The Squier Stratocaster shows that even a legendary American instrument maker like Fender struggled to survive the globalizing push of the 1980s and 1990s. Fender started making Squier guitars in 1982, seeking to lower labor costs and compete in a growing international market. While the price of an electric guitar has nearly halved since the 1960s, innovations in production have typically not resulted in better guitars. One exception to this rule is the Squier Stratocaster "Bullet Series." The "Bullet Series" guitars were marketed, then as now, to beginners. Designed by Fender employee John Page, these guitars first arrived on the scene in 1988.


The model shown here cannot be dated precisely. Fender's own site identifies guitars with serial numbers beginning with the prefix "NC" as "U.S.-made guitars and basses destined for export market," yet the guitar shown here has a clear "Made in China" stamp directly below the serial number stamp. According to one lively message board discussion, the Chinese made guitars with "NC" serial numbers date to 1994-1996. 

Squier Stratocaster

Maple neck, solid basswood body

Dot inlays, nickel small button tuners, white pickguard

3 single-coil pickups

"Made in China"

ca. 1995