Squier Affinity Strat??? Should I…

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Readers, (echooooo) I am calling upon you to answer my call.

Over the last few months, I have been desiring a 3 pickup strat-style guitar. If I had my druthers, i’d be caressing an Eric Johnson Signature strat right now, but since my credit limit is not a giant infinity symbol, i’ll have to make do.

Oddly enough, in my entire time playing guitar, i’ve never owned an SSS guitar. My first electric guitar was basically a yamaha fat strat (bought from a Compusa after begging. Hey, it came with an amp and a strap! Woo!) and all electrics since then with the exception of my MIM telecaster, have been humbuckered. Ibanez, Dean, Gibson, Jackson, Yamaha; all having humbuckers in the bridge. I don’t really get to take advantage of the single coils, and coil splitting just doesn’t cut the mustard. Nothing sounds like that standard strat sound.

So, i’ve come to a crossroads, and i’m down on my knees (Had to do it…) begging the guitar deities to answer my questions intelligently, without the usual territory that comes with the guitar i’m debating on buying. It’s a Squier affinity strat. The one with the 60′s fat headstock, sunburst finish and a **GASP!** Alder body. Hell, Alder is better than cheap crappy basswood, or worse…MDF.

Here’s my rationale so far:

It’s a Fender. I’m willing to bet that the machine that cuts the bodies out of what is most likely the cheapest, B-stock Alder, uses the exact same programming as custom shops. The CNC machines Fender uses in USA to cut their monstrously overpriced models, is probably programmed identically to the ones in China, blasting out 2 bazillion squiers a day. A small exception may be the bridge pocket on the front, but i’ll check that out if I go through with this insanity. And same goes for the necks. It’s probably the same maple neck from the 70′s reissue, minus the tinted nitro finish.

Granted, it’s not the Squier Japan that used to be a good name, but it’s made under Fender which means Fender parts will fit in just fine. Something goes wrong? I’ll get parts meant for a Fender, and things will be fine.

The problems it has are probably easily fixable. I’ve watched videos of Dan Erlewine do a full setup on a cheapo guitar, and make it legit. I believe it was a cheap Epiphone dot, but I could be mistaken. Fret leveling, nut shaping, saddle cleaning. All of a decent days guitar work to turn a 150 dollar guitar, into something perfectly reasonable.

A 150 dollar strat facsimile with Medium Jumbo frets, no less. Even better!

Not only that, but it’s the attachment to it. A few dings and scratches on a Squier affinity with some Dimarzio Velvets or Duncan Customs in it won’t hurt me like it would to hear the zipper on my jacket within 5 inches of an Eric Johnson signature, or my oft considered ESP strat,  Suhr classic or Vigier excalibur. **Faint**

I am considering this guitar as something I don’t feel bad customizing. New pickups and wiring, some hardware, using it to practice painting, coloring and refinishing. All of the things i’d like to do, and I haven’t felt like doing on my Ibanez Prestige.

And here’s why i’m asking:

Every place with reviews about the affinity are all new players who are unfamiliar with the guitar as an object. It’s an icon for them, and when some little buzz pops up, they throw it back like a carp, and spend the rest of their days ragging on it. But no actual reputable player or magazine has sat their ass down and reviewed the bane of the guitar industry’s existence. We all look at it as heresy. The cheap, mass produced soulless guitar from chinese sweatshops made of the wood from ransacked Tibetan villages, (please don’t sue me, Fender. I’m kidding…hopefully) pickups outsourced by Seymour Duncan to some third world country where kids wind them by hand (please don’t sue me, Seymour. I’m kidding…hopefully)  and parts and hardware made from scrapped Russian military bases. (please don’t bomb me, China. I’m kidding…hopefully). I haven’t seen Guitar World, Guitar Player, or any of the other publications sit the hell down and review it like a guitar. I can’t trust a bunch of guitar newbies to tell me if a guitar is legitimately good or bad. Hell, they’re the same people who swoon for LTD guitars **yawn**.
So, should I get one? Turn it into a semi-legitimate strat after some leveling, sanding, polishing, removing the Squier label then putting on a Gibson decal and more? Would it be worth it to have a decent framework for a project guitar cost only 150, rather than spent 1800 on one I wouldn’t dare touch?

Yes, at some point i’ll go to a Guitar Center and give my best try at actually reviewing a Squier, but for now I don’t want to leave my house, I simply want to let sparks fly on the internet.

I await comments. Like all of my other posts, I expect to get some grief for the things i’ve said. It seems I can’t say anything right here, but since i’m not running for office, it doesn’t matter. Though it seems like I am with all of the crap I seem to get thrown at me by the internet.

Please don’t sue me internet, i’m only kidding. Actually, i’m not. Some people have no sense of humor.

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Filed under affinity, complaining, electric guitar, Fender, Fender Guitars, Fender Mexico, guitar, guitar center, guitar player, guitar rant, guitar review, Guitar store, music, Nay-saying, negativity, Rabble Rousing, squier, story, strat, stratocaster

147 Responses to Squier Affinity Strat??? Should I…

  1. Andrew

    I’ve never owned a Squier, so I’m not your target audience for this question. However, I’ve always said that the one thing you can’t mod on a guitar is (drumroll) the WOOD. You can change everything else, but you be putting time/effort/money into inferior wood. To me, it’s like putting really nice furniture into a really crappy house.

    So, I’d find a guitar with a great body/neck and crappy everything else and mod it.

    Now the question is: is the the wood in a Squier Affinity inferior? I don’t know the answer to that.

    Since the Squier Affinity Strats are only $100 less than a MIM, I’d just go for the MIM. Gives you a better base to work with. For resale, you now have a new, improved MIM strat (basically what a Nashville strat is) rather than a souped up Squier (which, you must admit, the majority of people are going to interpret as “a polished turd.”)

    • Ian

      I have an Affinity Fat Strat (Black sparkle finish with the platinum sparkle pickguard) that was about $200 new. It sounded surprisingly good for the price and the Strat pickups BLEW AWAY any of the MIM Strats I tried. The humbucker was really honky and annoyingly hot (not the good kind of hot).

      Sooooooo… I bought a Wilkinson steel block/saddles “modern vintage” bridge (had to drill new holes because imports are a smaller string spacing) and slapped it on and replaced the humbucker with a Duncan ’59. INSTANTLY better, almost EVH “Brown Sound” from Van Halen 1.

      Next I put a DiMarzio Tone Zone S in the middle position to warm up the bright ’59 and the Strat pickup in the neck (in the 2 and 4 slots) and BAM!!! Even better.

      Got rid of the useless tone knobs and put a better quality volume pot in, did a full shield job to the cavities and pickguard and the noise level is akin to a high-end guitar now.

      The Alder body plus the stock Strat pickup gives me a great Hendrix tone… which embarrassed my friend who not only bought a USA Strat but put more money in it than I did and it still can’t create the Band of Gypsies sound I can get.

      THEN, I bought a maple Mighty Mite neck which improved the tone even more and got a TusqXL “trem nut” by Graphtec to helf tuning stablity and also got a set of locking tuners. I bought an additional neck plate and doubled them up to account for the slightly thinner Squier body. The sustain is UNBELIEVABLE!

      I still, after all these mods and hours sanding, waxing and setting up, have spent less than a MIM Strat would have cost. No way are they $100 more expensive. The cheapest MIM I found was $550. I’m barely scratching that and have a very comfortable, light and tone HEAVY guitar that stays in tune, even under the most crazy EVH -like dive-bomb sessions.

      Chinese or not… this Strat BLOWS AWAY some of the American models in the store I bought it in. I brought it in after modding it and they were impressed for sure.

      • stevedubious

        I had a Highway 1 body w/a MIM neck stolen
        been playing pawn shop Squiers and found an Affinity strat that I almost dropped taking it off the wall hanger it was so heavy. Yep I said heavy – mahogany body routed for HSH. The alnicos sound really glassy but may end up installing pups from a VG strat lace set swap out..

      • i own a squier affinity strat.a 1999 model from indonesia.it’s the dark blue,with a white pickguard.the ONLY thing i’ve changed is martin strings every three months or so,and a set of strap locks.with the way this axe is rigged with the three single coil pups,tuners,alder body will give you the JIMI sound.i’ve had no problems with the tremelo,tuners,saddles,cable jack,and the bridge,etc:i’ve seen and read all the EQUIPMENT SNOBS who would make you think that the squier isn’t even a FENDER PRODUCT!remember,it’s not the SHOES,but the DANCER.the only thing that makes any sense is that these snobs paid big money for a MIA,then realize thru whatever means,that some of the squiers is quite good.oh well.

      • Mike Brack

        Your thread here is just fantastic! Thank-you. I’ve been looking for a vintage duo-sonic Mustang for some time…….but Vancouver Island is a hard place to start searching from. Likewise, a Gibson es125 3/4 scale is rare and expensive.

        I play a G&L telecaster for my open chord work through a Fender (evil) amp. I have two acoustic Canadian guitars (a Greg Bennett from Vancouver and a Godin 5th Avenue archtop that I adore from Quebec) that I play through a Fender 150 acoustisonic amp.

        Searching for a chinese alder affinity from the 1990′s will be my new project/scavenger hunt for 2012.

        Thanks, again. Mike

        • Hope you find one, Mike, because from ’96 – ’98 they made sweet Squier Affinity guitars (except for the pups, pots, and tuners – cheap but serviceable until you can upgrade and not the thinner models like the more recent ones). There are a few on eBay from time to time for reasonable prices. Hint: these are identical to Squier “Bullets” made around the same time. The original Bullets were smaller but those from about ’95-’96 are exactly the same as the MIC Affinities.

    • al

      then dont answer you fukin stupin asshole!!

      • seymour butts

        What kind of language is that ? Go and crawl back under the rock you crawled out of, troglodyte. You arent worthy of enjoying the shining sun.

    • non protentious twat

      If you had ever played an affinity strat then you would realise how bloody good they are. On the other hand if you want to insist on being a moron and call it a polished turd then your must be the asshole its come out of!

  2. Why don’t you try em before you but em’? if it sounds good and feels good, that’s all that matters. My two cents.

  3. Sol

    Squier keeps getting better and the MIM Fenders keep getting worse, as far as basses go at the very least. Avoid the Affinity series – you will end up replacing tuners, bridge, pickups etc. almost immediately. For the price of the standard series you get a fairly high quality guitar for an astounding price. Or buy used. There are great deals out there.

    • Ian

      What’s wrong with modding a cheap guitar for yourself? Why not custom mod it so it doesn’t sound like a cookie-cutter Strat.

      I saved at least $100 over a MIM and I am proud that my amateur luthier skills yielded a respectable instrument.

    • painter33

      Maybe avoid the new Affinities (no replacements are necessary, desirable for an experienced player maybe, but not necessary) but personally I’d look for an older Affinity (’96-’99), as “stevedubious” found, that will not only suffice but will exceed the quality of some newer Squiers (and Fenders). Not all Affinities have been created equal. The necks especially on the older guitars are silky, slick, and very playable – the original tuners are pretty weak, however.

      • painter33,your exactly right,as i too own a 1999 affinity series strat.this is an unbelievable guitar.it has the same sounds that came from JIMI’S strat.the affinity imo,are more old school fender,than new school models.yes i could CHANGE all the electronics,sand down the neck for a fender decal,(FYI,for the fender decals you must have the right S/N.)but with this guitar,i won’t be replacing anything soon,except for strings.i don’t understand the LOGIC with the squier owners who want to disguise their squiers.be PROUD of the squier name.

  4. I own a Chinese Standard and out of the box it is fine. I have since had th eneck adn frets dressed, replaced the pups with Fender Custom Shop Pups, fitted an Award Session Blues Tone seitch to replace the tone control on the bridge pup (they don’t work anyway) and now this guitar sounds like an American Standard with just a couple of hundred pounds spent on it. However, I still hate it because both the body and neck are simply wrong. It doesn’t ‘feel’ right. I once owned a 50′s Classic Strat (Mexico) and this was ten times the guitar in terms of both ‘feel’ size and weight. Squier Strats are smaller, thinner and lighter than Fender Strats. So my advice would be to invest in a Mexican Standard adn spend soem time tweakin git. But to be honest, if you shop around adn try befoe you buy, you will not need to bother with upgrades to a good Mex Strat.
    Just my two cents.
    AV

    • Ian

      Let me add that my Chinese Strat’s wiring was far better than the MIM ones I’ve opened up, and even some American ones. Granted I replaced the electronics in mine, I’ll say that assuming Mexican = better, just because it’s closer to California is asinine.

      They are thinner but not smaller. Plus the Alder wood of my body actually weighs half a pound more than the (full thickness) ASH body my friend used to make an EVH Frankenstrat, so apparently they found a very dense wood stock during the production of my guitar.

  5. BobO

    I’ve got one of those Affinity strats, left to my by my 17-year-old daughter who begged me for a guitar (I bought her a “Strat Pack”), took 3 months of lessons, and then decided she’d rather play Guitar Hero…

    Now my main ax is my own original 67 Gibson SG Special, but I hate taking it out on knock-around gigs and practices, so I started fooling around with the candy-apple-red Squire. And lo and behold, I like it! It actually has a nice solid feel to it, and with a little truss rod tweaking the neck is straight and true. I did file down the frets along the sides; they weren’t dressed properly and there were some burrs that had to go. But otherwise the action is pretty good and the intonation is fine.

    The electronics are another matter… the pickups are completely unshielded and the pots are thin-sounding 500Ks. So I’ve decided to mod the thing, and started looking around for ideas. I’m tempted to buy a pre-wired pickguard set up from GuitarFetish or someone, but that may be overkill; perhaps with good pots and switches and a couple of well-placed capacitors I can get good sound out of the stock SSS set that came with it.

    No it will never be an American Strat… but it is a Strat, not a copy. And the body and neck are solid. So if a little hardware upgrade puts a playable guitar into my hands for a little $$$, why not?

    Besides, modding is fun and educational.

    Of course, if I didn’t already *have* the thing on my hands, would I buy one just to hack at it? Maybe… it’s certainly not a POS.

  6. D W

    Go for the Squier “Standard” Strat. They have a full size agathis body (nice tone wood similar to alder) maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard. Really nice guitar and you can usually find them used in pawn shops in the $100 range. I have one that I play out every weekend and I’m now looking for a Tele version. I changed the pickups to Kent Armstrong cool rails and tuners to a set of schaller minis and this thing rocks. I leave my PRS’s home away from the bar atmosphere and still have a great player with incredible tone.

  7. Pulch

    I have an Affinity strat from ’99. The pickups are quite crap, but the necks got a real nice feel (once you lower the action and mess with the truss rod a bit). As Andrew stated, you’re stuck with the body, and my Affinity has a thick layer of plastic coating, not something you can really shave down and repaint or anything. As far as other mods go, I’ve personally put in some Lace Sensor pickups which make the guitar sound beautiful. I also put in some Schaller locking tuners, but be carefuly, I had to drill out my headstock to get those to fit, so do research before buying anything to replace the old parts.

    • Ian

      Interesting point about the finish because mine is so thin, I barely scraped it on a table and a chunk of paint came off… a GOOD THING. This body must be an anomaly because it resonates REALLY well.

      The neck was a CBS large headstock, but the neck specs were like a 62 Strat with a thick slab of rosewood, as opposed to a thin, rolled veneer like Fender uses on their expensive stuff. It really was nice, but I prefer a one-piece maple neck with a normal small head on it. The Mighty Mite was ready to roll and the Sperzel Trim-Locks fit perfectly.

    • PULCH,sorry to hear that the pups on your 1999 affinity.i’m an experienced guitar player,and my pups is exactly the sound i’m looking for,OLD SCHOOL all the way.my strat came out of the CORT factory in indonesia.where was your guitar put together at?have a nice day.

  8. Joe

    I’m in the same position. I have always wanted an SSS guitar, and have been looking into modding squires also. One model in particular, the Vintage Modified Strat SSS (that can be found here: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Squier-Vintage-Modified-Stratocaster-SSS-Electric-Guitar?sku=512572).
    Just under $300!!

    It has a gorgeous flamed maple top with a cherry burst finish (among other finishes), something that I haven’t even came across in MIM strats. The body is made of Indian Red Cedar, which is said to have a very clean tone.

    I was thinking about at least getting a maple Warmoth neck, and probably a pup exchange.

    This could be an option for some of you…

  9. what i did was upgraded my squier affinity strat at http://www.guitarfetish.com it was a great bargain!

  10. I’m coming to this post a bit late, but I appreciated your thoughts because I’m feeling some synchronicity with your theory that a Squier Affinity Strat is doable. I’ve been itching for an SSS Stratocaster for a while now, too. I mostly play a 335 copy and a vintage Fender Mustang, and after having tinkered with them a lot I guess I’m getting jealous of how easy it seems Stratocaster models can be for setting up, modding, and getting a wide variety of tones. Ultimately, I came around to the Squier models to ask, “why not?”

    I originally played a few Strats in stores and started that rabbit hole journey of reading about every Strat and Strat copy there is on the market and trying to untangle marketing hype and real world opinion. At one point, I made a spreadsheet table that took features like neck shape, woods used, and compared every model in an easy to look at chart. I highly recommend this exercise: it shows you that all the different Strat models, especially from Fender, are designed so that the most desirable features (22 frets, thin neck shape, proper crowning, good woods and finishes, stable bridges and tuners) are at the top of the food chain. Everything else is handicapped in some way (only vintage frets or the “modern C shape neck” – yuck). I realized that shopping for a guitar under $1400 would mean I would end up replacing things.

    Then you factor in all the highly regarded copies, like G&L, Callaham, Nash, and you start hearing that for the “right tone” these guitars need to be made with the right woods, the best machined parts, the best wound pickups from independents like Lollar, etc. And all of this creates a fury of excitement in your mind that says, “hey, maybe I could build a Strat myself from bit parts that come from here and there, for a lot less!”

    Granted, that’s what many people do, right? It’s even been suggested in the comments above. You can buy a neck on eBay or from Warmoth, special order Callaham bridges, and spend $70 here and $200 there until you have your own perfect Frankenstrat for under $600.

    But then there’s Squier. They’re made in Indonesia , Korea, or China. They’remachine cut from Basswood and similar scrap woods. They use the cheapest metal parts. They’re never set up. Between the factory and the store floor, no one cares about them. It’s the impulse purchase guitar. They cost between $99 and $250.

    But… what can you do to it? Everything. If you have some basic skills and tools, it’s a starting point. More to the point, if you don’t have $600 in hand, let alone $1800, it gives you a guitar that you can be playing while you wait for more funds. For people who like thin necks, like me, Squiers are actually a nice fit. First you can adjust the neck and dress the frets with some simple tools. Then you can replace the guitar bit by bit. Get a new $25 bone nut. For $50 you can rewire it with the best pots, caps, and switches (essential). For another $70 you can replace the tuners with locking tuners (some drilling required). You could get that “cryogenically” treated bridge and saddle set. You can sand off the Squier logo and apply a fake Fender vinyl label. At some point, you can even swap the body or the neck entirely. And on and on. The end really depends on how filled your head is with delusions of excellence that can only arrive once you have all the best hyped materials. Or it ends when your ears and and hands tell you.

    What’s so wrong with with starting simple? Is it because the wood isn’t the best “tone wood” to start with? Or is it because the finish is too thick? Is it because “real pros wait until they have the cash in hand for a prime guitar?” Well, it depends on your point of view. If you believe in paying an expert for their craft and artistry, you wait until you can afford it. Honestly, if you can hear the difference between Alder and Agathis under 3 coats of Poly, and you know it’s the wood and not the bridge, or the neck, then you wait (and see a shrink). If you’re curious, you take a hack at it yourself, learn as much as you can about the craft, and see if you like the results. Which is why Squier appeals to the budget tinkerers among us. It won’t put you in debt and servitude to the guitar , because you know you control its fate.

    • Smashedchevy

      G&L……is a awsome guitar maker…and it is made buy,the
      man who invented the Strat.

      Leo Fender!!!

      so it isn’t a copy..it’s a legacy……he died back in 91″
      and his instruments are still being made the way he wanted.

      ck out the G&L web sight…..it tells all.

    • Ian

      Ultimately your fingers make a guitar sound good. Your heart, soul, ear and fingers create tone… not an expensive instrument.

      Eddie Van Halen put a guitar together from factory second parts, old Gibson junk and his imagination (with no luthier skills at all) and managed to use that same guitar for 9 years off and on and sell millions of records.

    • THATS pretty DISHONEST to put a fender logo on your head stock.i own a 1999 affinity series strat,and my strat is made of alder,the same alder that you’ll find in the more expensive strats.BTW,my affinity strat is made by FENDER,just in case you read somewhere that squiers aren’t made by fender.good luck with your squier.

      • Tom

        i agree i’m proud as hell of my modded squier that i bought a similar squier to mod out i started with investigating what i want bought a classic vibe 50′s lightweight alder maybe b-stock so what 2 tone burst maple neck and fretboard (nice gloss finished neck and board got a wilkinson trem w/bigger block all plastic switched to vintage cream replaced baby pots w/full size 250k’s got 63 pro series single coils texas hot bridge pup from guitarfetish.com actually got all my parts from there except for tusqXL nut and string tree performed a setup to vintage fender spec’s from the fender website sounds feels and plays great for about $500.00 so happy with the way it turned out i just bought a classic vibes 60′s candy apple red and rosewood board thinking of claptonizing it w/fender vintage noiseless tbx style tone circuit removing trem and sanding the cavity down eric johnson style and then wood block the trem have not started that one yet so many ideas flying through my head only time will tell what i do to that one but looking forward to modding it over time as my finances will allow.

        • Great and congrats! I have an ” affinity” for MIC (’86-’88) Affinities rather than “Crafted in China” as the MICs are essentially mid-’90s Japanese Bullets, just assembled in China. Modding these is great fun – they are heavy and have incredible necks, and can be wonderful monsters to play.

      • Tom

        forgot to mention that at least a squier is still a real strat and just below the squier name its say’s by Fender.

  11. I had no idea I wrote so much! I might post what I just wrote on my own blog, too. But anyhow, thanks for helping think about this and get that off my chest.

  12. James D. Smith

    Whoa! Just happened onto this thread while doing research on the Squier Affinity; because I got one to use as a beater and project guitar as a late birthday present. Mike, you are absolutely right about the newbie reviewers; a lot of them make absolutist statements when it’s obvious to the more experienced eye that they don’t know very basic things about setting up an electric guitar. A lot of them also appear to have trust funds. Why not get a “real” Strat, or a Les Paul? I bought my first Strat copy for 160 USD in the 80s after a summer of working at Burger King, and let me tell you, my mother wasn’t exactly overjoyed that I didn’t save that money for college. We must be compassionate with newbies, my friends; we were all beginners once. I’ve been playing 25 years now, and still have a very great deal to learn. I’d be even more ignorant if I wasn’t fortunate enough to have friends who pointed me in the right direction.
    I got my Squier used for 89 USD in a local music store, and I’m not quite sure which model it is. I was fairly certain it was an Affinity SE from a starter pack, but the pickguard is wrong for that model (according to the Squier website) and the bridge was wrong for a Bullet. Unless the specs have been “subject to change without announcement” I’m left with something of a mystery. One thing I’m sure of, whoever owned this guitar originally knew something about setting up a Strat. The (three) springs were aftermarket replacements, and the nut grooves appear to have been carefully filed so that the strings don’t hang up when using the tremolo bar. Again, I purchased this guitar specifically to be used as a project guitar, and when I bought it, I had already had in mind a drop-in replacement vintage style bridge that I’ve had lying around for some years. I can’t remember which company made it, but it’s made like an engine block and greatly improved sustain. My point is, since I got it, this guitar has never been completely stock.
    I immediately replaced the input jack, which was loose, with the cord always threatening to fall out, and adjusted the truss rod, because I’d replaced the strings (.42s-.09s) with something heavier. So, in about three days of tweaking I had the action where I wanted it. I’ve had ZERO problems with the electronics. The volume and tone pots are very smooth, with no snap, crackle, or pop. Once the strings were properly stretched out, I’ve had no problems with the tuning, even when using the whammy. I’d originally intended to replace the tuners with the Fender/Schaller locking type I have on my main instrument, but am now thinking, “What for?” I should mention that I have a very subtle technique with the bar these days, more of a fake slide sort of thing than any dive bombing. When I was younger I used to rip whammy bars right out of the block and have to replace the whole thing.
    The real surprise was the pickups. They are Q-U-I-E-T. I have Lace vintage sensors in my main guitar (and a DiMarzio FRED in the bridge position) and they are only marginally quieter except under very high gain, which I rarely use anymore anyway. They are perfectly quiet in a clean setting, and surprisingly so in a crunch setting. If I move the guitar less than a foot from a tube amps speaker they will begin to hum, but they are remarkably quiet even with computer screens and my router running in the same small room. They don’t have a lot of output, but I prefer a vintage sound anyway, so this isn’t an issue. I suspect the guitar’s previous owner shielded the body cavity and perhaps the pickup covers, or purchased a drop-in replacement set for the pickguard, electronics, and pickups. I’ll eventually take everything apart and have a look, but for right now I’ve been too busy playing to do it. It could be that I purchased someone else’s abandoned project, but that leaves me to wonder why he would have sold it – but I have seen stranger things. I’ve seen used MiM Strats for 99USD, and once saw a headless Steinberger with Bartolini pickups on sale used for 150.
    I don’t really know if the body is alder or agathis, but I’m leaning towards agathis because of the low weight (my other guitar’s body is alder, and is substantially heavier) and the softness of the wood. I find it resonant enough for my purposes, though, and I’m skeptical as to how much ultra-expensive select wood actually adds to tone for its cost, as opposed to the skill level of the player. Edward Van Halen’s Frankenstrat was made with a Charvel second with a big knot in the wood, and finished with Schwinn bicycle paint. Now replicas of the same guitar go for 25,000 dollars. That’s the electric guitar market. If you have money for select swamp ash, by all means go for it, but it makes no sense (to penniless me) in a banger guitar.
    So, in conclusion, taken for what it is, and not a guitar ten times its price, my Affinity has so far performed very well, and I feel like a got a very good deal. I built my main Strat myself, and it took me years to get to the place where I knew what wanted in a guitar, and more years to acquire the knowhow to put that together. I don’t have a lot of money, so I’m not crazy about placing this guitar in jeopardy. Enter the knockaround guitar. I can abuse it, try new things, alternate wirings, and not have a nervous breakdown if it doesn’t work. Some of the newer Squiers are very high quality. We’re getting bac to the days of the Pro-Tone. I love the Vintage Modified Strat, and if things had gone a little differently, I would’ve gotten the Jagmaster as my birthday present instead of the Strat. In my opinion, the best guitar for value in the Strat universe is the Deluxe Player’s Strat. USA parts assembled in Mexico.
    Happy playing.

    JAMES

  13. CGbg

    You’re right that the big name magazines don’t review Squiers, but what good are their reviews anyway, in the sense that they’re not influenced by the same companies that are paying for ad space? If you want to get a full dose of reviews on the squiers (good and bad, mostly the former), just check out the many threads devoted to “Just got a new Squier….” at http://www.tdpri.com/forum/index.php. There’s more reviews than one person could read, and they’re written by guys who own megabuck Fenders as well as Bullet strats.

  14. BobO

    Well 2 months later my Squire Strat by Fender actually deserves the Capital Letters :)

    As I planned, I put a GFS HSS wired pickguard into the mother and suddenly we’re talking LEGIT instrument! Great sound, just like a “REAL” Fender.

    There’s only one more mod I’m gonna do: I’m pulling out the stamped-chrome bridge and tremolo and slapping in a steel-saddle, big-block trem unit which will increase the tonality and sustain.

    The debate goes on: is a Squire strat really a Fender, or just a pretender? I think that if it’s got the Fender brand on it, then for better or worse it’s a Fender. If you pick up a Squire and it sucks, will you think more or less highly of the company that backs it with its brand? Less of course, and Fender knows that. Sure it’s an inexpensively-produced version of their flagship instrument, but if they want you to trade up to an American Strat someday, they want to make sure you had a good experience with the entry-level model.

    Thing is: with a couple of well-chosen upgrades, and a little time spend smoothing out the rough edges, you’ve put in the same extra time and effort that they would have had to produce a better grade of guitar as well.

    So go ahead, mod your Squire, bring it higher, and set your playing on fire.

    It’s fun to do, too!

  15. rob

    Sol said to go for the Squier standard series… I would have to advise you not to. They are made of “agathis” which is basically plywood. Sure, they look nicer, but if you’re going to upgrade the hardware and electronics, the affinity strat is the way to go. i built what i like to call my “signature model.” I bought the black one with the maple fretboard. I stripped it all down, including the neck. i bought a birdseye maple neck with a scalloped fretboard and applied a high quality fender decal on the headstock, also i put fender/schaller “F” tuning machines on it. I installed a fender vintage style bridge and a nice 3 ply pickguard to it, and then had it rewired and had new pots and dimarzio pickups installed. its such a great guitar now. My friend has the Clapton signature model and mine is definitely comparable. i hope your project works out just as well

    • ROB,congrats with modding on your squier.i’m an experienced musician and i own a 1999 affinity strat.i just have a problem with folks either getting a fender stamped neck,or sanding off the squier,for a fender decal.i just sold a MIA strat.i refinished the neck and called fender for a new decal.fender wanted pictures and the serial number.i’ve read somewhere that putting a fender head stock decal on a squier is against the law.who knows.good luck with your mods.

  16. James D. Smith

    I thought agathis was a type of evergreen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agathis

    JAMES

  17. Tim

    Just thought I’d put in my penny’s worth.

    I’m right handed but I bought a 2nd hand, left handed Chinese squier affinity strat just to see what it was like for Hendrix playing his guitar. I had intended to repaint it but the sunburst finish on it was so nice I couldn’t bring myself to remove it. I was surprised at the quality of the pickups. They sound like a stratocaster. I don’t think they would have much presence played at serious volume but for clean sounds at “bedroom” level they were good. I bought a pickguard with Wilkinson vintage pickups prewired , at the same time as I bought the guitar, assuming the originals would be rubbish. I don’t know what the Wilkinson’s are like as I’ve just got round to installing them. I think the pots etc are pretty feeble but they do work. I’m not wild on the tremelo. It feels are bit basic and cheap but , again, it seems to work. This is the model with the big 70′s headstock but regardless of CNC routing etc this neck is definitely not the same as a mexican 70′s reissue. Those necks are quite substantial. This one has a very nice c shape but it’s also very narrow. I have fair sized hands but I find this neck suprisingly good. The frets are fine except for one rough end on one fret. I don’t know what it’s made of,but regardless, it’s light but doesn’t feel flimsy. As an aside, I don’t think Basswood should be dismissed. It does come in different grades of quality but it is also a tonewood used in some top end guitars including Japanese fenders and Ibanez. I’ve had a 70′s hardtail USA strat back in the 70′s and this is better than that!…mind you, that was a piece of junk. I’ve had a early Tokai strat which was better than this. For the money I paid it’s basically good fun but the hardware lets it down. If you spent time replacing some of the parts yourself you will have an increased sense of attachment to the guitar and you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t! On the other hand if you work out what you will spend….I think I’d go for one of the new quality Squiers…..the new “Classic Vibe” series..either the 50′s maple neck or 60′s rosewood model. They look pretty good.

  18. EL Nino

    I picked a used affinity up for $50 bucks. It plays just decent, but sounds good -it’s got your standard bright strat tone to it. I gig with it as my alternate tuning guitar and it does the job just fine, even switching between a PRS during the gig.

  19. I’ve played 3 or 4 Affinity Strats in my time and they’ve been okay. Not great, not superb, but definatley not bad.

    Best first guitar to play, possibly own, I chose a little-bit-less-than-intermediate-level SG guitar because I was serious about a guitar that would last my entire life and wanted more of a Gibson sound.

    Affinity’s are *good fun.* If you already have a couple of instruments or want some variety then Affinitys are a great thing, and they won’t make you hundreds of pounds in debt (unlike some Strats… £3000 Clapton Custom I’m looking at you…)

    The Affinity’s are the guitar that Squier have put most of their time into, if you think about it. The ‘Classic Vibes’ and such are for those who want to have a particular look/sound, the Standard is for those who can’t afford a MIM Fender…

    – But Affinity’s are what everyone and their dog has, their most poular model for a reason, and theyve put a reasonable amount of time into it (wouldn’t you if it was your best-selling product?!)

    Buy a new, first-class Afinity that’s been set up professionally at your small, local, personal store (but be quick, ‘cos those kind of shops are dissapearing), do a bit of work on the nut or frets, change the pickups if needs-be (but keep the originals cos they have a nice snarly tone) adjust the action, then try it. If you like a aggressive, bitey Strat sound, you’ll like it. [depending on the model... some Affinitys made in different years my sound different, so try several if you can]

    The point is, they’re good fun, they give you workable tones and a bit of variety (even if your 7 other guitars are all Strats) for… £110 new? Most seem to agree that the Affinity actually has better wood than the Squire Standard and the MiM’s… personally PREFER the Affinity’s sound to the MIM (look at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=znXi7hMnugU)

    Basically, at the price, Affinitys are good fun and great value. They wont break the bank, and you can get some workable tones, even if you compare to quite expensive semi-custom-made axes like PRS.

  20. frank

    Ive had my Chinese Affinity fat strat for about a year now and, even though I’m a newbie, I love this guitar. I have read a lot of the articles regarding the pros and cons of this axe, and tried to make an educated judgment.
    The body is Alder, according to the paperwork, so I assume this is good? the finish seems to be a pretty thick black metallic gloss of some sort, but is very hard wearing and still looks like new. the neck pocket fit is absolutely perfect, couldnt be any more precise. no problems with fret ends, smooth as.
    The only problem I have had with this guitar is keeping it in tune, but it doesnt wander too far, and also I had to get the local music shop to adjust the truss rod for me once as it started getting buzzy when i put really light strings on it.
    Never played a real Strat so I guess I cant offer a comparison, but mine sounds nice to me.
    hope this helps.

  21. Lorenzo

    Hi All,

    I’ve been reading through these posts with great interest and i am to a owner of an affinity series squier.My dad bought it for me in 2001 which was sold as a “strat pack” here in South Africa.That little Squier amp is really loud and i often use it as a monitor for gig’s.After my squier rolled down 2 flights of stairs about 6years ago, i threw it in my garage and went without an electrical for a while.I now own a les paul epiphone.Its sounds nice(if set up correctly).

    After watching various concerts where strats are being playing and even listening to songs where the fender strat tone just makes you want to do air guitar!

    Since i cant afford an original which costs about 13k( 1600$) i decided to upgrade my squier.

    I bought fender statocaster noiseless pick ups(R1400 +- 170$)

    A new scratch plate (white)
    3X new 250k pots
    5-way FENDER selector switch
    (+- 50$)

    I’m now thinking of removing the creme coat and filling up some of the accident knocks.I’m not sure what type wood its made of.Its made in China so can i safely assume that its basswood? the guitar feels light, well light compared to the les paul.

    My aim is to give it a nice black glossy finish.

    Thanks for the inspiring post Michael.

    There no better feeling that doing it yourself and “building your own project”..You know some people restore old cars even when they have enough money…other restore guitars..

    Who knows, i might start a squier modifying hobby for some extra income?

    peace

  22. Rudolf

    go for the squier(by fender) and upgrade it as you please, it is a good guitar to make all sort of “experiments”

  23. GT-R-IFF

    well first off i have only been playing the guitar for a little over a year…that doesnt mean im a noob and cant have a good suggestion. I also have a squier affinity fat strat (black/white).
    Before i got a guitar so many people told me to stay away from squiers, no doubt its th guitar i got.its not a horrible guitar but not a good one as well. First off i changed the pickguard on it because the annoying buzz on the amp i have is because the factory where ever that may be, didnt do a swell job at protecting it(if you take off the pickguard there is only a small portion of sometype of metallic protector,u can get a new fender one for 20 buks at any guitarcenter). Second of all i cnaged to action to very low because it was set to high for my liking as most factories do, which is probably the most easiest to change as bridges go. The bolts and nuts and screws arnt really tight in the first place so you have to tighten them every so often. And the fingerboard gets really dirty after only a few times playing(take good care of it). It is somewhat of a versitile guitar, but changing the the pickups will help alot in some cases (sometimes with some woodwork involved). the strings go out of tune only by playing it an hour-o-half. So go out and get some locking machine heads. As for the bridge it’s only a $150 guitar dont expect much (meaning switch it out if you really want to mod it) Maybe after awhile youll go out and get a really good fingerboard which will improve the guitar by alot.
    If you are going to change the body out than whats the point in buying it, in the first place, the fat strat has a agathis body, not good, but not basswood, which is pretty bad. The regular squier affinity strat has alder which in my and many other peoples opinion alot better.
    As for mine i might put on a dimebucker for the bridge pickup and 2 lace or emg single coil pickups for the neck and middle positions. Also put in a new tuning machine heads and maybe a floyd rose tremolo, but thats just what i like. The guitar is no dream axe but with a little help along the way it can turn into a real nice looking guitar. But hey what do i know ive only been playing for a year.

  24. No name

    get one, they are excellent. I have one, but it is the 5 pickup one. it is MAD. get it. i dont care about what you said.

  25. No name

    GO TO A MUSIC SHOP, LOOK AT IT, TRY IT ON LIKE A SWEATER, IF IT FITS YOU AND YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH IT, GET IT!!!!! DONT ASK PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET AND WASTE LIKE AN HOUR WRITING THIS ARTICLE, AND HOW [i]DO[/i] YOU KNOW IF WE’RE NOT JUST OTHER ”NEW PLAYERS” ON THE INTERNET???

  26. Steve Wilson

    I am a luthier, collector, designer, and have been around a while. I have seen the bad and good in guitars. Guitars are at their pinnacle in terms of CNC influence. These machines cut the wood to perfection unknown to anything previous. These new Chinese guitars are made perfectly in terms of the wood work. I just bought a Squier bullet guitar for 75.99 and it is flawless in terms of how it is made with the exception of the tuning keys, and tremolo springs. The pick-ups are not that good. In order to get it to perfect I cannot say much negative about the wood work, nut, fret work, fretboard, paint, or anything except the cheaper hardware. I can deal with the cheap electronics but can always upgrade later. The tremolo springs are too stiff and I will replace them. The keys seem to keep tune for now but is the most critical flaw of any cheap guitar. Check this out people… Guitars are easy to make. That is why there are so many of them. I can make any guitar sound good and perform with usually minimal modifications. And guess what? Many guitar legends have recorded with some of the cheapest rag guitars known to man. I am the Will Rodgers of guitar lovers…. I never met a guitar I didn’t like. This is my opinion. I never met a guitar I couldn’t get to sound really good with hardly any work. So leaving this to ponder… Guitar magazines mean squat and so do the writers of these reviews. Oh it is made of hand harvested Brazilian mahogany, has hand wound custom pickups made by Seymour Duncan after being kidnapped and forced to hand wind them, solid 14k gold Sperzel tuners, etc. Will it sound better than any guitar???? The real question is… Who is playing it???

  27. Linz

    Well said Steve! I think there’s an incredible difference in the quality of budget instruments since I bought my first one nearly 20 years ago. I’m finding more and more that great tone is possible from nearly anything as long as it’s being played properly.

    Last year I went out with a budget of £1200-£1800 to buy myself a new guitar and, after trying everything I could in that range, I came home with a £350 PRS SE. I certainly think, beyond a certain price point these days, the tone’s coming from the player’s hands as much as anything else.

    I’m going to buy an Affinity Tele just to have the tele look on something I can play at parties with and do a bit of modding to. I’m confident I’ll get it to sound just the way I want it for very little cash!

  28. Bearman

    I have a ’99 Chinese made Afinity Squier. I got it for 40 bucks because it was unplayable. Broken nut, broken pots, shorted out input. It had bad strings, a lot of dings and was covered in stickers. But, the one piece maple neck was incredible!

    I used a heat gun to strip the incredibly thick poly finish off to reveal a four piece (yes, four) alder body that had a layer of maple veneer on both the front and back. I decided to remove the veneer too, which made the body a little thinner than normal, but it’s a nice looking piece of wood. I stained it with purple stain and applied about ten coats of satin poly and am happy with the look.

    I shielded the body cavities a’la “quieting the beast”, put new pots in (250k Alphas), an orange drop capacitor, and a set of Fender pickups from a MIM Standard strat.

    A purple pearl pickguard, some purple DiMarzio knobs and a purple Levy’s strap round out the look.

    I used the stock Squier bridge but upgraded to saddles to Fender stamped steel saddles, and carefully setup the tremolo. It stays in tune.

    I used a Tusq nut and upgraded the tuners to some vintage Fender Japan gotoh style ones and well…

    It’s now a very nice quitar. Total cost was just over $100 bucks after some carefully selected used parts.

    It looks like a Fender, it plays like a Fender, it sounds as good as any Fender I’ve played, and anyone who has picked it up for a jam has been impressed that it’s a Squier.

    I’d do it again in a heartbeat. As long is it’s an alder bodied guitar with a decent neck, the upgrades will result in a good player.

    Stay away from the Squier Bullets though, they are made of some sort of plywood and all the comments about bad wood will apply.

    I say go for it. (if you haven’t already)

  29. I have had a’99 China (crafted?) Squier Affinity Strat, closest thing to my old ’65 Mustang (no kidding). Thru a 10G frontman amp the bridge pickup in particular and the mid & neck pickups sound very twangy. So I had the local guitar dude (Wadesworld.com) replace the tone pots with 250K good pots and the bridge pickup to a Tex-Mex for around $60. (I put metal tape in the cavity and under pickguard) WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I can get classic strat tone to do Clapton, Knopfler etc.. Now the problem is the 1st 4 frets are wearing badly, MIM strat necks are better but costly and have to be fit$$, so I’ll probably get Wade to re-fret it. Yeah it is worth it with that TONE! The only other problem now is that Squier logo on the head, trying to find out how to remove it and paint/decal Fender in for my vanity. It IS a Strat now and I want the look (for myself) I’d never sell it!

  30. Horse

    I have an ’04 Affinity that I purchased used about two years ago. I needed a giggable guitar and had long since sold off all my gear for one reason or another. I picked it up for $40 at a pawn shop (after some haggling) and took it home.

    I put a Fender 3-ply Mint Green pickguard (forget that single-ply white crap) on and replaced the pots. I had the remains of a second-hand Starcaster from which I salvaged a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails, and I sprayed over the cheap, ugly poly finish and of course the dreaded Squier logo. I’ve had offers of over $1000 for the thing, but even if I were that unscrupulous I am so in love with the feel and sound of this guitar that I couldn’t part ways with it.

    I forgot to mention, I am left-handed but play a right-handed Strat (Jimi-style). The 50′s-profile neck fits my palm, even upside-down, like it was cut just for me.

    The caveat to buying a Squier is that you need to closely examine the neck joint. If you have one with a solid neck joint, it’s likely to be ok after a little hot-rodding. Otherwise “buyer beware” and look elsewhere.

  31. Chad

    Interesting thread here… Nice contributions from everybody! Here is my thought… I’ve been playing guitars for 25+ years and have always been a “Fender” guy and am incredibly anal about my guitars, how they are cared for, what their tone sounds like, etc. etc. etc. I have regularly done things like swap necks, bodies, pick-ups, tone pots and caps, etc. etc. etc.

    About three years ago, I did a bunch of work for an older guy in our church as a gift to him. He had played guitars for years (and incidentally had the most beautiful old SG, I’ve ever seen or heard…) who decided that he wanted to buy me nice strat as a gift. He and I decided to make a weekend out of it and we went to Chicago for a weekend to by the “price is no object, get me the perfect strat” trip of my dreams! (Don’t worry, I had worked out a budget both with the guy and my wife…) Either way, I was going to play every strat I could get my hands on regardless of price, color, etc. to find THE ONE…

    After playing well over 300 strats at every “big box” and “mom and pop” store we could find over the three days, (we had a blast), there was one particular strat that simply SMOKED the others in terms of the sound I wanted… It was PERFECT! I went back to that store and grabbed it (because they said they would hold it, etc.) took it up to the register and with GREAT delight, plunked down…

    You guessed it, $75 bucks for a metallic blue affinity squire strat… Thin body and all… I couldn’t believe it…

    It has been my “go to” guitar ever since. Perhaps I got lucky and found that one in a million guitar where all the knots lined up in just the right spot… Maybe they accidentally got it right on that day… whatever…

    Bottom line to me is this… Wouldn’t we all LOVE to have the guitar that just sounded and felt right? Isn’t that what guitar playing is all about? To me it is no more logical for a guitarist to assume that he’ll be a rock star if he spends a lot of money on a new strat than to think that you can golf like Tiger Woods if you just “spend enough money on clubs”…

    At the end of the day, find a strat that sounds “right” and feels “nice” to you and just ignore where it was made or what it cost… That is my two cents…

    God bless!

  32. Painter33

    This is a very good thread, especially without all the snooty freaks exhibiting all their insecurities about their guitars. I bought a Chinese Squier Affinity Strat in 1998 – full-size body and it’s heavy, nice straight slippery neck, reasonable frets, lousy tuners (since replaced w/Fender/Schaller “F’s” – what a difference) and the typical 8-10 tonal range pots (to be replaced when I change the pups soon). I’d like to change everything to a loaded pickguard but the current one is an 8-hole and mostly I’ve seen 11-holers. I never mind a little woodworking – I just bought another one just like it in very rough shape (hey- it was only $25) that I want to convert to a hardtail – but I really like the look of fewer screws. It also has a small headstock and not one of the newer canoe paddle type. When I do the conversion I’m going to repaint (from black to ??? – maybe an antique white but a bit lighter. My first Squier has been so good that buying another, even in the condition it was, is indicative of how much I like this guitar.

  33. Randolph

    I had one 10 years ago; truss rod was a crap! Got unfunctional after some settings a year later, and all I had to do was to play with 6 high-above-the-fretboard strings; with lots of pain on my fingertips.
    Wood is the key thing… Not all “alder” is “that” alder; I guess.

  34. Mark R Aldridge

    Hope this helps. Over 40 years of play: rock jazz classical u name it. big stage, small stage. Now. I have owned over 140 gits, many Fenders, many Squires. I know a lot, but not all. Ok: 1 thing fer sure the 2008 Bullet Squire is very upgraded. Maybe not every single one, but at 120 bucks its best deal since 1960 – test it yourself ! Same for the American, best they have ever made. For the first time in 40 years I commend Fender on great quality.
    Some bullets (per Informed store personnel told me the body was both alder and agathis (combo slabbed). Whatever, sounds like a piano, what a nice neck. Nice radius they finally got this right on the bullet. Occasionally in the past the squires have had too small of a width in the nut – major defect. Some of the bullets in past (baltic blue) had a great neck but plywood body (not too bad a sound really – think danelectro). Anyhoo, the post before about guitarfetish.com is correct. Want a great strat, better than Am std, (can’t beat the Am Deluxe yknow). Then get a 2008-9 bullet strat about 120, get 1 or 2 Dream 180 humbuckers from Guitar fetish (about 35 : varies) and a pickguard for 1 hum 2 singles or 2 hums (better). These pickups give u a rickenbacker ring, sustain like a Paul, treble like a Fender. Get the cheap locking tuners for about 25 bucks, and you have, with some careful attention, a guitar that will equal ANY. I have had all the “Maestro” and custom plus guitars. Folks, that is just furniture. You want sound. The above guitar (make 2 or 3 if u have some bucks) and 1 or 2 Fender FM212 DSP ams (400 apiece) and u can play with McCartney, J. Page, or megawhoever, and still be quiet playing jazz at a wedding. What else could you want? Many of you have no idea what this used to cost. I used to have 2 racks with about $40000 of gear (synth etc etc). This stuff is cheap now. The posts that talk about the real artists using regular guitars is correct. Relax, give yourself a break. Get a sunburst bullet strat and FM 212 or whatever and just play – you can paint it later if need be. Locking tuners is a big upgrade but be careful of drill, not only the headstock but fingers!
    seriously, take your time. When I say you can take this stuff on the big stage and play with the top acts I am not fooling you. I am not going to drop names, I am just trying to save you some worry. Remember, if you get the medium cheap stuff, then u can replace it or fix it if not right. If u get the pretty furniture, u might get stuck with an aggravation. Play every single note on the neck slowly when in a store, to know if the neck is good. That is, take your time. Hope this helps some of you. I can tell many of you love the guitar as much as I have. Good luck.

  35. Neil Aitken

    Fascinating page. I’ve been playing over 25 years now (since I was 5) and own/owned plenty of guitars. Having just picked up a used Affinity strat ‘crafted in indonesia’ with a rosewood neck for not much money, I really like playing this guitar! Sure feels close enough to a ‘real’ strat to me (overall tone improves after rolling off the vol a bit and tone down to 6-7ish). The rosewood neck really helps take some of the nasty biting tone many less expensive strats tend to suffer from. All in all it’s a surprisingly playable guitar. I tried a couple of bullet strats in a shop the other day and thought they were absolute rubbish however. The difference was night and day.

    I must admit I have never modded any guitar, in fact i can’t even set one up! I kinda prefer just playing ‘em. At the moment my Gibson is gathering dust, my ‘real’ strat is out on loan and my affinity strat is going great. Go forth and purchase these things with confidence. I think the fact that they are so cheap actually makes them more fun to play!

  36. Stuart Lunt

    Have really enjoyed reading this thread…I’ve been playing for 23 years, more seriously for the last 5 or so – bedroom, jamming and VERY limited gigging. I owned a 2007 arctic white Squier strat that I had upgraded with an ‘AxesRUs’ pickguard assembly with Wilkinson pickups etc – to be honest as someone above said the original pups have a brighter ‘bark’ but the Wilkinsons were smoother and warmer. I found the tuning issues were there but not hugely problematic; the guitar was very very playable with stock parts, and had a great ‘strat’ sound. The noise issues were slight, and improved with the new pickguard, as I recall.

    I have become a Vintage (JHS) freak and have owned 10 of the various models, I currently have a PRS style VRS100 & an LP style V100 Icon; even from memory, I feel that the Squier neck and fingerboard were smoother to play and just felt more ‘quality’…despte the Vintages being almost mid-market now (RRPs around £250 in the UK). I owned a Vintage V6 strat copy and whilst it was heavier and had warmer pups than the Squier, it just didn’t ‘feel’ like a strat – but the Squier did…

    I sold it last year to fund another guitar, but I’ve got the ‘I want a STRAT!’ urge again, so have just bought a used Squier Affinity on Ebay (a 2001 brown sunburst with r/w fingerboard). It will be interesting to see how this one compares with the one I sold, which I think was a more recent model…anyway I jut wanted to agree with the other posts about this being a good choice of guitar; in terms of tone, playability, quality and moddability vs cost, there is no argument – get ye a Squier, my man!!! I’m sure you’ll be chuffed to bits with it (and if not, flog it on Ebay!!)…

  37. OK
    I have been playing the guitar since I was 14, now 38 … I have been through several guitars, I have no problem adding and removing parts to make the guitars the way I want.
    I have a custom strat (mighty mite body, lawsuit fernandes neck), a guitar built with parts off of ebay, a burny les paul … and yesterday I bought a used black affinity for $60 … and I have begun modifying … what I like the body is adler, the classic big headstock, the tuners aren’t top of the line but they look like schallers … what I will replace: the tremelo, the electronics and pickups (although the neck and middle sound OK to me, I dropped a HSS pickguard and have it setup and playable … the humbucker is cheap and I will replace … don’t like that the body is thinner than my mighty mite body, but the weight is similiar.
    I love the feel of the neck, I have small hands and I like the thinner neck … really the guitar lacks on the hardware side of things and few mods makes an inexpensive guitar into a personal and enjoyable favorite.
    Honestly any guitar you by is going to be a stock guitar that lacks the upgrades of your favorite players … unless they are high end and specify top of the line parts … go for it and make it your own model of guitar.

  38. al

    stumbled upon this page by complete accident whilst looking for info on the affinity squier. Been playing the guitar for about 15 years now. have an epi lp standard which is slightly modded and is my main guitar and over the years had a jackson, strat copy’s and an ibanez. Bought a squier affinity ‘crafted in china’ last week on ebay on a whim for less than £50 with a 15w frontman amp. In all honesty it was bought to have a fiddle with. Having spent a few days playing this guitar now through my usual setup i am pretty impressed. the pickups have a little too much bite, but am planning on replacing soon. overall the guitar feels great, it just makes me want to play which is probably due to that ‘strat’ sound that it has. having read all the usual user reviews it does seem like most of them were written by uneducated ‘noobs’ who dont know better. after a few hours setting this thing up it plays great and i’m mightily impressed. from what i can gather its ‘alder’ and a great start for modding.

    in my small studio this thing records clean great, as good as some of the strats i’ve had come through here at least. tbh i may have got one of the good ones, but it is good. go for it and turn it into your custom axe

  39. Mark

    I have owned a Squier Affinity that I prize. My wife and kids surprised me with it one Christmas and I took the time and effort to mod and change it. I did the same as most, dressed the frets, blocked the trem since I don’t use it, changed the pickups, played with the tone controls, and currently love it just as if it were an american model. I also own a les paul (Gibson, not Epi) and really can’t make up my mind which one I had rather play. Just my 2 cents worth

  40. Bob

    I own a Squier Strat FMT in tabacco burst. Love it!
    Bought this guitar at GC for a $170 new. The alder body and maple rosewood neck alone are worth it. Most everything else was replaced. I went with Sperzal locking tuners, Graph-tech nut, a pair of Dimarzio HS 3 stacked humbuckers and a Duncan
    JB Junior mini-humbucker (bridge pos.) Replaced the crap pots. and 5-way with standard Fender parts. All the cavities and pickup covers are shielded. I like the David Gilmour short style trem bar, so I shortened mine in a similar fashion. The next step is to replace the crappy pot metal saddles. I’ll probably go with Graph-tech stainless. The nice thing about modding a cheap but decent starter guitar is, you create an instrument the way you want it, without spending a fortune (under $500)
    My strat looks beautiful and sounds awesome.
    I play through a ’65′ Gretsch all tube amp and a Kustom solid state-tube hybrid. Final word, just do your research on components, talk to as many people as you can, ask questions about there setups. Look for deals but be wary. And have the guitar setup properly. (action, intonation,etc)

  41. TylerT

    I own a 2006 squier affinity stratocaster and granted it aint a fender eric clapton custom shop..but it aint bad.. i hear so many people ragging on this guitar! well i have news for them..get lost..anyone can pick up a 4,000$ PRS and make it sound horrible..a wonderful musician can pick up a squier strat and make it howl and scream. i believe alot is in the ability of the player. this guitar is great for the player on a budget..heck i went and played a fender mim standard today and guitar center and the quality was for S*&^%. my 175$ squier is made better!

  42. Po'Boy Blu

    If you can…try them at a store for “feel” purposes.

    I have a Squier Affinity Strat that I changed the tuners to vintage strat tuners from Guitarfetish.com and Vintage Surf pickups from Guitar Fetish as well and DAMN! It sounds great! I’ve owned US strats, copies, etc. and it sounds just as good.

    The trick is finding a good one! At least that’s my own superstition…a lot of guitars I bought online just didn’t have that “feel.” Sure, a good setup will make it feel good but they all come out of the factory different.

    As for the MIM guitars….I’ve owned 2 and I really couldn’t tell the difference!!! Shielding?? Nowhere to be found! Seriously, it really didn’t feel any better. US parts will line-up better though…Squier Affinity’s have thinner bodies. You can still fix em’ up with parts.

    As for people thinking everything made in our great ol’ U.S.A. is better…..hmmm, I’ve worked at a few factories and I wouldn’t buy ANYTHING those shaved apes ever touched! Americans don’t care!

    Sure, there’s a few, FEW people in the factory that bust their butts on the job but then that guitar gets sent down the line to “Bob” who is having a crappy day, hates his job and supervisor, wants more money and less work. Have fun playing that one!

    I’ll be playing my Chinese made guitar where the guy or gal made it is only making $3 a week (at least Sally Struthers isn’t getting my money) had to stick to strict instructions or would have to kneel on uncooked rice for the rest of the day!!! Commies Rock!

    Seriously, they’re fine. There is cheap parts that can be replaced. As for the wood….I believe the neck wood is important to a REALLY nice sound, not the body. I’ve made Danelectros from plywood and masonite that sounded GREAT!

    Change the pickups IF they’re ceramic. If they’re alnico, they’ll be fine! Get the strings you like. And play, most of the sound is in the players fingers!

  43. painter33

    Po’Boy Blu – don’t paint all Affinities with the same broad brush. I have two Chinese Affinities (’96 and ’97) that are 1.75″ thick and as heavy as any Strat (Amer., MIM, etc.) I’ve had in my hands. Fast necks as straight as arrows. Change the cheaper pots and pups and you’ve got a pretty good to great guitar.

    • Po'Boy Blu

      My Affinity is lighter, might be later year…Yeah, whatever..they’re good guitars and can be modded to YOUR liking.
      They’re better builds than Teisco’s, Kent’s, etc. of the 60′s and early 70′s that every baby-boomer is jacking the price on!

      Try it, tweak it, love it!

  44. 49erron

    Well hot dang! My 15 y.o. son is starting a garage band (proud dad: they just won a local Battle of the bands), so he’s got the fever. He’s a drummer, but I wanted some gear to leave out in the garage for him and his buddies to jam with. (My ’67 ES330 was not goin’ to the kids). So I went on Craigs list, and, knowing nothing of Fenders, found this “starter pack” with an Affinity Strat and a little 15 watt amp (plus a CD and a tuner and some headphones-yippee) for 100 bucks. How could I go wrong? Got it home and saw “indonesia” stamp. OK, so what, it’s a beater axe,sez I. Then I started looking it over and plucked it a bit. Surprise. As previously noted, neck and action need tweaking, but it appears to be a solid little rig, with a real slick neck.

    Then, by chance I found this site. I had no freakin idea of the potential for this thing. Being a tinkerer and a woodworker, I can’t wait to start customizing and modding. You guys have most likely started me on a new hobby. Thanks to all.

    • Bearman

      49erron… from one tinkering woodworker to another, have fun. That first Affinity project that turned into my daughter’s purple strat set me off. Since then, I have resurrected many guitars and now have 15 “cheap” guitars in my collection.

      Not all of them have finished up to my liking, but they’re easy to sell because of the low price. The ones that suit my style, I keep.

      A couple of them a truly a joy to play, including a Squier Affinity Telecaster that has the sweetest maple neck I’ve found on anything.

      Have fun!

  45. I helped a friend buy his son a starter guitar. We ended up getting the 20th Anniversary strat. It was dirty and grimy, but after a good cleaning and set up, it played very well. A great guitar for mods!

    My first guitar (and still a top player in the group) is my Peavey Predator strat knock off that I decoupaged with Wolverine comics. It is big and ugly and something I was not afraid to mod since it was given to me in pieces and sanded down to the wood. I’ve upgraded to Sperzel locking tuners, Wilk trem, and LSR roller nut. I haven’t done anything with the electronics yet, but I will. The best mod has been the neck. I reshaped it using a spoke shave and sandpaper. A little nerve racking since I have no woodworking experience, but I was able to get exactly what I wanted. This has made all the difference with this guitar.

    I highly recommend looking for a guitar with the right feel. If the price is so low you can’t pass it up, you can even change the feel too. Best of luck!

  46. painter33

    I see people are just dropping in Mighty Mite necks – I bought a MM full maple that is too narrow at the heel for both ’96 and ’97 so I had to build up the neck pocket for a proper fit. It was annoying since it means I have to refinish the entire body to hide the buildup. No matter whether the wood is added to the neck or the pocket the result is the same. I used veneer so that I could control the amount and evenness of the added wood – it doesn’t add up to a lot but it shows and just can’t stay that way. Stripping the poly is no fun – chemicals are almost useless so a heat gun is the way I’ve gone. I’m going to change from black to a to-be-determined lighter body color, so I’ll have one black and one ??? Maybe vintage white or a lighter creamsicle color with the maple neck. I have a 3-ply pickguard, new Tex-Mex pups, new pots, and new “F” tuners ready to go. Now I just need time…

  47. If you are a real estate professional, be really careful in dealing with KoRes Corp. in Weston Florida. Tulio Rodriguez & Monica Cataluna-Shand are shysters and look for anyway to steal ones customers. They attempt to steal your client by requesting their contact information and later contact them behind your back to get them to deal with them directly.

  48. gu1tarzan

    Five years ago or thereabouts, I was in a pawnshop, saw a gold Strat — and I mean GOLD-gold, not quite sparkle, but close — with a maple neck and board. A Chinese Squier Affinity. I sat down and played it while I jawed with the owner, ended up walking out with it for about $100. See, my wife’s a musician, too, and I figured the guitar was so pretty she could use it in a video. I changed the strings, put it in its gig bag, and put in on a shelf with my/our other 40-something guitars. And promptly forget I had it.

    Cut to two months ago: I’m in the basement looking for who-knows-what and I see this gig bag and say to myself, “What’s this?” Out comes the big 70s headstock, the maple neck, and Oh, yeah, that gold body. To my amazement, it was damn near in tune. Chords just RANG on the thing; it was light as a feather. The fret-ends were kinda raggedy (but no worse that on most of the “Roadworn” Strats and Teles I’ve played), so I sat and watched TV and filed the ends until it was smooth as silk.

    Here’s where it gets good: while I had bought this thing for its looks, it was a Strat through-and-through. I’ve got six or seven American and Japanese Strats, and this thing is as playable as any of them and certainly more resonant than ANY of them. The inexpensive pickups, as others have noted, are certainly not “boutique,” but have a lot of personality — think Supro, Danelectro, all those budget guitars from the Golden Age — and I’ve yet to change them. Or anything else for that matter.

    I took it to band practice and was AMAZED at how much fun it was to play. The thinner body (which is truly as graceful as any Strat’s) is more comfortable, and the light weight means no more neck or back pain, which is no small consideration considering I’ll be 60 pretty soon.

    Because the thing was so perfect, I couldn’t bring myself to change anything on it, so I did what any self-respecting guitar player would do: I bought another one. A pearl finish/maple/maple still in its minimal Chinese shipping box. Strangely, the neck had no finish on it, so I shot it with 6-8 coats of nitro (after having to WORK to get the neck out of the pocket) and am waiting for it to finish drying so I can put it together. If it sounds as good as the gold one, I probably won’t change anything on it either.

    Having played quite a few of these things now, I’m ready to sing the praises of computer-controlled guitar building, and wholeheartedly recommend these guitars to everyone — though older, more experienced guitarists are more likely to truly appreciate what’s going on here.

  49. sean carter

    ive read alot of reviews on the squier affinity strat and felt like i needed to give a response. I think that the guitar is fenders way of letting anyone without a large income,to have an opportunity to afford a fender strat. An icon guitar of the past, that helped define rock and roll,and other styles of music we all have enjoyed and been inspired by. Maybe in a way, fender smiles a little everytime someone purchases an affinity,because they know that someone out there wants to be a little bit closer to theyre hero,and can get that chance,without skipping on the rent! Im sure that there’s a kid out there, that has parents that just cant afford an expensive guitar for him, but he has the talent to be the next guitar hero,and finances didn’t prevent that from becoming! I own two of the affinity strats,completely unmodified,and i absolutely love those guitars. They give me the same thrill i had when i was a kid and figured out one of my favorite artists riffs! To this day,i still sit around late at night,and try and play all my dad’s old cream records,using my black and white affinity strat, into the clapton crossroads pedal and through my marshall mini stack,with all the knobs stratigically set.Go sunshine!

  50. the internet is always the source of cheap stuffs, you can buy cheap electronics, cheap softwares and other stuffs .`~

  51. Bob

    We currently have 6 strat style guitars in our house hold including a Fenandez, a Hamer, A MIM Fender and 3 Squiers, all are wired up different. By Far the 3 Hot rodded Squiers get the most time played out of all of them. They all have been modified in a variety of configurations to extort different sounds.

  52. Dan

    I just got an Affinity Jazz bass for Xmas. I’ve been playing guitar for a few years, and have a Warmoth custom guitar, plus a Fender Telecaster Plus (American-made). I know a little bit about guitars, so I feel confident making a few statements.

    First and foremost, I wanted a cheap bass I could mess around with. I wound up with the “gig pack,” which came with a 15W Fender “Rumble” amp. The amp is loud enough for some practicing, and the quality of the guitar is light-years better than anything Gibson, Dean, or Ibanez has to offer at the same price-point. The Affinity is superior in every way.

    Yeah, it could use some work, most notably a set-up. There are a few sharp edges on the frets, and the string action is a little bit high, but it’s still a very playable instrument. Any beginner, or even anyone who just wants a cheap bass, should be happy with this guitar. IMO, it plays much better than its $250 price (including amp, strap, dvd, tuner, chord) suggests.

    Tomorrow, I’m heading to the music store, and I’m getting this thing set up correctly. This is a fine instrument for the money, and I think it will certainly rival or exceed the playability of instruments that cost nearly twice the price, or more.

  53. theinfideldog

    I think its sad that everyone classes all Fender Squires as “Less than a Real Fender”. They’re “Beginner” Guitars. You hear it and read it wherever you go. The reality is, unless you are an Elected Politician, the rest of us simply cannot afford a Fender Custom Shop Super Drooler, or a 1946 Genuine Fender American. I think if you have an arsenal of information from Dan Erlewines Books, and you want to build a Squire into a roaring, awesome piece of equipment, then do so. The experience can be rewarding, the sound will surpass the MIM guys, and some of the Strat or Tele American Made. We just have to keep in mind that if for some reason after all that, you do decide to sell it, – it will always be a “Squire”. But Why would you want to sell it after all the upgrades? You will find Alder Bodies and Bass wood bodies listed in the best of the best custom works hand built, listed on e-Bay. A ka-trillion dollars for a custom built basswood body (only, of course, no hardware included) or “Genuine Hand Carved Tummy cut Alder wood”. Gimmie a break. The Squire is a victim of our debutantes, who want to spend money they don’t have for something they can’t play because it cost too much and becomes a wall hanger. It by far exceeds the custom made in USA we see for less than a hundred bucks on e-bay. And it is far better quality than the knock off imports. Give the Squire a little respect America. Respect it deserves.

    • Dan

      I agree with InfidelDog 100%.

      Just a follow-up, but I got my Affinity J-Bass set up, and let me tell ya, it will play just as nicely as more expensive instruments. I know, because I’ve compared them back to back.

      Would I rather have a custom Fender bass? Of course! Who in his/her right mind would turn one down, but I’m still just as happy today with my Affinity as I was the day I got it.

  54. theinfideldog

    A little more feedback in Favor of the Squire Guitars… There are Guitars and Guitar Bodies, listed on e-Bay, and around town everywhere, as “Custom Hand Made crafted in the USA Super Drooler, Must Have, Hand Tooled”. And they are usually affordable. Sometimes a hundred dollars or less on e-Bay. So you bought it, because it was made in the USA and the Squire that only cost a couple bucks more (Really) was made in pago-pago. Well take a l@@k at what’cha got there, blue eyes… Let’s see what you bought… in that super little deal of yours. The dang neck on that thing, for 22 Frets, is as big as a saw slab lumber plank, the action is high as any vintage Harmony Acoustic ever had, you can almost park a small matchbox car between the strings and the fretboard on that baby, And the un-dressed fret wires will slice your thumb to the bone when you try to move from a “C” to a “G” chord. Blood will spill, when you try it, be prepared. Yer gonna need to stock up on lots of band-aids if you expect yer kids to learn on that thing buck-o ! And in most cases there ain’t a neck in the country that will fit the off-standard-size neck pocket on your little treasure. True-fit parts are nowhere’s-ville baby ! Ain’t that somethin… At least with your Squire “Beginner” “Undesirable” you can upgrade to some pretty cool fender parts, that will, amazingly fit your Squire. Heck, You can’t even begin to find a replacement pick guard in most places to fit that midnight special “Great Deal” guitar you bought! Just try browsing the parts places on line for some fancy upgrades to that little booger you got there. When you plug in the name of your little jewel, it always comes back “0 search results found”. Yep, been there, done that, more than once, (so I’m a slow learner…) Don’t get me wrong, there are great made in USA instruments and parts out there, just keep in mind – you get what you pay for when the sign says made in USA. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Buy from a trusted dealer and ask questions. Personally, I’d stay with the Fender Squire, that will accept Fender parts. Soup it up, toss on some shine, play the heck out of it and pass it on to yer kids and take pride in knowing you got exactly what you want and you did it yourself.

  55. painter33

    Well, Infideldog, your screed would have more punch if you spelled Squier correctly. Oft misspelled with an “e” at the end may be out of conflating “Squier” with “Esquire” – that one-pup Tele from the ’50s or just not paying attention. I agree completely in the Squier culture of a quality Fender guitar sold at reasonable prices. I have two – a ’96 and a ’97 – both full size (1.75″) Affinities (the incarnation of the original Squier Bullets – terrific axes) and couldn’t be happier with guitars that can outplay (after some electronic and tuner upgrades) most MIMs I’ve tried and a few MIAs as well. The ’96-’98 Affinites were “made” in China, not crafted, and I believe that the bodies and necks came from Japan where Fender had been making Strats (better than MIA at the time, by consensus I believe). Every part that I’ve modded has been made for MIA Strats and are perfect drop-ins. No “import” sizes as some companies advertise and warn. A new, heavy, “made-for-an-American” Strat trem fits into the cavity without further routing. New MM and Warmoth necks have fit perfectly, although why anyone would want to change from a slick, straight rosewood neck, unless maple is desired, is beyond me. It doesn’t have a skunk, big deal – how does that affect play, especially when a rosewood neck doesn’t need one. If more people would get away from their biases long enough to play a Squier, they would come into the light and breathe the clean air. S-q-u-i-e-r – what beautiful music it is.

    • Dan

      Painter33, it’s no surprise that a Warmoth neck will fit a Fender. In fact, Warmoth necks/bodies are made to Fender specs. In fact, I believe Fender licenses Warmoth necks as replacements, but don’t quote me 100% on that.

      People talk about the wood, but to my understanding, the bodies are alder. I have a Warmoth guitar, and I chose to go with alder. The guitar sounds flat-out INSANE. I’m not sure where people get the impression that only cheap guitar bodies are made from alder, because that’s simply not the case. In fact, I don’t see why anyone refers to any of the woods as cheap, because it all depends on the sound you’re looking for. Sure, some woods are brighter than others, but that doesn’t mean a particular wood is better than another.

  56. painter33

    Dan,

    Some people think Warmoth necks won’t fit a Squier, as they are (mostly) imported. That was my reference in support of theinfideldog (aren’t we all). Alder (mine are 3-piece) is a perfectly good wood for a guitar, better than basswood, I think. Guitars don’t have to be ash, swamp ash, or mahogany. Pine is less stable unless super-dried, so I’d take alder any day. Beats the hell out of laminated plywood.

  57. The Masked Guitar Picker

    While I’m almost sure that no one will read this at this stage of the game, I figure what the heck; I’ll post my reply anyway. After all, I just stumbled on this thread while looking for information on the ’97 Chinese I was given for Christmas, and maybe it’ll help others.
    Before I begin, I feel like maybe I should give a couple of credentials: First, I have been playing the guitar since I was 12 and I am now 43 (you do the math). I started playing in clubs at 15 (I lied about my age, and the owners never seemed to ask too closely) so I have literally grown up on stage. I am a qualified luthier (big crappy word for an overpaid guitar mechanic- by the way, when you come to one of us, that one word is all you are really paying for) with many years of experience. But, most importantly, I have owned, and loved many guitars- some with names I couldn’t even decipher, and many others that were the VERY high dollar custom hand-made-just-for-me “superdrool” types. And I love “cheap” guitars. Enough of the rigamarole, let’s get down to the advice….
    Contrary to what everyone else on this thread advises, I think the tone of the pickups is extraordinary. If you don’t believe me try playing Blackfoot’s
    “Highway Song” on #2 on the tone selector (bridge+middle pickups) and see what YOU think of the Squier’s tones. Of all the things on this guitar that I might consider customizing, the pickups would definitely not be one of them. As for the other electronics… well, like EVERY OTHER guitar, they have their strengths and weaknesses.
    Now, I mentioned my luthier experience briefly earlier. I apprenticed to a top-notched luthier at 17 and spent a few years as a journeyman under an even better one. The point of all of this build up is that I have enough experience with guitars, with no biases against so-called cheap guitars, to give a fairly good review. Simply put, the Squier Affinity is a piece of crap.
    Let’s start with a few “red flag” facts: The Squier that I now have has a serial # that begins with NC- no one, including FMIC, has any idea of the parts specs or, for that matter, any other information on this particular model. Basically, they don’t know where the heck this guitar came from. Ask yourself a question: “What kind of company produces a product that they care so little about that they can’t even tell you what the serial numbers mean?” Why have serial numbers in the first place? Is it because suckers will buy anything as long as it has them? As an aside, I have a guitar that matches none of the web information either- the neck is as thick as a baseball bat sawed in half, 22 frets (it’s a ’97 chinese beginning with NC, remember? Apparently, with the NC series nobody thought to keep any records).
    Next, If you go to the “official” Squier website Fender claims that ALL models are distributed domestically through their factory and must meet demanding standards. This is, by them, demanding? The guitar I have is virtually unplayable without major repairs and set-up costs (in terms of what someone like me would charge- that’s not exactly true; I charge what you can afford… to a point). The action is so high that you could at least consider a career as a bottleneck player.
    The worst problem of all is that, since the day I got the darned thing I have had to constantly readjust the intonation on it. Not one day in the month or so that I’ve had this guitar has gone by without having to do that. Set it correctly, play through a couple of chord progressions, out of intonation, set again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat, ad nauseum.
    Just take the money that you would have WASTED on a really sorry excuse for a guitar, and buy a hot car because at least if you have to do some work on that you can still drive it to the music store and buy a better guitar, regardless of the name on the headstock. (Besides, girls like guys who drive hot cars way better than guys who play out-of-tune guitars.)
    P.S. Two tickets to the concert if you can figure out who I am. Read some old magazines. Seriously- I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread.

    • Dan

      The Masked Guitarist, I don’t mean to put you on the spot or sound rude, but if you’re such a skilled and knowledgeable luthier, why would you purchase a guitar you hadn’t inspected? Prior to purchase, you should’ve had some sort of playing experience with this instrument and deemed it “unplayable.”

      What it sounds like to me is that you swiped this guitar up, got home, and discovered you wound up with a dud. It’s a possibility that this was discovered by many a people who had spent some time with this instrument, hence the reason it was still at the store!

      I can appreciate the fact that you had a poor experience with this particular instrument, and your opinion is your opinion, but to base your judgements on an entire line of products off your experiences with ONE of them just doesn’t hold much weight.

      While I’m not a skilled luthier, or know the first thing about repairing guitars, I’ve played many an instrument. As recently as in the past 12 months, I’ve played TWO American Jackson guitars (RR, Soloist), and the Soloist had wobbly pots, and sounded like absolute garbage. The RR’s sustain did not impress, to say the least, and it just didn’t feel like it justified its $1600 price tag (USED!). I’ve played $500 MIM Telecasters that have played better than these guitars. Do I make the claim that all American Jacksons are garbage? Absolutely not. There are A LOT of people who swear by them, and they hold a following for a reason. Personally, I’ve simply never had a good playing experience with one, but for everybody that hasn’t had a good experience playing one, there is someone else who has.

      I’m sorry you had a poor experience with your Affinity, and who am I the one to say you didn’t, but from my own personal experiences, mine feels solid, has a comfortable neck, and outstanding playability/sound for the price point. The biggest annoyance for me, however, is the way the electronics are set up. It’s a guessing game to find the volume/tone knobs, depending on which pickup is in use. :/

  58. painter33

    You’d better keep that mask on. What pomposity! Guess who I am… who cares? The problem is you are damning a guitar that, like all guitars, or cars, or computers, can produce a dud now and then. In your case it’s a perfect match. Maybe you’ve been had and and have a messed up piece of junk. If the thing’s so bad then how can you say the pups are good???? Intonation: in the 14 years I’ve had my ’97 (purchased Jan. 8, 1998) I’ve only had to touch the intonation once, soon after I got it. I changed the cheap tuners, and it seems to stay in tune for such a long time that I keep checking it (’cause I can’ that it’s in tune – but why trust my ears) but really don’t have but minor adjustments every so often. I believe that there is a reason why Fender isn’t willing to give up the goods on the ’96-’98 Squiers (Affinities)- they are rebadged ’96 Squier Bullets – probably made with Fender Japan bodies – 1.75″ alder and every MIA Fender Strat part fits like a glove. No “import” sizes or strange metrics. The necks, as attested to by everyone (else but you), is fast and straight; no skunk stripe but it’s not needed because of the r’wood slab. The usual complaints include pots that stay the same until you get to 8, pups that are serviceable but don’t have anything special about them. The cheesy tuners mentioned before and a thin trem block. The cavity is large enough for a good replacement block. Fender likely produced a guitar (body and neck) that could compete with its big brother but at the price, they didn’t/don’t want that to get out. Ergo, the lack of data. The “Made” in China Squier Affinity models far outdo the “Crafted” in China guitars that followed. If you bothered to read and absorb what many other early (’96-’98) Affinity owners have written, you’d realize that you’re in a minority of one.

    • Dan

      Painter33, allow me to touch base on your previous response to me before addressing your latest. :)

      “Some people think Warmoth necks won’t fit a Squier, as they are (mostly) imported. That was my reference in support of theinfideldog (aren’t we all). Alder (mine are 3-piece) is a perfectly good wood for a guitar, better than basswood, I think. Guitars don’t have to be ash, swamp ash, or mahogany. Pine is less stable unless super-dried, so I’d take alder any day. Beats the hell out of laminated plywood.”

      I fully agree with you on all these accounts. While I can’t recall which make/models they were, I just received a “Musician’s Friend” catalog, and in it, I recall seeing an alder-bodied guitar that was priced in the thousands; I believe around $3800-$4000. I’ve never had an issue with my Warmoth holding sustain, or any other issues. I couldn’t be happier with it.

      Regarding your latest post which has been directed towards “The Masked Guitar Picker,” I couldn’t agree more.

      Now, to MY knowledge, in order for a product to wear the words, “Made In,” 60% of that product needs to be MANUFACTURED in that “country of origin.” In other words, all those parts could show up in China from the USA in unassembled fashion, but if China ASSEMBLES 60% of that product, it’s “Made in China.” This is the case with bicycles, at least. I can only ASSUME that it goes that way for all products.

      I can certainly appreciate “The Masked Guitarist’s” poor experience he had with an Affinity, but for me, personally, I’ve never had an issue with any of them that I’ve played in stores. I’ve had more issues with finding a playable B.C. Rich “Trace” Warbeast than a Fender Affinity. Unlike the Affinities, EVERY single “Trace” Warbeast I’ve EVER played had extremely sharp frets, and VERY POOR playability, despite the higher price!

      The biggest issues I’ve experienced with the Affinity strats I’ve played have been regarding the finishes on the necks. Some of them seem “glossier” than others, and on others, it seems as if the finish was not evenly applied to the necks; hardly playability issues, in my book.

      These guitars sell for what, about $129 separately from the “gig packs?” for that scratch, I don’t think a better guitar is going to be found, UNLESS you find someone willing to part with something used.

      I’ve said it once, and I’m repeating myself here, but I have not had ANY problems with my Affinity J-Bass. Sure, the tuners could be more accurate, but as far as quality and intonation, the performance is very good.

      I had a mild setup (string action) performed on it, and while I was waiting, I played a more expensive version of the “Jazz” bass (appr. $500-$600), and after having the string action adjusted and the truss rod adjusted on mine, it played just as nicely as that more expensive model; probably better.

      Yes, there are some cheap bits on the Affinity guitars, and for $129-$250, it’s expected. I don’t expect to get a guitar with as nice of a bridge on it as an American Standard, but mine works VERY WELL for me, and I’d buy another one without thinking twice about it.

      I think there are good batches and bad batches, as with any other product. Regarding the Affinity series or any other manufacturer’s “cheap” series, they can be hit or miss, and you just need to play them and inspect them prior to purchase.

  59. painter33

    Dan – thanks for the confirmation. My post was a little harsh toward our “mystery guest”, but I was truly turned off by his absolutes and his unsupported (by most owners of ’96-’98 Affinities) view of this guitar. Every manufactured product will have a few that leave the plant in a less than optimal condition and apparently he has one of those. But to completely denigrate every one of them is, well, ignorant of why there are “seconds” or “should-have-been-rejected” products out there, everything from toothpicks to Mercedes Benz’. Your supposition that the guitar was available for a reason is a good one and may help him to understand more than he did before he wrote his criticism. Critiquing a guitar is fine and we all have opinions that are sometimes opposing, fine, but to damn the whole does a disservice to the parts – the many really good Squier Affinities that are played on stages around the world. Why would professional musicians knowingly play a piece of junk? Your experience, mine,and a lot of others on this forum as well as forums on Strat-Talk, Fender/Squier (FMIC), Fendertalk, TDPRI, etc. speak highly of their Squier Strat Affinities, both old and new. Affinities have been modders’ choice for a long time, and continues, because of the quality of bodies and necks despite nearly everyone of us admitting to its various weaknesses in the electronics, tuners, and the smallish trem block, but we also appreciate the guitar’s attributes and its ability to give an MIA Strat a run for its money (literally) when set up properly (including intonation). The sustain, even unplugged, is impressive, especially if you’re not expecting it to compete with an acoustic (Martin?). I paid $149 for my ’97 and $24 (yes $24 – eBay, in miserable shape but now a beautiful surf green/maple ’57 copy, but now a hardtail) for my ’96, and I don’t think I could have found another electric at that price point that was so good. My modded Affinity took every Fender (mostly USA) part I bought and integrated it perfectly into the body – no tight or loose fits anywhere – perfectly! I didn’t use a single Squier or “import”-size part of any kind.

    Whatever the Masked (oh, please stay that way) Guitar Picker might have us believe, he was flat-out wrong and narrow, and doesn’t appear to comprehend the relative value (not $$) these present. If he was expecting to get Eric Clapton’s real Blackie, I can understand his disappointment. Our experiences just go to show once again that one monkey don’t stop no show.

    • Dan

      Painter33, honestly, The Masked Guitarist’s review is probably the most scathing I’ve read, regarding the Affinity line. I’m not going to make accusations against him because he had a poor experience, because we’ve all had them. Personally, I couldn’t care less if I ever played another B.C. Rich “Trace” Warbeast again, and the same goes for an AMERICAN Gibson Les Paul. YES, that’s right, a Les Paul! I’ve spent time with 5 or 6 of them over the years (owned by friends…), and I’ve just never connected with ANY of them on ANY level.

      I’m pretty certain I’m repeating myself again, but I’m going to reiterate, once again, that I am convinced the Affinity series guitars that failed a final inspection for some reason, and not one pertaining to a playability issue. The Affinities that I’ve inspected usually have some sort of blemish on them, mostly their necks. For instance, mine has a light spot on the neck, and a slight “bubble” of “extra” finish on the side of the neck. It does not affect playability. Others I have inspected and played seem to have some thin areas in the finish on the backs of the necks. Again, these imperfections don’t impede on playing. While I’m not making any claims, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that these “throw-aways” were slated to be “MIM” or “MIA” models at one time.

      People fail to understand that these instruments are not collectors’ items. I’m sure Fender has taken into consideration that these instruments will probably live rough lives, and be abused, but then there are the rest of us who see the value in these guitars, and see them as excellent platforms to modify.

  60. The Masked Guitar Picker

    OK…I never meant to start a flame war about a guitar- nor about me. I can only speak from my, admittedly, limited experience.
    Why would I buy a guitar without first inspecting it: As a rule I buy a lot of crappy guitars because I guess I have that kind of reputation ; I like the SOUND as I said before, and I can usually FIX THEM. Keep the pickups- they sound excellent.
    By the way, if you knew who I was, I bet you would take the tickets that I offered in a heartbeat. And one more thing, I am not being an “ass”… nor do I have one of those gigantic egos that you read about every day. I only wish that you would take the advice of someone that has been “there”.
    Heck, I can’t walk into a music shop without hearing somebody playing the riffs that begin the songs that I wrote.
    P.S. Keep trying… I am still watching.
    P.P.S. No actual Yngwie Malmsteens were harmed during the filming of this movie. ANY similarities with any Yngwie Malmsteens, living or dead, was purely coincidental.

    • Dan

      “If you were to know who I was,” says The Masked Guitar Picker.

      Well, “Zorro,” I’d certainly like to know who you are, because given your uneducated statements and this “guess who” game you’re playing, I wouldn’t want you within 10 feet of ANY of my guitars.

      “Why would I buy a guitar without first inspecting it: As a rule I buy a lot of crappy guitars because I guess I have that kind of reputation ; I like the SOUND as I said before, and I can usually FIX THEM. Keep the pickups- they sound excellent,” so you state in your last post. Clearly, you did NOT inspect it, because IF you did, you would have already realized it “had the radius of a baseball bat sawed in half” and also had “intonation problems” BEFORE IT LEFT THE STORE.

      “If you knew who I was…” MOST experienced and respected luthiers would be trying to get their names out there, NOT hiding his/her identity by playing games. Whatever “that kind of reputation” you “may” (and I stress, “MAY…”) have in the real world, it clearly doesn’t carry over to this thread.

      Lastly, just judging by your replies in this thread, I can confidently guarantee that you don’t have a quarter of the knowledge or experience as the luthier who assembled and set up my Warmoth guitar. At this point, given your previous (and present) statements, I question whether you’re even qualified to lower the string action on a guitar.

      • painter33

        Dan – — nail, head, case. Triple play.

        If you all knew who “I” am you’d be on your knees begging for my attention. And sending me gifts and other tributes that show me your undying love and adoration. If you knew who my wife is, you’d think Bo Derek is a 2. If you knew who my dog is, she’d be receiving myriad offers for highly paid speaking engagements from every music-loving group in the world. Can I pile any more on????? I could mention my cat, but he too cool to want anyone to know who he is.

  61. The Masked Guitar Picker

    One last thing… it is the Masked Guitar PICKER… only no talent DOUCHEBAGS dare call themselves a GUITARIST.

  62. painter33

    Are we to infer Yngwie or to think of him as metaphor? Had any scallops lately?

  63. Dan

    Painter33,

    Oh, please, DO TELL! I MUST know who you are! Is it possible that you’re the biggest influence I’ve ever had to pick up a guitar? Are you the holy prophet who has come to save the human race from extinction? PLEASE, I MUST KNOW! LOL!

    Okay, seriously, now, I’m just going to do my best to guide this thread back on to its original track regarding the Affinity guitar series, and ignore The Masked Marauder’s delusional, and silly claims. People who see this topic are going to be looking for knowledgeable information on these guitars, and clearly, calling someone out on false claims is not going to help them.

    Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play a “Bullet,” and it played pretty nicely, IMO. While it wasn’t the best sounding guitar I’ve ever played, it played well enough, and had really low string action, which really surprised me. What was even more surprising is that the string action on this guitar was either as low as, or lower than that on my American-made 1994 Telecaster Plus, and I did not experience ANY fret buzz or any sorts of intonation issues, etc. The price was either $129 or $179, but I can’t recall, given the number of guitars I looked at, and played.

    Just for giggles, I decided to sit down with an American Jazz Bass, just to compare the playability to my Affinity J-Bass, and while the American Jazz, the biggest difference was in the sound, and the finish on the neck. Sure, it certainly sounded more expensive, and felt a little bit more “substantial,” but personally, I couldn’t feel a difference of $1100-$1200 between the two.

    Fender has a nice beginner series here, and I hope they realize it.

  64. Derek

    Well I also stumbled upon this thread on researching an affinity. I just bought another Squier on eBay, a 20th anniversary modded with USA alnico pickups. I’ve had the MIM and USA strats as well as several Squiers. I’ve been playing since 16 and am now 32. Just add me to the fan club :) .

  65. painter33

    Derek – Thanks for your comments supporting the many people who are believer in Squier guitars. While there are some naysayers, one in particular that I can think of, the majority of folks, who 1. accept the Squier logo and don’t expect to see “Fender” in large script; 2. accept the fact that Squiers are not supposed to wood fiber by wood fiber and metal to metal equal an MIA Strat or Tele (but, and a very large qualifier, some certainly can and do); and 3. have left their Strat snobbery at the door, believe that Squiers can hold their own in regard to tone and sustain. Squiers also offer piece of mind when modding is considered. The most common upgrades are pups, pots, and tuners depending on the model, but I would venture that most of us make the changes because of what’s still in our minds – imports are inferior to US made. It’s not necessarily true as I discovered while researching the history of Squier and Fender Strats – there was a time when Japanese Strats were indeed superior to (CBS) MIA Strats. So, play on, man and thanks for the info (“I’ve had the MIM and USA strats as well as several Squiers. I’ve been playing since 16 and am now 32.”) Love it!

  66. I’ve been playing squier affinity strats for years they are great but here is what you gotta know: no 2 are the same. go to a large guitar store, play a dozen or so and pick the best one. The volume pots are junk, so replace those but the switches are actually quieter than US switches. the strings are slightly closer together than mexi and US strats. which can be good or bad depending what you like. the body is slightly thinner on the affinity vs the standards. to me this is comfortable but it makes it a little difficult to use some humbuckers, you have to remove wood to get them to fit. clamp the tremelo down with 5 springs and throw the bar away. thats all the modification needed to keep it in tune. the stock tuners are fine. check out my website to hear an affinity strat in action tearing it up!

  67. oh and its definetely true that people stereotype squiers and associate them badly. people used to always make fun of my squier and not take me seriously. (snobs that thought they were great but never played out) All the real working pros I’ve met like squiers. a few years ago I got sick of the heckling so I tried something. I took carburator cleaner and wiped the squier right off the headstock and left it blank. since then the only comments on my guitar have been about how good it sounds. just goes to show you it was the name and not the guitar that the naysayers had a problem with.

    • Dan

      You’re absolutely right, Matt.

      About a month ago I had the opportunity to play an Affinity J-Bass back to back with an American Standard bass, and there was NOT a $1000+ difference between the two in the way they played, I can tell you that much!

      Don’t get me wrong, the American Jazz was the better bass, but for the price, it should have been. In actuality, the only main differences I noticed were that the American had a maple neck and jumbo frets. Something about the American model just felt more “substantial,” and superior, but I can’t put a finger on what it was.

      The American model’s frets were slightly less buzzy when pressing the strings, and the sound was slightly “crisper,” but the Affinity’s neck felt better to me. Keep in mind that these were BOTH right off the wall at Guitar Center, so it’s obvious that neither of these guitars were optimally set up.

      When I picked up that American Jazz, I expected it to play greatly superior to my Affinity, and I’m a bit disappointed that it didn’t, but at the same time, I’m pretty psyched, especially since I have an Affinity.

      I’ll just say that while I was happy with my Affinity before, I’m that much happier with it now. I definitely walked out of Guitar Center feeling like the Affinity was one super deal.

  68. david

    …. im going to get this guitar tomorrow…

  69. painter33

    Damn. Go for it, boy.

  70. anitavm

    Hello everyone! I’m not fairly sure if this is a forum where people forge these kinds of posts, but I’ll honourable take in the lead anyway! – I’m modern here. Equitable looking to join with some cool peopole ;-)

  71. herringbone jones

    Hi there.
    I play a ’64 strat and have for a long time. It is probably my best of over sixty stringed instruments I got, except for my 1935 Martin D-28, which is a horse of a different color. (And then there is my ’66 Tele . . . . )

    I like a good guitar, and am lucky to own a few.
    I don’t like a bad guitar.
    I got a mystery strat H-S-S no-name strat copy that rocks. It is one of my best guitars and is light as a feather. I got it for thirty bucks including a stand, a bag, a battery amp and some other stuff. I love it a lot.
    I own I think 3 MIM strats, including a Players Special. It is not as good as the stock MIM, but is worth twice as much.
    The stock MIM is my backup for my ’64, and I like it a lot just as it is.
    I am gonna buy a used Affinity Strat this week for fifty bucks, and am looking forward to it.
    I am not a big shot like our mystery guest (no offense intended), but the rest of this post is about my credentials, just for good humor. When I go into a music store, I don’t usually hear anybody playing my licks. I don’t mind, though. But then again, lots of guys play Clapton licks, Clapton plays BB King licks, BB plays T-Bone licks, etc. ad nauseam.
    I like Linda Lovelace licks the best, but I digress.

    I have played with members of The Eagles, The Flying Burrito Bros., The Seeds, Iron Butterfly, The Blues Project, The Seeds, The Surfaris, Dr. Hook, etc.
    I have also played with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Neil Young, Michael Nesmith, Duane Allman, Gene Clark of the Byrds, Country Joe McDonald (but not The Fish), Elvin Bishop, Taj Mahal, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Mary McCaslin, Ian Whitcomb, Charlie Gearhart of Goose Creek Symphony, Harvey Brooks, and lots more.
    None of this makes me an authority on Affinity Strats, however.

    P.S. I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty, and my legs are thin.

  72. herringbone jones

    P.P.S. Did I mention I played with members of The Seeds? I did?
    (oops . . . sorry if I am pushin’ too hard . . . )

  73. painter33

    Seeds, pushin’ too hard ( I always thought the lyrics fit the drive as perfectly as any song could)…heheheh, welcome! Anyone with a sense of humor is encouraged to participate, especially when that person is knowledgable, as you so obviously are. But seriously – wow, you must have the chops, that’s for sure. A 50 buck Affinity is like the sun coming out after three weeks of rain. It just makes ya smile. As far as the infamous mystery guest….plllppppppfffttp! I think he’s slunk away leaving the rest of us some humility to employ.

    • herringbone jones

      Thanks for the welcome.
      As to the mystery guest . . . hey, we are all bozos on this bus (IMO), and there is no need break out the flame throwers unless we are doing the viper drill and need to ignite a fattie . . . we all got a right to an onion , or an opinion . . . or something, right?

      By the way, if it don’t make me look too megalomaniacal for mentioning it (forgot to do so in my pompatus name dropping soliloquy above) . . . one of the best times I had was playing Luther Allison’s guitar for a minute while sitting in with his band . . . didn’t get to play with him, but he let me play his guitar while he took a break . . . a long long time ago in a galaxy far away.

      Three weeks of rain?
      Good image . . .
      “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone . . . ”

      Namaste

  74. I’m going to grab a Squire Afinity Strat tonight…dude gave up before he started…guitar…Fender amp…yada yada yada…80 bux for all…I can’t pass this up.

  75. Ok, So I got a “Made” in China series for my birthday sometime in the late 90s. After all the kids in my middle/high school badmouthed the thing as being a Squire, I started to believe it too and began to detest the guitar. After a while, I saved up and bought a Gibson LP. I never really thought too much about it since just recently when I came across it in the closet and thought “what the hell”, brushed it off and plugged it in. I was thoroughly impressed by what I found. I decided to take some time and clean and set it up. Holy hell does the thing play. There are things that I will opt to play on the Squire over the Gibson because of the sound. It screams with fuzz, something that lacks on the Gibson. No mods whatsoever and the thing is amazing. On the bridge/middle position, I can get the Iommi “Paranoid” sound with nothing but the guitar and my amp. Loads of more sounds too. Put on some delay and get some Radiohead out of it too. Just take some time and set it up. I like the pickups as is, but they look substantially different than the ones on squires now. The magnets aren’t uneven and shitty. The body is heavier than my LP and I believe full thickness to that of a Strat. No skunk stripe on the neck. Shitty machineheads/tuners. Had one break, replaced it. Once you get through all that, the guitar is the best in its class (I only know about this one, not too much about the ones being released nowadays). Good stuff if you can score one of these models. Like I said, It can play things my Gibson can’t and that guitar was 5 times as expensive.

  76. Dan

    Gibson have been riding off their name for YEARS now. Go to any shop, pick up any Les Paul, and you’ll either find a sloppy finish or crappy fretwork. I can’t tell you how many LPs I’ve played that fret out with high bends.

    • I agree. I like the guitar though. It was one of those decisions where I was searching shops for months, picked this one up and couldn’t stop playing it. It’s what worked for me. Got a sweet deal on it too, so it just seemed everything was pointing to that guitar. Didn’t necessarily buy it on the name as much as how it felt in my hands. Would I go buy one again? Probably not. Do I regret it? No.

      • Dan

        They do feel good in the hands. I love the beefy necks on them, but I don’t love the weight. I’d love to have an LP neck on a lighter guitar…

  77. herringbone jones

    I felt the same way about the weight of the LP. I have played a long time but I never played an SG much until the last few years, and I am a convert. My Les Pauls are heavy . . . . and as to Gibson, the low end stuff is in my opinion the best stuff going.
    The higher end guitars are nice, but to me they are overpriced, and I very much love my cheap (for Gibson) faded SG. I don’t disagree with anyone about the quality, except that ALL of them are not bad. Quality control and over-pricing are my criticisms, but a GOOD new Gibson to me is stall a good Gibson, same as the old ones.
    It used to be they were priced better and they were ALL good . . . . now you have to pick through them to get a good one (Fenders have been that way since the CBS years) . . . anyway, I like having two pretty identical guitars onstage (in case of string breakage) so I picked up a used faded SG to backup my new one, and they are both a breath of fresh air after playing LPs for years . . . . I know different models have different necks, but the neck on the faded SGs I got is clubby but I like them very much after I got used to them. I also play Strats probably 70% – 80% of the time, so any Gibson neck is alien to that . . . .

  78. Joy Hofnug

    My opinion, the guitar you get should depend on what you wanna do with it. This is not a “mature” guitar, in the sense that it´s not meant to be used at great gigs or on professional studio recordings, except that it sounds just perfect for certain genres like blues, punk and alternative rock in general. it´s an intimate guitar, it´s such a good and faithful companion you´re gonna care about it as if it was your child. To me, it has no physical flaws, or at least nothing that can´t be fixed, plus it´s cheap and extremely easy to customize. What is perfect or flawed depends on what you wanna do with it, what is your goal or the kind of sound you wanna get. It´s not just a cheap guitar, it´s simple alright but in a good way. It´s also very resistant and it never gets old. Comparing it to other guitars is like comparing between your everyday comfy shoes and the special shoes you use at fancy parties.
    Oh and don´t waste your time considering the wood type it´s made of. It has nearly no influence on the sound it produces and resistance depends most on how the whole guitar is put together. All this discussion about wood is a waste of time, it´s for people who wanna give the impression they are specialists about something.

    • Dan

      Uh, actually, Joy, woods DO play a part into how an instrument sounds. There are reasons guitars are made of more than one type of wood. Each wood has a different tonal property, and when purchasing an instrument, the woods should certainly be taken into consideration.

      At the price of an Affinity, most people aren’t shopping based on what woods are used to make an instrument, but when it comes to building a high dollar guitar, careful selection of woods is going to come into play every single time. A selection of woods is hardly a “waste of time.” As for your comment regarding “discussion about wood is a waste of time, it’s for people who wanna give the impressions they are specialists about something,” you are way off the mark. I’m hardly a specialist and I know FOR FACT that the type of a wood effects a tone. In the case of acoustic guitars, the impact is larger than what it is for electric guitars, but it still makes a difference.

      • Right – good response. Joy makes some good points but then digs a hole that’s filled with air. My ’96 and ’98 Affinities are three-piece alder and sound (and feel) completely different than a new Affinity (or a plywood Starcaster) and not just because of the thickness difference, but the wood species. And Formica is the same as quarried granite?

        • Dan

          There’s no way I would ever own a plywood guitar. Sure, the Affinity series are cheaply priced guitars but they do use a nice alder body. It’s definitely worth the upgrade from Toys R Us’ Starcaster!

          I own 8 guitars; a 1980s B.C. Rich “N.J. Series” Mockingbird, 1994 Fender Telecaster Plus (USA), 1990s Epiphone Shadow Six, (Year Unknown) Alvarez acoustic, 2003 Jackson USA “Select Series” KV2, Warmoth “Star” custom, 2010 Squier Affinity J-Bass, and 2011 Jackson “JS32″ Warrior. The Warmoth “Star” is all custom; alder body, maple/maple neck, DiMarzio pickups, Fender tone/volume pots/jack, Gotoh tuning machines, Schaller Floyd (Made in Germany) tremolo…

          Having owned (and own) 8 guitars, what do I know about tone, I’m only trying to impress people with my uh…”expertise.” :X

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  80. fred buzz

    I have a 99 squire affinity strat. The body is alder and the neck is maple with
    rosewood. I purchased this guitar used for $60.00…never been out of the sellers closet. I have since… replaced the tuners (locking), installed a fender lsr roller nut, dressed the frets, new string saddles, full brass sustain block, new 3 ply pickgaurd with two chrome paf humbuckers, full size 500k pots, and switchcraft jack. I have spent now $220.00 and this guitar is heavier and richer sounding than the two mim strats i own. one is a 96 50th anniv model, the other is heavily modded with dimarzio noiseless pickups etc. One thing most people dont realize it seems is that a lot of the mex strats are made from lighter poplar. I say go for it! A squire affinity is perfect to wet your appetite with mods. (especially an older korean one). I love the guitar and i have owned many. My next mod is actually going to be a new body from guitarfetish.com. This will give the guitar the thicker feel.
    I guess it will no longer be a squire at that point. Go forth and mod!

  81. fred buzz

    …also just my 2 cents but modding is a natural progression.

  82. rev29

    Back in the ’60′s I couldn’t afford a Start and always had to settle for lesser guitars. Around ’97, kid was grown, I had a couple of extra $$ and decided it was time for a strat (I always had an acoustic, but no electric for all those years). I bought a MIM and it was nice, but after a couple of weeks I sat back and thought “crap, once again I’ve settled for less than what I wanted”.Back went the MIM and home came a beautiful MIA (honestly though, the MIM felt better, but …). About 2 years ago I had to sell off most of my equip.(incl. my MIA) to pay bills. Things are better now and I got the itch to at least have an el cheapo electric to fool around with. In researching, I stumbled on this 4 years and running thread and read it all the way through. Today, at a local pawn shop, I plunked down $50 and left with a Made (not Crafted:) in China Squire. First of all I’ve got to say the neck on this thing absolutely demolishes the one on my MIA. Just no comparison, It is so smooth and silky I can’t believe it. The serial number is CAE00xxx so I assume it was built in 2000. There are a couple of things about this git that are sort of different from what others have described. The neck has the smaller headstock, but has a skunk stripe. The tuners are flat on the bottom. At first I thought they were Amer.Std., but they say Squire on them. The pups are a bit wide for the string placement, esp. the low E and A. Even the pots and switch feel like better quality – very smooth and well made. Does this sound like some kind of hybrid? I haven’t even had a chance to play it as some of the strings are missing and I haven;t restrung it yet, but it sure feels like a dandy. I am REALLY looking forward to getting to work on this and seeing what I end up with.

  83. rev29

    Here’s a quick update. I cleaned it up, added Schaller locking tuners, restrung and did a complete set up. I also replaced the switch, pots and jack. I was planning on changing the pups until I played it. Absolutely awesome! I’ve got about $115 into this rig and I have to say, to my shock and surprise, this has turned out to be the guitar I’ve been wanting for about 45 years. It flat out rocks. And one of things I like most is the Squire logo on the headstock – nobody’s going to bother ripping this gem off so I can take it anywhere. I hate to be a reverse gear snob, but when I see these $2000 guitars on craigslist, I just have to smile. It may not be as purty as some others, but this baby’s a rock ‘n’ roll dream.

  84. herringbone jones

    Well done indeed.

  85. http://newquickweightlossdiets.com

    Real instructive and good anatomical structure of written content, now that’s user pleasant (:.

  86. Good luck, Mike. You should be able to find one on eBay – look for the “made in China” Affinity model from ’96-’98 or a Squier Bullet from ’95-96. All the same. The cheaper pots, pups, and tuners can be replaced and you’ll end up with a pretty terrific guitar. Some will stick with the original pups as they like the sound. The neck will be amazing, and the body is solid, 3-piece alder. My two have been outstanding guitars – one is original paint (the very common black) with new pots/pups/tuners/nut, and the other is a hard tail convert with new paint (surf green)/new maple neck/electronics. It looks very 1957. Again, good luck and have a ball.

  87. Derek

    I can’t believe this thread is still running. I posted a while back. I got a 20th anniversary affinity which i fitted with a usa loaded pickguard. I sold it due to the thin body and nut. I had few strats after, one MIJ fender one MIA standard before an acoustic phase.

    Now i’m back (again) with a sunburst 98 affinity and am pleased with what I’ve read on return. It has been heavily modded. Upgrades are, 250k pots .47cap, treble bleed, alnico 5 pickups none over 6k ohms 5.7 average, fender neck plate, 3ply pickguard & backplate, aged cream pup covers etc, American standard string trees and a graphite nut. To do is tuners that’s it. I have tightened the springs to take up the full resonance of the body thus i don’t feel the need for a big block. I will possibly change the saddles out.

    End result? Outstanding guitar at relatively little cost.

  88. Speezy

    I have two experiences with the Affinity series. A Telecaster and a Strat.

    Telecaster..is a functional guitar that I love to play once I made a couple of mods…Refinished the neck with Tru-Oil, then replaced the bridge pick-up with one from Guitar Fetish. And..not that I had to , but I did, I replaced the tuners with ones from a MIM Strat. The size is a bit thinner than that of a real telecaster, but I really don;t seem to care or notice much. I really enjoy this guitar. I paid $150 for it new at GC and think I got an awesome value for my dollar.

    Stratocaster – functional, but it took a lot of work..and not all of it was Fender’s fault. It was a CraigsList $100 special..so that should tell you something..but I have previously purchased a 1989 MIK Squier II from CraigList that is an awesome guitar (win some/lose some). The Affinity body is a bit smaller in dimensions that a normal Strat (I have a MIM Strat as well)..and it seems to have a narrower neck, also weighs a lot less. This REALLY bugs me. The pick guard is the same size tho as a normal strat. The P-Ups were SSS and absolute crap so I ordered a cheap pre-wired pick guard from Guitar Fetish in HSS. I had to do a little bit of routing (a 3/8 inch drill) to get the new pick-ups to fit…an then..they turned out to be horribly micro phonic. The good thing about that was..I learned how to pot the pickups and now it sounds great. I just can’t get past the size/weight difference though. I am considering giving it to a 12 year old I know..perfect size and weight for him.

    For future projects, I am gonna pass on the Affinity series

  89. Craig

    Here’s a question i have a Squire Jagmaster ( silver sparkle ) i dropped it split the headstock and neck…its a throw away unfortunately so i then started looking for a neck to replace it. I read up on a couple of forums that a Squire strat neck 21 fret would replace it and fit in nicely so i got myself one on ebay Squire strat affinity series CY99 it fits nicely Happy days. I then went to put machine heads on it!! and the problem started ….i don’t know much about machine head sizes ect so please understand im a “noob” at trying to repair guitars. I thought the machine heads from the jagmaster would sit right in i was wrong they are too wide so i again went back to ebay and asked a guy who runs a guitar parts shop what he thought he sold me a set and said that they would fit most affinity series guitars 10mm….they don’t fit…so please if anybody can help do these necks have a certain size machine head or do you have to do a bit of tinkering as in buy a tool to bore the holes and make them bigger?…thanks

    • dave

      Simple, just drill them out a little bigger. You might want to try and save the nut from your Jagmaster neck if possible. Its bone and the strat one is plastic.

    • You can bore the holes – run the bit in reverse to eliminate the possibility of tear-outs. If you have a tapered reamer you can use that as well; the reamer allows you to enlarge the hole slowly a small amount at a time. Usually, many of us have to use adapter bushings to reduce the hole sizes, so you’re in luck going from smaller to larger holes.

  90. I do not drop a ton of responses, but i did a few searching and wound up here
    Squier Affinity Strat??? Should I… |. And I actually do have some questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it give the impression like a few of the responses appear as if they are left by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are posting on additional online social sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Could you list of every one of all your shared sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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  92. markeyluv

    I love the Chinese Affinity strats. I buy them on Craig’s list regularly for $50 or $60 bucks. Love the light weight bodies. Love the underwound / bright sounding pickups. Looking for a Knopfler sound? These have it. They do vary just as vintage strats. Some really have it and others are just OK. Nut width is a bit narrow but what a deal.

  93. Exactly how long did it acquire u to compose “Squier Affinity Strat?
    ?? Should I… |”? It carries plenty of beneficial advice.
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  94. Affinity strats are really cool i love them.. don’t think a second and buy one

  95. herringbone jones

    After a long wait, I am happy to say that today I got a $50 Squier Bullet Strat off CraigsList. . . . no serial number, one-piece 21 fret maple neck (no separate fretboard), plywood, Korean, smaller style headstock.
    Anybody know what the year might be?
    Says “Bullet Series” on the headstock.

  96. I am happy owner of 98 or 99 fender affinity made in indonesia, its really light weighted–alder body and maple neck….have changed pups for fender tex-mex and pots and input…sound is amazing, when people listen to recorded sound they think its some vintage fender !!!

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  99. Bill

    Best buy on the market is the Peavey Predator or Peavey Falcon Strats.
    Made In The USA, 1st rate componants, necks are equal or better to any US Strat.

    Electronics are weak, same with tuners and wiring. For $100-150, thats addressed. IU paid $60 for my Predator, See reviews on Utube.
    They are amazing.

    Also have a China made Affinity Squire that I like, lowered neck action, installed new pickups, Wilkinson bridge and wiring. Its a screamin demon.

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  101. Mike Zito

    I have owned over 100 guitars in the past 20 years – everything from Gibson, Fender, Guild, Taylor & Rickenbacker, to Memphis, Kent and everything in between. A couple of years ago I picked up a 2004 Squire Affinity Strat made in China . . . and it is a fine guitar! Well made, comfortable to hold and play, great action, nice tone, etc. An amazing return on a $60.00 investment. For an extra $20, I even had a local luthier put an on/off switch on the neck pickup, so now I get 7 pickup combination’s, instead of the usual 5 positions. My experience tells me that foreign ‘budget’ guitars are no different than big-ticket American made instruments . . . some are great,and some are firewood – you just have to keep playing until you find the right one.

  102. I have updates to my ’97 Squier Affinity (MIC) and to the MIC ’96.

    1.) On a whim, I replaced the ’97′s block with a heavier, solid steel block from GF and the difference in tone is #@%&**$ amazing, but not nearly as impressive as the change in sustain. I don’t use the term bar but this easy install was a really good decision. I converted the ’96 Affinity to a string-through hard tail so this was my only opportunity to try a more substantial block in a Squier. For the $21.95, it was a very worthwhile mod.

    2.) When I began removing the clear and black paint on the ’96, I had to do it layer by layer. What I discovered was that underneath the poly and black paint was a three-color burst, and wasn’t I surprised. I did a little digging and found that Fender, early on, would dip all the Strat bodies in a yellow stain or dye before the sealer coat then spray them with two transparent colors to create the three-color burst. They advertised the solid colors as “custom” and simply painted and clear-coated the solid colors. So, how did a stock, never altered ’96 Affinity start out like a USA Strat body from the late ’50s? “Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you…”, or not. I should call “Car Talk” and ask Tom and Ray or create a contest in which the person with the correct answer will receive “an all-expenses paid” guitar pick. Or something.

    Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

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