Squier VS Fender: What Is The Difference Between Them?

Both Fender and Squier make many of the same models – Strats, Teles, Jaguars, Jazzmasters, Jazz Basses, P-Basses and so on. On the surface, they look very similar so understandably, something we often get asked is ‘what is the difference between Squier and Fender?’

To put it simply, Squier offer budget versions of Fender guitars. Squier was acquired by Fender in 1965 and started producing cheaper Strats, Teles and more in the 80s. Ever since then, beginners have been able to get these legendary guitars, without having to spend big money on a Fender. You might see other Fender copies around produced by other brands, but none of these are in partnership with the real deal – Squier is.

Squier Jazzmasters and Mustangs

So, aside from the price, what are the other differences between Squier and Fender? Mostly, cheaper materials are used on Squier instruments – wood, pickups, hardware etc, which all contribute towards the sound of the instrument. For example, the Squier Bullet Strat has a basswood body, which may absorb some high frequencies – most (though not all) Fender Strat bodies are made from alder. The pickups in most Squier guitars are going to be slightly less defined too; you won’t get quite as wide a frequency range as those in the Fenders; particularly the American models. You also might find that, through a distorted amp, you get more feedback from the Squier.

Another difference between Fender and Squier is where they’re made. Squier are manufactured in the Far East, where labour tends to be cheaper; Fender on the other hand are made mostly in Mexico, Japan and America – though the Modern Player range is made in China, and there have been a few made in Korea too. The quality control on Fender guitars generally tends to be better than that of the Squiers. Also, if you’re going for an American made Fender, it’s going to hold its value much better than a Squier made in the Far East.

Are Fender Guitars Better Than Squier?

Does all of this mean that Fender are better than Squier? In my experience, most of the time they are, but some of the higher end Squiers represent incredible value for money. The Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified Squiers are under £500 and they sound amazing, almost as good as a Fender. The Strats sound like Strats and the Teles sound like Teles, plus they’re built well and they’re great to play. Also the Affinity Strats and Affinity Teles by Squier are probably better for a beginner on a budget. Whilst a Fender guitar is the better instrument, it’s not always the best option if you’re trying to go easy on your wallet.

Squier Classic Vibe 50s Strat in Sherwood Green

Squiers are used a lot by guitarists just starting out, though more experienced players and even pros play them too. If you’re a gigging guitarist, having a Squier as a backup for your Fender can mean you’ve got a spare guitar, should you snap a string or something. You might even see Squier guitars and basses on stage with Queens Of The Stone Age, The Marmozets, Mastodon, Fall Out Boy and more.


So, what is the difference between Fender and Squier? The Squiers aren’t quite up to the same standard as the Fenders. Many of the components used to make the Fender guitars tend to result in an instrument that resonates more. Most Squiers are made using cheaper woods, pickups and hardware – a saving that is then passed on to you. They’re still made under the watchful eye of Fender, so you can get a Strat, Tele, Jag, Jazz etc without spending a lot and know that you’re getting a reliable instrument from a reputable brand.

Like with a lot of things, the more you spend, the better quality you get. The American Fenders are incredible instruments, though if you’re just starting out, you might not want to spend that much. With the Squiers (particularly the Vintage Mod and Classic Vibes), you get a lot of guitar for the money. Regardless of where you are in your playing career, I’d definitely recommend trying one out – you might be pleasantly surprised!


  • Craig Weatherly

    I bought a Squire package (guitar, mini amp, gig bag, stand, cable, etc.) at Costco for $125, mostly on a lark but primarily because it had a Fender insignia on it. Maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. OK. I took it to a skilled luthier, who straightened the neck, replaced the nut, leveled and dressed the frets, and lowered the action. I replaced the tuning machines with Fender Strat tuners. I’m all in for under $300 and I have a guitar that plays now like many Fender Strats I’ve had in my hands. The sound may not be there because of the electronics, but for a modest investment I have a Strat pretender that plays like a dream. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • Alex

    Squires aren’t awful. In fact I dare say it’s one of the best starter guitars on the market. A squire was my first guitar, and even though it’s not the best sounding thing in the world, it’s still a great starter. For me when choosing a first guitar, or first electric guitar, your focus should less be on how it sounds (because when you start guitar not much will sound impressive) and more on how easy it is to use and learn on. Does the neck dip? Does it not stay in tune? Does your hand not fit around the neck? When using a Squire the answer is no. A lot of people complain how it sounds tinny, and it does, but for $200-$500 guitar, the Squire is not god awful for a starter. Then again if you have enough money to buy a Fender, you absolutely should. But maybe try a Squire before you spend too much money on a fender, because Squires still trade in decent.

  • Alex

    I started with a squier strat when I first started playing. While it was never goo it to sound like a federal, it actually played really nice. As a wannabe Randy Rhoads I put a hot rails in the bridge. I now have an ever increasing collection of guitars but I never regret buying it. Fantastic value and a great budget way to get your hands on such an iconic guitar.

  • Ben


    • Stephanie

      I Have had the pleasure of playing Les Paul Customs,Frnder American Strats and Mexican strats and now have a Squire strat (very low end,I purchased for about $400) I’m just a Left handed player (strike one against me) That makes it difficult to walk into any shop to sit down,grab what I want and play (strike 2) so right now,I’m stuck with this one.It looks great,the feel is awful,sounds terrible, and not knowing how to make this thing sound the way I want it to?? ( yup,strike 3) and In the long run,is it worth it, just because it is the particular colors I desire? I just don’t know!! Again,Being a lefty player for over 30 years,I would Never play A Low end Squire.Right now,it’s wall art,sadly

  • Alan

    I have been playing 25 years and always longed for those expensive guitars when I was younger. Then I started buying them and here’s my observations.

    1. Squier and Epiphone top models are as easily as good as bottom models of Strat and Gibson and probably as good as guitars two and three teirs up. If you really want to tinker, you will have at least $300 to $400 worth of space to add different pickups and make the guitar what you really want. I got a used American strat at a steal and it’s my go to guitar, but I wouldn’t buy another one at the regular price. I got this one buy looking on Craigslist list and sending low ball offers. One guy rejected me, but a month later messaged to ask if the offer was still good. This is the story of how I got a Strat that would cost me $1200 new for only $650. The guy couldn’t believe how hard it was to get his asking price of $800. Secondary market value has really dropped for these name brands and I think quality of second teir brands is part of it.

    2. You can’t just look at the brand and expect a quality playing experience…even from the same company. I have a number of acoustic guitars, including a Taylor (which I regret ever buying) and a Martin. About two years ago I was fiddling around with acoustics in the local guitar shop without paying attention to price or brand when I came across this beautiful guitar that felt so good and projected so well that I bought it even though I hadn’t planned on purchasing. It’s easily better than my $1500 Taylor (don’t buy a Taylor) and I prefer it to my equally expensive Martin but paid only $600 for it. I was raving about the value to the kid at the chain guitar store, and I could tell he thought I was just some idiot. The brand is Alverez, which was actually the brand of my first piece of crap acoustic AND electric guitars. I’d always associated them with cheapness, but this guitar really changed my view. This is my go to acoustic now. Remember to always take a look at lesser brands around their top price point. You might be surprised what you find.

    3. Modern electronics make the specific guitar less important with the modelling available. Feel and ease of play are the most important factors. If you find that a guitar fits you, there are ways to make it sound the way you want. If you really want to be a purist, you’ll have to spend money but if you don’t mind using electronic gadgets to get your special sound, there’s no reason to overspend on the guitar.

    I have a number of guitars because I simply love guitars, but in the end I don’t need them all. I do like to have different tunings and the difference in tone when purely plugging in to the amp, but when I record it doesn’t really matter as much. I tinker until I get the right sound or sometimes I just stumbled on something I like.

    • Alan

      I wanted to add that the fender is my go to because it is the most versatile option I have. I replaced the bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan humbuckers, which makes it a poor man’s PRS.

    • I have an Alvarez I saw your description and knew you where talking about one I have a Alvarez delta I got 60% off at a music store shut down. I got it for 300$ and it’s easily one of the best acoustic guitars I’ve ever seen. My sister has an Alvarez also it’s normally a 1000$ guitar but plays like a high end Taylor would highly recommend an Alvarez.

  • But remember that things like upgrades and feel are matters of personal preference, so the most important thing here is to know what you’re looking for. If you’re just starting out, the sound of your pickups or the thickness of your finish might not matter as much as it would to someone who has been playing for years and is familiar with the alternatives.