$3,500 Custom Shop Fender vs. $150 Squier

February 8th, 2017


By Christopher Scapelliti

Many guitar makers offer budget versions of their more expensive models. Some, like Fender, offer entire budget lines—in Fender’s case, the Squier brand.

While there are differences in construction, features and hardware between the expensive and budget models, is there much of difference in sound? And if so, is it significant enough to warrant paying up to several thousand dollars more for the high-end model?

This video lets you judge one such example for yourself. Paul Davids compares his $3,500 Fender Custom Shop Cunetto Relic/John Cruz to his $150 Squier Strat Affinity (currently retailing for around $200). Both guitars were made in 1997, and the Squier was Davids’ first electric guitar.

Both guitars are in excellent condition, properly set up and freshly strung with the same strings. They were recorded with the same amp and effects set up and were treated with no post-processing other than normalization. Give the video a look and see what you think.

We’ve presented Paul’s videos here before, including his comparison of a $150 Motion TD-107 and a $5,000 Martin D-42.

For more of Paul’s videos, visit his YouTube channel.

  • TyroneShoelaces

    There’s no doubt that the Fender sounds better. The question is, does it sound $3,350 better? I’m guessing that when you get into the $1,500 range, the difference would be negligible. Custom Shop guitars with their high end fit and finish are really nice and very pretty to look at, but sonically, it would be difficult to rationalize the difference in cost. That goes double for Master Built instruments.

  • Thomas Sweeney

    So crazy….I could not tell any difference.I guess the difference you can say you have custom shop Fender instead of a Squire !!!

  • I defy anyone to tell the difference without looking. I’m sure I couldn’t.