Fender Squier Guitars
Little known history behind Fender Squier Guitars
In fact, the Squier name, for decades, was not originally used for guitars at all.
The Squier name has a unique history from a pre-1900s instrument string making company named from its founder, Victor Carroll Squier.
Victor founded the company, V.C. Squier in 1890 in Battle Creek Michigan.
During many decades that followed, the V.C. Squier company crafted strings for many instruments, including violins, banjos and guitars.
Fender did not acquire the company and it's naming rights until 1965, but did not use the Squier name for any guitar models until much later, in 1982.
After acquiring the V.C. Squier company, Fender used the facilities to produce strings, but never used the Squier name as a string brand. They continued to create their own strings under their own "Fender" name.
It was only in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Fender had to make some changes in order to compete with the cheaper guitar models coming out of Japan.
Until then, Fender did quite well offering higher end electric guitars in multiple markets across the global arena.
Fender had used other guitar model names (non-Squier names) for their cheaper models back in the 70s, but with steep competition from the Japanese manufactured guitars continued to increase due to much cheaper labor and productions costs, Fender decided to revive the Squier name and move their cheaper guitar production off of American shores, and on to Japanese shores.
Ever since, Fender has set up shop in multiple areas outside the USA such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Japan and Korea.
Old roots. . . great vintage name
The V.C. Squier Company had been founded in 1890, in Battle Creek Michigan, by the son of a European shoemaker and farmer who had also learned how to make fine violins. Jerome Bonaparte Squier, moved from England to Boston around 1881, and began teaching his son, Victor, how to build and repair violins.
Still to date, the violins made by Jerome and Victor Squier demand a high price and are known for their beautiful varnishes and excellent, early US craftsmanship.
Although there is only 1 true Stradivarius, the hallmark of great violins, J.B Squier was known as "the American Stradivarius".
In 1890, V.C. Squier moved to Battle Creek Michigan and opened his own shop. Eventually, he moved the shop to a location at 427 Capitol Ave, which is known as the famous "fiddle factory". Because there was not much of a market demand for violins in Battle Creek, Victor networked actively with famous violin players and national music schools.
Before 1900, European made violin strings were considered the best and most popular, but they were also the most costly because they were all hand-wound. When Victor began making his own strings, his business grew at an incredible rate and demand was almost too much for his small band of employees.
There's a saying that necessity breeds innovation, and that is what they did! They innovated by converting a treadle sewing machine into a machine that could wind violin strings increasing their production to 1,000 high-quality, wound strings each day (per machine). Not only was this applicable to violin strings, but also viable for guitar and banjo strings.
Not only were the strings being produced at a new break-neck speed, but they were able to charge less than the competition without impeding the quality. This combination of quality, lower price, and their good company name made these strings very popular among students around the nation.
Along comes the electric instrument age!
In the 1930s, electric stringed instruments began gaining popularity among musicians and performers. At this time, Squier was already firmly established in the acoustic string market, so the addition of string production for electric stringed instruments was natural.
Along comes Leo Fender, business man and investor from California, and his strange new electric guitars. A subsequent marriage between the Squier company and the Fender company emerged as Squier became and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for Fender's strings in 1963.
In 1965, a quick swing of acquisitions happened - Fender acquired Squier, then CBS acquired Fender, with the Fender brand eventually retiring the Squier name from the instrumental string line.
The Birth of the Fender Squier Line of Guitars (1982 - current)
Fender was making lower priced guitars for years, but had never used model names of their higher end guitars for these more budget conscious models. Around 1982, this changed when they were being out-sold by Japanese companies who were offering lower-priced Fender "knock offs".
Japanese companies were able to piggy back on the popularity of the models that Fender had worked hard to build, and because of their cheaper labor and productions costs, and other economic factors, the Japanese companies could sell these knock-offs at much cheaper prices than the higher sticker on the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster models.
Decision Time for The Fender Company
Because Fender was losing sales to popular, cheaper Japanese brands like Fernandes, Greco, and Tokai, they had to make some changes and do some negotiating with key Japanese people / companies. American sales were fine for their higher end models, but Fender was struggling in the cheaper guitar market. After some shrewd negotiations among several Japanese instrument distributors, as well as an agreement with the Greco brand (cheap Japanese Fender copier), the Greco company ceased making the Fender knock offs to become the Japanese distributor of the real (new) Japanese Fender, and production of guitars by the new Japanese Fender locations were launched.
Enter the Fender Squier Guitar models!
In the late summer of 1982, the Squier name was re-born. This time, it was not for instrument strings, but for more affordable versions of the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster.
In the ensuing decades, Fender continued to grow the Squier line by adding more models, more options, more color schemes, and the bass guitar and acoustic guitar models.
They also continued to be able to remain competitive and popular as they branched out with manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, Korea, China, and continued growth in Japan.
Throughout the last few decades, Fender has continued to stay at the cutting edge of adapting and adding to the Squier electric guitar models and options to stay with the times and meet customer demands and popular style changes.
Every 5 to 10 years brings changes in popular guitar culture and Fender has continued to meet the demands of an ever-changing populations of guitar players world-wide.
Fender Squier guitars now feature dozens of models in electric versions, bass, and acoustic to suit just about any style of player, music, genre, and style.
You can read more reviews on each series of models below.
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