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Looking for a Fender-style guitar, but can’t find one within your budget range? Squier, a sister company to Fender, actually produces budget-priced Fender-licensed guitars for this purpose.
By buying a Squier, you’ll essentially get a Fender guitar built to the exact same specs.
Although these guitars may have components of lesser quality, they are still worthwhile performers.
Here are some of the best guitars that are currently offered in the Squier model line.
Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster – Best Overall
Have you ever dreamed of owning a vintage Stratocaster? Very few budgets can accommodate such a purchase.
Fortunately, you can get a very faithful reproduction with the Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater). This guitar is essentially built to the original 1950’s specifications with more affordable materials.
As such, you’ll find that this guitar’s body is crafted from Pine. With this model, you’ll have multiple color choices to choose from, including:
- 2-color sunburst
- Fiesta red
- White blonde
No matter what color choice you decide to go with, you’ll get a 25.5” scale length neck crafted from Maple. This neck has a traditional C-shape contour design for a familiar, comfortable fit in your hand.
The fretboard of the Classic Vibe 50s Strat is also Maple. Holding true to its vintage roots, this has a 9.5” radius, 21 frets, and standard dot inlays.
As is true with the majority of Fender-style guitars, this model has a bolt-on neck joint. This modular design allows you to swap out the neck if you so desire.
Curious about the pickups? This Strat is stocked with 3 Alnico single-coil pickups that are designed by Fender.
You can be sure you’ll get those iconic and tasty Strat sounds, thanks to the 5-way selector switch. Without this switch, you’d be missing out on the in-between positions that the Stratocaster is best known for.
In addition to this, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the vintage-spec synchronized tremolo system. This is another staple tradition of the Stratocaster and it’s pleasing addition to be found with this model.
Elsewhere on this guitar can be found a nut made of real bone as well as vintage-style tuners.
What’s So Great About The Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster?
Despite its affordability, the Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster is a true Strat through and through. The littlest details are paid attention to in order to produce a guitar very similar to the original Stratocaster models.
While this model is a fairly faithful reproduction of its vintage brethren, it does take some modern liberties. For instance, the truss rod adjustment is at the headstock, rather than at the heel of the neck.
You’ll find this to be far more convenient when maintaining your guitar. Otherwise, you'd have to remove the neck just to adjust the truss rod screw.
Plus, you’ll be able to choose from 4 different color choices that are absolutely signature colors of the Stratocaster.
The hardware on this Stratocaster is another massive plus. It’s not often that you’ll find a bone nut, a vintage tremolo, and Fender-designed pickups on a budget guitar.
Those who have bought this guitar in the past absolutely love its quality build and performance. Sure, it might not be a true Fender per se, but it certainly looks and plays like one.
The Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster is the perfect guitar for someone’s first guitar who also wants to be budget-conscious. Even if you didn’t like a certain aspect, you’d have money left over for any modifications.
That alone is one of the biggest reasons why so many opt for these guitars. The build is excellent and cost-efficient enough to allow for customization in other areas.
Of course, you might find that you might not need any modifications at all. Which, in that case, you basically have a low-cost Stratocaster providing extreme value on every level.
Item Weight: 7.3 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44.5 x 15 x 4 inches
J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster – Best Premium
You don’t have to be familiar with J Mascis to know about the J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater). But for those who don’t know, J Mascis is the guitarist for the indie-rock band, Dinosaur Jr.
Within the genre, J Mascis plays the guitar unlike anyone else. In the truest essence, J Mascis is truly a guitar savant, best known for playing Jazzmasters.
It’s only fitting that he be honored by Squier with his own signature model. Compared to other Jazzmasters, this model is spec’d according to J’s requests.
The J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster features a body made of Basswood with a vintage white color. This model also has a golden pickup cover that perfectly accentuates the colors found on the guitar.
Maple is used in constructing the 25.5” scale length neck. This has a standard C-shape contour that will feel very familiar to your hand.
Compared with other guitars, the neck on this Jazzmaster is a pretty fat C-shape. If you love deep C contours, you’ll feel right at home.
An Indian Laurel fretboard is also featured on this model. This fretboard has a 9.5” radius with 21 jumbo-sized frets.
For pickups, this model is stocked with a pair of Jazzmaster single-coil pickups. In true Jazzmaster fashion, you’ll also have the rhythm circuit with this model.
The lead circuit is controlled with a 3-way switch. As is tradition, the rhythm circuit features the 2-way switch and 2 thumbwheels.
Jazzmasters are known to have strings jumping out of the bridge, along with a host of other problems. One of the best modifications with this guitar is its Adjusto-Matic bridge in combination with the vintage tremolo.
Elsewhere on this guitar can be found a nut made of PPS plastic as well as vintage-style tuners.
What’s So Great About The J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster?
Anyone who’s ever looked into buying a Jazzmaster in recent years has likely been disappointed. There are actually very few Jazzmaster models that retain its traditional build elements.
In fact, the Squier models are essentially the only Jazzmasters that have retained their iconic rhythm circuit. These are known for their darker and warmer tone in comparison to their bright lead circuit.
One thing to note about this guitar is that the pickups actually aren’t true Jazzmaster bobbin pickups. Rather, they are single-coil pickups housed in the Jazzmaster pickup covers.
These pickups sound more like P-90 pickups in comparison to other single-coil pickups.
Despite this difference, these pickups still produce a fairly unique tone in their own right. It might not be spot-on with the true Jazzmaster sound, but you can get pretty close.
Even then, this model makes for a great platform to swap pickups for true Jazzmaster pickups. It’s affordable enough that it can warrant a modification if you so desire.
Plus, you’ll have an Adjusto-Matic bridge on this model to help combat the annoying string jumping. This can save you some serious cash from having to shell out for a Mastery bridge or its equivalent.
Other than that, you’ll have a true Jazzmaster through and through, with an excellent vintage-style touch.
Many guitarists who have bought this Jazzmaster absolutely love it for everything that it offers.
If you want a true Jazzmaster, be sure to give this model serious consideration. Your options are pretty limited when it comes to these models, and you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons.
Be sure to read on, as we will cover another faithful Jazzmaster that is sure to be on your radar.
Item Weight: 13.4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42.75 x 15.25 x 4.25 inches
Bullet Mustang HH – Best Budget
This guitar is essentially a short-scale guitar, making it perfect for beginners or those with smaller hands. Despite its low price, this Mustang still has that cool aesthetic that Mustangs are known for.
The Bullet Mustang HH has a body made of Poplar, which lends itself to having a lighter weight. You can get this guitar in a number of different color options including:
- Imperial Blue
- Sonic grey
This guitar’s neck is made of one piece of solid Maple, with a shortened scale length of 24”. The neck has a standard C-shaped contour to provide a comfortable playing experience in every register.
Indian Laurel is used for the fretboard’s material. This fretboard has a 12” radius with 22 medium jumbo frets outlined by white dot inlays.
As the “HH” in the name suggests, this Mustang is stocked with a pair of humbucker pickups. These are pretty standard by most accounts and can produce some thick and warm tones.
To make the most of these pickups, you’ll find this Mustang fitted with a 3-way selector switch. In addition to this, you’ll have a master volume and tone knob to dial in your favorite Mustang tones.
For hardware, the Bullet Mustang HH has a plastic nut, sealed die-cast tuners, and a 6-saddle hardtail bridge.
What’s So Great About The Bullet Mustang HH?
The Mustang was initially been made famous by the alt-rockers of the 1990s. These offset guitars have quite a bit of charm in their design that still holds true today.
More often than not, budget-conscious beginners are fairly limited to certain guitar designs due to price. This Squier offering allows you to save some money and still have a cool-looking guitar.
The shortened scale length makes the Bullet Mustang HH ideal for absolute beginners. Children will have no issues with intense finger stretches while playing certain chords.
This guitar certainly might not be the most ideal for stage performances. However, it’s the perfect platform to learn and master your chops.
Likewise, it’s also an excellent platform for experimenting with different guitar modifications. With its value pricing, you can save money for things like different pickup combinations and pickguards.
Those who have bought this guitar in the past have absolutely fallen in love with its charm. For the price, this guitar really does perform at the upper range of the budget level.
If you’ve ever been seriously inspired by the likes of Kurt Cobain and other Mustang-wearing guitarists, consider this guitar. You’ll likely be very happy with the guitar’s aesthetic value and its performance for a budget guitar.
Item Weight: 8.8 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44.4 x 14.8 x 4 inches
Classic Vibe ‘70s Jaguar
Of the offset guitars that Fender has made, the Jaguar has a certain charming aesthetic to it. Perhaps it’s the combination of the shape with the number of switches and the chrome detailing.
It’s hard to say, exactly, what gives the Jaguar its beautiful allure. However, the Jaguar will forever be one of the greatest offset guitars in guitar history.
If you’ve ever wanted a Jaguar of your own, the Classic Vibe ‘70s Jaguar (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) makes a great choice. You’ll essentially get a modern Jaguar with vintage stylings, making this a true Jaguar through and through.
This guitar features a body made of Poplar, with a number of different attractive color choices, including:
- Surf green
- 3-tone sunburst
The neck is made of Maple, with a shortened scale length of 24” and a C-shaped contour. Indian Laurel is used for the fretboard, which has a 9.5” radius and 22 narrow-tall frets.
Adding to this guitar’s aesthetics are the Pearloid block inlays found on the fretboard. This is a mark of a true Jaguar, as these inlays are generally not found on other Fender-style guitars.
A pair of Alnico single-coil pickups designed by Fender are stocked into the Classic Vibe ‘70s Jaguar. You’ll be able to dial in your favorite Jaguar tones with the master volume and tone control knobs.
A big thing with Jaguars is the different electronic circuits. This Jaguar has the traditional lead and rhythm circuits onboard.
These are controlled by the various switches found on the guitar. Each switch controls the pickup selection for each circuit.
This Jaguar also features a bone nut, a non-locking floating vibrato, a 6-saddle bridge, and vintage-style tuners.
What’s So Great About The Classic Vibe ‘70s Jaguar?
This is the perfect guitar for somebody who has lusted for a Jaguar but can’t afford the Fender price tag. Squier has really outdone themselves by providing a budget-friendly model that everyone can enjoy.
Most people can likely agree that, perhaps, the coolest thing about the Jaguar is how awesome it looks. These guitars look as if they came straight from the space age.
As such, your playing ability might take on otherworldly aspects. This guitar will, at the very least, inspire you to play in a different way than you ever have before.
One of the major plusses with this Jaguar is its shortened neck scale length. You’ll have a breeze navigating every register of this neck.
Another major plus is the fact that both the rhythm and lead circuits are included with this Jaguar. Many guitarists can be a bit confused by the number of various switches to be found on these models.
However, anyone who knows Jaguars can tell you these circuits are a huge aspect of why Jaguars are so great. They are able to provide a large tonal range that you’ll find uses for in every type of musical setting.
This Jaguar also has decent quality materials for a budget-friendly guitar. Despite the lower price, it doesn't seem as if Squier cut too many corners to produce a low-cost guitar.
The Classic Vibe ‘70s Jaguar definitely takes inspiration from its vintage siblings. However, this model does have some modern aspects that provide a level of convenience for the everyday player.
One of the most notable changes is the location of the truss rod adjustment. Vintage Fenders required the removal of the neck for a simple twist of the screw.
Item Weight: 10 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44.5 x 15 x 4 inches
Classic Vibe ‘60s Telecaster Thinline
There’s really something quite attractive about a resonant F-hole on Fender guitars. A great case in point is to take a look at the iconic Telecaster Thinline models.
These guitars have become some of the most sought out and beloved guitars amongst guitarists. Every time these models are released, they seem to perform quite well, both in the market and on the stage.
If you’ve ever longed for a Thinline model of yourself, but can’t afford the Fender offering, you’re still in luck. The Classic Vibe ‘60s Telecaster Thinline (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is a worthy choice that may just be what you’ve been looking for.
As you might guess, this is a chambered, semi-hollowbody guitar made of Nato. The guitar’s natural color is given the spotlight, and it really does complete the guitar’s aesthetics.
The neck of this guitar is made of Maple, with a scale length of 25.5” and a C-shaped contour. This neck will feel identical to nearly every Fender offering, which is a plus if you’re used to those guitars.
Maple is also used in the fretboard’s design. This fretboard has a 9.5” radius, with 21 narrow-tall frets outlined by black dot inlays.
For pickups, you’ll get a pair of Alnico single-coils designed by Fender. These will provide those classic Telecaster tones that the guitar is best known for.
This guitar also comes with a 3-way switch as well as a master volume and tone knob. These will allow you to really hone in on those magical tonal areas.
For hardware, the Classic Vibe ‘60s Telecaster Thinline features:
- A bone nut
- A 3-saddle bridge that supports a string-through-body design
- Vintage-style tuners
To complete the guitar’s aesthetic, this guitar features a large Pearloid pickguard.
What’s So Great About The Classic Vibe ‘60s Telecaster Thinline?
The Thinline models are perhaps some of the most popular Telecaster guitars of all time. True, a large part of its popularity has to do with the aesthetic attractiveness of the F-hole.
However, due to its chambered body design, these Telecasters have a bit more depth involved with their tone. This chambering allows for the guitar to breathe much similar to an acoustic guitar.
So, where traditional Telecasters might be a bit trebly, this will have a small degree of warmth added. As such, you’ll also find that you might have a slight degree of extra resonant sustain.
Squier has done an excellent job here in essentially reproducing a vintage guitar built for the modern player. All of the traditional elements that this guitar is known for can be found here.
Some of these vintage details include the 21 frets as well as the 3-saddle bridge. Squier has taken a few modern liberties with the guitar as well.
The most notable is, indeed, the location of the truss rod adjustment. You’ll be able to make simple tweaks without having to remove the neck from the pocket.
It also seems as if Squier has managed to cut as few corners as possible to provide a low-cost guitar. The bone nut is an especially welcomed feature, which can provide excellent sustain for any player.
When compared to its Fender brethren, the Classic Vibe ‘60s Telecaster Thinline is nearly identical. For this reason, this guitar is a no-brainer for anyone who has ever desired such a guitar.
Its affordability is perfectly suited for the beginner and intermediate budget ranges. You won’t be sacrificing too much in the name of affordability here.
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44.5 x 15 x 4 inches
Classic Vibe ‘60s Jazzmaster
While it might seem redundant to say such a thing, there is a reason for making the statement. Many of Fender’s Jazzmaster offerings today have modifications that are not true to the original design schematics.
As such, you’ll find that certain things are completely removed from these Fenders. Perhaps it's to make the Jazzmaster less confusing for the average guitarist.
However, Fender’s modern modifications do not serve the Jazzmaster purists in any form. Squier’s Classic Vibe ‘60s Jazzmaster, on the other hand, is pretty much the closest thing available on the market.
This guitar’s body is made of Poplar and comes in a variety of classic Jazzmaster color options, including:
- 3-tone sunburst
- Olympic white
- Sonic blue
The neck is made of Maple, featuring a C-shape contour and a 25.5” scale length. Indian Laurel is used for the fretboard, which has a 9.5” radius and 21 frets with Pearloid dot inlays.
For pickups, the Classic Vibe ‘60s Jazzmaster has a pair of Alnico single-coil pickups designed by Fender. Again, these are not true Jazzmaster pickups, but they produce tones that are very similar to the classic Jazzmaster sound.
In keeping with tradition, this Jazzmaster features both the lead and rhythm circuit. You’ll be able to switch between the circuits with the flip of a switch.
For the lead circuit, you’ll have a 3-way selector switch, as well as a master volume and tone knob. The rhythm circuit has a tone wheel and a volume wheel.
For hardware, this Jazzmaster comes equipped with:
- A bone nut
- A Vintage-style tuners
- A 6-saddle vintage-style bridge
- A Non-locking floating vibrato
What’s So Great About The Classic Vibe ‘60s Jazzmaster?
When compared to other Jazzmasters that can be found on the market, this model really stands out. It is the closest thing to an actual Jazzmaster that is available, aside from the aforementioned J Mascis model.
As such, you’ll find all of the traditional mainstay elements that Jazzmasters are best known for. In particular, you’ll really be able to take advantage of the lead and rhythm circuits.
Again, it seems as if Squier has not cut too many corners to provide a budget-friendly guitar. This model has an extremely solid build quality, making it the perfect platform for the average guitarist.
With that being said, you will need to weigh this against the aforementioned J Mascis model. Each has its own pros and cons that might make or break the decision for you.
For instance, this model does not have a different bridge, so you could have issues with strings popping off. However, the pickups are more closely aligned with the true Jazzmaster pickups than the J Mascis model is.
This neck is also noticeably slimmer in comparison to the J Mascis model. Each has a C-shaped neck, but the J Mascis is quite a bit fatter in depth.
The Classic Vibe ‘60s Jazzmaster also has far more color options to choose from. Each color choice is a hallmark color of the Jazzmaster tradition.
Aside from these differences, the Classic Vibe ‘60s Jazzmaster is the perfect guitar for someone’s first offset guitar. This guitar will really introduce you to the subtle differences between offset guitars and more popular mainstay guitar models.
Offset guitars have their own quirks that many guitarists are simply not equipped (or patient enough) to deal with. Those who love Jazzmasters are willing to deal with these quirks because of their playability and unique tone.
Classic Vibe Starcaster
In the 1970s, Fender started to experiment a bit with its product line. Primarily, Fender produced solidbody guitars, which, for the most part, still holds true today.
The aforementioned Telecaster Thinline was one of Fender’s first forays into the semi-hollowbody guitar market. However, the Starcaster was a wholly unique guitar in itself, featuring an offset body style and a double-bound body.
Today, you can get your hands on an affordable and faithful reproduction of the original Starcaster. The Squier Classic Vibe Starcaster (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is what you’ve looking for if you’ve been searching for something off the beaten path.
In keeping with tradition, this Starcaster features a double-bound semi-hollowbody offset design. The body is crafted with laminated Maple, with a center block made of Alder.
This guitar comes in a variety of different color options, including:
- 3-tone sunburst
No matter the color choice, you’ll have a Maple neck with a C-shaped contour and a 25.5” scale length. As is true with most Fender-style guitars, this model also features a modular bolt-on neck joint design.
The fretboard of the Classic Vibe Starcaster is also made of Maple. This has a 9.5” radius, with 22 narrow-tall frets outlined with black dot inlays.
For pickups, this guitar has a pair of wide-range humbuckers designed by Fender. These are especially pronounced in the mid-range EQ area and can provide that thick, semi-hollowbody warmth and punch.
A 3-way selector switch, as well as a pair of volume and tone knobs, are provided with this model. You’ll feel right at home here if you’re used to playing other semi-hollowbody guitars with a similar design.
For hardware, the Classic Vibe Starcaster features:
- A bone nut
- Vintage-style tuners
- Adjusto-Matic bridge
- Anchored tailpiece
What’s So Great About The Classic Vibe Starcaster?
Compared to the rest of the Fender-style model line, there is no other guitar like the Starcaster. In fact, this is more akin to a Gibson ES-335 than any guitar that Fender produces.
The Classic Vibe Starcaster really does stand out for this particular reason. It represents a time in history when Fender was willing to branch out and experiment with their guitars.
This specific model is a faithful reproduction of these obscure Fender models. Every detail is given attention, right down to its own unique headstock design.
If you’ve been interested in a semi-hollowbody guitar, the Classic Vibe Starcaster is worth looking at. You’ll have access to all of the tonal aspects these types of guitars are known for.
For instance, you’ll really be able to take advantage of the increased sustain and resonance. Solid-bodied guitars simply cannot compare to the breathability of these guitars.
The biggest difference is that your guitar will really stand out compared to the traditional semi-hollowbody guitars on the market. This design is uniquely Fender, particularly in its offset body schematics.
Those who have bought this guitar in the past have absolutely fallen in love with it. It can handle nearly any music genre thrown at it, which is a massive feat in itself.
Some have found its offset shape to be comfortable to play with but awkward for storage. One of the more common remedies has been a gig bag fit for a bass guitar.
This guitar is also priced quite affordably for nearly any kind of guitarist. It’s not often you find such an excellent, value-packed semi-hollowbody guitar at this price point.
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Package Dimensions: 47 x 20 x 5 inches
Why Should I Buy A Squier Guitar?
One of the most impactful decision points to weigh out when buying a guitar is your budget. You’ll often find that your budget will determine the range of guitars that you have access to.
For the most part, your budget will usually be determined by the level of skill you perform at. However, this isn’t always the case, as there are certainly highly skilled guitarists who are broke. Similarly, there are beginners who might be able to afford a high-dollar guitar.
Squier guitars present a unique opportunity for the value-driven, budget-conscious guitarist. These guitars are essentially built to Fender specifications, without the associated costs involved.
Why are these guitars so much cheaper? Part of it has to do with the location of the manufacturing facilities.
The eye for detail in craftsmanship compared to Fender is to a lesser degree. However, any guitar you might purchase is still going to be highly playable.
Another major factor has to do with the quality and material grades of all of the components in the guitar.
However, a closer comparison between these guitars and the Fender offerings sometimes shows few differences. For that reason, Squier guitars provide an extreme amount of value.
In fact, Squier was created by Fender to combat the number of counterfeit Fenders on the market.
As such, Squier guitars essentially provide a similar playing experience. These guitars are great for beginners and players of all skill levels.
In addition, the Squier guitars are also perfect platforms for guitar modifications. You can swap pickups without the worry of messing up a $1500 guitar.
Top Squier Guitars, Final Thoughts
As you can see, there are quite a bit of worthwhile guitars currently available in the Squier product line. Each offering is a true representation of its Fender sibling, without the associated cost that comes with it.
Be sure to take some time and try some of these guitars out for yourself. You will likely be pleasantly surprised by how well these guitars play and sound.