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Squier Guitars deserves a lot more credit. Squier Guitars have played a big role in the start of innumerable guitarists’ performing careers, both as an individual name and as Fender’s more budget-friendly arm. We’ve seen time and again that the best Squier guitars are more than simply a bridging instrument for individuals who can’t afford something better – they’re a destination – an end goal – for some players. Many of Squier Guitars, while not reaching the heights of Fender and its USA-made classics, are superb guitars ideal for all types of players.
Squier guitars were initially made in Japan, but are now made in China and Indonesia. They are not only wonderful guitars right out of the box, but they can also be great platforms for players to alter and upgrade with the plethora of components and pickup options available on the market. To be honest, they don’t need to be upgraded. There’s a wide enough selection that you should be able to locate exactly what you’re looking for right away.
So, whether you want a superb starter electric guitar like the Squier Bullet Mustang, a budget-friendly Strat or Tele, or something completely different, this guide has something for you.
We’ve included some professional buying advice from one of our guitar specialists at the end; if you want to read it, click the link. If you’d rather skip ahead to the products, keep scrolling.
BEST SQUIER GUITARS: OUR PICKS
Choosing our top Squier guitars from this guide is a difficult task. Squier guitars dominate every budget-friendly electric guitar price bracket, so no matter how much you want to spend – as long as it’s less than $500 – you can’t go wrong with any of these selections.
If you’re a complete newbie or have a limited budget, we recommend the Squier Bullet Mustang. Its lower scale, smaller size, and light body make it excellent for people just starting out, or those who simply want a guitar that is extremely easy to play. There aren’t many better guitars for under $200.
If you’re an intermediate player or lucky enough to be starting off with a larger budget, we recommend the Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster ’50s. The entire Classic Vibe line is really excellent, with some guitars even rivalling the quality of the Mexican-made Fender Player series. The wood is of good quality, the pickups and electronics are excellent value, and the hardware is sturdy enough that we’d happily gig a Classic Vibe any night of the week.
The Classic Vibe Starcaster is another guitar in the Classic Vibe line that we recommend you try. Some Squier and Fender models slipped through the cracks the first time around, and while the Fender Starcaster wasn’t very popular in the late ’70s, its reappearance has proven to be a modern-day success story. As previously stated, the Classic Vibe guitars are fantastic, and this one is no exception. If you want a super-cool semi-hollow that seems melted – in a good way – this is the one for you.
PRODUCT GUIDE FOR THE BEST SQUIER GUITARS
The Fender Mustang remains the dark horse in the Fender barn, and its attributes complement the Bullet series wonderfully. The 24-inch short scale makes bending much easier, and when combined with the comfortable ‘C’ neck shape, it feels like an excellent choice for youthful hands.
There are other deviations from tradition. The Squier guitars humbuckers add a chunkier sonic twist to this Mustang, which has historically been a single-coil pickup instrument. They’re ideal for emulating the punk rock riffs of legendary Mustang lover Kurt Cobain, and Special Run vehicles with a competitive stripe are now available.
- Neck:Maple, ‘C’-shape
- Frets:22, Medium Jumbo
- Pickups:2x high-output humbuckers
- Controls:2x volume, 2x tone x2
- Hardware:Modern hardtail bridge, standard tuners
- Finish:Imperial Blue, Black, Sonic Grey
- Short scale length is friendly for beginners
- Even for a Squier it’s impressive value for money
- Comfortable neck
- Left-handed players are out of luck here
There are several fantastic Stratocaster alternatives in the Squier guitars range, but if you want to get back to the source of why it caught the imagination of guitar giants like David Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck, this is the place to be.
The build quality of the Classic Vibe line constantly impresses, helping to bridge the gap between beginner, intermediate, and platform for modding, and this is no exception. Narrow-tall frets, Alnico III pickups, a gloss neck finish, nickel-plated hardware, a vintage tremolo system, and ’50s-inspired headstock insignia are among the vintage-style elements.
- Neck:Maple, Slim ‘C’ profile
- Frets:21, Narrow Tall
- Pickups:Fender Designed Alnico Single Coils
- Controls:Master Volume, Tone 1 (neck pickup), Tone 2 (middle pickup)
- Finish:2-Color Sunburst, Black, Fiesta Red, White Blonde
- A beginner guitar that will go the distance for years
- A great vintage-inspired choice
- Left-handed options
- If you want a more contemporary Strat experience, look elsewhere
The Classic Vibe range frequently outperforms several Fender models, and now that the Fender Starcaster reissue has been cancelled, this is the closest option if you’re buying fresh. And it’s an excellent choice for this cult classic semi-hollow design.
Fender’s initial Wide Range Humbuckers were created by Seth Lover of Gibson PAF fame and provided an excellent balance of clarity and warmth. The flame is carried by these new Fender-designed variants, which have a bright and rounded bridge pickup tone with enough bite to cut through and a neck position that is warm in all the right ways. Acoustic resonance is also excellent for performing without a guitar amp here.
- Body:Laminate maple
- Neck:Maple, ‘C’-shape
- Frets:22, Narrow Tall
- Pickups:2x Fender-Designed Wide Range Humbucker
- Controls:Volume, tone, 3-way selector
- Hardware:Adjustable bridge with stop tailpiece, vintage-style tuners
- Finish:Sunburst, Natural, Brown
- Versatility from the Wide Range Humbuckers
- Acoustically loud for unplugged practice
- The closest alternative to the now discontinued Fender reissue
- The finish options are all quite brown
Many professional guitarists, notably Mark Tremonti and Jerry Cantrell, have recorded on baritone guitars because the lower frequency and tuning given by their larger scale is ideal for creating a heavier foundation to rhythm tracks. However, baritones can also be used as the main guitar or as a backup instrument in heavier situations, and they are enjoying a renaissance right now. That’s why the Squier guitars option is so appealing.
This solid body 27″-scale baritone also incorporates punchy Alnico soapbar P-90-style pickups that embrace an electric guitar’s mid-frequency characteristics from the 2021 Paranormal range. The Cabronita aesthetic here mixes classic T-style with streamlined contemporary looks, especially with colour options like a crisp Surf Green and a 3-Color Sunburst.
- Neck:Maple, ‘C’ profile
- Fingerboard:Indian laurel, 9.5” radius
- Frets:22, Narrow Tall
- Pickups:Fender Designed Alnico Soapbar single-coils
- Controls:1x volume, 1x master tone
- Hardware:Chrome 6-saddle strings-through-body bridge, vintage-style chrome tuners
- Finish:3-Color Sunburst, Surf Green
- A perfect entry point to baritone guitars
- Tele playability with the flexibility to tune down
- Great looks that balance the classic and modern
- Some fans of heavy tones may prefer humbuckers
The Contemporary series is expanding Squier’s reach even further, and this is a good illustration of how distinct and appealing its take on vintage Fender models can be, with unusual finishes influenced by the Custom Shop. To be honest, both the Shoreline Gold and Sky Burst Metallic choices are gorgeous. There’s even more excellent news…
We’re used to seeing roasted maple necks on high-end electric guitars, but here it is in all its caramel-hued beauty. Other notable features include split shaft machine heads for faster string changes and a carved neck heel inspired by the considerably more expensive Fender Ultra series for improved access to the top frets. The usual divisive Jaguar choice has been replaced by an adjustable bridge and stop tailpiece.
The 12″ fingerboard radius may appeal to players who don’t feel comfortable with the standard Fender 9.5″ radius (especially if they come from Gibson guitars) and the Squier SQR Atomic humbuckers for rock with a coil tap switch for single-coil Jag tones – and you can run the pickups in series or parallel for even more tones. They’ve thought of everything… except left-handed players. However, this is a fantastic showcase for Squier value and classic Fender attitude.
- Neck:Roasted maple, satin urethane back with gloss urethane headstock face, ‘C’-shape profile
- Fingerboard:Indian laurel, 12” radius
- Frets:22, Jumbo
- Pickups:2x Squier SQR Atomic Humbucking
- Controls:Volume, master tone, coil-split switch, series/parallel switch, 3-way pickup selector
- Hardware:Chrome 6-saddle adjustable bridge, sealed die-cast with split shafts
- Finish:Shoreline Gold, Sky Burst Metallic
- Superb value for the features it offers
- Possibly the most diverse tones of any current Squier
- Roasted maple neck and sculpted heel are premium additions
- Left-handers are still left waiting for a leftie Squier Jag
If you’re looking for a Telecaster, Squier guitars have a plethora of options, but we’ve narrowed it down because we can’t get enough of a double-bound body and the interesting idea of the Esquire – a model that dates back to 1950 and came before the Broadcaster and then the Telecaster. It’s also available as a two-pickup Squier custom Tele with store exclusive finishes, but this Fender Special Run Esquire model won’t last long. It also has some lovely vintage-style details, such as a parchment pickguard and a tinted maple neck.
The Esquire is a one-of-a-kind proposition for Squier guitars. Why does a one-pickup guitar have a three-way selector? This is when things start to get interesting. In the forward position, you bypass the tone control while keeping the volume control for a “lighter, strum-friendly tone,” according to Fender. The middle position engages both the tone and volume pots, resulting in a richer tone for a broader lead and rhythm sound. Because it bypasses the tone control, the third position is ideal for cutting through with leads. This Squier has a lot more tonal possibilities than meets the eye.
- Neck:Maple, gloss, ‘C’-shape profile
- Fingerboard:Indian laurel, 12” radius
- Frets:21, Narrow Tall
- Pickup:Fender Designed Alnico Single-coil
- Controls:Volume, tone, 3-way circuit selector
- Hardware:3-saddle vintage-style string-thru body
- Finish:3-Color Sunburst, Black, Lake Placid Blue
- Great vintage looks
- Varied tones at the flick of a selector switch
- Bone nut
- If you want traditional Tele neck pickup tones, this isn’t for you Empty List
BUYING ADVICE FOR SQUIER GUITARS
It’s a reasonable question. Why should you commit to a single brand when there are so many affordable guitars available?
Simply told, we believe Squier is one of (if not the) best brands in terms of overall craftsmanship. This attention to detail translates directly into the guitars being of exceptional quality – one that we believe is unrivalled for the money. When the ‘Fender’ name is on the line, you can be certain that these guitars will be of the highest quality every time.
Another incentive to go with a Squier is the sheer number of options available. The Squier product catalogue is enormous and always expanding – whether it’s with more Fender classics like the Strat or Tele, or something little more zany and unconventional – so you know there’s something to suit you and your style to a tee.