The main reason not to buy a Squier guitar is because the Company is owned by Fender. Because of this reason alone it ensures that any Squier guitar is going to be somewhat inadequate and inferior because Fender will make sure it is. I own a Squier Classic Vibe 60s Stratocasters and taking it at face value it looks and feels really nice. It certainly looks like a quality guitar in every way. It is only when you come to plug it into an amp when you understand it’s shortcomings and to all intents and purposes it was designed to be a disappointment because Fender simply do not want you to get anywhere near the quality of their own premium Fender lines. In a way it makes financial sense to protect the originality of their own more expensive guitars. They simply do not want you to be able to obtain that quality at a bargain price. It is such a shame because when not plugged in this guitar has such potential. The Squier Classic Vibe had the potential to be a classic guitar in it’s own right and could rightly have been up there alongside many classic Fender Strats but obviously Fender could not and would not tolerate this so it designed a system of poor quality, inferior pick ups and/or electrics to make sure that the Classic Vibe never quite reached it’s true potential and thus protected its premium brand status. The Classic Vibe feels like a real instrument of quality made for a musician of intermediate to professional level. It is not an entry level guitar until you plug in it into an amp when all its potential just ebbs away into dissatisfaction. The same goes for Gibson and it’s own cheaper brand of Epiphone. I feel sorry for the workers and designers in these factories who must get pretty frustrated at seeing their products and handiwork being sabotaged in this way because they are certainly very capable of producing lovely instruments.
So one thing to bear in mind when purchasing a guitar is whether the manufacturer has a vested interest in selling you an inferior product. Taking the Squier Classic Vibe as an example on the surface you would say what a lovely guitar it is. However I also own a Chord Stratocasters that I paid less than £100 for and when I plug that in and play it it sounds 100x better than the Squier and that is because that manufacturer has no interest in making an inferior product so it invests in equipping the guitar as best it can. It wants to make the product as good as it can to improve it’s reputation whilst also offering the customer a good bargain. It chucks no spanner in the works because it has no interesting in protecting it’s brand. It offers no premium alternative. What you see and get is the best quality product that it has to offer. It offers an honest product for a modest price making it a modest profit. In reality I would have been prepared to pay more for this standard of workmanship and hardware. I would choose that every time. Another notable manufacturer which also has integrity and the same ethics is JHS Vintage brand which is another brand I would endorse without question. I would choose both of these brands above Squier or Epiphone. So my advice is beware of companies that are a sister company to a premium brand manufacturer in my opinion they will always let you down and there will be something substandard about their product. Beware of any pick ups that have been designed by the parent company because they are doing it for a reason.
As you improve on an instrument you begin to notice an instrument’s flaws and limitations. You can I suppose correct some shortfalls with investments and modifications so perhaps you have to balance this into the equation. Normally a new set of pickups and rewiring would cost you at least upwards of £100 depending on how much you wish to invest so this might still make the overall cost less than a brands premium product.