Fender Squier Stratocaster

squier-affinity-strat-pack-with-fender-frontman-10G-ampThe Fender Squier Stratocaster

It's difficult to beat the value of a Fender Squier Stratocaster electric guitar bundle at about $199.  But before jumping in and buying one, here is some background on the Fender Squier line as well as some additional details on many of  the options the Fender Squier Stratocaster has to offer.

The Fender line of Squier Stratocasters were not always available as a more budget-conscious electric guitar.

The Squier Company was acquired by Fender in 1965, and then later in 1982, in order to compete with cheaper Japanese guitar makers and Fender "copies" Fender used the Squier name to begin sellling cheaper versions of their more expensive Stratocaster and Telecaster models.  

Before then, Fender used different model names and had not used their upper end guitar model names to produce cheaper versions.

Currently, the Fender Squier Stratocaster comes in about 23 different variations, which includes 4 left-handed versions.

Regular Fender Stratocasters (non-Squier models) can run anywhere from $600 to several thousand dollars, which is out of reach for the majority of beginners or electric guitar enthusiasts, so Fender used its "Squier" name to create cheaper replicas of their famous, more expensive lines of guitars, including the Stratocaster, the Telecaster and now many more.

What's with all the models and the letters like HH, HSS etc.?

This is a common question and has a simple answer, but what you decide is based on your personal preference in tonal possibilities.

S = Single Coil Pickup

H = Humbucker pickup

S= Single Coil Pickups - classic single coil magnetic pickup that tends to be brighter and more edgy than Humbuckers - can create more unwanted noise at higher gains.  Their design acts as a magnetic "antenna" of sorts, so they are sensitive to surrounding frequencies put off by nearby electronic devices, machines etc.  Single coils originated around the 1930s when guitar players wanted a "boost" so they could be heard in blues, jazz and other ensembles where they would normally be drowned out.  The cons of single coil pickups are their sensitivities to unwanted frequencies being picked up and passed through to the amp as noise.

H= Humbucker pickups - created later than the classic single coil, these tend to sound "fatter" "fuller" or 'warmer" yet they can also be used in some heavier thrashing music to get more gain with out the interfering feedback one might get from all Single Coil Pickups.  Humbuckers are designed with 2 coils out of phase which helps to cancel the extra, unwanted noise out, especially more noticeable when cranked up.

The order of the letters tells how they are set up from bridge toward the head so essentially an HSS has 3 coil pickups in the order of Humbucker - Single Coil - Single Coil starting closest to the bridge and moving toward the headstock.

fender-squier-stratocaster-fiesta-red-coils-5-way-switchFor instance, the Bullet Strat Tremolo HSS has 3 coils in the order of HUMBUCKER - SINGLE COIL - SINGLE COIL starting at the bridge and moving toward the neck or headstock.

Some prefer the combination of Humbuckers and Single Coils in their electric guitar setup as it gives them more tonality options from the pickups alone.  Used in conjunction with a 3 or 5 way switch, some players want a specific single coil or humbucker in a specific position as it gives different tonal qualities depending on the location of the coil in relation to the positions leading away from the bridge.  

The best way to determine what you like is to play a few different models with different Humbucker and Single Coil configurations, playing with a good amp on low, medium and high gain, while adjusting the 3 or 5 way switch, depending on the guitar you are playing.

Simply put, a 3 way switch will switch your pickup being amped from pickup 1, 2 or 3.  With a 3 way switch, you are only amplifying 1 coil at a time.

A 5-way switch will allow you to amplify 1 coil at a time if you are in the 1, 3 or 5 position.  If you are in the 2 or 4 position, those are blends of 2 pickups.  The 2 position is a blend of coil 1 and 2 while the 4 position is a blend of coil 2 and 3.  So a 5 way switch will give you 3 pure, 1 coil sounds and 2 blended coil sounds.

In other words:

Position 1: give you only the Bridge pickup.
Position 2: gives you a blend of the Bridge pickup and middle pickup.
Position 3: gives you only the Middle pickup.
Position 4. gives you a blend of the Middle pickup and neck pickup.
Position 5: gives you only the Neck pickup.

Clear as mud?

fender-squier-stratocaster

Squier Stratocaster models include many, many models and options.

The Fender Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster Electric Guitar

The Classic Vibe Stratocaster is a great line of electric guitars in both left and right hand models.  These are great, affordable, electric guitars that offer many vintage feel and look options, as well as classic 50s or 60s sound with modern technology.

If you are looking to capture the classic look, feel, and tones of an electric guitar from the 50s or 60s, at a very afforable price range (about $399 for each model), then the Fender Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster series is the guitar line you should be digging into!

 

fender-squier-classic-vibe-stratocaster-electric-guitar

According to the Fender website, the Fender Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster currently comes in 4 common models as displayed above, with multiples color options:

The Fender Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster 60s comes in either 3 color sunburst, burgundy mist, or Simon Neil Fiest Red as shown below.

fender-squier-classic-vibe-60s-stratocaster-burgundy-mist-electric-guitarThe Fender Squier Strat Classic Vibe 60s electric guitar series has some unique features 

Fender calls it a "rough-and-tumble" model that depicts the feel and sound from the 60s era, with some modern features.
 

fender-squier-classic-vibe-60s-stratocaster-3-color-sunburst-electric-guitar

These models have all single coil pickups for that thick, classic tone, giving a bit more edge and mid-range punch that you would expect from classic electric guitar of the 60s.  
 
All of the Fender Squier Classic Vibe 60s models have that rigid, solid maple c-neck cross section shape for the best feel and easy handling & playability.
 
They also feature all Alnico V (5) single coil pickups give it that quick attack and vintage tone with edge.  
 
The pole pieces are custom staggered by the design engineers to give you the ultimate string-to-string balance, meaning that they get the best tone from each string, while keeping the entire guitar output balanced and clean (no string will dominate over another through the amp).  
 
Although it has a 60s style neck, the C-shape and 9.5" radius allows for excellent feel and playability, allowing for versatile playing along the entire neck, and easy string bending without choking, as well as a full 21 fret reach.
 
fender-squier-simon-neil-classic-vibe-60s-stratocaster-fiesta-red-electric-guitarThese also feature a 5-way switch as explained above, giving you options to project using only 1 of the 3 coils at a time (for edge and tone control) or a blend of coil 1 and 2, or 2 and 3 with switch positions 2 and 4.
 
fender-squier-stratocaster-classic-vibe-50s-2-color-sunburst-electric-guitarThe vintage style tremolo bridge is synchronized and has a vintage style tremolo bar to give your sustain notes a nice vibrato.  
 
If you are not familiar, a tremolo bridge and tremolo bar create vibrato when you lever force on and off of the bar by changing the tension on all 6 strings at the tail-piece or bridge.  
 
Sometimes the tremolo bar is also called a whammy bar or vibrato arm or bar.
 
There is a unique model that is more challenging to find on the market in the Classic Vibe 60s line, which is the Fender Squier Simon Neil Stratocaster Classic Vibe in Fiesta Red 
 
This Simon Neil model has a cool fiesta red body color and a little change up on the coils.  Instead of having all Alnico V pickups, it has a mix of both alnico V (at the bass strings) and Alnico 3 magnetic pickups (at the treble strings) to get a great variety of tones for pure leads, and warm rhythm playing.  
 
Here is a great video of the Fender Squier Classic Vibe 60s being played in all switch / coil pickup positions with different effects processors so you can clearly hear the difference and versatility of this great guitar!
 
 
 
 
The other color for the classic vibe 50s is called Sherwood green metallic.  
 
fender-squier-stratocaster-classic-vibe-50s-sherwood-green-metallic-electric-guitar
If you are seeking the classic rock and roll sound, with plenty of verstility, featuring the warmth and the edge of 50s electric guitar, this is for you.
 
The Classic Vibe Stratocaster 50s creates that great 50s vintage tone with excellent sustain, crunch if you want it, ringing out clear, bright and true to the 50s era sound.
 
Just like with the 60s classic vibe, Fender has engineered custom staggered pole pieces to get the best clarity from each string without losing the overall balance of the guitar, so this will also sound great amplified whether you are playing a lead string, a 2 string lick, power chords or jamming on all 6 strings at once. 
 
Just like the 60s classic vibe, the 50s classic vibe has the C-shaped neck with vintage tint and gloss finish for a great, smooth feel and excellent playability for players of all experience levels.
 
It also has the 5-way switch to get the most tone options by using a single coil at a time or by activating or blending 2 of the coils at 1 time through the amp.
 
In addition, this also has 3 vintage knobs (volume, treble and bass) and a white pickguard on the green metallic version, as well as a tremolo / whammy bar.
 
* DIFFERENCES *
 
The biggest differences between the Fender Squier Classic Vibe 60s Stratocaster and the Fender Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster is the color options, basic style, and the 60s features alnico V single-coil pickups while the 50s features alnic III (3) single coil pickups.
 
Both the 50s and 60s classic vibe feature single coil pickups in all 3 coil positions, just different versions to create a more authentic tone reminiscent of the 50s or 60s vintage tones.
 
fender-squier-classic-vibe-50s-stratocaster-olympic-whiteThere is also a unique white version called the Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster 50s, Olympic White.
 
I cannot find any reason why it is currently retailing for nearly $300 more than the other models, other than it being more rare to find on the market.
 
Additionally, there is another unique 50s version that was created on the 60th Anniversary for Fender called the Aztec Gold version.
 
fender-squier-60th-anniversary-strat-classic-vibe-50s-aztec-gold-maple-fingerboard
 
This is identical with the other Squier Classic Vibe 50s setup except that it has the unique Aztec Gold (metallic) body finish and is laser engraved "1954-2014", 60 Years" on the neck plate to signify that it was made in limited quantities in 2014 to commemorate 60 years of Fender Electric Guitars being what they consider the best electric guitar brand on the planet.
 
Apparently the color options for left-handed models are not as diverse as the right-handed models, as you will find with most guitar companies (sorry lefties).

Also, each year, Fender often releases more models and you can find them in the marketplace often before you will find their website updated. . .

You can find out about more of them here.

The Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Next in the lineup is the Fender Standard Squier Electric Guitar.

fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-antique-burst-rosewood-fingerboard

The standard is the foundation for all of the other squier stratocaster models and it currently comes with 4 base models with color options.

The Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster comes in 3 color options with 3 fingerboard finish options.

The 3 body color options are Antique Burst - Candy Apple Red and Cherry Sunburst.

fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-antique-burst-maple-fingerboard

The 2 fretboard color options are rosewood and maple, but the Cherry Sunburst model only comes with the Rosewood Fingerboard.

The Fender Squier Stratocaster Standard is a great standard and a great electric guitar for the beginner, intermediate or the advanced player looking for a great secondary guitar that will not disappoint.  

fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-left-handed-antique-burst-rosewood-fingerboard

The sound, playability, look, feel and durability of this line of Fender Squier Guitars is practically unparalleled at an introductory price of only $249.

The color options for the body style and the neck are also quite extensive.

fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-left-handed-black-metallic-rosewood-fingerboardThere are a total of 10 body and fingerboard combinations with 4 base models, which includes 2 left-handed models offered in the antique burst or black metallic body finish with Rosewood fingerboard.

The Squier Standard Stratocaster is an excellent playing guitar that had a traditional vibe, and the neck and body give it a modern feel with a slick style.
 

fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-hss-black-and-chrome-maple-fingerboard

The models are all very player-friendly as they feature a full 22-fret fingerboard and also a slimmer than standard neck, having Fender's classic "C" shaped profile with their standard large headstock, with tuning keys aligned on 1 side.   which helps with smoother playing as well as helping with choke-free bends.
 
They come with standard with quality Alnico, single-coil pickups and a 5 way switch to give every player complete diversity in classic and modern electric guitar sound from an edgy crunch to a full, lush & mellow sound for ballads, and everything in between.
 
The Fender Squier Black and Chrome HSS has a humbucker in the bridge position pickup for a fatter, bigger, fuller sound when switch to the bridge position.
 
The HSS (as explained above) has 1 humbucker in the bridge position and 2 Alnico single coil pickups in the middle neck position, giving this guitar a wider variety of tonal output than just 3 single coils. 
 
This electric guitar is a great rocking guitar with the ability to play a big, fat, crunchy sound as well as a warm, smooth tone is an incredible value at around $250
 
This Special edition Black and Chrome Stratocaster HSS guitar give a modern edge with a classic appeal.
 
What's really eye-catching about the look of this model is the gloss black with matching black headstock and the balance of hardware and pick guard are in a stunning chrome.   It also features a nice dark, Rosewood fingerboard for rich beauty and smooth fingering / playability.
 
The last model in the Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster line is called the Standard Strat FMT which stands for Flame Maple Top.  
 
fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-fmt-electric-guitar
The body is made from Agathis Wood with a Flame Maple Top and it comes in 3 finishes, all with Rosewood Finger boards.
 
 
These are all the same in terms of hardware and electronics, following the fender standard line specs with 3 Alnico single coil pickups. 
 
The unique thing about them is the transparent gloss finish that reveals the beautiful flame maple grain pattern that comes through for a unique depth of beauty, revealing the natural wood grain in your choice of 3 stains - amber, crimson red and ebony.
 
Here is a close up look at the 3 different flame maple top grain patterns in Amber Burst - Crimson Red and Ebony
 
fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-fmt-amber-burst
 
fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-fmt-crimson-red-transparent
 
fender-squier-standard-stratocaster-fmt-ebony-transparent
 
Whether you rock with heavy metal, play a country or blues twang, or strum a beautiful ballad, the Fender Squier Standars guitar line can serve up the sound!
 

The Fender Squier Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Electric Guitar

fender-squier-stratocaster-deluxe-hot-rails-electric-guitar

The Fender Squier Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Electric Guitar comes in either Olympic White or Black, and is a sweet electric guitar for sure!

The main difference between these guitars and the other Squier Stratocasters is that instead of Alnico single coil pickups, they have "hot-rodded modifications" as stated by the Fender company.  

seymour-duncan-hr-101-humbucker-pickupThe pickups are  three awesome, high output Duncan Designed™ HR-101 pickups (A high-output, humbucking, single-coil sized version of Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickups)

These humbuckers are designed for high output, low noise (noise cancelling) design so you can get maximum sustain with the least noise interference.

Duncan started this line in 1995 based on demand from several of their OEM (original equipment maufacturer) customers.  Their demand was to have the Duncan pickup name on mid-level electric guitars between $300 and $800 price ranges. 

fender-squier-stratocaster-deluxe-hot-rails-olympic-white

For the Squier Deluxe Hot Rails models, they decided to use the HR-101 which is modeled from the very popular Seymour Duncan SHR-1 Hot Rails™ humbuckers, except these 101s have increased output - so apparently their goal was to have a maximum output guitar with excellent sustain and low noise while appealing to those who prefer Duncan pickups.

fender-squier-stratocaster-deluxe-hot-rails-black-electric-guitar

This is a very versatile, high performance model with the ability to go from lush, warm, sustaining mellow electric guitar to high-output, screaming, almost over the top sound.

Both the black and olympic white models feature:

  • Sturdy Maple Neck with the comfortable strat “C”-shaped profile
  • Vintage large Fender Headstock
  • Full Sized 22-fret rosewood fingerboard for ultimate playability
  • The 3 Seymour Duncan HR-101 Hot Rails Humbucking pickups
  • The standard squier stratocaster Five-way switch for the most versatile tonal output
  •  synchronized tremolo bridge (2 point) with block saddles

If you want an electric guitar with an incredible output and sustain, these Fender Squier Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Electric Guitars are the guitars for you at just under $300.

The Bullet Stratocaster with tremolo HSS  

The Bullet Stratocaster Squier Electric guitar comes in 4 ultra-cool finishes:

Black  |  Artice White  |  Brown Sunburst  |  Surf Pearl

fender-squier-bullet-stratocaster-tremolo-hss-electric-guitar-blackfender-squier-bullet-stratocaster-tremolo-hss-electric-guitar-arctic-whitefender-squier-bullet-stratocaster-tremolo-hss-electric-guitar-brown-sunburstfender-squier-bullet-stratocaster-tremolo-hss-electric-guitar-surf-pearl

More is to come on this complete review, as we will be adding all of the Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar line soon including the following:

 Vintage Modified 70s Stratocaster   

Classic Vibe Stratocaster - 50s Left-Handed   |   Classic Vibe Stratocaster - 60s Left-Handed

Affinity Series Stratocaster HSS

Affinity Series Stratocaster Left-Handed

Black and Chrome Standard Stratocaster HSS

Bullet Strat with Tremolo

Vintage Modified Surf Stratocaster

Standard Stratocaster FMT

Classic Vibe Stratocaster 50s

Affinity Series Stratocaster

Squier 51

Fender Squier Stratocaster Mini

Vintage Modified Stratocaster HSS

Simon Neil Stratocaster

Vintage Modified Stratocaster

SE Special with Squier SP-10 AMP

Starting with the original Fender Squier Standard Stratocaster
 
This is the "standard" that sets the foundation for all other Fender Strats.  Based off of the earlier, more expensive (non Squier) model, the Fender Squier Standard Strat is an all around great playing electric guitar with a modern feel, a traditional vibe and a very slick playability and style.
 
It features a 22-fret fingerboard with a slim neck, which helps with easier, smooth playability, allowing for choke-free string (note) bending.
 
Classic electric players of all skill levels love the punchiness provided by the Alnico single-coil pickups, providing that traditional electric rock sound that can be modified beautifully with any pre-amp, amp and effects processor.
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