Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (2022)

Squier is a musical instruments brand that has been around since the ’80s. Fender released more affordable versions of its higher priced guitars that were made in the USA to compete with other brands that were selling cheaper alternatives to popular guitar shapes such as the Stratocaster and the telecaster.

Despite being a subsidiary of Fender, Squier has released countless models that experienced players can rely on for recording and gigging.

Squier produces guitars that can fit into any budget, from cheap entry level instruments to higher quality guitars and basses that can even give Mexican made Fenders a run for their money.

The older Squier guitars were made in Japan, but nowadays they are built mainly in China and Indonesia. These are excellent choices if you’re looking to buy a guitar to upgrade it later (new pickups, electronics, etc).

This guide will help you make the decision that best suits your needs and taste if you are in the market for a Squier guitar. It will go over their main features, average price, pros and cons of each model, and other important aspects.

The guitars that are featured in this guide were chosen by taking into account a series of aspects, such as their price quality ratio, the presence of unique elements that aren’t usually found on most guitars, the versatility of the instruments (whether they can cover a wide range of sounds or instead focus on a specific style), and their design, mostly because of how comfortable some guitars feel in comparison to others.

You will find suggestions for everyone: affordable guitars; vintage oriented instruments that were inspired in the early Fender models; modern takes on the classic that will appease those who need a heavier sound, and guitars that stand out in the crowd due to their looks or uncommon features.

Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (1)

Squier Range Categories – 6 Unique Series of Guitars

Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (2)

Currently, Squier has six distinct series of guitars that are aimed at different types of players. Let’s start this guide with a brief summary of each one, so you can find out which one seems most suitable and attractive to you.

Bullet Series

Squier’s Bullet Series has been designed with beginners and players who are looking for a lower budget instrument that is still playable and worth buying.

They are typically sold at prices between $150 and $190, and they feature a variety of guitars that cover different types of ground, while still remaining versatile at the same time.

Take for instance the Bullet Stratocaster, with 3 single coils and a tremolo system, the Telecaster, or the Mustang, with dual humbuckers.

Any of these guitars is a solid option for someone who is starting out on the electric guitar, or looking to add an affordable instrument to their collection to expand their tonal palette.

Affinity Series

Squier Affinity Series guitars are some of the most popular models of the brand. They remain at a budget-friendly price, but they are superior to the Bullet Series instruments.

These guitars feature improvements such as better woods used in the construction of the body, neck and fretboard of the instrument, as well as higher quality electronics.

They retail for prices between $230 and $300, but you can also find guitar packs that are perfect for anyone who wants to start learning but hasn’t got anything yet.

They contain a guitar, gig bag, practice amp, cable, strap and a few picks!

Classic Vibe Series

Among all of the different Squier series, the Classic Vibe is definitely one of the favorites of the guitar community.

These guitars take inspiration from the older models that Fender was putting out during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. They incorporate vintage oriented specs, meant for the players who favor more classic and old-school instruments. The available colors are also reminiscent of the era.

They are probably the best instruments in terms of price/quality ratio. Many of them will hold up just fine against Mexican made Fender models after you upgrade their pickups and a couple of other parts.

You can choose from different models of Stratocasters, Telecasters, Starcasters, Esquires, Mustangs and even some gorgeous Thinline guitars.

Contemporary Series

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The Contemporary Series was designed with players that are more into modern sounds in mind.

It is a more recent selection of guitars that Squier offers, taking the guitar shapes that have been known for decades and adding elements that are more suited to other genres of music.

Most of these guitars boast humbuckers that shine when used with a high gain amp, something that you probably wouldn’t do with a Classic Vibe stratocaster.

Other modern aspects include neck shapes designed for a faster playability and comfort.

This range offers the usual guitar shapes that we expect from Squier (stratocaster, telecaster) and also other less common examples such as the starcaster and the jazzmaster.

Paranormal Series

Squier’s Paranormal Series is where you can find the most uncommon designs and pairings within the brand.

You’ve got the Super Sonic, with a distinct offset shape, a baritone Telecaster with P90 pickups, or the Toronado with dual humbuckers. It is worth mentioning that you don’t usually find decent baritones at such an attractive price point.

If you’re looking for a guitar that stands out, you definitely have one waiting for you within the Paranormal Series.

FSR Series

FSR stands for “Fender Special Run”. The guitars in this range always have some kind of unique feature that typically doesn’t make it to the more standard models.

Usually this is a rare finish, different pickup configurations, and other features.

Another characteristic of this series is that as the name implies, every guitar is made in limited runs of a few hundred or thousand guitars, so there won’t be many just like yours if you end up buying one.

Our Favorite Picks from Squier Guitars

Squier Bullet Stratocaster HT

Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (4)

The Bullet Stratocaster has been the first guitar of many players. It is an excellent choice due to its low price and for being an easily playable instrument right out of the box.

By having a fixed bridge design, you lose the tremolo that many people appreciate having on a strat, but you are compensated with increased tuning stability.

It comes in three finishes: Seafoam Green, Lake Placid Blue and Red Sparkle.

Main Features

  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel
  • Bridge: Hardtail bridge
  • Fret Radius: 9.5″
  • Frets: 21, Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: SSS configuration (3 single coils)

Pros

  • Price/Quality Ratio: one of the most accessible guitars on the market, perfect for a beginner or someone looking to add a new sound to their arsenal for a low price.
  • Versatility: the classic SSS configuration paired with a 5 way selector switch gives you a wide range of sounds that countless guitarists have embraced for decades.
  • Comfort: stratocasters are light guitars, with contours that make them more comfortable to play both standing and sitting down. The neck is also comfortable to play due to its C shape and satin finish.

Cons

  • Hardtail: while this might actually be an advantage for some, most people like to have a whammy bar on their stratocasters.
  • No case: it would have been nice to have this guitar shipped with a case, but this also helps to keep to keep the price point lower. Besides, there is a version of this guitar that is sold in a pack that contains a gigbag and more gear to get you started on the electric guitar.

Price

This guitar is typically sold for around $190.

Squier Affinity Series Telecaster Special

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The Affinity Series Telecaster Special is a killer guitar with classic tones delivered by its single coil in the bridge and the distinct lipstick tube pickup in the neck position.

The alder body and maple neck/fretboard are a step-up from the Bullet Series.

It comes in several different finishes: Butterscotch Blonde, Artic White, Race Red, Black, Slick Silver, Sunburst, Competition Orange and Race Green.

Main Features

  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel
  • Bridge: 6 Saddle Top-Load Bridge
  • Fret Radius: 9.5″
  • Frets: 21, Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: Lipstick tube pickup on the neck, single coil on the bridge

Pros

  • Sound: the telecaster has a distinct twangy sound that has been recorded thousands of times. You can get that kind of tone for a very fair price with this guitar.
  • Comfortable: the maple C shaped neck is comfortable to hold while playing, and the finish feels great in the hands.

Cons

  • Pickups: the single coils that ship with this guitar get you in the telecaster tone ballpark, but they lack definition and sparkle. Upgrading these can significantly improve the instrument.
  • Tuning stability: the synthetic bone nut and stock tuners don’t do the best job at maintaining the guitar in tune, which is extremely important. These would also be a great upgrade.

Price

The Affinity Telecaster is generally sold for about $230.

Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Thinline

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This stunning guitar is one of Squier’s most stylish options, due to its semi-hollow design, dual humbuckers and nickel-plated hardware.

Other nice details include a vintage-tinted glossy neck finish and a 4 ply pearloid pickguard.

This guitar comes in White Blonde and Butterscotch Blonde.

Main Features

  • Body: Chambered Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Bridge: Fixed
  • Fret Radius: 9.5″
  • Frets: 21, Medium Jumbo
  • Pickups: Dual Fender Designed Wide Range Humbuckers

Pros

  • Sound: this beautiful telecaster has a woody tone to it due to its semi-hollow design, which makes it quite unique among every other Squier, since there aren’t many semi-hollow guitars in their range.
  • Weight: being mostly hollow, this has a positive effect on its weight, making this guitar perfect for carrying around and playing standing up
  • Humbuckers: the dual humbucking pickups give you a new take on the telecaster tone, since it usually features dual single coil pickups.

Cons

  • Feedback: because this is a hollow body design, even though this guitar has humbuckers, it will go into feedback quicker than the average solid guitar if you hit it with a lot of gain from your amp or a pedal.
  • No coil-split: having the possibility to split the pickups and getting closer to a telecaster single coil tone would be wonderful, as it would make this guitar even more versatile.

Price

The Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Thinline can be found at around $480.

Squier Classic Vibe Starcaster

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Another one from the Classic Vibe Series, the Starcaster is one of Fender’s least seen models, when compared to the legendary stratocasters or telecasters.

In any case, this is still a guitar worth checking, especially if you are into hollow bodies. They have a very distinct sound due to that particularity, as well as the dual humbuckers.

This guitar is made in Indonesia, and it is available in Walnut, Natural and Sunburst.

Main Features

  • Body: Maple, double cutaway offset body
  • Neck: Maple, Gloss Tinted
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Bridge: Adjust-o-matic fixed bridge
  • Fret Radius: 9.5″
  • Frets: 22, Narrow Tall
  • Pickups: Dual Fender Designed Wide Range Humbuckers

Pros

  • Unique: the Starcaster is a guitar that not many people own or see, so you’re guaranteed to turn some heads by showing up with it to a session or gig!
  • Versatility: its hollow body and dual humbuckers allow you to venture into territories that most other Squier guitars couldn’t pull off comfortably.

Cons

  • No case: the case is sold separately for this guitar, which is a bit inconvenient given that it is an offset body. However, this must help keep its cost below $500.
  • Feedback: the hollow body makes it more prone to feedback, but if you usually stay away from high gain, this shouldn’t be a problem to you.

Price

This guitar can be bought for around $450.

Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Jazzmaster

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The ’60s Jazzmaster is a legendary design that has been heard in countless records over the last decades.

Its alnico single coil pickups with rhythm and lead circuit controls are the most unique elements of this guitar. The vintage-style tremolo is also present, along with the floating bridge that is known on these guitars.

It is available in 3 finishes: Olympic White, Sunburst and Sonic Blue.

Main Features

  • Body: Poplar, Contoured
  • Neck: Maple, Tinted
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Laurel
  • Bridge: Vintage Style 6 Saddle Floating Vibrato System
  • Fret Radius: 9.5″
  • Frets: 21, Narrow Tall
  • Pickups: Fender Designed Alnico Single Coils with Jazzmaster Rhythm and Lead Circuit Controls

Pros

  • Looks: Jazzmaster have a huge vintage look, and this guitar really captures the ’60s vibe with all the accurate elements that it features.
  • Comfort: the contoured body, C shaped neck and 9.5″ radius fingerboard all contribute to a guitar that is extremely easy to play.

Cons

  • Tuning Stability: despite having a unique look, the Jazzmaster tremolo isn’t known for being the best at keeping the guitar in tune. In any case, this can be upgraded.
  • Setup: some players have reported that the guitar doesn’t have a very good setup out of the factory. This causes some issues such as fret buzz.

Price

The Classic Vibe ’60s Jazzmaster is typically sold at about $450.

Squier Contemporary Stratocaster HH Floyd Rose

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The Contemporary Stratocaster Special is the perfect choice for the modern player who is looking for versatility.

Featuring a pair of humbuckers with coil splits, a 5 way switch and a floyd rose tremolo, this guitar can cover a huge variety of tones, both low gain and high gain.

It also features a roasted maple neck, which looks amazing. It comes in Shell Pink and Gunmetal Metallic finishes.

Main Features

  • Body: Poplar/Maple
  • Neck: Roasted Maple
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Roasted Maple
  • Bridge: Double Locking Floyd Rose Tremolo
  • Fret Radius: 12″
  • Frets: 22, Jumbo
  • Pickups: Squier SQR Atomic Humbuckers with coil-tap

Pros

  • Versatility: the combination of the two humbuckers with coil tap and floyd rose tremolo allows you to get a lot of different sounds out of this guitar.
  • Comfort: the Contemporary Series focuses on producing instruments that are inherently comfortable to play. This guitar features aspects like a contoured neck heel and a body contour to make the guitar more ergonomic.

Cons

  • Maintenance: guitars that come with a floyd rose are always trickier to restring, but this is a minor inconvenience if you really value having a locking tremolo system.
  • Tuners: especially for a guitar with a floyd rose in the 400$ range, the stock tuners would definitely appreciate an upgrade.

Price

The Contemporary Stratocaster sells for about $480.

Squier Paranormal Series Baritone Cabronita Telecaster

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This guitar is one of the most unique models that Squier offers. It is not only a telecaster with P-90 style pickups, but also a baritone guitar, meaning that it is tuned from B to B instead of E to E (one perfect fourth below standard tuning).

A baritone guitar can really expand your musical ideas, since you can get much lower in pitch that you usually would. Different sounds inspire you to compose different music.

Also, this is one of the most affordable baritone guitars on the market at the moment, so if you’ve been wanting one, this is definitely one option to consider.

This guitar is available in Surf Green and 3 Tone Sunburst finishes.

Main Features

  • Body: Poplar
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel
  • Bridge: 6 Saddle String-through Body
  • Fret Radius: 9.5″
  • Frets: 22, Narrow Tall
  • Pickups: Fender Alnico Soapbar Single Coils

Pros

  • Baritone: the biggest selling point of this guitar is the fact that it is a baritone that is being sold at a very accessible price point, considering most other options are substantially more expensive.
  • Pickups: you get dual P-90 style pickups with this guitar, which makes it an even less common instrument. They sound great with clean sounds and overdrive/distortion.

Cons

  • No Case: unfortunately, this guitar doesn’t come with a case, which would be great, since most people don’t have one that fits a baritone guitar. They have longer scale lengths to compensate for the lower tuning.

Price

This baritone telecaster is available for around $430.

Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Stratocaster HSS

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The last guitar on this list is the Classic Vibe ’70s Stratocaster HSS. This is a version of the legendary strat design with a twist: its HSS pickup configuration.

Having two single coils and a humbucker allows you to get a bigger variety of sounds out of this instrument.

This guitar comes in a Walnut or Black finish.

The Walnut model has an Indian laurel fretboard and the Black one has a maple fretboard, so make sure to take that into account in case you don’t like one of those options.

Main Features

  • Body: Poplar, Contoured
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Fretboard: Indian Laurel (Maple in the Black model)
  • Bridge: 6 Saddle Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo
  • Fret Radius: 9.5″
  • Frets: 21, Narrow Tall
  • Pickups: 2 Fender Designed Alnico Single Coils, 1 Fender Designed Wide Range Humbucker

Pros

  • Versatility: the stratocaster was always known for its versatility. This one takes it one step further with its HSS pickup configuration, which makes high gain playing possible more easily.
  • Finish: there aren’t many guitars with a walnut finish in the Squier line-up, and this one looks particularly great.

Cons

  • Electronics: the volume knob taper is not very linear, which gives you less flexibility when controlling your guitar’s tone with it. However, this is an easy and cheap upgrade.

Price

This guitar is usually found at around $450.

Alternative Options from Other Guitar Manufacturers

Although Squier makes great instruments for many different tastes at an attractive price point, the current guitar market has a lot of fierce competition, so it might be a good idea to look around and see if there is anything else that might catch your eye and suit your needs a little better.

For instance, some brands such as Schecter, Jackson and Ibanez have a bigger offer of modern looking guitars with humbuckers and a more edgy design, so if you are into that style, take a look at their catalogs.

Guitar tastes and preferences are very subjective, so if you have the chance to sit down, try out several different instruments and compare them side to side, it would be a big advantage.

Here are a few additional guitars worth looking into that are in the same price range as the Squiers we’ve seen so far:

Gretsch G2420 Streamliner

Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (12)

Gretsch has been in the guitar business for decades and they’re the favorite of many world renowned artists. Most of their famous designs are hollow bodies such as the G2420 Streamliner.

It features a pair of Broad’Tron BT-2S pickups that will get you that throaty midrange that these guitars are known for. It comes in several different finishes and has various stylish features such as its Pearloid Hump Block inlays.

Epiphone Les Paul Special

Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (13)

The Les Paul is one of the most recognizable guitar designs of all time. Epiphone, Gibson’s subsidiary brand, makes Les Pauls with more accessible prices such as this one, which is inspired in the models from the late ’50s, in the classic TV Yellow finish with a pair of Soap Bar Pro P90 pickups. Other features include a mahogany body and neck, and deluxe vintage ivory button tuners.

Jackson Dinky JS32 DKA

Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (14)

If you’re looking for an instrument more suited to play heavier music genres, Jackson is a brand you should consider checking out.

The Dinky JS32 DKA has dual Jackson high output humbuckers, a Jackson branded Floyd Rose double locking tremolo bridge and other features that make it great for the heavy metal players, such as a smooth maple neck, 24 frets and a compound radius rosewood fretboard.

Here’s everything you need to know about Jackson Dinky Guitars.

Silvertone 1478

Best Squier Guitar Options in 2022 Across All Budgets and Genres (15)

This guitar is great if you’re looking for something that looks different from most of the available options. Even though this model has some improvements to the original design that dates back to the ’60s, this guitar still retains its vintage sound, courtesy of its exact replica single coil pickups, a genuine Bigsby tremolo and its maple top.

It is a good idea to first think about what kind of sound you’re going for. Think about the music genres you play, the tone you want to get, and narrow down your list based around this train of thought!

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Squier Guitars

Question: Are Squier Guitars Worth It?

Answer: Squier offers excellent instruments for their price, usually not higher than $500. Especially with some better models such as the Classic Vibe series, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck, and they are excellent guitars to upgrade too.

They are not just guitars made for beginners despite their lower price points, since many pros use Squier instruments even when touring.

By saving a good amount of money on an instrument like this, you can invest in a professional setup and an improved set of pickups.

Question: What is the Difference Between Squier and Fender?

Answer: In summary, Squier is a subsidiary brand of Fender, offering instruments that pay homage to their classics at much more accessible prices.

These guitars are still great for the money they’re worth, and they can become much better if you spend a little extra on upgrading some of their lower quality parts, such as the nut and the tuners.

Question: How are Squier Guitars Much Cheaper Than Fender Guitars?

Answer: Squier instruments are sold at much cheaper prices than Fender. They are usually under $500, while Fender instruments can easily surpass $1000 or even more if you consider the Custom Shop guitars.

Building their guitars in other countries such as China and Indonesia, and replacing some of the hardware (pickups, switches, electronics, tuners, etc) with cheaper alternatives, they manage to provide decent instruments at better prices.

Question: What are the Different Categories of Squier Instruments?

Answer: Squier guitars are divided into 6 different categories:

  • Bullet Series
  • Affinity Series
  • Classic Vibe Series
  • Contemporary Series
  • Paranormal Series
  • FSR Series

Each of these has its own focus and target audience. Bullet and Affinity instruments are more affordable, but the Classic Vibe series have a better build quality and components.

Contemporary Series instruments feature modern features that will appeal to players who enjoy high gain guitar tones, and the Paranormal Series focuses on offset guitars, uncommon pickup configurations and other details you won’t find on other series.

FSR produces more limited runs of guitars with special paint jobs and exclusive parts.

Conclusion

As you can see, Squier has a wide selection of instruments, and there are options for every type of guitar player.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider Bullet and Affinity Series, as those are the most economic of their range.

If you’re a die-hard fan of the classics that made Fender what it is today, you should look into the Classic Vibe Series, which are some of their best guitars.

For players who like to play heavier music with high gain, the Contemporary Series has definitely got something for them. Most of them are equipped with humbuckers that can deal with high gain much better than most of the other Squier models.

The Paranormal Series is perfect for those who are looking for a guitar that will stand out due to features that aren’t usually seen. The baritones are some of the most special models from this category.

FSR Series guitars have an exclusivity factor, since they are produced in limited runs.

In any case, if you already know that you are a stratocaster die-hard fan, or that you’re looking to add a telecaster to your arsenal specifically, set your budget, put together a small list of those models and compare them side to side.

As always, it is always best to try the guitar before you buy it, so make sure to spend a little time in your local music shop until you find a guitar that really speaks to you!

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Gustavo Pereira

Euphonious Touring Guitarist at Guitar Space

Gustavo isn’t like other guitar players; instead of paying for lessons from a guitar teacher, he traveled around the world to watch the greats. Along the way, he’s met some really amazing people that have shared some invaluable lessons that he hopes to share with anyone looking to learn the guitar. He doesn’t believe in all of the fancy talk that comes with learning the guitar; he wants to break down the basics so that no matter what type of musical experience you have, you’ll understand too.

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