Squier vs. Fender. It’s a timeless debate with no clear winner except to say that it comes down to price vs. quality with a hefty bit of personal preference thrown into the mix. Here’s a 30-second overview, with more detail below:
Squier vs. Fender Comparison
- Traditionally regarded as a starter guitar.
- Product catalog has been mostly low end versions of Fender models
- More affordable (budget) brand.
- Guitar body may be made of non-traditional tonewoods (ex: plywood, pine, alder, poplar and basswood).
- Hardware typically lower quality and from a variety of non-Fender factories. (Bridge, nut and tuning pegs are common complaints from experienced players)
- Generally lower quality pickups that favor output over tonal clarity.
- Satin neck finish tends to run a bit rougher and thicker than Fender.
- Historically more model choices available.
- Guitar body usually made of traditional tonewoods (alder, ash and maple for the neck).
- Hardware is Fender-branded and consistently better quality.
- Pickups favoring tonal clarity over output.
- Pickups have “that Fender tone.”
- Tend to weigh less than Squier.
- Cost more.
*NOTE: The use of “Fender” throughout this article refers to the Made in Mexico (MIM) Fender models. This is the Fender product line closest to the Squier line.
Many beginning guitar players start with Squier guitars. This is because of the excellent quality for the price. Squier Affinity guitars are included in many starter packs with practice amps aimed at beginners.
Squier has a reputation for being the low end version of popular Fender models, but this has been changing in recent years. It is true that Squier started with low end, bare bones versions of the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster but there are now a host of models exclusive to the Squier brand and of better quality.
More recently they have expanded to include: jazzmasters, Jaguars, and the Squier Classic Vibe series (clones of the Fender models from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s).
Squier or Fender, Which is Better?
This question may seem like a Coke vs. Pepsi sort of debate, but it’s not. In fact, Squier is made by Fender. So there is really no rivalry here. It’s just a question of which branded version of guitar is better.
However, just like Coke vs Pepsi, the answer to the question Squier vs Fender is largely a personal opinion. Squier use tonewoods that are generally considered inferior, but how much effect the wood has on tone in a solid body electric guitar is debatable – especially in the less than $1000 price range.
Fender guitars are consistently better quality than Squier, but they’re also more money. The bottom line is that Squier guitars are excellent quality for a budget instrument and newer high end squiers are just as good as Fender guitars. If you’re looking for a beginner guitar, go the Squier that fits your budget and taste. Otherwise start with either a high end Squier or Mexican Fender (MIM).
Popular Squier Electric Guitars
Popular Fender Standard electric Guitars