I think Squier is becoming the Fender Farm Team

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Frank Vozak, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    In the last year and a half that I have returned to playing bass after a 50 year hiatus that included selling all my old equipment, I have firmly relocated my self from the Made in California Vintage Fender Bass Club to the made in Indonesia Squier by Fender Bass Club. Squier gave me the bridge back to playing bass at an affordable cost that a retiree can handle. Do I miss my 1967 basses Fender Mustang, Fender Jazz Bass and
    Gibson EB-O YES! Could I afford the basses I once owned NO! I feel like life was when you worked you had money but no time and in retirement you have time but no
    money. Squier and Indonesian Built Fenders helped me resolve that problem. I own a Squier/Indonesia SS Jaguar Bass and a Fender /Indonesia CB Acoustic Bass and am close to buying a Squier/Indonesia Precision Mini.

    What I have begun to notice is that Fender has started trying out new ideas for the whole Fender line by producing these ideas as a Squier model. Before I bought my
    Silver Squier SS Bass I had never seen a silver finish on a Fender. My daily email from Fender shows a new color on Precision basses------the same silver as on my 1 2/2 year old Squier/Indonesia Jaguar Bass. I get the feeling that a short scale Jazz bass profile neck (unlike the Precision profile short scale neck on Mustang Basses) and the new Squier Precision Mini Bass may be Squier teasers designed to try a concept on a Fender family product with out risking the Fender name and product profile with a possible non starter. Granted Fender has made short scale Precisions and Jazz basses for years for the Japanese market.

    If my supposition is correct, then it is exciting that Fender's affordable b ran d Squier gets to have a new role in the life of Fender, especially for those of us whose finances keep us squarely in the Fender of Indonesia Squier guitars and basses land.

    What do you guys think?
  2. Gabbs


    May 15, 2010
    Boulder Creek, CA
    Retailers are more likely to take a chance not selling a cheaper instrument over an expensive one
  3. ZedLepp


    May 12, 2013
    In your line of introducing new ideas to the lineup, I would have to say:
    Fender, could you please give us access to all the cool stuff that Fender Japan produces.
  4. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    The other interesting thing is that our local Fender Dealer is a small barely selling $250,000of Fender Products per year (Fender's required minimum to maintain a Fender dealership) along with being a custom luthier selling handmade guitars $10,000 and up. I think he sells 10 Squiers for every Fender guitar he sells especially among his bass lineup. Our local market is heavily the under $500 a purchase market and the Squier price point has made him able to sell alot of Fender products when he might have only sold a few and lost his franchise because he could not make the $250,000 annual inventor4y medium. With the exception of a few MIM Fender guitars and basses, mostg Fender products are out of the reach of many limited finance and young musicians. In 1967 I was able to buy a Gibson EB-O for $250 for a floor model clearance and $350 for a Jazz Bass in the same sale (I could have bought a Gibson Thunderbird with two pickups for $350 in the same sale) in 1967 Mustang Basses were list price $250. Now look at Fender and other high quality guitar prices---even good discount dealers like Musicians Friend, Sweetwater and Woodwinds brasswinds start at mover $600. That's alot of weekly allowances, burgers to flip, lawns to mow, sidewalks to shovel, grocery bags to carry to the car for many aspiring bassists.
  5. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    I haven't been following the order quite often enough to know, but it definitely seems like Squire has been the place for some interesting combinations or unusual models. As an example, I do think the Squire "Vintage Modified Precision TB" (the single mudbucker Telebass) predated the release of the MIC Fender dual mudbucker version.

    I think that Squire's above the "Affinity" line have become roughly what the MIM standard series used to be in terms of price, quality and perception. 20 years go there were very few squire models, they (except for rare MIJ versions) were really only used by beginners and they were quite cheap. If you wanted an affordable "Fender" you went with the MIM. Now the price has come up (not quite where MIM was, but close) and there's a really wide range of gigable Squire instruments, many of which ape the more expensive stuff in style and configuration in a way that Fender never would have allowed back then.

    We're definitely living in the golden age for affordable instruments.
    EdO. likes this.
  6. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    Even the Affinity line has, generally speaking, shown improvement of late (imo).
    UNICORN BASS likes this.
  7. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    I own two USA Fender Precisions, an orginal '59 and a 2014 American Special as well as a 2019 MIM Custom Color Precision, all very good guitars, very playable and sound great, especially the '59. I bought a Squier VM Fretless P a couple years ago and love it as well. It continues to impress other players/band members with it "Precision" sound. So I'd have to agree with for sure.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  8. nabilhuakbar


    Jan 13, 2020
    Not to mention that $250 in 1967 is close to $2000 in today's money...

    So a Fender starting at $600 is actually a lot cheaper than it cost you back in the day because of inflation
  9. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Exactly. The actual price of a MIA Fender is actually very similar to what it was in the 60s adjusted for inflation, the issue of affordability stems from the fact that wages have stagnated and not kept pace with that change over the past 30 or so years.
  10. JoshS


    Dec 30, 2018
    Is this true? Boy that is a lot of Squiers, if the premise is they sell 10 squiers for every fender.

    I'm not that old, but that's what I was thinking too.
    nabilhuakbar likes this.
  11. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    Thank you for the reality check. Turns out the three basses current value is around $2000 apiece
    nabilhuakbar likes this.
  12. Oig


    Jun 12, 2019
    'K so I'm bringing this thread back from the dead, but most of the recent Squiers I've played have knocked my socks off in terms of price to quality ratio. I have a VM short scale Jag, I wouldn't be able to tell it was under $1000 with my eyes closed. I have a friend who is a pro with a stable of 60's Fenders, Ken Smiths, etc. Guess what he plays out and tours with? His stock Squier Jazz Bass V and a Squier/Fender Japan partscaster.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  13. nabilhuakbar


    Jan 13, 2020
    I'ma agree with you here. I've been diving back into guitar a lot lately and I gotta say...Squiers absolutely kick ass. My Classic Vibe strat sounds, plays, and feels incredible. My Affinity Strat and Tele both have some excellent bones -- straight necks, level frets, really nice bodies -- and actually sound pretty good stock. I'm still replacing the pickups because they're just begging to be modded but overall I think they're exceptional instruments coming from one of the bigger names out there. My CV P-bass is a permanent stable member.

    Are Harley Bentons a better value? Probably, but if you're in the states you're paying quite a bit for shipping now so the playing field is actually pretty level there. And honestly, it may be headstock badge-ism, but my Harley Bentons never really left me feeling satisfied. But I really love my Squiers.

    I've heard people comparing the current lineup to the MIM Fenders of old -- and I'd 75% agree (110% if we're talking about the CV line). Most of the lower-line Squiers can stand a pickup upgrade but otherwise they're excellent.

    This video was actually what sold me on my Affinity Strat:

    When a Fender Master Builder is impressed by them, that's about the best possible endorsement you could get.

    Also, Epiphone has really stepped it up in the last few years. Their Les Pauls are excellent for the money and I gotta say, my plain Jane Thunderbird-IV has been my go-to bass for recording for months now. It's just so meaty and thick and hits all the right places in the mids but it also takes on grit so well. It sounds amazing, especially with a pick.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  14. felis


    Jul 31, 2013
    Midwest, USA
    All my Mustangs have 1.5" neck. The current Classic Vibe Mustang does too.

    Unless I misunderstood what you wrote.
  15. I couldn't agree more. Out of now 11 basses three are Epiphone T-birds, two are Squiers (a bone stock Matt Freeman P and a modded Mike Dirnt P), a $300 Steinberger Spirit, the others all run in the $1200 - 2500 range. I regularly gig the lower cost ones as much as the others. These days an expensive instrument really isn't a requirement to play well and sound good.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Fender's risk aversion limits them to taking things from their history and tweaking them here and there a bit, but even then, they don't want to risk things on their top end models, unless they're proven. The fact that Squier has a line of "vintage modified" models should be an indicator that your idea is right, but.....isn't anywhere close to a secret.

    Squier is the farm team for Fender in more than one way - as a test market, yes, but also as a gateway to Fender for young folks - get 'em used to playing a P or a J (or strat or tele or....) at an affordable price, if they stick around, they'll hopefully eventually pop for a "big boy/big girl" bass or guitar from Fender itself.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
    nabilhuakbar likes this.
  17. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    I think your post is spot on. Being retired I can't the JB or Mustang I bought in 1967. I sold my big boy pants and my pension only allows for Indonesian Fender marketed bass products By the way my wife enjoyed the money from 2006 when I sold them both to a vintage guitar dealer in excellent condition with hard wood case with black chequered cover. My wife thought my Squier Mini broke the bank
  18. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    My Squier Precision Mini continues to amaze. it is really quite a decent bass left stock and the fabulous quality of the basic build of the bass has earned it a good review from Bass Player magazine and from at least one on-line bass maGAZINES (#10 of the topic 10 new basses for 2020) as well as providing an excellent foundation for modding a 28.6 inch neck bass. (just check out the stream on TB's Squire Mini Bass Club.)Eliff's observation that we are in an amazing time of affordable highly gigable basses is so very much the truth. And Squire leads the pack with with new and very interesting basses (though I don't play guitar, their guitars look awfully good too)
    JoshS likes this.
  19. Frank Vozak

    Frank Vozak Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2020
    Oak Park, IL
    No commercial affiliation
    Fells-if you measured then you are correct---my supposition about the original Mustang neck was based purely on feel between my 67 Mustang and 67 Jazz Bass and then the input from a fellow Jaguar owner whose sense was that the SS Jaguar profile was a Jazz bass shortened and my sense that my original '67 Mustang had a Precision type neck. Won't be the first time I have been incorrect with a TB post. An aside, since Glarry's ad for PB II bass popped up as I'm writing this, Another bass friend and I took a look at the neck on mhy new GP II 34" neck
    (mine is a beautiful sunset), my neck measures out to be the same size as one of the so-called ballbat Fender Precision necks,

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