If you’re a new player searching for your first instrument or simply looking for a new electric at an affordable price, you’ve probably come across the “Squier by Fender” brand. And depending on how deep you’ve looked into the name (or what forums you’ve been to), you have probably heard a lot of mixed feelings towards it. While they aren’t perfect, we feel that much of the bad rap they get is overblown. In the article below, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Squier brand and separating what we strongly feel are unfair exaggerations as well as deserved criticisms. By the end, you should have a good understanding on what a Squier guitar will bring to the table and if it’s worth your hard earned cash.
A common criticism we heard about the brand has to do with its entry-level status. Some players feel that because they are introductory instruments, Squiers must be terrible, even if they have never played one in their lives. And while it’s true that there are a number of downright awful entry-level guitars that aren’t worth the wood they are made with, the Squier brand isn’t one of them.
With Squier, Fender isn’t looking to sell barely functional instruments that risk staining their brand’s reputation – they are trying to get new players into their ecosystem by providing them very affordable electrics that hopefully keep players coming back to their instruments. If you’re a professional guitarist, a Squier isn’t going to cut it. But if you’re looking to pick up you first guitar and don’t have a ton of money to spend, they offer a lot of value.
Another criticism of the Squier line is that they are much harder to play than a professional instrument. While there is some truth to this, many of the biggest issues have to do with a bad initial setup and not with the instrument itself. In fact, few if any guitars that come ready to play straight from the factory, but budget brands seem to be affected with more issues. Things like bad action or intonation can be common and will make any guitar a literal pain to play. And while these problems are easy to fix, most new guitarists probably have no idea how to do this and instead are left with a terrible experience.
A common complaint when it comes to the hardware is that Squier instruments don’t stay in tune. This one is true. While that doesn’t mean strings will fall flat as soon as you strike them, they definitely don’t hold their tune nearly as long as more expensive models. Fender had to keep costs down somehow and it’s obvious that the tuners (and the rest of the hardware) were one such way. Investing in a new set of tuners can easily fix this problem.
While the sound of a Squier Strat is similar to that of a Fender Strat, they are not identical and easily discernable by experienced guitar players. The pickups on a Squier are a bit weaker in output and the materials used in the body don’t give off the same richness that Fender guitars do. But do they sound bad? No, not when you consider the demographic the Squier is aiming to please.
While no one would ever claim that a Squier guitar can stand toe to toe with a standard Fender electric, it would be short-sighted to dismiss the brand altogether. In fact, a few minor upgrades can easily turn a Squier into a pretty good guitar, as detailed in our Best Upgrades For A Fender Squier Stratocaster (most upgrades detailed can apply to any Squier guitar, not just a Strat). All things considered, you won’t likely find a better instrument for the as low as $200 than a Squier, as they easily provide the best value for the money.
Your Turn to Sound Off!
Have you ever owned or played a Squier before? What are your thoughts?