer in Rutland.

    The body was £60 from eBay, the pickups already fully wired ready to solder to the Jack cost another £100. For £160 this guitar now sonically far outperforms a Mexican Strat and sits in my collection as one of my 3 main go to guitars beside a Fender USA Elite Strat and a Gibson Nashville Les Paul Studio and it was a fraction of the price of both these guitars.

    Squiers with a little TLC can be spectacular guitars. The current ones even ship with solid bodies so no need to replace it.

    I may just buy a hundred quid affinity and see just how good I can make it. I’ve a couple of sets of tuners and USA bridges lying around. I’ll bet with a pickup swap out you could create a guitar you could gig Glastonbury with for about £250.

  60. Hi, I was given a 94 (?) CN 456132 bullet w/22 frets. I was about to list it on CL until I put new strings on it. I’m amazed at how how well it feels in the hands. That’s all I play now instead of my expensive stats. Truly impressed!

  61. I have only had, over decades of owning numerous squier strats and teles one bad guitar out of the lot. It’s the jack Daniels promo one which I think is the SE under the ‘badging’. It was obviously produced for marketing rather than playing which is a pity as it looks good and I would have liked to take it out to play on occasion. The major issue is the pickups which have a horrible sound in total contrast to near identical others I have.

    I also have never paid more than £50 for a squier strat so I tend not to do any mods to them. Why spend £100 on a perfectly serviceable £50 guitar. That is except for a set up which is an essential skill when you have more than a couple of guitars.

    Don’t be put off by the “it’s not really a fender” comments. You can make all the right sounds on a squier (unless it was built for marketing).

    Oh, one more thing, your nerves won’t be nearly as shredded if it’s sitting on a stand in close proximity to drunk dancing people in a dive in the bad side of town as gigging guitars often are.

  62. Ive played and owned various Fender strats and teles in the past; and all I can say that strats and teles of the affinity series are awesome! I traded my MIM standard tele with a CV60 strat and wow! Feels like playing a high end strat with hot sounding pups! The tele was not bad at all but I just cant play heavy solid bodies like before (ha ha). I also have a vintage blonde VM 70s strat which I haven’t play it yet and pretty sure the tone will be awesome too! I had a fiesta red affinity tele in the past and now regret selling it. Anyway,I’m looking forward to acquire various old and new Squier guitars in the future; for my love on playing music and for collection!

  63. Help and advice please.

    I play acoustic (badly as never find the time) but my son recently asked for an electric guitar. He is 9, normal size for his age. Hi aunt bought him a guitar bundle from Amazon which was pretty bad (sounded like a bag of cats) and tuning knobs were loose, loose springs/locking screws, high action plus a constant buzz and never in tune. It was 31″. A great technician Steve in Santa Cruz, CA said even he couldn’t make it sound good and recommended returning and getting a Fender Squier mini strat. I have to go with Amazon as have a credit but am confused as the mini’s seems to be too aimed at kids. I won’t go for a kit, as will buy a second hand amp with distortion locally but should I go bullet/affinity instead of mini, are these still 3/4 size compared with the standard? Also saw 3 single coil pickup vs 2 and humbucking but very confused there. Want something he can play as a kid, I can play as a small sized Mum and something I can take back in to eventually get modified if he takes to it. What amp should I look at also? Tech says small but make sure it has distortion. Thanks and sorry for the exceptionally basic questions.

    1. A Squier Affinity is the same length as a standard Fender Strat. The body is just a little thinner. They’re an excellent choice for future modifications. Other Squier models such as Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe are better, but the price difference is gonna show it. The Bullet and ‘Starcaster’ are the least expensive models. You might find a decent one, but I’d choose the Affinity over them.

      As for an amp, There’s a lot of good solid state practice or modeling amps that should work for you. Just about anything advertised as ‘two channel’ will have a distortion setting. My personal recommendations would be Roland Cube, Peavey Vypyr, or Line 6 Spider. These are all ‘modeling’ amps that have everything you need and can be very inexpensive if you can find one on Craigslist. Best of all, they all have headphone jacks and auxiliary (CD/MP3) inputs. You can find very inexpensive ‘two channel’ amps, but your son will have a lot more fun with a modeling version.

    2. 9 years old? I’d take him into the store and make sure he can handle a full sized guitar. I’d have him try an Epiphone Les Paul while you’re there – they’re a bit smaller (24.75″ vs 25.5″ scale) and that might make the difference.

  64. I forgot to add..
    Single coil vs humbuckers is a personal choice. If you have access to a music store it’s best to listen to samples of each. I kinda lean towards 3 single coils for a first guitar. Just MY opinion though..

  65. Just got a new Squier Standarf from Musician’s Friend. Great looking guitar but the neck frets are terribly sharp on the bottom side. They are even hanging off the neck of the bottom and the top is smooth and doesn’t match on this right hand model. I would not purchase this again sight unseen, my bad. Disappointing to say the least. Feels like a cheese grader. This is the only negative I have seen up til now. I have two Indonesian bullets that have a better neck than this Squier Standard. This is a Chinese model. I may send it back if possible. I will be sure to save up for something better than this in the future. Buyer beware. My 2 cents.

    1. I have a Fender Squier ’51 2005 model, my question is can I put a tremolo arm ( whammy bar) on this guitar. Thanks

  66. Nice article! I just wanted to share my Squier Strat story.
    I just purchased a lightly used 2017 Squire Standard Stratocaster. The instrument was “Crafted in Indonesia” by Cor-Tek (Cort). The weight and balance are perfect even with the heavier sustain block that I’ve installed. The neck feel and the fretwork is superior to that of my 2009 MIM Fender Standard, and that’s after having a local luthier level and dress the frets on my MIM. I place the quality of the woodcrafting and fretwork on a level with my 2012 PRS Santana which is super-nice. No exaggeration.

    Upon receiving the Squire, I completely disassembled it. The tuners appear to be very high quality sealed type, like the ones on my MIM Standard. The neck pocket and neck are flawless. Not worried about the nut material. It isn’t broken, and I couldn’t hear or feel any difference after having a custom bone nut made for my MIM, so I will upgrade the nut only if it breaks or develops a tuning issue. There was no trace of sawdust inside any of the body cavities. Fit and finish are superb. The Alnico pickups In the Squier Standard are really good and have a voice chock full of rich overtones.

    It’s weaknesses and what I’ve done to address them:
    Neck plate and screws: screws are slightly smaller and lower grade than Fender. Neck plate feels lighter than Fender. Replace them with a Fender “F” plate and Fender screws.
    Bridge/Trem: wimpy sustain block. Replace it with a heavier sustain block.
    Electronics: 500k pots are incorrect for use with single coils, low grade 5-way switch and output jack.
    Rewire with Fender switch, 250k pots, an orange drop capacitor, push-back wire, and a switchcraft jack.
    Although the body cavities are painted with shielding paint, I tested from point to point with a digital ohmmeter and discovered the resistance to be quite high across the distance from control cavity to neck pickup cavity.
    I fully shielded all cavities with copper tape. Resistance measured across the same two points is now 0.
    Instrument is very “quiet” for a SSS Strat.
    It’s a killer guitar.
    This Squier is here to stay!

  67. Hello the new Squier Affinity 2020 Models out of china seem to have the name Stratocaster instead of “Strat” on the headstock that is similar to the 50,60 vibes that affinity mades at 399$ price point.? Also this one says it was made in China not indonesia, but serial code is way different as it has CSSA # ? China Sunbust Stratocaster Affinity? These run at the 229.00 price

    So i seen better quality maybe, new Serial code, and the stratocaster on name?

  68. My recently purchased Squire Fiesta Red Stratocaster is a great guitar for the money BUT the tremolo does not function at all. I have inserted a Fender tremolo spring but it does nothing. Help please.

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