Squier guitars .......... did you know ?

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by fattboyzz, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. nicod98

    nicod98 Squier-Nut

    Jul 9, 2014
    I dare to say such things... the "for the money" part is true for the lower range (like the Bullet or Affinity), but I have - on several occasions - played the "find the Squier/Fender, blindfolded" game with professional and semi-professional guitarists.

    If some of them offer to trade their MIA Fender for a bone stock Squier, I dare to say that it doesn't need upgrades, or - and that is another possibility - that even their MIA could use some upgrades.

    The only thing EVERY guitar needs IMHO (even the 3000+ dollar custom shops) is a setup, to fit the player. Like setting the seat height and mirror position of a brand new car. Out of the box settings might work for you, but they are rarely a perfect fit.

    The only negative thing I've noticed about relatively recent Classic Vibe teles is that many of them now are quite heavy, a lot heavier than mine.

    I really believe in the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies and prejudice. People who think all Squiers need upgrades and see the Squier-logo will never be satisfied unless they change something to make it better. And when they do, they are really convinced that it sounds better. It's just human nature.
    SquierTap and Taurus like this.
  2. Shaytan

    Shaytan Squier-Meister

    Apr 10, 2018
    Lisbon, Portugal
    I understand your point, but I think the biggest problem with low-end Squiers (or lower-end guitars in general) doesn't involve replacing any parts - it's a good setup, and the fit and finish. One of the reasons why Squiers sell for so cheap and, on the other hand, a reason that adds up a couple hundred bucks to the price of an high-end guitar, is having someone spending time with it, making sure the frets are leveled, well rounded over in order to play comfortably, that the truss rod and intonation are well set up and that the string action is under a certain standard. These are all things we can sort out in an afternoon without spending a dime but, again, a novice won't know how to do so, or perhaps even know that's an issue in the first place.

    You've correctly mentioned every guitar needs a setup to fit the player (in fact earlier this week I went with a friend to a store for him to order an Ibanez Artcore and the guys were super helpful there and will spend some time with him to set it up for his preferred gauge and type of strings once it arrives), but at least that the guitar comes properly playable. In the case of my SE, and many other Squiers and low-end guitars, the string action may only suit the preference of a slide player... It's really the difference of either having a technician go over each single guitar, some workers just making sure the guitars are under some more tolerant values, or instead just putting stuff together and putting them in the boxes as long as they seem okay.

    About parts replacement, in my case, I do find my guitar a lot better sounding now, but only for the new pups - and not that the stock ones weren't usable, the only issue was with the cheap as scratchy electronics. Stuff like the new nut I've recently installed, IMO, hasn't made a difference in the tone, but certainly made the guitar miles better in terms of fit and finish - regarding that specific example, at least now it can finally stay in tune.

    Just to follow up with my cars analogy, here's a quick example: there's a YouTube channel I follow about two guys who mod and customize cars. When Ford released the Focus RS, they were invited to their factory in Germany to actually participate in putting one together and were later offered it (quite a marketing stunt of Ford, I know). They actually got to test an RS in a track and spoke with either a chief designer or engineer, can't remember which, and telling right away they planned on modding and upgrading the car once they received it, they asked him his opinion when enthusiasts like them take a product developed by experienced people and customize it to supposedly make it better. He replied that he actually quite appreciates when people do that, because in fact, being a production vehicle, it's not possible to make it perfectly as the team envisioned. Sacrifices had to be made for either complying with countries' regulations, being possible to be made in series, or simply using off-the-shelf parts and components to keep it bellow a certain price point.

    Long story short, the less a product costs, the more sacrifices have to be made. In a guitar that's the difference between having brand hardware of Chinese generic hardware, nuts made out of quality material to fit each instrument or plastic parts coming in batches off a mold, or more, less or none personalized options. The more you spend, the less sacrifices have to be made, but that still doesn't mean a really high-end instrument will be perfect and fit the tastes of every player. As I perceive it, it's not all about the tone, which when it comes to electric guitars come in probably more that 90% off your amp, but rather how it feels, how well it's put together and how stable it is.
    Taurus likes this.
  3. nicod98

    nicod98 Squier-Nut

    Jul 9, 2014
    I've quite recenty (last November) been able to compare a Squier Classic Vibe with another cheap guitar that is often praised as being better than the CV, the Harley Benton TE-52 (to be honest: at less than half the price of a CV) (spoiler: I was glad it was not mine, and wouldn't pay half of what they cost).

    I see all your arguments as being definitely true for the TE-52. The Classic Vibe does have some compromises to fit the price point (certainly all the metal parts), but I don't agree with all your arguments.

    My most recent Squier, a FSR Surf Green Bullet, outshines the TE-52 in every aspect (and is similarly priced). It needed new strings, a fret polish, and some fretboard oil out of the box (like any other new guitar). The action was pretty good and the intonation was spot on. As usual, I couldn't find ANY flaw in the finish (contrary to the TE-52). This would have been the perfect beginner guitar, as it is meant to be.

    After my initial test I did adjust the truss rod just a little (to better fit my style of playing) and of course as a result some re-intonating, but it certainly was not needed. I will replace the pickups, because that was always the plan, also not because it is needed. Better pickups would make it sound better, but as you stated: the impact of the amp is a lot bigger than the pickups themselves.
    Of course this 170 euro guitar is not the same quality as a 600 euro MIM Player (which, too, is compromised to fit that price point). But is the MIM three times as good? No way!

    My point being is that there is a lot of variation in the budget range of guitars. The very cheapest are pretty useless for beginners, and only good to chase them away from playing. But even the cheapest Squiers are usually better quality than the real cheap brands. Quality Control is certainly almost lacking on the very cheapest guitar, but a Squier "backed by Fender", QC certainly is a lot better. Fender cannot afford to much bad publicity.

    I have no problems with promoting a Squier from the cheapest to the most expensive to a beginner. Even though I find the quality of the CV and VM better than the Bullet or Affinity, I'd recommend one of these with a good amp, rather than a CV with a bad amp.
    And if all of us here, help some absolute beginners with a decent setup, these budget guitars will certainly fulfill their goals.
    littlebadboy, Taurus and Shaytan like this.
  4. Unit11

    Unit11 Squier-Meister

    Apr 28, 2018
    Providence, RI
    Nice to know. ;) I got my Squier Bullet Strat last March, thinking that if I wanted to keep playing I'd eventually trade up for a "real" Stratocaster. But now I'm kind of inseparable from my Squier...
    fattboyzz likes this.
  5. True … no argument there. BUT … these low end Squiers have cheap electronics and pickups. It's an easy choice for the wiring harness upgrade, but pickups can be a mesmerizing experience. Anytime someone asks about opinions on pickups, there's rarely no two answers the same. For reasonably little money, these upgrades move your well set up guitar, leaps and bounds ahead of the stock version.

    Cheers, Barrie.
  6. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Squier-Nut

    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    Absolutely ! The 2 I put together since Oct would be no where near what they are without the pups.

    The Tele builds only weak link is that it has the cheaper pots like the Squier Standard has and I will remedy that when I change my strings next time :)

    The black Super Strat will get a MIM bridge assembly and tuners on is next string change ,since the Squier Deluxe tuners are now 12 years old and are doing ok ,but not keeping tune like my MIM Standard.

    Even with these final upgrades , I will have less in these top shelf Squier builds than I would if I bought one new Fender MIM Player Strat new !
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 11:14 PM
    Las Palmas Norte likes this.
  7. And the money as well as the satisfaction, speak for itself. :)
    Cheers, Barrie.
    fattboyzz likes this.