Most parts are interchangeable between Squier and Fender guitars. Electric components can be switched easily, but the other parts of the guitar can depend on the make and models of the guitars.
Most parts, especially electronic ones, are easily interchangeable between a Squier and a Fender. If you’re looking to upgrade your Squier guitars pickups to the arguably better Fender pickup, then you won’t have to worry too much.
However, it’s slightly different when talking about guitar necks as it varies on several factors.
There are minuscule variations between the necks in both Squier and Fender guitars. The shape of the neck and the width of the pocket plays a crucial role in whether you can use them interchangeably between the two guitars. The chances are very slim, so it’s best to do your research before trying anything.
I have used both Squier and Fender guitars. Yes, there are differences, but both have their pros and cons. I have gotten their questions from many guitarists, and I have previously used Fender parts to build a Squier guitar, and I’ll share my experience with you.
In this article, I will discuss parts of different guitars being used interchangeably and ways to make the sound of a cheap guitar better. Here are the topics we will cover in this article:
- Are Squier and Fender the Same?
- How to Make a Squier Strat Sound Better?
- Can You Put a Fender Neck on a Squier Body?
- Can You Put a Fender Tuner on a Squier Body?
- Can You Make a Squier Play Like a Fender?
- How Can You Tell a Squier From a Fender?
Are Squier and Fender the Same?
Squier is a sub-brand of Fender which means that technically Squier guitars are made by Fender. However, this doesn’t mean that both are the same thing. There are many differences between both guitars.
While a Fender Strat may look very similar to a Squier Strat, they are different in many ways. This isn’t a bad thing, and it won’t make one superior to the other; it just means that they are different.
Squier guitars are made in Asian factories, while Fender guitars are made in US or Mexican factories. This means that different people work on the two different guitars, and there are different quality standards in the varying factories.
One major difference before was the price tag as Squier guitars were significantly cheaper than fender ones, but the lines have become blurred these days. Generally, Squiers cost less than Fenders and typically use lower quality parts.
However, some Squier guitars cost more than a Fender one and play better than their Fender counterparts.
When looking at a Squier and a Fender, most people won’t tell the difference, but generally, a Fender guitar will have a better finish.
Guitar brands are complicated, and licensed guitars only make it more confusing. However, the main lesson here is that the Fender vs. Squier issue is mainly just a change in a brand name.
You shouldn’t worry too much about the name on the headstock and look for a guitar that suits you.
Can You Put a Fender Neck on a Squier Body?
You can put a Fender neck on a Squier body, but the compatibility varies from one guitar model to the other. As long as the neck fits the dimensions of the body, you should be fine when looking for a replacement.
Fender has stated that most Squier and Fender necks can be interchanged. The specifications of the neck pocket on a fender guitar are as follows:
- 56 mm (2-3/16″) – Width
- 76 mm (3″) – Length
- 16 mm (5/8″) – Pocket Depth
There are several unofficial replacements, so if you’re looking to use them, first ensure that their specifications match the official Fender specs I mentioned. When choosing official Fender necks, make sure they match the official specs. Also, ensure that you have a 3-bolt or 4-bolt neck as they have different screw patterns and won’t be compatible with the others.
When changing the necks, carefully insert the Fender neck in the Squier neck pocket. You will know if it’s a good fit as the neck will just drop into place if there is a good fit.
Remember, you should never force it into the pocket as it’s just going to cause damage to the body. Trust me, I tried, and it never ended up well.
Once the neck sits in place, use one hand to hold everything in place while you use the other one to insert the screws. Insert all scores into the neck holes, but tighten them in a cross shape.
Make use of tightening them by hand and avoid using power tools here. Make sure you don’t overtighten the screws.
Can You Put a Fender Tuner on a Squier Body?
You can put Fender tuners on a Squier body by drilling two small holes for the pins in the back. Although they are interchangeable, Fender and Squier tuners have different pin spacing.
The tuner mounting pattern of Fender isn’t entirely incompatible with Squier, but it isn’t a seamless process either.
You can swap them out with a lot of work which doesn’t make this a viable option, especially if you’re inexperienced with replacing guitar parts.
In some cases, like the Squier Bullet Stratocaster, you will need to drill a larger hole to accommodate the tuner, while some may require an additional sleeve.
I recommend looking for a custom third-party tuner that suits your guitar’s model rather than trying to make a Fender one work.
I would recommend getting this done by a professional as drilling holes in the guitar body can cause permanent damage if not done properly.
How Can You Tell a Squier From a Fender?
The weight, paint job, branding, neck, and headstock decals can help you differentiate between the Squier and Fender guitars.
It can be very difficult, especially for someone not well versed in the guitar world, to tell the difference between a Squier and a Fender guitar.
Several parts on a Squier guitar can be replaced with original Fender ones, and headstock decals can be sanded off easily and replaced with authentic-looking Fender ones.
One dead giveaway when looking at the guitar’s side by side is the body color. For example, Fender’s Sonic Blue is more aqua-colored, while the Squier one is more light blue and has an off-white mix.
You can also shave a tiny piece of paint at the side, and if it has multiple layers, it’s plywood which means it’s a Squier guitar. Fenders don’t have plywood. Generally, Fender guitars are heavier than Squiers.
Can You Make a Squier Play Like a Fender?
A Squier guitar can be customized to play like a Fender by replacing its pickups and the neck for a better quality one or using an official replacement part from Fender.
Some things that you’re likely to find in a new Squier are loose screws that can occur in transit, rougher frets without the same quality of polish that comes with a new Fender. Newer Squiers usually need intonation adjustment due to the wood being under tension.
Most new guitars can get a better sound if set up by a professional. The cheaper the guitar, the more improvement it will see when set up properly, as the more expensive guitars come with the setup done from the factory.
The setup matters the most when taking the guitar out of the box, as a good setup can make your guitar sound a million times better than one that hasn’t been set up professionally.
How to Make a Squier Strat Sound Better?
You can make a Squier Stratocaster sound better by changing the pickups – this greatly reduces the noise and makes the overall sound better. You can generally go for replacements of cheaper parts on the guitar.
The Squier Stratocasters are a great choice of electric guitar for beginner guitarists as they are inexpensive compared to their more professional-grade Fender counterparts.
Even the professionals consider it one of the best electric guitars to get startled with for beginners.
You can do several things to ensure a better sound from your Squier guitar. However, one way that I can’t recommend enough is to upgrade your guitar’s pickups, as they have the biggest impact on sound on an electric guitar.
Changing the cheaper pickups with some better-quality ones will massively increase the fidelity of your sound.
I recommend getting something similar to the Fender Noiseless Pickups as they keep the qualities of single-coil pickups while greatly reducing the humming and unwanted noise.
How Can You Tell a Squire Body From a Fender?
You can tell a Squire body from a Fender by mainly their hardware. They differ from each other mainly by pickups and wood.
If you check for distortion, you can also easily find the difference. In addition, Fenders are superior to Squire by quality.
Most of the Squire body guitars feature a basswood body. It sometimes gains high frequency. Fenders feature a body made of alder. It is smoother and richer than the former.
The pickups in a Fender are more defined than the Squire Body guitars. So, Squire pickups offer a lesser range of tones than the Fender.
When you try the amps in both guitars, the feedback is more in Squire. These are mostly the differences. So, you can say, Fender is superior to Squire Body.
Even though Squier is a sub-brand of Fender, there are many differences in sound, quality, and finish. However, it’s not that hard to customize a Squier to get a sound similar to a superior Fender one.
Using the tips in this article won’t completely turn the cheaper Squier guitar magically into a Fender one. However, using these tips can still ensure that you get a better sound from your Squier guitar and get it as close as possible to sounding like Fender.
I hope this article helped you understand better the differences between Squier and Fender guitars and how to use their parts interchangeably.