What Would Leo Fender Think of Squier?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dan Pomykalski, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. I didn’t know what to search for, so sorry if this has been beaten to death, but what do you think Leo Fender would think of Squier? Do you think he would have gone that route had he still been running Fender? From what I’ve read about him, part of me thinks he would have been for it, but I’m not sure if he was a stickler for U.S. made stuff.
  2. flojob

    flojob Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2011
    Probably would try to think of ways to increase the profit margin haha
  3. pudge


    Sep 13, 2008
    Not sure what the margin is on a squier,but i'm sure he would approve.A buck is a buck,if you can't sell 'em a $1,200.00 fenders sell 'em a $400.00 squier.As far as being US made ,he'd have gotten over that years ago.Again a buck is a buck.
    Pilgrim, Eugene.thomas87 and TrustRod like this.
  4. Leo was obviously an innovator, so the way I see it, the introduction of a cheaper brand under his name would have went 2 ways:
    1) He may have become a stickler with the branding and refused to allow the name to be diluted/cheapened and eventually be removed from power.

    2) Being an innovator also means being able to rebadge your company, start fresh and be dynamic and open to what the masses need. Possibly, he’d have made MIM and Squier where they are now from the get go, or at least their QC back in the day wouldn’t have been so bad, or possibly never introduced a second brand and instead a new range.

    I think option 2 is the most likely scenario.
    mbell75 likes this.
  5. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Leo worked very hard at making things as cheap as possible. His designs were very different from what Gibson did - they started with traditional guitar making, and morphed it to make solid body electrics (they still had the same neck joints, kept the basic shape of things, and kept binding on the bodies and necks); Leo threw most of how guitars were made before out the window, with bolt on necks, no binding, different body and headstock shapes, and the like. If you look at some of the early hardware, it was cheap bent metal stuff - it was the cheapest thing that worked. The fiber board used for pickup bobbins (which people copy for some silly reason) was, again, the cheapest thing that worked (bobbin material on magnetic pickup is very non critical stuff). One of the stories (may or may not be true) I've heard was that, when they fired someone at Fender, he'd grab their leftover business cards and use them as shims on guitars and basses.

    So, if someone offered Leo a labor pool that was a whole lot cheaper, would he take it? I think so. Squier certainly doesn't represent any radical departure in design - its the same design, just in a factory with lower labor costs.
  6. Fender bought Squier because they were a US based string manufacturer. It was a targeted business acquisition.

    Today, irrespective of where they are made, Squier make some very respectable instruments at a budget price.

    I can't imagine why Leo would think of a Squier as anything other than a success.
  7. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Squier started making guitars in 1982 and Leo didn't die until 1991. Someone had to have asked him what he thought about it. Im sure he would have loved it because it was Squier, along with getting Fender Japan going that bailed them out in the early 80s when Fender was close to going under as competition got fierce. Here is some interesting info on this time period for those unfamiliar.

    A Brief History of Squier and the Origins of Fender MIJ
  8. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Leo Fender and his team wanted sales. They would understand exactly why Squier occupies that space in the market, and if the figures stacked up they would be happy.
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    When Leo sold fender, the US was manufacturing a LOT more than it does now. He made less expensive instruments - I think he would have approved.
  10. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Guest

    Mar 24, 2006
    The early bridge base plates were cheap bent metal, but those treaded-rod bridge saddles are somewhat laborious to make...cut a 10’ piece of 5/16” diameter rod down to 1” pieces and finish the ends so they don’t rip your hands to shreds, then drill and tap teeny-tiny holes perpendicular to the radius for height adjustment and another for intonation adjustment...I’d Hate to do that over and over again...

    Then Leo designed better and better bridges with each company he started thereafter.
    bassrique likes this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Doing that at home is indeed daunting and boring, but bridge saddles are a simple screw machine part - with the right machine, they're very easy to make. Even in the 1950's.
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  12. klejst

    klejst Guest

    Oct 5, 2010
    Squier has made pretty good strides for the better over the recent years I'd say. Anything to get money flow and a good rep I think he'd be cool with ha.
    lizardking837 and mbell75 like this.
  13. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Leo was all about the manufacturing and mass-production and making a profitable business. I bet he would have approved.
  14. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Yep. The quality of Squier guitars has gone up the last 5-10 years or so. The quality of MIM and even MIA Fenders have gone down. The $199 Squier Affinity PJ I bought is in great shape, the two MIM Fender P basses were not. One has a very bent neck, the other has razors for fret edges. Even MIA Femders are hit and miss these days, although to their credit, you are much more likely to get a hit with them. In 2019, the only real difference between Squier and Fender is the quality of woods hardware and components. The latter two can be upgraded.
  15. Did G&L's Tribute line begin while he was still living? If yes, that might be a good indication of what his position would have been...
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Squier is the absolute proof of Leo’s contention that it was possible to mass produce good sounding and playing quality musical instruments, and sell them at a price nearly anybody could afford while still making a healthy profit.

    It think he would have felt vindicated.
    nonohmic and mbell75 like this.
  17. TinyE


    Jan 31, 2013

    to this point, fender now has 9 'levels' of a jazz bass (including squier) listed on their website.
    I can't even tell what is what anymore.
    Is the Artist series just a glorified MIM?
    Microbass, lizardking837 and mbell75 like this.
  18. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    Leo's entire premise was "cheap and disposable". He would have been fine with Squier, just so long as the cash kept coming in.
  19. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    He will stick to the R&D and let the finance/marketing/selling areas to make the decisions related to busine$$...so yes, I don't have any doubt that Fender with Leo will be selling cheaper versions of his basses.
  20. Acoop


    Feb 21, 2012
    Considering the original MIJ Squires were a great tribute to his original design I'm sure he wouldn't mind. ... Though, I doubt he'd be interested or impressed by what they've turned into. ... Leo was an inventor not a retailer.
    lizardking837 likes this.