Poll: Are Epiphones and Squires good for a budget at around 300$?
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View poll results: Are Epiphones and Squires good for a budget at around 300$?
E/S make the best guitars under 300$
11 26%
E/S make guitars as good as other brands under 300$
18 42%
E/S make good guitars under 300$, but other brands are better
7 16%
E/S are like toys, they have the crappiest pickups ever! AARGH!
0 0%
E is good, but S is lame...
4 9%
S is good, but E is lame...
3 7%
Voters: 43.
#1
Most beginner guitar lists (including the one on UG) are vigorously dominated by them, however the other half of the internet insists that they are pieces of shit.

So my question is how good are these brands for a budget of 300$? Please only vote if you have played a guitar by either brand that fits in this budget. Henceforth I will abbreviate Epiphone and Squier as E and S respectively.

Elaborate on your decision in the thread please.
#2
If you only have $300 to spend then they're pretty good.

If you have $1000 to spend then they're a bit shit compared to other stuff you could be buying.

However, if you don't have $1000 to spend then the opinions of people who do are pretty moot in the greater scheme of things.
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#3
Are you talking new or used for $300? Both Epiphone and Squire make some really good guitars for the price, and some that aren't good for much other than hanging on the wall. I own 2 Squires, a CV 50's Tele (which is over $300 new but under used) and a VM Jazz V bass (which is just over $300 new the 4 string version is $300) and both are very good instruments in my opinion and many others.

Going used there are many many guitars in the $300 range that are more than capable of being a giging instrument, Of the 5 electrics and 2 basses I own only one cost over $300 used (and it was $400 with a case) and I'd take each and everyone on stage without a second thought and a couple have been on stage.
#4
It depends on what particular model of Squier or Epiphone you're looking at.

The cheap ones are generally pretty poor, and suffer the same issues as most guitars so cheap. The more expensive ones, not so much. When it comes to $300 guitars, you generally get what you pay for.

Are you considering $300 new, or $300 used? Because you can get some good guitars for $300 used. Miles better than anything you can buy new at that price.

EDIT: I've posted in your poll, but your options are too binary and don't really accommodate my views.
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#5
Very sorry about the poll, something went wrong the site. Those of you who have posted, please do vote in the poll. I am not looking at any model specifically, but it would be great if you could mention the model in a post. I am looking at new, yes, I know used is much better but not much option available in my country.
#6
As a general rule (having owned two Squiers - an Affinity Strat and a VM J-bass - and an Epiphone G-400, and having played various others on many occasions), I'd say standard range and above from each will be pretty decent, even gig-sufficient, stuff (the caveat being "...for the price range", and they'll rarely be right up there in terms of sound). Below that you should at least get something perfectly playable, but it probably won't sound great and may have slightly more serious QC issues. You could find better for under $300 but probably not much better, unless you go used in which case you'll easily better them.
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#7
Beginning in the 1980s, Fender started making guitars/basses in Japan under the Squier brand. These have the serial numbers prefixed by JV and SQ and are of very high quality and are now quite collectible. You can read more here: http://www.21frets.com/

From1997 to 1998, Korea made the Squier ProTone series, Strats, Teles, and basses with bodies mostly made of Ash with Gold hardware. You can read more here: http://www.21frets.com/squier_jv/theprotonepage.htm These are becoming collectibles, too.

There are Epiphones (LPs and SGs) specific to the local Japan market that are of very high quality and come with the open book headstock, ala Gibson: http://epiphonewiki.com/index.php/Elitist_Series_%28Japan%29 It used to be called the Elite series.
#8
For new Under $300 it's usually a coin toss. Here you can get the Standard series Squires for that price and that about as low on the Squire list I'd ever go. At that range you can find some perfectly playable instruments and some that aren't worth anything but firewood, and they could both be the same model.
#9
Quote by josonmj
Very sorry about the poll, something went wrong the site. Those of you who have posted, please do vote in the poll. I am not looking at any model specifically, but it would be great if you could mention the model in a post. I am looking at new, yes, I know used is much better but not much option available in my country.

If you're not looking at any model specifically, then nobody can give you an accurate evaluation because some Squiers and Epiphones are great for the money, while others suck. Its a huge overgeneralization to lump everything they offer as 'good' or 'bad'. It depends on the model.

Why are you looking at Epiphone or Squier anyway? They're brands that generally manufacture completely different kinds of guitar to one another, that are designed to suit different needs. The two brands make guitars that aren't comparable to one another at all. Which suggests that you don't know what you want from a guitar whatsoever. So I'd really strongly recommend you look into what bands you really like have a tendency to use, look at a basic summary of their guitars specs. And based on that, find a guitar you like the look feel and sound of before you spend any amount of money. This advice is going to be more important to you than any other advice anybody can give regarding this thread.

If you want my opinion on those two brands though, in Squier's case, get at least one of the Vintage Modified Series or a Classic Vibe. And in Epiphone's case, get a Standard or equivalent. Anything else in either of their range thats a lower grade than those, I wouldn't personally bother with. You're not going to get those guitars for $300 new unless you either go used, or you find a new guitar being sold as a factory second. Or the store selling them has a huge blowout sale on those guitars.
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#11
i'd say squier might have the edge in under $300 but there are a few epis that are good for the money at that price. lower end guitars have certainly come a long way since i started to play.
#12
I know it's been said, but used is a great way to go here. You should have no trouble finding a good Mexican fender for $300 used. I had a 5 string Mexi-fender Jazz Bass that I got for $250 used. it was great. A strat or tele in the same range shouldn't be too far off that.
I am also a firm believer in Epi's, too. Same thing. Go used.
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#13
I personally think they're great as an option. I have guitars that I love. I know I won't like a Jazzmaster or a Les Paul as much as my current guitars. So I'm not going to buy an expensive guitar only to have it take the back seat. But if I can get something close for a $300-500, I would happily get one to add a different flavor to my arsenal. They're also great if you're a beginner or not ready to invest in a more expensive instrument.
#14
After reading through the thread I started, I can confidently assure you that they're both professional quality all the way!

Kidding.
I can only say that I'd much rather spend that money on a used Peavey or PRS SE, or maybe a new Agile.
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Jan 6, 2015,
#15
If you’ve got $300 set aside for a guitar I would recommend getting a used guitar. The difference in quality between a $300 guitar new and used is probably one of the biggest disparities you’ll find. If you decide to do so I would go one of two routes, depending on your style and personal preference.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard (if you’re playing heavier rock, jazz or metal you can’t go wrong, I used to own one of these and loved it.)
Fender Standard series (they are made in Mexico, and I have only played a Telecaster from this particular line but it held it’s own with my own Tele that cost $1800)
#16
For new 300$ Squier is better. You can get a Tele custom or a strat with rail humbuckers a lot of options. Epiphones the lower end ones with bolt on necks are to be avoided. You might be able to get a G 400 which is decent. Used there are more options but you might not have a good place to look for used gear. Epiphones come into their own around 400-500 for a better one.
#17
Well,I've owned both these brands but it was back in the early nineties.I had an Epi Les Paul which i got new and was pretty poor tbh,Constant tuning issues which back when i was a beginer used to piss me off because i did'nt know how to fix it.I'm sure they're better now.
Also had a Squier Strat which i got used,It was MIJ if i remember correctly and it was a great guitar,Wish i still had it now.Played real nice and sounded nice.
I voted that other brands make guitars that are as good as there are so many good brands to choose from these days.
I'm actually currently gassing an Epi Dot for blues and jazz.Call me weird but i actually like the Epi headstock,I think it's since i saw Robben Ford playing that old Riviera.
#18
It depends.

I have and older MIJ Epiphone Sheraton and it is an amazing guitar; it feels great, plays great, and sounds great.
My Bolt on Special II on the other hand... not so much. It feels really cheep, Sounds just generally bad, doesnt stay in tune and 90% of the screws are missing as the drilled the holes to big.

Same with Squiers.
there are some Squires from the 80's IIRC that were MIJ and based on the Jazz Bass I played with; they were on par with the MIM fender jazz basses. the vm and cp lines are also quite nice.
in about 3 weeks on my pack strat i had worn the frets down to unplayable levels and just sounded like garbage.


I didn't really notice how bad the cheep Epi's and squires where until I got my Sheraton and Godin 5th Avenue. At the time the cheap ones sounded good to me and got the job done. More importiantly they taught me have to fix issues on a guitar and how to set up an amp.

Go play every guitar you can thats in your price range, you're bound to find something you like.
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#19
Ive owned a few of each, I currently have a Epiphone 1997 Birdseye Maple Classic Les Paul. It used to be my go to guitar, the one Id pick up first in the rack but has since been pushed aside. It has a set of Ibanez super 70's pick ups, a bone nut, the neck pick up is rotated 180 degrees to move the pole pieces away from the node a little and it has had its neck broken completely off at the headstock but it was repaired very strongly, it intonates well, it plays well, good action etc. It sits next to a Gibson Les Paul though so it doesnt see the action that it used too but I still love it to bits. Ive also owned an Epi Custom LP in off white, and about 4 or 5 Squire Strats of varying models. Only one of the strats ever had a problem with a dud fret but wasn't an issue to me because it only affected the E and A string at the 19th or so fret and I just don't go there very often when I can do the same notes elsewhere at a more comfortable position on the board. Overall theyve all been very good as far as finish goes, reliable, robust and if they had better pick ups and wiring then perhaps theyd be ok to take on stage, not that I will ever get on a stage. I don't mind them but having said that I'd prefer the Big Brothers now that I'm doing better in life than I was 5 years ago.

Also, the Epi Custom I had, I paid $275 for it and sold it for $300 Australian. Theyre all good value second hand if you can get a good deal.
Last edited by dazza027 at Jan 6, 2015,
#21
Epiphone is sort of hit and miss, Squier is generally pretty good across the board.

I've had more problems with my Epiphone Special II, but my AJ8SCE has been a solid instrument. The AJ is older though, and it's an acoustic. The EB-0 bass I had was HORRID! The bass would not intonate to save it's life, and the action was always terrible, I could never get that thing right, and the neck was way too weak. The Special II goes out of tune a bit due to shitty tuners, planning to throw some Kluson Tone Pros on it. The Acoustic though has been flawless.

Squier has always been solid, and oddly, I do use the Affinity series PROFESSIONALLY, yes, I actually get paid and use that series LIVE, with a band. A lot of people give them crap for being cheap, but they do the job just fine with a little mild tweakage (ie wax pot pickups and set them up well). I own an Affinity Strat and a Butterscotch Affinity Tele - the Tele, surprisingly, has an actual alder body (ie, not Agathis). Oddly enough the worst Squier I ever encountered was my Jagmaster, but bumping it up to 25.5" scale and putting a Floyd Rose on it fixed all the problems I was having with it. The biggest outshiner though is the VM Bass VI I have, bone stock, only thing I had to tweak was putting a .95 low E on it so I could do Drop D and double drop C (CGDGBE).

I have a Memphis Strat copy that does pretty well, and I love my Hondo Paul Dean II that I feel is on par with a Japanese Fender (probably because the Hondo is also Japanese). It's not really the name, it's just the individual instrument and how much you are willing to invest in it, if even needed be, to make it great.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
Last edited by Mad-Mike_J83 at Jan 6, 2015,
#22
Quote by Mad-Mike_J83
Epiphone is sort of hit and miss, Squier is generally pretty good across the board.

I've had more problems with my Epiphone Special II, but my AJ8SCE has been a solid instrument. The AJ is older though, and it's an acoustic. The EB-0 bass I had was HORRID! The bass would not intonate to save it's life, and the action was always terrible, I could never get that thing right, and the neck was way too weak. The Special II goes out of tune a bit due to shitty tuners, planning to throw some Kluson Tone Pros on it. The Acoustic though has been flawless.

Squier has always been solid, and oddly, I do use the Affinity series PROFESSIONALLY, yes, I actually get paid and use that series LIVE, with a band. A lot of people give them crap for being cheap, but they do the job just fine with a little mild tweakage (ie wax pot pickups and set them up well). I own an Affinity Strat and a Butterscotch Affinity Tele - the Tele, surprisingly, has an actual alder body (ie, not Agathis). Oddly enough the worst Squier I ever encountered was my Jagmaster, but bumping it up to 25.5" scale and putting a Floyd Rose on it fixed all the problems I was having with it. The biggest outshiner though is the VM Bass VI I have, bone stock, only thing I had to tweak was putting a .95 low E on it so I could do Drop D and double drop C (CGDGBE).

I have a Memphis Strat copy that does pretty well, and I love my Hondo Paul Dean II that I feel is on par with a Japanese Fender (probably because the Hondo is also Japanese). It's not really the name, it's just the individual instrument and how much you are willing to invest in it, if even needed be, to make it great.


Hondo is actually an early korean made brand. the Paul Dean was actually fairly high end for that company.
#23
Quote by monwobobbo
Hondo is actually an early korean made brand. the Paul Dean was actually fairly high end for that company.


The Paul Deans, and a couple other higher end series were made in Japan though. I want to say they were built by Matsamoku, but I have also read Tokai (who are really highly regarded) made the nicer ones. I think the Deluxe Series, Fame Series, and a few other higher end series were made in those plants as well.

The Korean stuff was generally the plywood strat copies most people are familiar with, and the student guitars from the Sears/J.C. Penney catalogs. The company itself was based in texas. A lot of those may have been made by Samick later on - who is who made the Memphis guitar I have (which shares the same body shape as a Harmony H-80 strat copy or a Samick branded strat copy, or even the more recent Hohner Rockwood Pro RPG-150 guitars).

An interesting note on the Paul Deans, I started a facebook page on that model, and talked with a guy who has one of the Vancouver built Odyssey guitars, he rebuilt one of them, said the Hondo looks better made (the Odyssey's bridge was leaning forward a bit too much), go figure. The original few those were based on were built by Paul himself IIRC.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
#24
I've owned both a Squire and an Epiphone. For me the Squire was much much more cheaply made, but then again there are some better quality ones out there for a higher price.

Recently, however, I bought an Epiphone Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro for $499. I have to say, thats the closest thing you are going to get to a Gibson. High quality in all aspects, tone, finish, and the coil split feature is an added bonus. Excellent guitar, especially if you aren't willing to pay Gibson money.
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#25
I have an Epiphone Les Paul and am happy with it. It plays well and it didn't cost more than my monthly rent. haha