Squier Telecaster OLD vs NEW

theleman

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When I saw Squier Teles first, it was early 2000s, and I recall Squier guitars were regarded as the lowest grade in electric guitars. It was either MIJ or MIA Fender Teles were the good guitars to go for, and price were good too.

MIA Fenders could be bought for about £300 - 400 (used), £600 (brand NEW).
MIJ Fenders were about £100 - £150, and they were many for sale on local newspaper For Sale adverts.
I bought a few of them, and played and practiced with MIA and MIJ Fenders at the time.

Squiers MIC, MIK could be bought for about £30 - £50 in used market, and no one wanted them, They used to say Squier guitars are rubbish made of cheap parts and sound thin. Brand new Squiers were going for about £100 - £120 in the guitar shops, but if you haggled they would sell it for £70-£80. MIJ Squiers more sought after - they were going for about £100 in used market.

So what changed Squiers guitars? Now everybody / many people seems raving about Squier guitars, and say how good they play and sound, and they will never part with their Squiers?
 
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yegbert

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Maybe partly because features (on teles anyway) were becoming more like what a lot of players wanted? CV teles were introduced with vintage type components like 3 saddle bridges, compared to Standards which had six block saddles. And Affinitys came with thicker and string-through bodies.

(And Mars needs guitars! ;))
 

Blues Twanger

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Across the board the guitars available in that price range are better now than 20-30 years ago. Squiers were largely not very great but neither were Ibanez Gios, ESP LTD's, Epiphones, all that stuff left a lot to be desired compared to instruments in the same price ranges from those manufacturers and others today.
 

Si G X

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When I saw Squier Teles first, it was early 2000s, and I recall Squier guitars were regarded as the lowest grade in electric guitars. It was either MIJ or MIA Fender Teles were the good guitars to go for, and price were good too.

MIA Fenders could be bought for about £300 - 400 (used), £600 (brand NEW).
MIJ Fenders were about £100 - £150, and they were many for sale on local newspaper For Sale adverts.
I bought a few of them, and played and practiced with MIA and MIJ Fenders at the time.

Squiers MIC, MIK could be bought for about £30 - £50 in used market, and no one wanted them, They used to say Squier guitars are rubbish made of cheap parts and sound thin. Brand new Squiers were going for about £100 - £120 in the guitar shops, but if you haggled they would sell it for £70-£80. MIJ Squiers more sought after - they were going for about £100 in used market.

So what changed Squiers guitars? Now everybody / many people seems raving about Squier guitars, and say how good they play and sound, and they will never part with their Squiers?

what changed?

They put their prices up and started making better guitars. There's no doubt they are better too, I have a Samik made Squier body and it's not even real wood, it's some kind of ply/glue/sawdust combination and it had those dirt cheap diamond tuners with the fixed buttons and a really cheap 6 barrel saddle bridge... You really couldn't have made it cheaper. Pickups were functional but terrible and it just wasn't very good.

I think they've stopped trying to make the cheapest guitars. ... because they aren't any more, what they've tried to make is an authentic 'Fender' experience at a lower cost...

.. much like Epiphone have too. I had an Epiphone SG in the early 90's and it was rubbish, it had really strange black plastic pickup covers, it didn't even try to be 'inspired by Gibson' just vaguely like one.
 

theleman

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yeah, I thought that the current Squiers must have improved vastly in their quality in terms of playability, sound and the parts from 20 - 30 year ago.
Because I can vividly recall they were not really wanted by anyone 20 year ago, unless they are the teens just starting out and buying guitars and amps with their pocket money. Even they thrashed the Squiers as soon as they manage to save up for the MIM or MIJ or even MIA Fenders.

Now, the HB vintage series guitars seem way above all others in competition. I cannot tell about the standard series HB guitars, but the vintage series guitars played and sounded like 5k CS Fenders.

Squiers? I have not had it since 2005 when I sold my MIJ Squier Strat, and it was a good one. But definitely even MIJ, the pickups sounded muddy compared to the Fender USA or MIM strats.

I am definitely under impression that current series Bullet, Affinities and CV have vastly improved their quality on the guitars. But was wondering what others would think on this issue. I don't own a Squier, so I could not tell.
 

theleman

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what changed?

They put their prices up and started making better guitars. There's no doubt they are better too, I have a Samik made Squier body and it's not even real wood, it's some kind of ply/glue/sawdust combination and it had those dirt cheap diamond tuners with the fixed buttons and a really cheap 6 barrel saddle bridge... You really couldn't have made it cheaper. Pickups were functional but terrible and it just wasn't very good.

I think they've stopped trying to make the cheapest guitars. ... because they aren't any more, what they've tried to make is an authentic 'Fender' experience at a lower cost...

.. much like Epiphone have too. I had an Epiphone SG in the early 90's and it was rubbish, it had really strange black plastic pickup covers, it didn't even try to be 'inspired by Gibson' just vaguely like one.

Yeah I recall the 1990s and early 2000s Epiphones were treated as garbage guitars too 20 year ago. I never had them, so again I cannot tell from my own experience. But my pals who had them didn't speak about them highly, and never kept them too long.
 

JL_LI

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At a certain age, your memory of the poor quality of imports from east Asia is deeply ingrained and you can’t bring yourself to look at them. MIM were considered to be sub par but not as bad. I bought a MIM Telecaster used in 2009 and there was nothing wrong with it. The neck, tuners, bridge, body and finish were all great. The pickups sounded good but they were noisy. I still have the guitar, my avatar Telecaster, now with N4 noiseless pickups that addressed my only complaint with the guitar.

But I still can’t bring myself to consider a Squier or Epiphone. I avoid other MIC products where there are alternatives available. It’s not so much quality as stuff that can’t be talked about here.
 

Ronzo

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I think it’s because Fender - and Gibson, to a lesser extent - realized that their marketing plan to step up through their lines would only work if the instruments at the lower end of the product line were easy to play, and sounded reasonably good.

Fender’s Andy Murray saw the decline in new players and the aging of their customer base as an immediate threat to corporate growth. They realized that by leveraging CNC low-tolerance manufacturing in high- quality offshore contract builders, they could create a better buying and initial product quality perception that would draw new and younger players to the brand.

It took a while to get it right, but the much-improved quality of the entry level products has done what it was designed to do. And if you’ve noticed, they have a younger, fresher artist roster who will play Squiers in Network TV appearances. For example: H.E.R.; Finneas; Phoebe Bridgers. And others.

As for Gibson, they arrived late to a similar marketing plan. No more “Only A Gibson Is Good Enough“ - extracting business from a shrinking market at the high end is more difficult than expansion at lower tiers. Quietly, Epiphone quality increased. I own two very good examples. And friends who work at music retailers noticed that the Epiphones they were receiving required less effort to bring to the sales floor. They were very good to excellent out of the box.
 

SpaceAceman

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Nature of the beast - over time, quality at a given price point increases. That's how you compete in manufacturing. I have a $299 Jackson JS32 that is AMAZING for the cheap Chinese import that it is. Great neck, Cool finish, pickups are good, Floyd is decent.

But now a Real Soloist costs like $2000. IS the soloist THAT much better? No - but it is better. That said, both work.

I have a killer Squire PJ bass. Quality talks, and BS walks. As soon as one company ups the ante, so to speak, with a small improvement in quality at the price point, they get the sales, and then everyone follows suit. Thus Squire, Epiphone, Jackson, Kramer etc - all have to step hip their game or die.

The guitar and amp you can today for $500 is insane compared to back in 1979...
 

peterleroux

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The Vintage Modified series (late 2000s) and especially the Classic Vibe series (introduced 2008?) really cemented the idea that Squiers can compete with MIM Fenders. The CVs in particular had parts that were compatible with US Fender parts for the most part, and in some ways had more desirable specs compared to MIM Standards of the time (eg. the use of AlNiCo pickups where the MIM insturments were using ceramic at the time). I went shopping for a bass in 2010, and had the cash in hand ready to buy a MIM instrument but came home with a CV Jazz bass because the fit,finish, feel and tone were better than the MIM Standards I played.

My avatar pick is a 2008 CV Tele (now sold) which compares pretty well to the Player series Tele I now have. The only meaningful difference in quality I see is that the CV has a neck that's just too thin to feel comfortable , although to be fair I did not have the opportunity to compare these two side by side
 

bgmacaw

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You're remembering that era quite right.

The Korean made ProTone series and Japanese made Vista series Squiers of the late 90's were excellent. They were equal to, in some cases better, than modern top tier Squiers and certainly on par with MIM Fenders of the time. That's probably why Fender discontinued them so quickly.

Some of the early Chinese made Affinity series were around at the same time and they were clearly inferior products, especially as compared to older MIJ Squiers and other, more expensive, Squier models. Maybe that's what you're remembering.

Around 2003, Cort, who had the contract to make Squiers, controversially moved their main production facility from Korea to Indonesia to cut costs. This is when the quality of most Squier models greatly improved since Cort did manage to keep their standards up and even improved them.
 

cousinpaul

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I think CNC machines might have marked a turning point. Big savings in labor and consistent, tighter tolerances enabled Fender to upgrade the Squiers in other ways, like pickups and parts. Competition from other Asian brands is also a factor. Squier is not the only line to benefit from advances in tooling, savings in labor, etc.
 

theleman

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I really like my new HB TE-62 Tele, the way it looks, feels , plays and sounds - all perfect. But I might get a Squier Tele next time. Squier had bad images of poor quality guitars engraved in my memories from 20 year ago, but apparently things are different now. The new generation Squiers seem really decent quality according to the reviews and testimonies of the guitarists.
 

moonman2

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That’s one of the beautiful things about capitalism.
Over time you get greater abundance and greater quality.
That’s what happens when a market is predominantly left alone to regulate itself through the law of supply and demand.

Some one should tell Sanders and Biden 🙄

I owned a Squier back in the late 90’s and I remember it being a real dog turd.
Then a couple of years ago, my youngest daughter shown interest in learning to play, so I decided to take a chance and gifted her a Squier Bullet while expecting pretty much the same level of quality.
- you can imagine my level of pleasant surprise when it arrived.
 
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scotabilly

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I've owned a lot of Squiers over the years, as well as lots of Fenders. The 80's MIJ Squiers were basically the same as MIJ Fenders, but cheaper pickups and tuners. The early/mid 90's Squiers, made in Korea, were fairly good, but on the heavy side. This is the time of the Pro Tone Squiers made by Cort, with alnico pickups and full size bridges. They were higher quality than the Mexican Fenders of the time, but the specs were slightly different than USA or MIJ. The late 90's saw a few years of Squier moving to Mexico, which I've read was to work on quality control at the new Ensenada factory. Those are nice guitars, again good necks and bodies, with cheaper hardware and pickups. By 1999, Squier was coming out of Indonesia. The ceramic pickups were pretty bright and the necks were thin, but they were very decent, playable guitars.. Since the move to China, the quality has steadily increased, especially the Vintage Vibe series. I'd put my VV 50's Strat against any other Strat I own, but again you have to like the specs. I like thinner C necks. If they could make the finish a little bit thinner on the necks, I'd be very happy.
 

scotabilly

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I've owned a lot of Squiers over the years, as well as lots of Fenders. The 80's MIJ Squiers were basically the same as MIJ Fenders, but cheaper pickups and tuners. The early/mid 90's Squiers, made in Korea, were fairly good, but on the heavy side. This is the time of the Pro Tone Squiers made by Cort, with alnico pickups and full size bridges. They were higher quality than the Mexican Fenders of the time, but the specs were slightly different than USA or MIJ. The late 90's saw a few years of Squier moving to Mexico, which I've read was to work on quality control at the new Ensenada factory. Those are nice guitars, again good necks and bodies, with cheaper hardware and pickups. By 1999, Squier was coming out of Indonesia. The ceramic pickups were pretty bright and the necks were thin, but they were very decent, playable guitars.. Since the move to China, the quality has steadily increased, especially the Vintage Vibe series. I'd put my VV 50's Strat against any other Strat I own, but again you have to like the specs. I like thinner C necks. If they could make the finish a little bit thinner on the necks, I'd be very happy.
Sorry, I said Vintage Vibe but meant to say Classic Vibe. Great guitars. Currently own 2 CV 50's Strats, CV 50's Tele, and an Affinity Tele with middle pickup added. Also, an early 90's Korean "Fender Squier Series" Strat and P Bass, with the CN serial numbers.
 

theleman

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Sorry, I said Vintage Vibe but meant to say Classic Vibe. Great guitars. Currently own 2 CV 50's Strats, CV 50's Tele, and an Affinity Tele with middle pickup added. Also, an early 90's Korean "Fender Squier Series" Strat and P Bass, with the CN serial numbers.

Whats the difference between the CVs, Affinities and Bullet Squiers apart from the price?
 




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