Squier guitars and basses offer real instruments to players on a budget at a price much lower than their Fender equivalents. The story of the brand goes all the way back to the 1800’s when Jerome Bonaparte "J.B." Squier, a young English immigrant came to the United States. He had worked as a farmer and shoemaker but had also learned the fine European art of violin making.
Soon after his arrival in 1881, he moved to Boston, where he built and repaired violins with his son Victor. Today, these violins are noted for their exceptional varnishes and command high prices as fine examples of early U.S. instrument craftsmanship.
Meanwhile, most violin strings were still being produced in Europe. In around 1900, Victor Squier decided to become a violin string manufacturer to meet the domestic demand. His team adopted a production method that allowed Squier to produce 1000 perfectly uniform strings per day, a real feat of engineering at the time.
Business progressed and by the depression years Squier was making strings for other instruments, notably some of the early electric guitars. Eventually they began supplying Southern California inventor and businessman Leo Fender with strings for his unusual new electric guitars.
Thus, the V.C. Squier Company became an official original equipment manufacturer for Fender in 1963, and Fender bought the string company in early 1965 shortly before Fender itself was bought by CBS. By the mid-1970s, the Squier name was retired as the strings had taken the Fender name.
In the early ‘80s, concerned Fender officials noted the abundance of Japanese guitar makers who were blatantly copying—in some cases cloning—original vintage Fender designs with great accuracy and low costs. A decision was made to revive the Squier brand as the name for a new line of inexpensive stringed instruments from Fender.
Fender acted by setting up its own official Japanese manufacturing operation, Fender Japan, in March 1982. A joint U.S.-Japanese venture, Fender Japan produced Squier guitars with material and technical support from Fender's U.S. facilities. Japanese manufacturing facilities even included factories that had been producing the aforementioned Fender copies.
Early Squier models included Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision bass models, and three Bullet models. By the mid-‘90s The Squier lineup was augmented with Affinity and Pro Tone/Vista series guitars and basses that were fine instruments with special touches that appealed to the growing number of Squier players who preferred to upgrade their instruments with after-market parts.
Squier celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2002 by launching the Series 24 instruments (referring to their 24-3/4' scale length). More successful that year was the follow-up to the best-selling guitar of the previous two years, which was a version of Blink182 frontman Delonge's signature guitar. Artist associations have been an important part of Fender from the beginning, not only in terms of brand awareness, but also as part of product evolution. Squier now entered that arena, too.
Squier is Fender—sharing its product platforms, trademarks, standards and iconic designs. Squier is the launching pad for beginners, pointing intermediate and advancing guitarists toward their ultimate goal—owning a Fender!