Are Squier guitars any good? Yes. But are they worth it? Well, yes, but it depends on what you’re looking for what what you’re trying to do. We’ll cover all of that here. I’ve personally played dozens upon dozens of Squiers over the years.
And I’ve already reviewed a few Squier guitars here and on the ArtOfShred YouTube channel. It’s important to keep in mind that although Squier is Fender’s budget brand they do make some very good guitars that compete with their more expensive brethren, particularly in their Paranormal and Classic Vibe series.
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Squier guitars we’ve reviewed so far
- Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Jazzmaster
- Squier Affinity Stratocaster HSS
- Squier Sonic Mustang
- Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster
And, at the time of this writing, I also have in my possession a Squier Sonic Mustang HH and a Squier Paranormal Jazzmaster XII (reviews coming soon!). My point is, I like Squier guitars and you’ll probably like them too as long as you keep a few things in mind.
You should also know that my goal is not to sell you a guitar. My goal is to help you make an informed purchase decision, and if you use one of the links on this page to purchase a guitar I get a small commission that helps support future unbiased guitar reviews. (Thank you for that!)
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Which Squier Series Is Best?
Best is somewhat subjective, but Squier’s Classic Vibe series are stellar versions of more expensive Fender guitars. They are more faithful reproductions of vintage Fender guitars in comparison to the cheaper Squiers, which don’t try to be reproductions of vintage Fenders.
The aforementioned Paranormal series is also great, but what Squier does with Paranormal is make very unique guitars that aren’t for everybody. (For example, the Paranormal Jazzmaster XII is a 12 string electric guitar!) That’s not to say they aren’t for you, because they might be, but the Classic Vibe series has more broad appeal.
How about the Squier Affinity, Bullet, or Sonic series?
Let’s start with the very cheapest, the Bullet and Sonic Squier guitars. These are ultra low budget, generally $200 or less, and you shouldn’t expect miracles. That said, I really like the Squier Sonic Mustang. No it’s not quite like a Fender Mustang, or even a Squier Classic Vibe Mustang, but it’s a perfectly good guitar for the price.
The Affinity series is a nice but small step up in quality from the Bullet and Sonic series. I particularly enjoy playing the Affinity Stratocaster HSS. The beauty of these low budget Squier guitars is they are incredibly popular with millions sold so you can find them on the used guitar market for really cheap. I bought that Affinity Strat for just $80!
Generally speaking the lower budget Squier guitars are made in China, but they are moving a lot of their production to Indonesia like the Classic Vibes so don’t hold me to that.
Why Are Squier Cheaper Than Fender?
It boils down to this: it costs more money to make guitars in North America so the Mexico and USA made guitars cost more. Fender makes their guitars in Mexico and the USA. In addition, they also use better hardware and electronics and there’s more hand-on-guitar time for each guitar. That all adds up.
All Squier guitars are made overseas, either in China or Indonesia. These are low cost production markets and they use lower quality hardware and electronics and there is less hand-on-guitar time on these, which affects quality control. (More on that in a moment.)
Does that mean Fender guitars are better than Squier?
Yes and no. Because Squier makes good guitars. What you’re paying for with Fender is great guitars and the brand name. Let’s be honest, if you say you own a Fender no guitar snob if going to think twice, but if you say you own a Squier there’s a group of snobs who you should pay no mind who will think you’re not a serious guitar player.
You should buy whatever you want, not what guitar snobs think you should buy.
OK, So Which Series Should You Choose?
This really depends on your budget and what you’re trying to get out of the guitar. My personal preference is in order of most to least expensive: Classic Vibe, Affinity, then Sonic (or Bullet). Paranormal is if I’m looking for something unique.
The Classic Vibe series in particular holds up against the Fenders that are more than double their price. Yeah, I said it! They’re well made instruments with good hardware and electronics. (Let me be clear, if money was no object I’m choosing a Fender, but the Squier Classic Vibe series is still great.)
So if your budget is ~$400 I suggest you take a look at the Classic Vibe series first. I would be shocked if you were disappointed in the decision to purchase one of them. But that brings us to …
The Big BUT is Squier’s Quality Control
This is the big issue with all of the Squier series, but generally it’s a little worse at the cheaper end. Squier’s quality control just has not been great over the past few years. That doesn’t mean you’re going to get a bad guitar, but it’s more likely that the guitar you get will need some repair or setup work done on it.
Interestingly, the Squiers I haven’t had quality control issues with recently are the Sonic and Paranormal series. It’s possible that with these newer series they have fixed some of their QC, because both of the Classic Vibes I’ve reviewed here have had QC issues. Still great guitars, but QC issues are incredibly annoying, particularly if you’re a beginner and don’t know how to do a guitar setup.
If Squier’s quality control really worries you keep in mind that most online guitar retailers have easy return policies. If you get a dud, return it! Or, if you really don’t want to shop online, check out the guitar in person so you can inspect it before bringing it home. Either way, potentially iffy quality control shouldn’t dissuade you from getting a Squier.
Final Thoughts On Squier Guitars
Squier guitars are a budget line, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good guitars for beginners or professionals. No matter your skill level I think you can find a Squier that makes you feel thrilled to play guitar.
Basically, it’s like this: I like Squier and I think you’ll like them too. Unless you’re a guitar snob. 😉