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What's the difference between Squire, and Fender?

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by joshwhipkey, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. joshwhipkey

    joshwhipkey Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    I am fairly new to guitars, and am trying to understand why a Squire Strat is so much cheaper than a Fender.
    I've played both. I used to own a Fender American Deluxe Fat Strat ($1,200, maybe), but had to sell when I lost my job. I've been searching the used Squier Strats, and found a used Bullet, and a used Strat ($40 each) that have awesome necks that feel as good as the American Deluxe.
    Other than the obvious, are there any differences in construction?
    Is it not worth it to put better electronics in a $40 used Squire? How about making a new body for the Bullet? I don't really like the plywood, but the neck kicks ass!!
    I'm a furniture maker, and I figure it's all about the amount of time a human being gets paid to put hands on the guitar. Labor is expensive, materials are, relatively speaking, inexpensive.
    If I put the time in to polish up a Squire??? As "good" as an American Strat?
  2. steben

    steben Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 9, 2012
    Zulte, Belgium
    a lot of things are different

    - thickness body of some Squiers is really thinner
    - wood of some Squiers is bad or in +3 pieces
    - pots of some Squiers are cheaper wearing
    - tuning mechanism of some Squiers are cheaper wearing
    - string spacing is wider on MIA Fender, same on MIM

    But some other Squiers are damn fine guitars you know!

    Upgrading a Squier is sometimes worth it.
    A Bullet is very cheap and given the right upgrades it becomes a very good player. Body is thin mind you, but it might be what you look for (slink less heavy etc)!
    For starters better Pickups and Tuners are definitely making the Bullet a better instrument. Neck is AOK!
  3. Boondoggle

    Boondoggle Strat-Talker

    Feb 12, 2013
    The quality of the parts and workmanship overall.
  4. Yogi

    Yogi Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 21, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Actually the string spacing is the same between Mexican standards, American standards and most Squiers. Only vintage re issue and Mexican classic guitars have wider spacing
  5. DickyMoe

    DickyMoe Strat-O-Master

    Mar 27, 2013
    I agree. They are all made on CNC machines these days so for the most part it comes down to the quality of the parts used and the quality control parameters they have for the models price point.
  6. rickyp

    rickyp Senior Stratmaster

    May 17, 2010
    You are opening a serious can of worms with this thread.

    Lets just say that its subjective, and each individual person is responsible for determining whether or not a Squier is better than an American Standard. If you feel that it is, more power to you. Play the heck out of it.

    If you continue down this path, you will get a hundred responses or more, members bickering at each other, and a mod will come in, delete a bunch of posts, and tell us to behave. Just saying this from experience.
  7. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Strats Amore Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 14, 2009
    Southeast USA
    Just guessing here, but I would think that in Squiers (maybe some MIM) the hardness of the metals used —bridge, saddles, block, magnets, wire, frets, gears in the tuners, springs, even screws— is where the lower price comes into play.

    Hardened metal is more expensive to produce, so softer metal = cheaper parts. And though the non-USA parts generally look the same, sound similar, and are even interchangeable (for the most), it's the long-term durability of those parts that is probably the biggest difference between them.

    That being said, Squiers & MIM Strats do sound and play nicely... so if you play enough to wear the parts out, upgrade! :D
  8. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    Quality of materials/parts
    Some features, depending on the model
    The big decal on the headstock
    The point on the surface of the earth where the instrument is manufactured
    The price
    The marketing and perception of the brands by the general public

    "Worth it" is completely subjective. It's up to you if it's "worth it." I have two Squier Strats that I spend some money upgrading because I liked the necks or the body finish. That's my main consideration.

    My current favorite Strat has a Squier SE body, a Mighty Mite neck, upgraded tuning machines, and custom-wound pickups. My American Standard is now my E-flat Strat, and mostly hangs on the wall looking gorgeous.

    Whether a polished up Squier is as good as an American Strat is also subjective. If you think it is, it is. The only place where the difference is glaring is in the re-sale market. The great partscaster that I spent $450 on, and is perfect for me, wouldn't sell for more than $150 on the used market.
  9. TSims1

    TSims1 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 9, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I would say generally it's materials and attention to detail. Much like the rest of the retail world, the more you spend(not always, mind you...)the better product you get. However, certain Squier brands like the Classic Vibe Series have made MAJOR progress in closing the gap.
  10. Uksa

    Uksa Strat-Talker

    Sep 25, 2012
    Riviera Paradise
    Couldn't agree more. Too much people that don't understand the meaning of a simple discussion.
    For the OP, you can get a great guitar with some mods on a squier. It's a lie that you HAVE to pay big bucks for a good guitar.
  11. yanksbuddy

    yanksbuddy Strat-O-Master

    Feb 1, 2013
    The body is basdwood not plywood
  12. xoso

    xoso Senior Stratmaster

    May 7, 2012
    Birmingham UK
    It's really easy to tell the difference. A Squire is a medieval shield bearer for a knight and a Fender is a guitar. See - easy!!! Or did you mean Squier? ;)
  13. StormJH1

    StormJH1 Strat-Talker

    Dec 23, 2012
    Twin Cities, MN
    Yeah, exactly. This isn't a flame on anyone who owns a real Fender. If I were the type of musician that played more seriously (or gigged), I'd probably own real Fenders for sure. But to me, my modded Squiers ARE Stratocasters - they have many of the same parts as a "real" Fender (Kluson tuners, Tex Mex pickups, etc.). I don't expect (or need) to own and play "the best stuff", and I don't really care if other people think it's lame to play a Squier, so I have no reason to lie about the differences. When I pickup a MIM or MIA Strat at GC, the improved craftsmanship and aesthetics are obvious to me. But the improvements in tone, feel, and (often) playability are not.

    I think there's a minimum threshold of quality and setup you need from a guitar neck and other components to get the "most" out of your guitar. I can achieve that just fine with the Squiers I have, PLUS, I feel like I have the creative license to gut them, change parts, or make little customizations that I want on the guitar. I would not make such changes on a higher price and quality instrument like a Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul, since I feel like you're already paying for what that guitar is meant to be.

    I love that my Squier Strats have little resale value relative to time, money, and love that went into them. That way, I'll never be tempted to sell them for a quick buck.
    Count Glockula® likes this.
  14. joshwhipkey

    joshwhipkey Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    Is it unusual for the strings to angle to the left after they pass over the nut, and wind around the machine heads?
    Seems to me they're usually straight in line with the neck.
    Looks like the holes for the tuners got drilled wrong.
  15. mw13068

    mw13068 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 29, 2009
    Ithaca, NY
    Ideally, on a Strat the strings should pass straight through the nut, rather than being angled to the tuning machines. If you don't use the tremolo, you don't need to care, but if you do use the trem, the angle will cause the strings to bind in the nut.
  16. Wayne D.

    Wayne D. Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 28, 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pa.
    SRV, Harrison and Rossington all used Squier's live and nobody could tell the difference.
  17. joshwhipkey

    joshwhipkey Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    StormJH1 put the question to rest for me! Said what I was trying to say....
    The "fit and finish" might be a little less than the high dollar stuff, but tone, and playability are up to the player.
    Both Squiers I bought for $40 each need work. One needs new frets, the other a new nut, and it seems the tuners are not holding in tune.
    It'll be a learning experience to do some work on them, and I like that. It'll probably end up being a "bit at a time" way for me to get the tools I need to build from scratch....

    I just love guitars. I love to play them, look at them, talk about them, scheme on how to convince my wife that I NEED to build them (she wants furniture. I do that all day!!)
  18. Ausquier

    Ausquier Senior Stratmaster

    May 14, 2010
    On the subject of parts quality, some Squiers use the same parts as Fenders. Everything really depends on the instrument you are talking about. There is an overlap between top end Squier and bottom end Fender.
  19. MrPoppa2

    MrPoppa2 Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 5, 2011
    Sun City, Az.
    Agree with most of you. A squier is just an entry level Fender, most even say BY Fender on the headstock, its affordable quality to most of us. Both Strats have the same design, its just the expence and quality of the sum of the parts. I own 6 Squiers, and love them, I have been selective on parts replacment, changing only the electronics mainly, for some Squier's, that is all they need, I have not realized an improvment on changing the nut, plus thats an unpleasent task, tuners can be changed on most Squiers for a real time improvment. I doctor up the trem bars with 1/4in steel, and yes it is an improvment. So there you have it, its what I believe. And, I will not sell any of my Strats, because they are not worth much on the market, but are valued by me! poppa
  20. joshwhipkey

    joshwhipkey Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    The nut I need to replace needs to be replaced because it had broken on the low e side, and was sloppily glued back together by previous owner. It looks terrible, an the low e string is too high.
    I've seen about three or four Squier Strats with the nut broken off in the same spot. Weird??
    Maybe someone trying to force heavy strings in there??