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Old August 2nd, 2012, 08:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Whats the difference between a Fender Stratocaster and........

Whats the difference between a Fender Stratocaster and one that says Squire Stratocaster by Fender ?

I've taken a bit of re-interest in my guitar the past few weeks and have been looking around guitar shops and on line etc.

I quite fancy getting a Stratocaster, but there are a fair few about and i noticed a few like the ones above, i was just wondering what the difference was because to me (a complete novice) they look the same .

Are the Squire ones just a cheap(er) copy of the original Fender ones ?

Thanks in advance :)

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Old August 3rd, 2012, 12:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Squier (note the spelling) is Fender's budget range for those people who want the Fender look but don't have the $$ to pay for the real thing.

As to which is better, that's where the fit hits the shan, if you catch my meaning. Some players will claim their $100 Squier is just as good as a $4,000 Custom Shop guitar while others will say you get what you pay for.

Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle. I've been impressed with some cheapies but I paid $1,000 for my #1 Strat and I feel it's worth every penny.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 04:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Squier is Fender's cheaper brand. They make the same types of guitars, but they usually aren't as good as a Fender. The newer Bullets are actually very good for a $100 guitar. But I think a better guitar is a Fender Standard Strat, I got mine on Craigslist for $200.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 05:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Although there is a price and quality difference between Fender & Squier there are some quality bargain guitars to be had. I have a Simon Neil Squier Strat which is very good value. I read and hear that the Fender Classic 50's Strat us good value.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 05:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Also pay attention to the model aka "Standard", "affinity" and so forth. You can find nice playing affinities but you still dont want to pay a lot for them.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 05:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You could get a used MIM for not much more than a Squier.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Get a Telecaster. Problem solved.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Can't really add to anything that's been said.

I have very limited experiences with strats, but this is what I've experienced:

Squire Strat:

cheaper wood material for neck

cheaper wood material for body (sometimes it's not alder. sometimes it's multi-peiced)

cheaper tuners

harder to stay in tune

fit and finish is not up to snuff (poorer setup. poorer nut cutting. poorer out-of-the-box action)

poly coating (thick and covers tone)

cheap composite lightweight bridges (which is a big no-no in the strat world because the floating bridge is one of the most important pieces in the tone path)

electronics are a step down



With that said, you are only paying $200 brand new for them, and they are good value strats for getting your feet wet. You're not going to want to perform with them live unless you get some MAJOR setup done, with tremolo blocking. I've already done this once, and I was tuning after every song, and sometimes during songs.

In my opinion, I always tell strat players there's two options if you're a smart buyer:

Either get a cheap Squier strat and see if it's for you, or buy an AVRI strat. There is no other option in between for value.

Last edited by FenderNashville; August 3rd, 2012 at 08:40 PM.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Either get a cheap Squier strat and see if it's for you, or buy an AVRI strat. There is no other option in between for value.

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Old August 4th, 2012, 12:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input folks, the Squire ones look the part, i`m only thinking about getting one at this point, i had a go on one at the shop and it felt a lot more comfortable to play than my telecaster , and it was cheap too which is a bonus lol
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Old August 4th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input folks, the Squire ones look the part, i`m only thinking about getting one at this point, i had a go on one at the shop and it felt a lot more comfortable to play than my telecaster , and it was cheap too which is a bonus lol

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Sorry mate, I just couldn't resist (I'm from Ayr so I can make fun of other Scots).

If you are looking at a Squier be sure to check out the Classic Vibe series as they are better than the cheaper Squiers. Some say they are as good as MIMs and some say they are as good as MIAs. I don't agree as I find their necks far too thin for my liking but enough people swear by them that you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking them out.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 03:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The American standards are ripoffs. Did you just want me to say it?
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Old August 4th, 2012, 04:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input folks, the Squire ones look the part,
If you can find one in your neck of the woods, check out a Squier Standard Strat ( http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StratSSRCSB/ ).

This particular Squire has the same nut width as a "real" Fender (other Squires have narrower necks). It also has the same thickness body as a "real" Fender (other Squire's have thinner bodies).

I have one of these, and it came very well set up from the factory. All mine needed was a fresh set of strings. It feels great, it's easy to play, it looks good, and the tone reminds me of early Dire Straits recordings.

In my opinion, this particular model is the most bang for the buck you'll find in a 'Strat type guitar from Fender corp. Mine feels and plays better than "real" Fenders I've tried at $500 (more than double the price), and I refuse to pay four times as much to get the same playability in a Fender-branded instrument.

When I bring up this model in the company of other musicians, more than ones someone has brought up how they prefer to gig one of these Squire Standard Strats, rather than taking an expensive Fender into a bar or other guitar-hostile environment. The typical comment is that it sounds and plays just as well as their much more expensive Fender, so they'd rather risk this Squire at the gig.

The business about quality "tone wood" in a Fender vs Squier Strat is best taken with a grain of sand IMO. The Stratocaster guitar design mounts the pickups to a large thin plastic plate, loosely supported at a few points and mounted over several large holes routed in the body. This was done for low cost and easy manufacturing, like everything Leo Fender did.

That plastic plate is lighter and floppier and more likely to vibrate than any part of the wooden body under it. Since the plastic plate carries the pickups, vibrations from the plastic plate also vibrate the pickups relative to the strings, so the guitar picks up the sound of the vibrating plastic. In short, the plastic pickguard is almost certainly the part of the Strat body that contributes most to the sound, much more so than the actual body wood!

Clearly, this hasn't done the sound of the 'Strat any harm, because the pickups, pickup spacing, string thickness, pick/plectrum thickness, tremolo bridge, and playing technique all affect the sound much more than the plastic pickguard ever did. (And the wooden body affects the sound even less!)

In other words, pay attention to how it sounds, not what wood it's made out of...

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Old August 4th, 2012, 08:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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You could get a used MIM for not much more than a Squier.
+1 on that. I took an 1100.00 Am Std strat back because it wasn't THAT much better than my 250.00 mim with a pickup upgrade. Sure the neck on the Am Std was gloss on the fretboard but that was the only difference I could tell.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 12:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm so glad we have another thread with definitive answers about what you must have or be exiled.

I'm also glad there are voices of reason giving options and opinions. When I see things like IMO and what worked for me I pay attention. When I see this is the best or this is the worst I skip ahead unless they add "for me".
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Old August 6th, 2012, 12:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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+1 on that. I took an 1100.00 Am Std strat back because it wasn't THAT much better than my 250.00 mim with a pickup upgrade. Sure the neck on the Am Std was gloss on the fretboard but that was the only difference I could tell.
There are quite a few more differences but this is what I'm talking about. The extra money was not worth it for you. I'm glad you're happy with what you have and saved the money. That would buy a very nice amp. I had a similar experience with an AM std telecaster but had only paid $250 for it. And I did try to like it. Never happened but I did get $750 for it later. My buddy has a deluxe american that he would have a hard time without. It's all in what works for each player.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Or, you can do what I did. I took a Squier Bullet (2004 Indonesian model--doesn't even say "Strat" on it) Strat that I bought for $50 with no strings on it and used it as my test mule (or maybe sacrificial lamb would be a better description) to see if I had any talent at all in modifying/repairing guitars.

I'm proud to say that $500 later it's a pretty good Strat! Oh, yea--it's got the thin neck and the thin body, but it's a hardtail so body thickness doesn't bother me a bit. The neck is real sensitive to how much I pull on it when I'm playing it. I've just had to learn to deal with that issue.

The $500 includes the nut-making tools and the fret-leveling/crowning tools that I bought from StewMac. There are only four original parts on this axe now, so it's literally a different guitar.

It's probably still only worth $50 to someone else, but it's a damn fine-playing guitar now and I had a helluva good time modifying it. I'd play it in a gig any time! And besides--it's not for sale.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 02:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I've owned Squier, MIJ, MIM and MIA Fenders. The MIA is the best, but they've all played very well. They've all sounded fine to great. With upgrades they can all sound great. But the craftsmanship does go up with the price, and the overall package is highest quality on the MIA. The value of this depends on if you care about the bells and whistles, or just the essentials. If you're just looking for the essentials, you can get that from a Squier with some fairly minor upgrades. You might not even need to upgrade if it's well set up and suits your sound.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 05:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Here's a thought: Play whatever guitar is at the top of your budget and compare it to the Squier. If you can't tell the difference, or feel the difference isn't great enough to justify the cost, then go with the lower priced guitar.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 05:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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And another thought; don't buy any guitar unless you're actually going to play and enjoy it. Think about the percentage of gits that leave the store shelf only to spend their lives in a case in a corner. It must be staggering.
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