Comparing my new Squier CV 60s Custom to my Baja

krautcat22

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2022
Posts
27
Location
Belgium
Hi all,

I've had my Baja tele for a couple of weeks, and it felt a bit lonely, so I bought a Squier Classic Vibe 60s Custom. It arrived yesterday, and I felt a short review was in order.

I'll focus mostly on the differences between these two guitars. Specifically, the 'problems' I encountered with the Squier.

But, let's start with the good stuff:

- general construction & visual appearance:
No complaints! The wood has a pleasing grain, the lacquer is not overly thick, the neck-body fit is tight. Also, the Squier (3.3kg) is a bit lighter than my Baja (3.5kg), which I like. The neck, although thinner than on the Baja, feels nice in my hand.

And now the not-so-good stuff:

- pickups:
The pickups sound reasonably good, though not as good as the Twisted Tele set on the Baja. The Baja neck pickup sounds a lot better to my ears, but maybe that's just me, since I really love the "strat-like" sounds of the TT.

- electronics & pots:
Not good. When I dial the volume pot down 30%, I lose 80% of the volume. The tone pot behaves similarly. The pickup selector switch is fine (for now). Feels nice, no scratchy sounds.

- tuners:
The vintage-style tuners on the Baja feel a lot smoother than on the CV. Clearly, there's a difference in quality here. Does it impact the tuning stability? Not right now. Maybe I'll replace them, maybe not...

- saddles & nut:
The bridge saddles on the CV are chrome-plated. They work fine, and they have string grooves (which I like), but I'll probably replace them with compensated brass saddles. This is just an esthetic thing...
As for the nut (bone on the CV, "synthetic bone" on the Baja), I have some complaints. First of all, the nut is simply too high. Second, I hear a distinct sitar-like sound on the open e string. I tried filing down the groove a little, but it didn't help. I'm not gonna try to fix it, and I'll just replace it with a Graphtec nut.

- fretboard:
The fingerboard (Indian Laurel) doesn't look dark enough to me, and the color varies a bit. I see some light/dark streaks. If anyone has any tips on darkening it up, feel free to let me know!


In conclusion: the CV is not a bad guitar at all, but I will perform the following upgrades:
- the pickups will be replaced by noiseless N4 pickups I have laying around
- the switch will be replaced by a 4-way switch (because I have it on the Baja, and it's a useful mod)
- the (badly cut) bone nut will be replaced witch a Graphtec XL
- I'll replace both the volume and the tone pots

Is the Squier a good guitar? Absolutely! Is it as good as a Fender Baja? Nope, but I already knew that before I placed my order. :)

I hope this review is helpful to anyone deciding between Fender and Squier.

For the record: I consider my Baja to be the 'perfect' guitar. No issues, no complaints, great sound, great feel!
 

AJBaker

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Posts
4,463
Age
35
Location
Switzerland
Hi all,

I've had my Baja tele for a couple of weeks, and it felt a bit lonely, so I bought a Squier Classic Vibe 60s Custom. It arrived yesterday, and I felt a short review was in order.

I'll focus mostly on the differences between these two guitars. Specifically, the 'problems' I encountered with the Squier.

But, let's start with the good stuff:

- general construction & visual appearance:
No complaints! The wood has a pleasing grain, the lacquer is not overly thick, the neck-body fit is tight. Also, the Squier (3.3kg) is a bit lighter than my Baja (3.5kg), which I like. The neck, although thinner than on the Baja, feels nice in my hand.

And now the not-so-good stuff:

- pickups:
The pickups sound reasonably good, though not as good as the Twisted Tele set on the Baja. The Baja neck pickup sounds a lot better to my ears, but maybe that's just me, since I really love the "strat-like" sounds of the TT.

- electronics & pots:
Not good. When I dial the volume pot down 30%, I lose 80% of the volume. The tone pot behaves similarly. The pickup selector switch is fine (for now). Feels nice, no scratchy sounds.

- tuners:
The vintage-style tuners on the Baja feel a lot smoother than on the CV. Clearly, there's a difference in quality here. Does it impact the tuning stability? Not right now. Maybe I'll replace them, maybe not...

- saddles & nut:
The bridge saddles on the CV are chrome-plated. They work fine, and they have string grooves (which I like), but I'll probably replace them with compensated brass saddles. This is just an esthetic thing...
As for the nut (bone on the CV, "synthetic bone" on the Baja), I have some complaints. First of all, the nut is simply too high. Second, I hear a distinct sitar-like sound on the open e string. I tried filing down the groove a little, but it didn't help. I'm not gonna try to fix it, and I'll just replace it with a Graphtec nut.

- fretboard:
The fingerboard (Indian Laurel) doesn't look dark enough to me, and the color varies a bit. I see some light/dark streaks. If anyone has any tips on darkening it up, feel free to let me know!


In conclusion: the CV is not a bad guitar at all, but I will perform the following upgrades:
- the pickups will be replaced by noiseless N4 pickups I have laying around
- the switch will be replaced by a 4-way switch (because I have it on the Baja, and it's a useful mod)
- the (badly cut) bone nut will be replaced witch a Graphtec XL
- I'll replace both the volume and the tone pots

Is the Squier a good guitar? Absolutely! Is it as good as a Fender Baja? Nope, but I already knew that before I placed my order. :)

I hope this review is helpful to anyone deciding between Fender and Squier.

For the record: I consider my Baja to be the 'perfect' guitar. No issues, no complaints, great sound, great feel!
Nice breakdown, thanks!

Here's what I'd comment on your findings:

Pots:
- This isn't really an issue of quality, but of the taper that was chosen. Sounds like you have a steep audio pot (which I actually like). Yours might have a 10% taper, possibly you'd be happier with 20%.
The other extreme would be linear taper, where you turn down 50%, and still have most of the volume (I hate it).


The nut:
The nut being too high is (unfortunately) normal for most new guitars in the low to mid range category. The factory drops in a premade nut, and the end user has to have it adjusted to the correct height. This doesn't bother me too much.
A buzz is a bit more concerning, however. Is the slot too low, or just badly cut?


The fretboard:
I suppose you could darken the wood, but personally I would just take it as it is. It isn't rosewood or ebony, so we can't really expect it to look the same. Just an unfortunate fact about the availability and prices of certain woods these days.
 

krautcat22

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2022
Posts
27
Location
Belgium
Nice breakdown, thanks!

Here's what I'd comment on your findings:

Pots:
- This isn't really an issue of quality, but of the taper that was chosen. Sounds like you have a steep audio pot (which I actually like). Yours might have a 10% taper, possibly you'd be happier with 20%.
The other extreme would be linear taper, where you turn down 50%, and still have most of the volume (I hate it).


The nut:
The nut being too high is (unfortunately) normal for most new guitars in the low to mid range category. The factory drops in a premade nut, and the end user has to have it adjusted to the correct height. This doesn't bother me too much.
A buzz is a bit more concerning, however. Is the slot too low, or just badly cut?


The fretboard:
I suppose you could darken the wood, but personally I would just take it as it is. It isn't rosewood or ebony, so we can't really expect it to look the same. Just an unfortunate fact about the availability and prices of certain woods these days.

As for the pots, I know it's not strictly a quality issue. I just want them to behave in a more gradual way, as I'm used to on my other guitars (cheap & expensive)...

The 'e' slot in the nut looks just fine. Not too deep. I suspect that it's related to the angle of the slot. Maybe I'll try to fix it once again. And lower it a bit.

Thanks for your input!
 

IrishBread69

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 24, 2021
Posts
355
Age
37
Location
England
Sounds like it'll be a nice guitar once you make a few adjustments. I've had many Squiers, I do find that the cost-cutting isn't usually too hard to find once you spend a bit of time with them though. I've been disappointed more often than I've been happy. They're definitely better finished now, more coated rather than dipped like it seemed in the past.

I have a Vintera Modified which is something of a descendant to your Baja and I agree, bang for buck, you have to spend big money to get significantly better.
 

krautcat22

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2022
Posts
27
Location
Belgium
I've been disappointed more often than I've been happy.

I share that sentiment. I thought I'd only need to do a minor setup, nothing more. But maybe I'm a bit demanding. It must be my old age. :cool:

If it weren't for the spare parts I already have lying around (Tusq nut, N4 pickups, some pots, 4-way switch), I would be a slight bit frustrated.

Multiple times, I've read/heard that Squiers are "just as good as Fenders". And also "you pay for the Fender logo on the headstock". I have to respectfully disagree with those statements... :)
 

rze99

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Posts
10,389
Location
South London UK
Re darkening: I've used two methods successfully

1) a mix of dark brown and black leather dye 2 coats leave over followed by bore oil or similar oil rubbing. Needs a lot of care and a steady hand with a fine art paintbrush so it's not for clumsy types. Very messy if you are careless.

2) Monty's relic wax (UK vendor no affil) is especially designed for it. Kind of like bee's wax polish that darkens whatever it touches. Just rub it in leave it on for a while (the longer the better IME) then buff. repeat as many times as you need to. It works best when the rosewood isn't that red type colour to begin with.

both need gloves to stop for fingers turning black but especially method 1!
 

sammy1

TDPRI Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Posts
59
Location
Utah
Hi all,

I've had my Baja tele for a couple of weeks, and it felt a bit lonely, so I bought a Squier Classic Vibe 60s Custom. It arrived yesterday, and I felt a short review was in order.

I'll focus mostly on the differences between these two guitars. Specifically, the 'problems' I encountered with the Squier.

But, let's start with the good stuff:

- general construction & visual appearance:
No complaints! The wood has a pleasing grain, the lacquer is not overly thick, the neck-body fit is tight. Also, the Squier (3.3kg) is a bit lighter than my Baja (3.5kg), which I like. The neck, although thinner than on the Baja, feels nice in my hand.

And now the not-so-good stuff:

- pickups:
The pickups sound reasonably good, though not as good as the Twisted Tele set on the Baja. The Baja neck pickup sounds a lot better to my ears, but maybe that's just me, since I really love the "strat-like" sounds of the TT.

- electronics & pots:
Not good. When I dial the volume pot down 30%, I lose 80% of the volume. The tone pot behaves similarly. The pickup selector switch is fine (for now). Feels nice, no scratchy sounds.

- tuners:
The vintage-style tuners on the Baja feel a lot smoother than on the CV. Clearly, there's a difference in quality here. Does it impact the tuning stability? Not right now. Maybe I'll replace them, maybe not...

- saddles & nut:
The bridge saddles on the CV are chrome-plated. They work fine, and they have string grooves (which I like), but I'll probably replace them with compensated brass saddles. This is just an esthetic thing...
As for the nut (bone on the CV, "synthetic bone" on the Baja), I have some complaints. First of all, the nut is simply too high. Second, I hear a distinct sitar-like sound on the open e string. I tried filing down the groove a little, but it didn't help. I'm not gonna try to fix it, and I'll just replace it with a Graphtec nut.

- fretboard:
The fingerboard (Indian Laurel) doesn't look dark enough to me, and the color varies a bit. I see some light/dark streaks. If anyone has any tips on darkening it up, feel free to let me know!


In conclusion: the CV is not a bad guitar at all, but I will perform the following upgrades:
- the pickups will be replaced by noiseless N4 pickups I have laying around
- the switch will be replaced by a 4-way switch (because I have it on the Baja, and it's a useful mod)
- the (badly cut) bone nut will be replaced witch a Graphtec XL
- I'll replace both the volume and the tone pots

Is the Squier a good guitar? Absolutely! Is it as good as a Fender Baja? Nope, but I already knew that before I placed my order. :)

I hope this review is helpful to anyone deciding between Fender and Squier.

For the record: I consider my Baja to be the 'perfect' guitar. No issues, no complaints, great sound, great feel!
are you going with 250k pots?
 

The Angle

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 19, 2017
Posts
1,377
Location
Seattle, WA
I have a few guitars with Indian laurel fingerboards, and to my eye the lighter hue and color variations are very attractive. They have streaks of gold and a sort of milk chocolate brown that's quite pretty. 100% subjective, of course.

The pots on your Squier probably are linear taper instead of audio taper, and that's why they behave so differently from the pots on something like a Baja. I haven't tested the pots on any of my guitars, but it's my understanding from conversations with local luthiers and techs that audio tapers are standard on higher-end instruments and less expensive linear tapers on low-end instruments. I've noticed the same effect you described on most of my low-end guitars. I'm not a constant knob twiddler, so I just live with it. But replacement pots are a cheap and easy swap.
 

bgmacaw

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
9,558
Location
Near Athens GA USA
I recommend going with a no-load tone 250k, especially if you like to fiddle with the tone knob. This one will give you an Esquire-ish bridge tone and it's also fun with the 4-way to get a kind of biting LP Jr-ish tone.
 

krautcat22

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2022
Posts
27
Location
Belgium

krautcat22

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2022
Posts
27
Location
Belgium
The wiring issue is fixed. The brass saddles have been installed. The nut has been replaced, and the sitar-like sound is gone. Hooray for Graphtech TUSQ!
The N4 pickups sound great.

I decided not to replace the pots right now, they're good enough...

I'm a happy camper. :)
 

jvin248

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Posts
11,252
Location
Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
.

Looks like you have most things sorted out. For the darker fretboard:

Get a small can of Minwax 'True Black' stain. Clean oil and wax off the fretboard then use this stain to darken the wood. After drying re-oil the fretboard and you'll have a deep dark color. It may darken the fret dots so wipe those while the stain is still damp.

'Ebony' stain is less dark, and all the other options out there like leather dye and the vinegar with rusty nails trick do not get as dark as the True Black.

.
 

archetype

Fiend of Leo's
Ad Free Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Posts
7,804
Location
Western NY
As for the pickups, they're designed for a 'low wind,' bright twang tone. IMO they do a good job of that and are not going to sound like your Baja at all.

You may already know this, but...

I'd recommend your spending 30-40 minutes with a screwdriver dialing in the pickup heights. After that, set the treble higher on the amp so that you can use the tone control on the guitar. Do that before you give up on the stock pickups.
 

krautcat22

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2022
Posts
27
Location
Belgium
As for the pickups, they're designed for a 'low wind,' bright twang tone. IMO they do a good job of that and are not going to sound like your Baja at all.

You may already know this, but...

I'd recommend your spending 30-40 minutes with a screwdriver dialing in the pickup heights. After that, set the treble higher on the amp so that you can use the tone control on the guitar. Do that before you give up on the stock pickups.
Too late, I already gave up on them! ;)

There's really nothing wrong with the stock pickups, but since I already had the N4 pickups lying around (which I like the sound of), I went ahead and installed them. And yes, pickup height does make a difference...
 

ricardo1912

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Posts
2,144
Location
Kent, UK
I've had a couple of Bajas for a few years now, managed to get lightweight ones - 7lb and 7lb 6oz, and they're still my favourite teles. Great tone, quality and build
I recently bought two Squier teles, a bullet and a paranormal Cabronita thinline. V nice, esp the paranormal, but not close in build or components. The paranormal bridge esp is a bit rattly and will have to go at some point. I have gigged it and it performs well but realistically you can see the differences.
 

Happy Enchilada

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Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,082
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God's Country
Definitely swap out the evil Asian pots and switches.
Might consider PureTone jack and Electrosocket (sold together for $12 @ Amazon).
GraphTech nut is ALWAYS a good idea.
Stock tuners on Asian guitars ... always a good thing to swap out (I like Sperzel lockers).
Fretboard will darken up if you get the Gerlitz Guitar Honey fretboard oil (again, Amazon).
Check out Bootstrap for pickups (I like the Pretzel bridge) and get quality for less.

Happy Modding!
 

Bobabilly

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2015
Posts
27
Location
Sacramento, CA
Hi all,

I've had my Baja tele for a couple of weeks, and it felt a bit lonely, so I bought a Squier Classic Vibe 60s Custom. It arrived yesterday, and I felt a short review was in order.

I'll focus mostly on the differences between these two guitars. Specifically, the 'problems' I encountered with the Squier.

But, let's start with the good stuff:

- general construction & visual appearance:
No complaints! The wood has a pleasing grain, the lacquer is not overly thick, the neck-body fit is tight. Also, the Squier (3.3kg) is a bit lighter than my Baja (3.5kg), which I like. The neck, although thinner than on the Baja, feels nice in my hand.

And now the not-so-good stuff:

- pickups:
The pickups sound reasonably good, though not as good as the Twisted Tele set on the Baja. The Baja neck pickup sounds a lot better to my ears, but maybe that's just me, since I really love the "strat-like" sounds of the TT.

- electronics & pots:
Not good. When I dial the volume pot down 30%, I lose 80% of the volume. The tone pot behaves similarly. The pickup selector switch is fine (for now). Feels nice, no scratchy sounds.

- tuners:
The vintage-style tuners on the Baja feel a lot smoother than on the CV. Clearly, there's a difference in quality here. Does it impact the tuning stability? Not right now. Maybe I'll replace them, maybe not...

- saddles & nut:
The bridge saddles on the CV are chrome-plated. They work fine, and they have string grooves (which I like), but I'll probably replace them with compensated brass saddles. This is just an esthetic thing...
As for the nut (bone on the CV, "synthetic bone" on the Baja), I have some complaints. First of all, the nut is simply too high. Second, I hear a distinct sitar-like sound on the open e string. I tried filing down the groove a little, but it didn't help. I'm not gonna try to fix it, and I'll just replace it with a Graphtec nut.

- fretboard:
The fingerboard (Indian Laurel) doesn't look dark enough to me, and the color varies a bit. I see some light/dark streaks. If anyone has any tips on darkening it up, feel free to let me know!


In conclusion: the CV is not a bad guitar at all, but I will perform the following upgrades:
- the pickups will be replaced by noiseless N4 pickups I have laying around
- the switch will be replaced by a 4-way switch (because I have it on the Baja, and it's a useful mod)
- the (badly cut) bone nut will be replaced witch a Graphtec XL
- I'll replace both the volume and the tone pots

Is the Squier a good guitar? Absolutely! Is it as good as a Fender Baja? Nope, but I already knew that before I placed my order. :)

I hope this review is helpful to anyone deciding between Fender and Squier.

For the record: I consider my Baja to be the 'perfect' guitar. No issues, no complaints, great sound, great feel!
I also have a Baja (my #1) and recently got a 60’s CV Squier Esquire Custom, which I’m very happy with too. Tuners are fine and rock solid. And as much as I love the Baja’s chunky neck, I find the Esquire’s neck to feel really comfortable too! The only thing I did was put Gotoh compensated brass saddles on it, mainly to match the swap I did with my Baja. I’m super happy with both guitars.
 




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