Fender vs Squier Guitars: How Big Are The Differences?

Guitars, they’re an entire universe unto themselves. You’ve got all sorts and sizes, each with a unique flavor, designed to match the different playing styles and levels. Two names, though, they’ve stayed strong, right there on the top shelf of fame. Fender. Squier.

Those names, Fender and Squier, they harken back to the golden age of electric guitars, back when they were just sprouting wings. And guess what? They’re still here, still sculpting the soundtrack of our times.

Now, Fender, that’s a name that echoes around the globe. A titan in the guitar world, famous for its trailblazing designs, rock-solid build, and that unmistakable tone.

And Squier? That’s Fender’s sibling, offering you the classic Fender vibe, but with a softer punch on the wallet.

In this Killer Rig article, we will explore the differences between Fender Vs Squier guitars. We will do a deep comparison of the two brands. From their design and materials, to sound quality, playability, and price range.

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Quick Summary

Before we look at the details of each guitar brand. We want to touch on some of the differences. This will help you understand them better. Here are the key takeaways from each brand and how they are different.

  • Fender is a higher quality brand that produces professional guitars.
  • Squier is owned by Fender and is used to produce cheaper alternatives.
  • Squier’s guitars are a great experience for beginners and intermediates.
  • Fender guitars do sound and play better, and so professionals will appreciate them more.
  • Fenders are made in Mexico and the USA. Squier’s guitars come from Indonesia and China.

History of Fender Guitars

This iconic company was founded in Fullerton, California in 1946 by Leo Fender. Fender revolutionized the guitar world in 1950. He did so by introducing the first commercial solid-body electric guitar, the Broadcaster. Later on to be known and loved as the Telecaster.

Over the following years, Fender would go on to release several other iconic models. These were the Stratocaster and the Precision Bass. Both of which became staples in popular music. They remain popular to this day.

Throughout its history, Fender has maintained a commitment to quality and innovation. Done by producing guitars that are revered for their tone, playability, and design.

Fender’s influence on the world of music cannot be overstated! Its guitars have been played by some of the biggest names in music, from Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain.

Are Fender guitars good? Click here!

Origins of Squier Guitars

Fender established Squier Guitars as a subsidiary in 1982. The company was founded to provide more reasonably priced variations of vintage Fender models. All are aimed at beginner and budget-conscious players. Squier’s guitars are more affordable than those offered by Fender.

However, the same level of care and attention to detail went into their design. They offer a more accessible entry point to those who want a Fender-style guitar.

Since then, Squier has increased the number of models in its lineup. This includes its own take on classic Fender designs. But also the original designs that cater to specific genres and playing styles.

Squier has a reputation for producing high-quality instruments. Despite its relatively reasonable price range. They are incredibly reliable and a tonne of fun to play.

Lean how to decode Squier serial numbers here!

Fender vs Squier Guitars: The Main Differences

Squier’s guitars have been made to be lower cost versions of Fender. But just how close are they? Price difference can have a real impact on quality. But does that exist here? Let’s look at the main differences between the two guitar brands.

Design and Materials

The design and materials of Fender and Squier guitars are two of the most obvious contrasts between them.

Premium materials and meticulous design are hallmarks of Fender guitars. Features like alder or ash bodies, maple necks, and rosewood fingerboards. 

Squier guitars, on the other hand, may use cheaper or alternative materials. This might be tonewoods like basswood or agathis for the body. As well as less expensive woods for the neck and fingerboard.

There are other differences that can be found in the finishes. Squier does a good job, but sometimes you may find aesthetic issues. While Fender guitars, being more pricey, have fewer flaws in the finishes.

Production and Craftsmanship

Another key difference is the production and craftsmanship of Fender and Squier. Fender guitars are made in the USA and Mexico.

They are renowned for their superior craftsmanship and careful attention to every last detail. The two factories are practically identical because of how close they are to one another.

Squier guitars, on the other hand, are manufactured in Indonesia, China, and other countries outside the US. They might use additional production techniques that save money. Processes are machine-assisted rather than something like hand-finished fretwork.

The quality is still very good, don’t get me wrong. But the work done by hand does produce a more detail-oriented build. This does cost more in the end. And you will find it built into the price.

Pickups 

Pickups play a crucial role in determining the sound of an electric guitar. Fender and Squier have different approaches in this area. Fender guitars typically feature pickups made themselves or Seymour Duncan. Both are known for their clear, balanced tone and versatility. 

Squier’s guitars may use cheaper pickups made by other manufacturers. By comparison, they don’t have the same level of clarity and definition. Especially when compared to those found on Fender guitars. 

Now, that’s not to say they are terrible. They do sound good for the price point. But this is a comparison article and so the gloves are off! There are many types of pickups used in different models as well. So that also needs to be considered.

Single-coil Pickup.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of a guitar is largely determined by its pickups. This goes without saying, and most players know it. There are other factors such as the materials and construction. As a result of better material choices, Fender guitars are known for their signature sound. 

This is characterized by articulation, brightness, and definition. Nothing is lost in the sound. You can also find noiseless single-coils come stock on some models. No more hum and buzz from a professional instrument.

Squier’s guitars can still produce a good tone! But the sound may not be as nuanced or refined as that of a Fender. I’m still impressed by a lot of the Squiers I have played.

They do capture that Fender tone quite well, and they can get very close. But when playing them one after the other, the sound difference is noticeable.

Playability

Finally, playability is another factor to consider when comparing them. Fender guitars are known for their comfortable, well-balanced feel and smooth playability. They have features like rolled fingerboards and smooth frets. This makes your playing experience a great one.

Squier guitars may have a slightly different feel due to the use of alternative materials. But they are still designed to be easy to play and comfortable to use. I have to admit this is a tough one!

A Squier that is built perfectly feels almost as good. It’s just you are more likely to experience an issue with a Squier. Not to say it often happens, but if it would, this would be where you will see it. But for playability, both brands are great!

Price Range Comparison

One of the most significant differences between Fender and Squier guitars is the price range. Fender guitars are typically much more expensive than Squiers.

Prices start at several hundred dollars and reach into the thousands for a Fender. This high price point reflects the premium materials and craftsmanship that go into every guitar.

Squier guitars, on the other hand, are much more affordable. You will find prices starting at around $100 and reaching into the several hundred. While Squier guitars may not have the same level of premium materials or craftsmanship. But it’s still a great value for the price!

It’s important to remember that the price range varies depending on the model and features offered. Therefore, it’s wise to compare several models and features. A table with comparable models from both brands may be found below.

Squier Bullet Stratocaster$199.99
Fender Player Stratocaster$849.99
Fender American Professional Telecaster$1699.99
Squier 40th Anniversary Telecaster$499.99
Squier Contemporary Jaguar$469.99
Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar$1549.99

Are Fender Guitars Better Than Squier?

Ah, the classic question of Fender versus Squier! Now, there’s no black-or-white answer here. It’s all in what you want out of your six-string companion.

The real deal Fender guitars? They’re top-notch. They are made of the good stuff and built to last. People who craft them? Artists in their own right, with an eye for the little things.

Yet, Squier guitars are still a solid choice for beginners. Even players who have smaller budgets. They offer good value for the price and deliver a solid playing experience. Additionally, Squier guitars may have a more modern or alternative design. This alone can appeal to certain players.

So what’s the takeaway? Your choice, your call. If you’re just starting out or tightening the purse strings, Squier’s your buddy. Yet, if you crave top-tier quality and craftsmanship and aren’t afraid to pay for it, take a bow, Fender. It’s your stage.

Stratocaster Comparison

Fender Stratocaster is one of the most iconic electric guitars of all time! Most players know this guitar quite well. It’s available in both Fender and Squier versions.

We now know the differences in materials and sound. But let’s compare the hardware and some of the key differences.

FenderSquier
Noiseless Single-coil PickupsFender Designed Alnico Single-coil
Alder Body MaterialNyatoh Body
Rosewood FingerboardIndian Laurel Fingerboard
Bone NutBone Nut
Fender Deluxe Die-cast Sealed Locking TunersVintage-style No Name Tuners

Stratocaster Vs Jaguar: Click Here!

Telecaster Comparison

The Fender Telecaster is another iconic electric guitar. It, too, is available in both Fender and Squier versions. The Telecaster is known for its bright, snappy tone and classic design. This is a workhorse of a guitar! Let’s see how thy compare!

Fender TelecasterSquier Telecaster
Ultra Noiseless Vintage Tele Single-coilFender Designed Alnico Single-coil
Alder Body Nyatoh Body Material
Rosewood FingerboardMaple Fingerboard
Bone NutBone Nut
Fender Deluxe Die-cast Sealed Locking TunersVintage-style Tuners

Value and Resale

Fender is a big deal in the guitar world, like the popular kid everyone wants to hang out with. Squier? They’re cool too, just a bit less flashy.

Fender guitars don’t come cheap. Why? They’re made with top-notch materials, put together by people who really know their stuff.

They’re the Ferraris of guitars! And guess what? That attention to detail and quality means they hold their value well. If you ever wanted to sell one, you’d probably do alright.

Then there’s Squier. These guitars are the budget-friendly buddies of the guitar world. They’re great for beginners, or anyone watching their pennies.

Squier isn’t using the same high-end materials as Fender, but they still make solid guitars. The craftsmanship might not be quite as fancy, but they really get the job done.

But when it comes to selling a Squier? You might not make as much as you would with a Fender. They’re just not as ritzy.

Now, remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. The value of a guitar depends on lots of things. How well you’ve taken care of it, how rare it is, and what guitar buyers are hunting for.

So, sure, Fender guitars might generally be worth more. But a Squier that’s been loved and is in demand? That could surprise you on the resale market.

Conclusion

Fender and Squier are both excellent choices for electric guitar players. There is no doubt. But they offer different benefits and drawbacks. Fender guitars are known for their high-quality experience.

While Squier guitars are a more affordable option. But still offers a solid playing experience. Ultimately, the choice between a Fender and a Squier guitar comes down to personal preference. You must consider your budget, and what you’re looking for in a guitar.

They both have something to offer and will bring a smile to your face. You have a lot of information here, the next step, the decision. Good luck!

FAQs

Should I get a Fender or Squier guitar?

If you have the budget, I suggest you get a Fender guitar. They offer a more premium feel and sound. You will own an iconic guitar that you can appreciate for decades! If you are on a budget or just starting out, then a Squier is perfect. You get a great tone and playability for a steal of a price.

Do any professional guitarists play Squier?

Yes! Even though they are a cheaper alternative, they are still great guitars! So good that even professionals use them. Joe Trohman of Fall Out Boy has a signature model Telecaster. He has also been seen using Squier guitars quite regularly.

Can you play metal on a Squier?

Yes, you can play metal on a Squier guitar. But this is entirely dependent on the guitar model. For example, a Squier Stratocaster cannot do metal. But a Squier Bullet model with humbucker pickups can!

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!