Squire Infinity Series Quality vs. Fender American-made Telecasters ? ? ?

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by RowdyHoo, Feb 14, 2021.

  1. RowdyHoo

    RowdyHoo Tele-Meister

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    I have always played Fenders made in America. I've never been disappointed by their sound or playability.

    I am contemplating buying a Squier Infinity series level guitar to hotrod a bit and put a B-bender, e-string detuners, etc. (sorta in the mode of Marty Stewart's telecaster that previously belonged to Clarence White) but I am not confident enough in my skills to try this on a more expensive Fender model.

    The question is this...if I'm successful at doing all of the hot rodding additions will I be satisfied with the Squier quality of the remaining parts. On one hand, I would hate to go through all of the upgrades to end up with a guitar that is not enjoyable to play. On the other hand, I've been reading that because of the manufacturing advancements that the neck, fret, bodywork for guitars that come out of other countries is comparable to the American models and most people couldn't tell the difference.

    What say ye the masses?!?!


    Thanks for your time and thought.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2021
  2. capgun

    capgun Tele-Meister

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    You will most definitely notice the difference between a USA Fender neck and an Affinity neck. That’s not to say the Affinity will be unplayable. Usually they just need the fret ends declawed.
     
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  3. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    Do you mean Affinity instead of Infinity?

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...elecaster-arctic-white-with-maple-fingerboard

    I only had one that I think was an early 2000’s model that was top loaded only and a somewhat thin body. The controls cavity was a bit thin and more difficult to fit a better switch without a little judicious routing, and at the time I was annoyed by the lack of factory string through holes. I replaced the stock thin saddles with slightly wider and longer similar Gotoh and the pots with CTS and the knobs coarser-knurled ones. I swapped out the ceramic pickups with alnicos, forget which models. Ultimately I then left it alone as good enough because it was my son’s first guitar and I had others with which I could satisfy my desire to tinker.

    If I was inclined to tinker with one I would look for one that was a thicker and string through body, but know that I might then find it good enough to leave stock or close because I might like it for what it is already. ;)

    but if you find it affordable, I’d say do it for the sheer fun of it.
     
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  4. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Afflicted

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    The neck will certainly feel less refined. Going directly from MIA guitars you may notice the finish seems more plasticky and is probably thicker and may have a few defects or tiny runs here and there, there may be areas of the body and neck that weren't quite sanded to completion either, and while these two will be VERY MINOR it will be something that sets them apart from what you are used to.

    Under the hood the metal will have cheaper plating and be softer and may or may not be compatible with better replacement hardware sizes. Switches and pots will be budget units and the pickups will be a very generic take on a Fender sound.
     
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  5. RowdyHoo

    RowdyHoo Tele-Meister

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    Thank y’all for the input!
     
  6. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    All new Affinities are full size bodies, but some are still top loaders and some are string through.
     
  8. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    Affinities in my experience are fun, cheap guitars that actually have potential. The fretwork, etc isn’t close to perfect but it can actually be made nearly perfect, if not completely perfect. They also have pretty versatile routing under the pickguards and can be customized easily. Despite what people say, quality control is what you would expect on a $200 guitar so try to pick it out in person if you can. An example here is a strat I got cheap- the bridge is off center a few mm- enough that the high e is crowding the edge of the fretboard and just inside of what can be made playable by shifting the neck over in the pocket. I would not have bought this guitar in a shop, but it was $20 with an amp on Craigslist.
     
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  9. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll be honest, my Affinity neck feels every bit as good as any decent guitar. The kid I bought it from did some fret work though and I think he did a decent job. They are level and no fret sprout. Although I rolled the edges a bit more myself.

    My 2014 Affinity is a keeper. I don't really love the thinner body. But then again maybe I do. I mean when I look at it I can tell it's not full thickness. But on the other hand, I've become accustomed to a nice smooth strat body and prefer it and I think the thinner Tele Body is a bit more friendly than a full size. I had an american standard tele about 10 years ago and I'll be honest, I was not in love with it. I'm not sure if I can put my finger on what exactly but it was hard to get the twang out of it, even on the neck pup. And I was having huge health issues at the time (lyme disease) I weighed like 115 pounds at that point and it would dig my bony ribs bad whenever I played it. I had a strat at the time also and was just like, this is so much more comfy.

    Out of the three guitars I have at the moment it is the best feeling neck and sound great. It has that.... oh yeah feeling when I play it. And the pups are pretty darned good. I've not had my bridge out to see exactly what is up with the bridge pup. I think it's a bar magnet but it sounds good. I don't see any winding on the pup. But what's strange is the neck pup has copper winding on it. So it's more like a traditional neck pup. I think the cover is plastic though... LOL. I'm not actually sure for some reason. If it's not plastic it's a metal that feels plastic. If there is a such a thing. LOL.
     
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  10. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    sorry, pic for you....

    Oh on more thing, I think the best guitar I've owned in my life was a Mexican Standard Tele in the 90s. I liked the sound and it played really nice. But the neck on this affinity feels similar.
     

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  11. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Afflicted

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    I've got 4 Squiers and only one MIA Fender. Squiers vary by model and individual guitar (like any guitar, or most things other than McDonald's hamburgers, really). I love my cheap new Bullet Tele, but can feel a difference in the quality of the frets between it and my Squier Cabronita, which is nicer. Other than that, though, that cheap Bullet Tele probably was better set up action and intonation-wise than any other guitar I've bought, and that was in a box from Amazon straight from Indonesia. It's a crap shoot.
     
  12. AmpHandle

    AmpHandle Tele-Meister

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    I like the Bullet it has a thinner body the fret work is good I might have got a better one. One thing for sure is they set them up with action that is too low. Like the poster above says the Indonesian ones may be the ones..lol
     
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  13. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    I wouldn't put that kind of time, effort and money into a sub $200 guitar, but that's just me. On the other hand, if you don't like it when you're done you can alway get an MIA neck and upgrade the pickups. Just don't ever expect to get anywhere near what you put into it back if you sell it.
     
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  14. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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  15. 68Telebass

    68Telebass Friend of Leo's

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    No, you will not be satisfied.

    That said, the affinity, or the Bullet would be a fun and fine platform to do those mods on- no worries if you screw it up, and they are quite nice with a little bit of TLC.

    The frets can be tamed with a few passes of a fine sanding sponge. Same for the “plasticky” finish (or unfinished rough) neck- a few passes of green ScotchBrite do wonders. The guts, switch and jack? CTS, Oak Grigsby and Switch-craft. Wire?? Gavitt push-back cloth covered. Pickups?? Look at Bootstrap- hand-wound in Ohio garage for ~$50 a set. Tuners?? Your choice. Bridge? If your planing a B-Bender- your all in on that- drill and fill will be in order.

    Now that I write it all out- sounds like a fun project. YES!!! Go for it!! They are not MIA out of the box, but are quite nice modding platforms!!
     
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  16. RowdyHoo

    RowdyHoo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the input brother!

    I like your attitude!
     
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  17. 68Telebass

    68Telebass Friend of Leo's

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    I’m doing a 129$ bullet. No B-Bender, but all the other stuff I laid out-

    budget stuff- but better than what is presently in there- I’m going with Wilkinson EZ-lok tuners, Kaish “heavy duty” switch, graphtech Tusq nut, and a cool Soviet era paper-in-oil cap rated at 0.047microfarad. Pots will be full size, linear for tone, log pot for volume (250k). Switchcraft jack (got a six-pack- anytime I’m inside my guitars ar basses, I throw one in)...got the Gavitt wire (inexpensive) as well.
    Mine is the surf green one- I also got a cheap Chinese (Musiclilly) tort pickguard for it- the holes like up perfectly (Luck!)

    I also got those Bootstrap pickups- Original Recipes are AlNiCo III magnet vintage winds that are like Fender Nocasters at less than 1/3 the price! I got the neck pickup in raw nickel finish to look a bit more “old school”.
    This will be a fun project, and I’m all in for just a bit more than a new Affinity would have cost! I’ll be posting the work on this forum..,

    Carl (C-Note:cool:)

    p.s.- here is the $129 Bullet 62F4CBDE-A294-4D4C-A2D6-327342D73A03.jpeg
     
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  18. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    I have an affinity neck on a MIM body.. and to be honest, it tolerates the lowest, easiest playing action of any of my Teles.

    Every individual guitar is its own individual thing. Some might be awful, some might be excellent.

    Also, every guitar is what you make it. You absolutely can make any functional guitar play better than many MIA guitars off the shelf, with the right knowledge and tools. It's just wood, plastic, and metal, after all.
     
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  19. mally

    mally Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a Chinese Classic vibe Stratocaster and almost everything about it is better finished than my US made one !
    I put pictures on here before comparing the fretwork and other aspects
     
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  20. mystichands

    mystichands TDPRI Member

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    Affinitys are great for the price. Everything you want to upgrade is possible as it’s still a basic Fender design platform. From what others have said here, I think it’s probably a good guitar for you to upgrade.
     
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