History of Squier Guitars
July 22, 2010 by Chaz
Squier is a second-line guitar company that sells low cost products akin to those of Fender Guitars, which was not always the case. Read History of Squier Guitars.
Squier’s trademark comes from the Squiers, an English immigrant family. The family’s first settler, Jerome Bonaparte Squier, built and repaired violins together with his son in Boston during the late 19th century. Victor Carroll Squire, Jerome’s son, eventually settled at Battle Creek, Michigan, where he founded his own string shop named V.C. Squier Company. The company’s first contact with Fender came in the 1950s, when Squier began making electric guitar strings for Fender’s first products.
- Fun Fact: When Fender bought out Squier Strings a few employee splintered off to form GHS Strings.
Squier stayed a string making firm until 1965, when it was acquired by Fender. After that, the name wasn’t heard of again until 17 years later when Fender resurrected the brand for selling cheaper alternatives to their Strats and Telecasters. Before Squier, Fender had sold budget guitar models under labels such as Fender Lead. However, these brands couldn’t compete with Japanese-made cheaper electric guitar alternatives and brands as the Fender budget-guitar factory was situated in California.
With the Squier models being manufactured in Japan, Squier quickly rose to prominence as a second-line guitar brand. The first models with the Squier inscription on the headstock were reproductions of Fender’s most famous guitars: the ‘57 and ‘62 Strats, ‘57 and ‘62 Precision Basses, and ‘52 Telecasters. These models were of very high quality and are very valuable in the eyes of guitar collectors still to this day.
In 1985, the next prominent Squier series was introduced – the Squier Standard Series. These guitars had a vintage touch to them, but had the features required in contemporary guitars. Still, non-pickguard models and models with a modern tremolo system were merely mirroring Fender’s own technological advancements.
The first innovative designs under the Squier moniker came only in the mid 2000s; previously, the only innovative designs presented in Squier were fusions of Fender’s guitar models. 2006 saw the release of the Hello Kitty guitar line, and a vintage line was released a year later. Both of these guitar lines had something completely new about them – the design of ‘Hello Kitty’ models, and the pickup and pickguard modifications of the vintage models.
Despite the lack of original products brought to the table, Squier guitars have been an inspiration for the younger generation, hence its motto, “Squier. Stop dreaming, start playing!” The affordable, yet quality instruments Squier offers, still help many beginning guitarists start their playing experience with prime medium-class guitar models.