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 Post subject: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:13 pm 
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Okay, I've donned my asbestos underwear but seriously, what are the functional differences between the two? I'm not kidding actually, I'd really like to know. I know this is my first post but I just can't get this question out of my head.

Allow me to explain. First off, I don't even play the guitar... yet. I am also not the typical teen learning how to play either. No, I am 42 and endeavoring to prove it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Without going into why I've decided to start learning to playing guitar now suffice it to say it's something I've always wanted to do and I am finally doing.

My son got me a Squier Affinity HSS Strat and Mustang 1 amp for Christmas. So I've had it a tad over a week. However to the novice such as myself when I look at the strats between the standard Fender and Squier I find the specs (although they are much less detailed on the Squier series) seem to be identical. Alder bodies, maple necks, rosewood fingerboards etc...

So the Squier, mine anyway, is made in China. I was under the impression the "Fender" labeled instruments were "Made in USA" but when I picked up one at a local shop the other day I found "Made in Mexico" branded on it.

So what are the differences? Are the pickups better quality? Or are they the same thing? Switches? What makes the Standard Fender (not something from the custom shop or the high end ones that do have obvious differences) worth ~3x what a Squier costs?

PS - being a newbie I should just pre-apologize right up front for all the upcomign questions I am sure all the pros will think are silly. So I'm sorry. ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:05 pm 
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Hey Joe, welcome . The answer is quite simple really. Whilst they may all look the same, the cheaper ones are basically made from cheaper materials by workforce with lower labor costs. Cost is cut at almost every point. Pickups, woods used, switches, wiring, frets, tuners, bridge.......everything. This is why a USA standard is 3 times the price.

Are they worth 3 times as much ? Of course not. Fender, like Gibson know that they can charge a premium price. The markup from actual cost to manufacture would make your nose bleed. All that being said, the expensive ones are usually much better quality guitars in all departments. Fender produce guitars in china, Indonesia, Mexico & the USA. The far east having very low labor costs vs the USA where people are paid more so along with the cost of higher quality parts, this drives the price differences.


You don't have to apologize for the questions, forums like this are great places to learn about this stuff 8)


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:24 pm 
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I must admit I like my Squier. I saw a comment somewhere else here that unless you're good enough to sign autographs then the Squier is probably better than you are or something to that affect. I definitely think that's true and it certainly is in my case.

That doesn't meant that I am not looking ahead. I think my next guitar may be a used Fender or something. The prices on the used ones make a better guitar more affordable at a lower price. At least that's my current thinking.

Also am I the only one that has an insatiable need to customize their guitar so it isn't stock? My wife thinks I am nuts because I am replacing the white knobs with black and so on. When I mentioned painting it I think she turned pale. LOL


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:30 pm 
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LOL, I'm not really into customizing guitars myself, but spend time on guitar forums and you'll see a lot of people love to modify their guitars. Knobs, pick guards, tuners, bridge saddles, pickups, wiring, pots & capacitors etc etc. I hope I'm not giving you too many ideas :lol:

Anyway it's great to pick up an instrument at any age imo. As you get better and try other guitars you'll get to feel the difference between the different price points.

These 2 forums are quite good for getting advice on modifying Squiers.

http://www.strat-talk.com/forum/squier-strat-forum/

http://www.squier-talk.com/


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Joe357 wrote:
Allow me to explain. First off, I don't even play the guitar... yet. I am also not the typical teen learning how to play either. No, I am 42 and endeavoring to prove it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Without going into why I've decided to start learning to playing guitar now suffice it to say it's something I've always wanted to do and I am finally doing.

I'm 32 and will be buying my first one this month, too. I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks it's not too late to start :-) I can't agree more with your last sentence.

I don't know about differences between Squiers and Fenders either, but everyone agrees that Squiers range from "good enough" to "very good considering the price" up to the point of "excellent even out of their price range". "Good enough" is the less I've heard about Squiers... taken for granted that you do your homework when you buy it.


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:23 pm 
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IsabelM wrote:
Joe357 wrote:
Allow me to explain. First off, I don't even play the guitar... yet. I am also not the typical teen learning how to play either. No, I am 42 and endeavoring to prove it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Without going into why I've decided to start learning to playing guitar now suffice it to say it's something I've always wanted to do and I am finally doing.

I'm 32 and will be buying my first one this month, too. I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks it's not too late to start :-) I can't agree more with your last sentence.


I played from the late 60's into the early 80's and quit. I started playing again in 2010. I am now taking lessons, something I never did before. I'll be 58 this year. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:51 pm 
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The main difference as already said are less expensive materials are used, and things like thinner wires and cheaper jacks etc. My CV Strat is nice, but there are some noticeable differences between it and a Mexican. Mainly in the workmanship. Another thing is the tuners that are used. Even Mexican Fenders do not use the same quality parts as an American does, and an American is made of a solid piece of alder.

Although a good jack costs about $6.00 a cheap one can be had for $2.00. If you think that is no big deal, then multiply that times 400,000 and the money adds up. Even Fender does this too on a certain level. Fender instruments used to use spaghetti lettering and on a Mexican the lettering was silver, and on an American it was gold. That is a two step process. Now the lettering is solid black. Because some bean counters got together and said, "We can save 85 cents per guitar if we switch to all black lettering." So they did. Just like a lot of makers of acoustic guitars began to use formica for the sides and backs of their guitars. Of course they call it High Pressure Laminate, but when my dad put it on our kitchen counters, it was Formica.

You'd think that it was just the cheaper makers, but you can count Martin and Gibson in on this also. See they just know that people will buy it because of the name.


I've currently got three Squiers, and a Epiphone and a Gibson Les Paul studio, and a Seagull 12 string. I've had an American before, but didn't like the color so I got rid of it.

If you like the guitar and it feels good in your hands then that can work for you. As for ease of playing a $1,000.00 guitar is going to be more comfortable to play because of the quality of workmanship. Or at least in theory, it should be. I know my Epiphone plays just about as well as my Gibson does, but it is an older Epi and was built with Gibson parts.

As for a Squier, I would recommend that you get a Standard Series model. These are the same weight and dimensions as a Mexican, thicker bodies, better tuners and better wiring etc. You can find them used for anywhere from $99.00 to $129.00. All of my Squiers are Standard Series.

By the way, I played when I was 12-15 then broke 5 bones in my left hand playing hockey. I had a 1968 Strat that my dad got from a friend for a steak dinner. When I broke my hand my dad sold the guitar. I was 42 and in Iraq and a friend of mine had a Yamaha, I used to play around with it, and when I got back I enrolled in lessons at the same school I went to when I was 12.

It's never too late!!


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:29 am 
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Thanks for all the information. I will definitely check out those other forums too. I think the Squier will definitely suite me fine for at least basic learning to play. Where I will go when I decide I need to upgrade who knows?

Right now for financial reasons I don't think lessons are in my very near future. That being said we are paying for lessons for my 9 year old and I just practice what he practices from his book. Not as good as my own lesson but better than nothing. I have also found what appear to me to be decent resources online as well. I am actually a pretty quick learner even at my age so I am hopeful I will at least get to a point where I am at least good enough to fell that I can say I can really "play". Keeping in mind of course there is ALWAYS room for improvement no matter how good you are.

Speaking of age. I am glad I am not alone in being the only one my age that thinks this is a good idea to start learning at this age. :D I still think I want to at least swap the single ply plain white pick guard with a better looking pearl one.

Does anyone think that it would be a good idea to change the pickups, switch, jack, and controls on a Squier and replace them with better ones? Is it worth it vs just buying another guitar? I know I will ask that on those other forums too since it was said they are more into that sort of thing but I thought I would mention it here too. Does anyone know if the Squier Affinity HSS body is milled in a way that the pickups can be reconfigured to an HH configuration without woodwork?


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:35 pm 
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,I currantly own a seagul s6 original acoustic guitar, made in Quebec, I paid about 340 and I can honesty say that for this money I dont think it would be easy to find a guitar this good. wild cherry back and sides and a solid ceder top, sorry I am going off topic. The other guitars I have is and Americanmade Standard Strat I have had since new in 1998. I just got a new Squier made in China Modified Telecaster, artist series Joe Throman model, thin has a larger radius neck being 12" and a little larger nut of 1.68 jumbo frets two bobbin and bezel humbuckers and a single coil strat pick up, this guitar cost me 379 in Canada, my strat was about 760 in 1998. And for the sound feel and playability I like the Squier even better. I think its more about what you like and how it feels and for me this modified telecaster is awesome..........Rock On!!!!!!!!!!!!LOL


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:27 pm 
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I'm buying my grandson a Squier and Mustang I next month.

I played in a rock n roll band from age 14 to 19. (http://www.theravensband.com). Then joined the Air Force. Didn't pick up the guitar again until 2 years ago. Got my old 1965 Fender Bassman working and bought a Grestch guitar off ebay. Since, I've bought a Martin guitar, a Fender Acoustasonic Jr amp, and a Fender 25r amp. Planning on buying a Blues Jr. NOS tomorrow and got my eyes on an white American made Strat. Joined a band in August of 2011 and having a blast at age 64. Play 3 nights a week old songs from the 50's 60's and 70's. Life is good.

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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:42 am 
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Hi all!
Reading your comments, I can almost subscribe 100% of what you said, for:
1) I'm 46 and I started taking lessons last November for the very first time in my life
2) I broke my left arm and I'm just recovering (using left hand exercises as a rehabilitation therapy :wink: )
3) I bought a Fender Squier Bullet (sunburst finish) and borrowed a Fender Bullet Amp PR 241

So, I'm glad to hear that somebody else thinks "it's never too late" :)

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:08 pm 
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Never too late !

I play in a fun band that, after a ten year lay-off, got to play two successful gigs last year, and plans to play more this year - I'm 62 !


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:51 pm 
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I had my first band when I was 16 - that was in 1964. I played pretty steady until about 1980, then I played every single weekend (Friday & Saturday) for most of four years. Long story short - I burned out. When the supper club changed hands, I dropped the gig and put the guitars away... until 1994. They just sat their in their hardshell cases for a decade.

Then along came a crazy guy from Texas (this was in Minnesota) who heard that I used to play guitar all the time and he desperately wanted to start a band. We did. I've been playing and performing live ever since, especially busy the last 3-4 years as a solo artist and in a rock & roll duo.

When I started playing again in 1994, I was making pretty good money at it and I started buying guitars and amps - I'm still buying guitars and amps. Yes, life is good.

P.S. I own Fender guitars made in the U.S., Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, Korea and China - yep, even have about four different Squiers. I love ALL my Fenders!

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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:20 pm 
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Welcome and don't stop now.

About $600 for bragging rights.

I bought an electric guitar at age 60 on whim. I'd tried acoustic guitars but was never interested in the folk/John Denver/acoustic thing, so thought I'd try electric because it looked cool.

The best advice I got from an experienced player was that guitars are like shoes - you have to try them to find what you like. I've found this to be very true, and after spending several afternoons at Guitar Center, realized I didn't know what I liked for quite a while. I don't buy that there's a big difference to be between 'beginner' and 'professional' guitars. They're all pretty low tech and made of simple materials. However, build quality varies a lot and the result shows

I quickly realized that not all electrics sound the same (duh, I'm ignorant), so I now have seven electrics, plus two acoustics to aid my experimentation. I've concluded that amps may have more influence in the sound than the guitar, and have stopped fooling with pickups and such.

I bought a Fender G-dec practice amp and it allows me to create just about any sound I want. And I can get very similar sounds from every guitar! The guitar becomes more of the thing you like to hold and play, while a big part of the sound comes from the sum of the electrics in your setup.

I have a real 30 y/o Fender Strat, but it's my least favorite to play (with). I tend to grab my plywood Squier first, every time. It doesn't sound quite as good as the Strat, but I have more fun with it. My other favorite is my Ibanez S, which is half the width and weight of the Stat, but every bit as great to play. (I'm thinking about loading it up with three Fender single pole pickups to see how that works - maybe will be a Strat in disguise.)

JustinGuitar is a great free resource and will take you far. Send him money if you agree. Jamplay is a great fee resource and may take you farther.

Cheers, Gary


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 Post subject: Re: What are the actual differences between a Squier and Fen
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:20 pm 
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If lessons are not in the budget then I recommend the Mel Bay book, Modern Guitar Method 1. It's been the standard for a long time. The book will explain how to read music also, which is nice, and explain flats and sharps. There are some easy songs in the beginning, but they are there so you can begin to learn to memorize and play an entire song from memory. Mel teaches you first position note for note, string by string. Learn that and be able to play it up and down fast and you begin to develop muscle memory. You can also get a book of scales and practice those time and time again.

As far as not too much difference between a professional guitar and a beginner model, I invite you to try and play "Wish You Were Here" on a cheap 12 string, and then on a Martin or a Taylor. There is a huge difference. It's not just the fit and finish, it is the craftsmanship that goes into each guitar. Little things like tuning it up and setting the intonation and such and playing it before it gets shipped. Go pick up a $300.00 LP 100 and a $1,000.00 Gibson Les Paul Studio or Standard and tell me that there is not a huge difference. A lot of the time I play my Les Paul not even plugged in. Or play an American Strat versus a Mexican or a Squier Strat. They are not made of the same materials either. They may look the same, but you can be sure that the tuners are different, the pick ups are far better, the wiring is done with thicker wire the solder points are better. Even things like the jacks are different. A solid piece of wood is going to resonate much better in a body than a 2 or 3 piece is. It may be the same wood but look at things like the routing and see how it is done. The cheaper guitars the routing is unfinished.

I agree about Seagulls, they are just amazing for the price.

One last thing is that no 2 guitars are going to play the same. Even 2 of the same model in 2 of the same color are going to be slightly different.


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