What’s the difference between Fender and Squier? There is obviously a big difference in price but why, this is what I am going to be answering in this week's episode.
What’s The Difference Between A Squier And A Fender
In this week's episode, we will be taking a look at budget guitars versus premium guitars. All the big guitar brands produce budget-friendly versions of their guitars. In addition, some manufacturers have sister companies that specialise in creating budget-friendly versions, such as Gibson's sister company, Epiphone or Fenders sister company Squier.
Now, quite often, these cheaper brands are just seen as beginner guitars.
Last October musicradar.com had an article about Mike Rutherford, the guitarist of Genesis, who has been using a Squier Bullet Strat on tour.
He was stuck in Cape Town during the lockdown and after leaving his Fender Clapton Strat behind. So instead, he brought a Sonic Grey Bullet Strat and an Arctic White. According to his guitar tech Steve Prior, "Mike just fell in love with it playing along to his laptop and relearning all the Genesis songs,".
A Squier Bullet Strat costs £119 or $199 and a Fender Clapton Strat costs £2199 or $1999.
Fender is The World's biggest Guitar Manufacture. Since its creation by Leo Fender in California in the 1940s, Fender has grown into a truly global brand.
The Fender Stratocaster is the no.1 selling guitar in the world. When most people think of a guitar, they think of the Strat and what is impressive is it hasn't changed all that much since it was released in 1954.
Squier is the older of the two companies as It was established in 1890 by Victor Carroll Squier in Battle Creek, Michigan. The company manufactured strings for violins, banjos, and guitars. Fender acquired squire in 1965, but it wasn't until 1982 that Fender rebooted the Squier name as its brand for lower priced versions of Fender guitars.
If you would like to know more about the history of Fender, I recommend the podcast series Gibson vs Fender - The Future of the Electric Guitar.
So now you know a bit more about the history of Fender and Squier, let’s jump into the differences between them.
Fender uses higher quality materials, including wood, electrical etc.
For example, American made Fender Stratocasters usually have alder bodies. However, Squier Strats are usually made out of basswood. Alder is a higher quality wood for a guitar because it is naturally more resonant and picks up higher frequencies, giving it that bright quality.
Also, Squier uses cheaper pickups than Fender. Both brands tend to use single-coil pickups in the vast majority of their guitars, which sound bright and twangy but tend to hum if you crank up the gain. Usually, this humming crops up more often with Squier guitars than Fenders.
Much more time and effort goes into crafting Fender guitars than Squier ones mass-produced in factories.
This is a huge factor that makes a big difference in the final product.
Squier guitars are mass-produced in factories, and to keep the costs lower, the quality control and craftsmanship aren't as good.
On the other hand, Fender guitars have had a lot more TLC.
Better craftsmanship reduces a lot of problems you see commonly with electric guitars.
These can be anything from setup issues to frets that aren't glued in as precisely as possible and the guitar's finish.
Most Fender guitars are produced in either the USA or Mexico,
Squier, on the other hand, produces their guitars in Asia.
The Price and Ranges
Bullet - It’s a budget guitar with no frills. you get a fixed hardtail bridge and standard tuners and pickups (£119 or $199)
Affinity - The most noticeable upgrade is the floating tremolo bridge. as well as better tuners, pickups and finishes (£199 or $319)
Classic Vibe - the Classic Vibe range is equipped with modern hardware, custom electronics, an Indian Laurel fingerboard, and a thinner satin finish neck. (£349 or $459)
The upgrades follow the same pattern as with the Squier models. The entry Fender model is usually made in Mexico and is cheaper than the American Standard.
With each jump in the range, you’ll get better pickups, tonewood, and better quality control in the manufacturing process.
Player - £579 - $849
American professional - £1599 - $1699
American Ultra/ Elite - £1849 - $2099
Custom shop - £3000 $3150 to £4500 $5600
Fender guitars are more collectable, so they are worth more in the future than Squier guitars. A 1963 Fender Stratocaster today is worth £14,000.
Expensive guitars are made with higher quality parts, better construction, and more skilled craftsmanship.
Cheap guitars are mass-produced in factories, typically with unskilled labour and lower quality control standards, and will have cheaper components that may inhibit the playability or the sound.
However, a cheaper guitar ranging from about $200 to $700-ish will still be of decent quality for most players and provide an enjoyable experience. Besides, you can always upgrade later with new pickups, better tuners, etc.
As long as you maintain the guitar with regular cleanings and setups periodically, it will last a long time and play well whether it was $300 or $3000.