tommystitch
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2010
211 IQ
#1
Hello people,

I have €600 to spent on a new guitar. While my guitarskills are not developed enough to call myself a professional, I'm rather confused about the lots of different models guitar manufacturers come up with.

I was in a guitarshop yesterday, and played 3 telecaster: one of the more expensive Squier models, a Mexican one, and a cheapish USA made one. For me, they all played, and sounded the same. Except that the volume and tone knob on the Squier felt a bit cheap, and not as sturdy as the other 2.

What is the main difference between them, and is it worth it, to spend the 200€ more on a USA one? I'm planning to keep this guitar for a longer period of time, so I want to have fun on it in a couple of years as well.

ThankS!
MegadethFan18
Judge Shredd
Join date: Dec 2008
1,387 IQ
#2
The short version of something that is somewhat convoluted is that where they are made affects the following:

Sound
Playability
Quality of parts
Quality of construction
Quality control

You can go into more detail but then it's more about opinion, particularly how much influence you think wood has on the sound. Worth is up to you, although personally if I felt two things were the same I'd buy the less expensive one.
Last edited by MegadethFan18 at Jan 5, 2014,
monwobobbo
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2009
608 IQ
#3
Quote by tommystitch
Hello people,

I have €600 to spent on a new guitar. While my guitarskills are not developed enough to call myself a professional, I'm rather confused about the lots of different models guitar manufacturers come up with.

I was in a guitarshop yesterday, and played 3 telecaster: one of the more expensive Squier models, a Mexican one, and a cheapish USA made one. For me, they all played, and sounded the same. Except that the volume and tone knob on the Squier felt a bit cheap, and not as sturdy as the other 2.

What is the main difference between them, and is it worth it, to spend the 200€ more on a USA one? I'm planning to keep this guitar for a longer period of time, so I want to have fun on it in a couple of years as well.

ThankS!

quality of materials and workmanship is the main diff. having said that you may be just as happy with a cheaper model if the feel of the guitar and sound are what you want. the low end US models tend to use pretty much the same materials as the Mexi version but it is assembled in the US. if it comes down to the MIM or the cheap US I'd just go with the MIM. the American Standard and Deluxe versions tend to be noticeably better and you might want to look into a used one if available.
darrenram1
Registered User
Join date: May 2013
841 IQ
#4
Better is subjective. People have said good things about the Squier Classic Vibe Series. They say that it rivals MiM models and some low end MiA models. How about you go to the shop and try without looking at the brand. See what sounds and plays better to you.
Papabear505
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2011
199 IQ
#5
Quote by darrenram1
Better is subjective.


Yes it is... When I went looking for a Strat a few years ago, I bet I played every strat in 2 separate guitar stores (one was Guitar Center) I wound up choosing a Mexican made, bone stock, off the shelf Strat. It was just exactly what I wanted. It felt right in my hands. Once I got it home, I set it up the way I like, and it's mine. I'll probably never get rid of it... I've since put Texas Specials in it and I've played the hell out of it... I'm very happy with my choice...

As always... JMHO
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JelloCrust
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Join date: Jul 2012
722 IQ
#6
In the end, Squires are of lower quality, they're made of cheaper parts (including pickups, which is important to tone), their bodies, necks, and hardware are no where near as good, being made of cheaper quality stuff, so it has the chance of getting warped or damaged more easily, and honestly, they're not that well put together.

My advice is to get a Mexican made Fender, they are essentially the same as American made ones, but less expensive, so you can get a high quality guitar for a much lower price.
Robbgnarly
Tab Contributor
Join date: Feb 2011
1,177 IQ
#8
Quote by JelloCrust
In other words, squires sound like butts.

The CV and VM series sound pretty good, better than most MIM standards actually.

I had a 96 Squier tele that played and sounded as good as any MIA Tele I have ever picked up.
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dspellman
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Join date: Jan 2012
1,110 IQ
#9
Quote by JelloCrust
In the end, Squires are of lower quality, they're made of cheaper parts (including pickups, which is important to tone), their bodies, necks, and hardware are no where near as good, being made of cheaper quality stuff, so it has the chance of getting warped or damaged more easily, and honestly, they're not that well put together.


No. Just...no. The Squiers are surprisingly good, and will not warp or damage more easily and they're surprisingly well put together. That's just balderdash. And as the OP has noted, he can't really tell much difference in sound.

I've got an office literally across the parking lot from the Fender Museum in Corona, CA. A couple of the guys I work with used to work for Fender, and I've got other friends who worked for Fender or are currently doing so.

We've also got Wild West guitars just down the road in Riverside. These guys have ONLY high-end Fenders, including whole walls of the Master Built series, plus walls of high-end PRS, Suhrs, etc. There's literally no dreck in this store -- 90% of the Guitar Center wall wouldn't come close to making the cut. $4K and up Fenders? Geez.

At some point, every Fender guy will want one of those guitars. The only real accessory you'll need with one is a drool protector. But the Squier CVs and VMs, if you don't have a trust fund, a recording contract or an internet company, are excellent choices.
Last edited by dspellman at Jan 5, 2014,
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#10
Anybody can make a gem or a lemon. That's why I say you buy with your hands and ears, not your eyes.

There was a bluesman who had a long career playing in New Orleans' French Quarters. His #1 was a Squier and the cheap amp it came with. That axe put a roof over his head, fed him, bought his car, and let him own guitars most people will never afford. Why did he use the Squier when he could afford anything? Because that was the one "with the mojo" according to him. The only reason he stopped playing it is he lost it in the floodwaters of Katrina.

So if you're comparing 3 different Strats side by side, and the one you like the feel and tones of most happens to be a Squier, don't eliminate it just because of the name on the headstock.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


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monwobobbo
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2009
608 IQ
#11
agree with buying with your ears and hands totally. as mentioned many times I play different guitars all the time and with the fender stuff it seems that you really do have to do this (and I'm a fender guy). sometimes the cheaper guitars just felt better and sounded good other times not so much. personally I'm not a fan of lacquered necks to slippery for my liking. some of the new squiers have that so they don't work for me saqme goes with reissues of the 50s fenders (also not a fan of 7.25" radius either). always all about what works for you.
johnturner9
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2009
140 IQ
#12
Hey man, can I ask what kind of amp you're using?


No point in spending more money for an American if your amp isn't up to spec with it!
aerosmithfan95
Tab Contributor
Join date: Jul 2008
1,075 IQ
#13
It all depends on the particular guitar. My first guitar was one of those Squier Strats in that starter pack that they have. To be honest, I wasn't too fond of the way it felt in my hands and the stock pickups didn't seem to sound so hot. As I continued to play, I managed to try a decent amount of guitars and music shops. Some American Strats felt terrible where as a Mexican Strat could blow a higher-end model out of the water.

The only actual differences between them are the quality of their parts. A high-end
Fender will have better quality wood and hardware as opposed to a Mexican of lower-end American Strat. I mean, even the CV and VM Squiers are pretty well made from what I've head from countless people. All that matters is that the guitar is comfortable in your hands and sounds great to you.


Quote by dannyalcatraz
Anybody can make a gem or a lemon. That's why I say you buy with your hands and ears, not your eyes.

There was a bluesman who had a long career playing in New Orleans' French Quarters. His #1 was a Squier and the cheap amp it came with. That axe put a roof over his head, fed him, bought his car, and let him own guitars most people will never afford. Why did he use the Squier when he could afford anything? Because that was the one "with the mojo" according to him. The only reason he stopped playing it is he lost it in the floodwaters of Katrina.

So if you're comparing 3 different Strats side by side, and the one you like the feel and tones of most happens to be a Squier, don't eliminate it just because of the name on the headstock.


I had serious deja-vu reading that post. I know for a fact that I read about that same bluesman a few years ago on this site. Did you ever mention that guy before? If you didn't, I'm probably going insane.
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dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
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#14
I've told that guy's story several times, here and on Guitar Player's boards. I wish I could find my copy of the magazine with the article in it. It was but one story of many in connection with how The Edge was trying to help NOLA musicians replace instruments lost to Katrina as part of the Music Rising charity organization.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jan 5, 2014,
MegadethFan18
Judge Shredd
Join date: Dec 2008
1,387 IQ
#15
Quote by aerosmithfan95
A high-end Fender will have better quality wood and hardware as opposed to a Mexican of lower-end American Strat.


The spec sheets indicate that the Affinity Squire is made of the wood with the same bridge and pickups as the Standard MIM. They (perhaps purposely) don't say the wood grade and number of pieces the body is made from so you just have to assume.

I sanded down my first guitar which was essentially an Epi Special II and it made me very disillusioned with the whole "Better wood" thing.
dyingturtle
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2013
95 IQ
#16
Quote by JelloCrust
In other words, squires sound like butts.


That is not always so. I played one of the $180 dollar Squier telecasters and loved it.
Telecaster7
Call me Leon
Join date: Aug 2007
1,439 IQ
#17
Someone I trust on these matters once told me that most often the only difference between Mexican and American Fender is that the Mexican models are made by Mexicans in Mexico, and the Americans are made by Mexicans in America. Don't know how true it is, but there you go.
Ippon
Amped
Join date: Feb 2006
1,526 IQ
#18
Quote by dspellman
No. Just...no. The Squiers are surprisingly good, and will not warp or damage more easily and they're surprisingly well put together. That's just balderdash. And as the OP has noted, he can't really tell much difference in sound.

I've got an office literally across the parking lot from the Fender Museum in Corona, CA. A couple of the guys I work with used to work for Fender, and I've got other friends who worked for Fender or are currently doing so.

We've also got Wild West guitars just down the road in Riverside. These guys have ONLY high-end Fenders, including whole walls of the Master Built series, plus walls of high-end PRS, Suhrs, etc. There's literally no dreck in this store -- 90% of the Guitar Center wall wouldn't come close to making the cut. $4K and up Fenders? Geez.

At some point, every Fender guy will want one of those guitars. The only real accessory you'll need with one is a drool protector. But the Squier CVs and VMs, if you don't have a trust fund, a recording contract or an internet company, are excellent choices.

Awesome! I bought a CV Pinecaster online when it first came out based on the raves of grampas over at TDPRI! Like it a lot.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
3,265 IQ
#19
Pine gets a lot of love & respect from Tele players. Bill Kirchen has at least one he uses regularly.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Addonexus408
Bay Area Thrash
Join date: Nov 2011
77 IQ
#20
Quote by JelloCrust
In other words, squires sound like butts.

don't judge tone by the price tag. A squier played through a good amp will sound good. The problem is that most squiers get played through cheap combo amps. Try playing an expensive MIA through a $100 amp, it will sound no better than the squier. The amp matters WAY more than the guitar when it comes to tone.
Quote by shredder3386
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Maximus_2005
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2012
13 IQ
#22
"evil esteban"
if this thing melts again i'm takin' it to bugera headquarters, puttin' a bag of fecal matter on it, ringin' the doorbell and flippin the switch from "standby" to "on", and running.

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This wasnt even a cool story... Bro.
Virgman
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2010
189 IQ
#23
Quote by tommystitch
Hello people,

I have €600 to spent on a new guitar. While my guitarskills are not developed enough to call myself a professional, I'm rather confused about the lots of different models guitar manufacturers come up with.

I was in a guitarshop yesterday, and played 3 telecaster: one of the more expensive Squier models, a Mexican one, and a cheapish USA made one. For me, they all played, and sounded the same. Except that the volume and tone knob on the Squier felt a bit cheap, and not as sturdy as the other 2.

What is the main difference between them, and is it worth it, to spend the 200€ more on a USA one? I'm planning to keep this guitar for a longer period of time, so I want to have fun on it in a couple of years as well.

ThankS!


Squiers have cheaper parts generally but there are differences between models. All Squiers are Asian made (China, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, you name it. Some really cheap Squiers like Affinities may have plywood bodies. Pickups are cheaper but may still sound good.

The difference between MIM and MIA Fenders is about 20 miles. The MIM are made in Mexico by Mexicans and the MIA are made in the USA by Mexicans.
Is it worth it to spend more money for a USA Fender? Only if you want the name USA made on the headstock.
Last edited by Virgman at Jan 6, 2014,
evmac
Baroness Lover
Join date: May 2010
473 IQ
#24
I find the fretwork on the Squiers and a lot MiM Fender to be lacking. Sharp and uneven frets on any guitar are a deal-breaker for me. The Classic Vibes don't have his problem however, so I always recommend them to people on a budget.
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samuraigoomba
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2012
491 IQ
#26
Dammit not another Chappers video. >:0

The difference between a cheap Squier and a Mexi strat is night and day. Classic Vibe Squiers are a lot closer to MIM Fender guitars. Some even prefer Squier Classic Vibe. But a standard Squier is usually a poor instrument.

The price you pay for a guitar usually reflects its quality decently, especially on the used market. There are some bargains to be had out there, of course. I happen to think Tokai make some brilliant strats for the price on the used market.

There are no shortage of people to argue that a cheap guitar is just as good as the guitar that costs three times as much. Most of the time, they'd just flat-out wrong.

Whether or not the price difference is worth the difference in quality is another question entirely, and a personal one, at that. I happen to feel a $250 used MIM beats the hell out of a $100 Squier.
Spud Spudly
Semi-hollow
Join date: Feb 2011
318 IQ
#27
Either go for max value or max quality, not in between. I have a MIM Tele and an American Standard Strat. The American Standard is better in almost every way. It's hard to think of one thing that isn't better. If I were you I'd get the classic vibe and save up so if I wanted to upgrade later I could get a good American Telecaster. I know my next purchase is going to be an American Standard Telecaster. There's a huge difference in my experience.
richards-keith
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2013
245 IQ
#28
This is a good thread, top marks for the person starting this one because I have been mulling over these very questions myself the last few days. I used to play guitar, i'll be honest and say I haven't played in a good few years but just recently I have developed a hankering for maybe starting again, just for my own entertainment and amusement. I'm not planning on playing live, I really don't believe my local community needs subjecting to that.

Anyway, to the point. Now when I first starting to learn the guitar would you believe the very first Squires had just hit the market, or been out a year or two but certainly no longer. I can remember the stir these guitars caused at the time, these guitars were viewed as very top quality professional level instruments at quite a bit more reasonable cost than a Fender. We can thank Tokai for the having these instruments being introduced in the first place. Back then there was the real thing, i.e. Fender, or these really nasty cheap awful strat, tele, copies. Everyone aspired to a Fender, very few could actually afford one. Then Tokai came along and brought out these copies that cost quite a bit more than the cheap nasty copies but much less then the real deal, importantly though, quality wise there were every bit as good as a genuine Fender. Now aspiring players had a real choice, instead of having to make do with a shoddy copy they could save up for a further six months or whatever and have something that looked, felt, and sounded like the real deal. They also started to affect Fender sales as well because around this time Fender had been having a few issues getting quality control right, i.e. it wasn't always bang on. Because Tokai were all over quality control like a rash you ended up with a lot of pros buying Tokai's as well, I do believe my user-name sake had one at one point. Fender thought they were missing a trick here so decided to take them on at their own game, hence the very first Squire's were born. These were never designed to be cheap, beginner level guitars, they were designed to be high quality versions of classic Fender guitars. Of course Fender banked on the fact that there would always be that sector of the clientele that would want the Fender name emblazoned on the headstock and the prestige of owning an American made instrument. They weren't wrong about that. But the customers now had a real choice. Also with the Japanese being the Japanese words like half a job or lesser quality obviously didn't translate into Japanese at all and the subsequent instruments at the time were considered to be every bit as good, or better according to some, as the American made versions.

This I still why when I think of the name Squire I think of high quality versions of the American classics. I owned several Japanese Squires in the past and they were very fine quality instruments. This is why I was a tad disappointed to see how far the Squire name had sunk too when I started looking around at guitars and starting doing some research. In my humble opinion Fender seems to have lost their way a little bit in recent times. I have been doing a lot of research on the different models available and if I'm honest I'm still struggling to get my head around it all, Fenders now seem to be made all over the place and it's very difficult to know which is which and where they come from, this is even with Fender badged products and not just Squire branded products. I saw a second hand Fender Strat (not Squire) for sale the other day that was made in Korea. I'm sure it may well be an ok instrument but I think Fender have harmed their own reputation by diminishing the product identity. The Japanese range of Fender guitars had acquired a formidable reputation amongst guitarists and you still had the option of going for the exclusivity of the American products if that appealed. Now it seems that some Fenders are still made in Japan but which ones I don't know and you don't seem to be able to order one, they are done in batches in if your local music store has one than all well and good. There is apparently two grades of instrument even if you buy one made in the States, the top of the range (and I'm not talking custom shop here) and the made in USA but not quite so top of the range models. Allied to this is the fact that Fender USA still seem to have quality control problems from the reviews I've read, a Ritchie Blackmore Strat being delivered not set up properly and the frets not being fitted properly. A customer own Fender's own forum complaining about there being wood filler in his premium level USA strat. Wood filler in the body is an old problem I seem to remember from the days when Fender had real problems with quality control. On the other hand every single review I have read about the Squire Classic Vibes, be it a customer review or a music publication review, seem to say what an awesome instrument it is regardless of it's place in the Fender hierarchy of guitars. It's worth noting that these instruments retail at about £310-320 in the UK so they aren't dirt cheap rubbish, but clearly they do suffer from a perception of it's a Squire so therefore a crappy little beginner guitar. The thing with any guitar though, and the one thing that price can't account for, is that some pieces of wood just naturally resonate and sing and others are just a dead plank no matter how much it cost. This is one of the reasons I have always preferred to buy second hand guitars where possible, they will have either settled down and become a nice playing, nice sounding instrument or they will never have quite lived up to expectations. I think once you get over a certain price point all of this starts to become very subjective. Let's be honest though, people say the classic vibe can't be as good as a real Fender but if you've just spent £1200 on a new USA strat or tele and it doesn't really sound or play any better than your mate's £300 classic vibe you are not exactly going to admit it, you'll argue till it's next xmas that yours is better.

OK, so where I have gone with all this waffle? I think I have come to two/three conclusions, Fender don't really know how to market themselves anymore, they are trying too hard to compete at every area of the market, it seems they want to have a guitar at every single price point in the market from £150 to £2500 and as a result the brand image has suffered and has confused the products image, it used to be that you knew exactly what you were getting with a fender but I don't think that's the case anymore. There is way too many models, certainly way too many signature models from players who don't really deserve one. I have got well confused over the last week or two trying to decide which model I should get, at the moment I think I may just have a look round for a nice played in Classic Vibe Squire Strat, i'll try one out and make up my own mind but so far all the comments have been universal in their praise which I can't say about the rest of the Fender range, if I buy second hand i'll be able to know immediately if it's settled down become a solid player, I don't much care if other people think I have a lesser guitar in the range, Fender themselves have muddied the water so much in their own yard that I think it's difficult to know with Fender anymore which is the best buy, the only model that I have not heard a negative word against has been the Classic Vibe, and I don't mean that in the context of it's price point, I just haven't heard ay bad words about it.

Sorry to bore you all to death for so long, I just wanted to share my thoughts after being away for a long time and then coming back and viewing the whole market with fresh eyes. Thanks for listening.
samuraigoomba
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2012
491 IQ
#29
You always have the option to go on Ebay and buy one of those vintage MIJ Squiers/Tokais.

I highly recommend this approach.

For the price, I'm of the opinion that MIJ strats can't be beat.
richards-keith
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2013
245 IQ
#31
Yes that's what I'm planning to do, there seems to be a pretty regular turnover of them so something will come along if I keep my eyes open.
MegadethFan18
Judge Shredd
Join date: Dec 2008
1,387 IQ
#32
Great read richards-keith very insightful. I agree with a lot of what you said.