It's 26 years since Fender introduced its budget line of Squier guitars. Recapturing the spirit of classic Fenders isn't over yet, though. Squier - the budget offshoot brand of Fender - has now launched a series of Classic Vibe models: not necessarily historically accurate, but with a good dose of '50s and '60s mojo.
The 'big four' models - Stratocaster and Telecaster, plus Precision bass and Jazz bass - are all present. Specs are numerous, but here's MusicRadar overview.
Squier Classic Vibe Stratocasters
The Classic Vibe Stratocaster '50s has a two-tone sunburst and looks the part. The body is alder (with a polyester finish), and you get a 21-fret vintage tint gloss neck. Add a modern-friendly 9.5" radius on the neck and it looks nice enough. Pickups are 'custom' Alnico single coils.
There is also a Classic Vibe '60s model with three-colour sunburst, which adds a three-ply scratchplate and 'aged plastic' parts. Yes, 'aged plastic'. Who'da thunk that, Mr Leo Fender?
Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster '50s
It's a 'blackguard' (ie, it has a black scratchplate, much coveted on early '50s Teles) and although its colour is supposedly 'vintage blonde' it looks more like white in the photos MusicRadar has seen. The body is made of pine. Early Fender Esquires used pine also, says Fender.
Squier Classic Vibe Basses
Both the '50s and '60s Classic Vibe Precision and Jazz bass have basswood bodies, a 9.5" fingerboard radius atop a gloss maple neck and, well, they 'look' like vintage basses. The bridge has been 'improved'. Nice.
Those are the headline specs. These Squiers are going to be great value, we don't doubt - UK pricing is to be confirmed but they're already on offer for circa $300 in the US.
Don't expect them to look exactly like 'old' guitars, though - and with polyester finishes they won't be easily 'relic'd'. But for affordable recreations of some early Fender classics, they look great.
As soon as MusicRadar gets one (or all) in its hands, we'll let you know how good these Squiers are. Check back for more updates from the Squiers' official launch at Summer NAMM 2008 (from 20 June 2008).