What if you wanted to upgrade the sound quality of your Squier guitar? Will Fender pickups fit into a Squier and improve your tone? Are there differences between Squier and Fender pickups?
For many decades, Squier has provided beginners the option to enjoy a good quality guitar without having to spend so much on a more expensive Fender. The largest guitar manufacturer in the world understood how difficult it is for most young starters to obtain the budget for pricier guitars and Squire was the best solution that they could come up with.
Today, even as a vast majority of guitar players will attest to their memorable experiences learning their first chords on a Squier starter pack, the entry-level brand has also successfully developed and improved their products to attract even top professionals looking for a back-up guitar.
Squire guitars are usually manufactured in countries like China, Indonesia, Mexico and Japan, making their production cost much lower. That being said, even some of the best guitarists in the world such as Jack Pearson of the legendary Southern Rock group The Allman Brothers, as well as late Canadian guitar legend Jeff Healy, loved using Squire onstage to inspire their throngs of fans.
The differences between Squier and Fender pickups
There are many reasons why Fender guitars are more expensive and that includes having superior pickups compared to Squier. Even though the sound quality is still good, most Squires utilize lower-quality pickups to allow the company to come up with much lower prices.
Majority of single-coil Squiers are made with bar magnets, as opposed to the pole magnets that Fender uses on their guitars. These bar magnets are closer to P90s when it comes to construction than Fender single-coils and because of this, there is an obvious disparity in sound clarity between the two brands. The same goes for the humbuckers in Squier, which are actually ceramic-magnet-based and are centered more on sound output than producing a clear tone.
The differences in sound between Squier and Fender instruments are among the most noticeable when comparing the two. Other than that, Squier guitars are very reliable and a little tweaking can help a lot in making them sound like Fenders.
Whether you want your backup Squier to match your Fender’s tone quality better, or want to upgrade your only guitar at a minimal cost, changing pickups is a viable move to improve your sound.
Can you replace a Squier pickup with a Fender pickup?
The good news is yes, you can fit a Fender pickup in a Squier’s pickup cavity, as long as they are the same type of guitar. Basically, a Squire stratocaster will match with a Fender stratocaster and the same goes for other guitar models.
You still need to be very specific with some guitars since they have many variations. An example would be the Thinline Telecasters and other regular Telecasters which differ vastly when it comes to pickups. Thinline Teles employ a couple of wide range humbucking pickups, a departure from the usual single coil combination.
Tips for swapping Fender pickups with Squire pickups
Get to know the different types of Fender of pickups
Do your own research and find what set of Fender pickups will fit your Squier best. You should opt for one that will match your guitar seamlessly up to the number of screws, to avoid any future issues.
If you try looking for Squire pickups for sale online, you will notice that second hand items will dominate the results of your search. There is no need to worry about this since your goal is to upgrade your Squire guitar’s tonal capabilities and it doesn’t make much sense replacing Fender pickups with Squier, even if they will fit perfectly well.
While this is in no way a definitive list of pickups by Fender, these are some of the most prominent ones that you will see on their catalog:
- Gen 4 Noiseless Telecaster Pickups
- CuNiFe Wide Range Humbucker
- Custom Shop Texas Special Strat Pickups
- Pure Vintage ’64 Telecaster Pickup Set
- Custom Shop Fat ’60s Stratocaster Pickups
- Ultra Noiseless Hot Stratocaster Pickups
- Gen 4 Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups
- Custom Shop Fat ’50s Stratocaster Pickups
- Original Vintage Tele Pickups
- Original ’57/’62 Strat Pickups
- ShawBucker 2 Humbucking Pickup
- Pure Vintage ’65 Jaguar Pickup Set
- Vintera ’50s Vintage Telecaster Pickup Set
Seek professional help when swapping fender pickups
If you are not confident enough in making your own guitar decisions, worry not. You can bring your instrument to a guitar shop and seek the help of music store experts. They can educate you further on which Fender pickups will fit your Squier, allowing you to prevent any crucial errors.
The same goes for the actual process of swapping Fender with Squire pickups. You may seek the service of guitar repair centers and let them do the removing and soldering of parts. This will let you have some peace of mind and head back home with a much-improved sound.