In 1996, Squier began to manufacture the Vista Series, which saw them introducing their own unique guitar designs independent from the Fender mother company for the first time.Made in the same factory as the Japanese Fenders of the era, they were known as high quality guitars.Over time, the Squier series slowly evolved to include original model designs and production has moved from Japan to various other Asian countries such as Korea, China and Indonesia.
The higher priced Fender guitars were made in the United States and could not compete with the lower prices of Japanese made Fender copies.
In the early 1980s, Japanese labour and production costs were much lower than in America and to compete with the Japanese made guitars, Fender moved the lower priced Fender guitar production from America to Japan.
Fender soon added a less expensive export Squier series based on the Fender Japan 19 series in July/August 1982, which had a large Fender logo with a smaller Squier logo and had a zinc rather than a steel tremolo block and again the stratocasters had Fender USA pickups installed.
The Squier series were also made available for the Japanese market in October 1982, which incorporated small changes compared to the export Squier series.
Entry-level Affinity Series instruments were straightforward, basic Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision Bass guitars in black, red and white. MZ: M = Mexico, Z = 2000's, the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.
The Affinity Series paved the way for the subsequent great success of Squier instrument/amp/accessory packages, such as the Strat Pak and Bass Pak, that provided aspiring musicians with everything they need to enter the world of amplified music in a single all-in-one purchase. For example, CN/VN: C = Cor-Tek (Cort), V = Saehan(Sunghan), S was already taken by Samick so Saehan(Sunghan) used V instead (Saehan(Sunghan) made the Vester guitars), N = Nineties (1990s), the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.These bundled Affinity guitars are manufactured in Indonesia (identified by badger stripe on neck) whereas stand-alone Affinity are manufactured in China (identified by no badger stripe on neck). Colors: (706) Black, (758) Torino Red, (780) Arctic White, (700) Sunburst. For example, KC and KV serial number prefixes are usually used on Crafted in Korea Squiers.The year 2004 saw the introduction of Squier's Vintage Modified line, a series of high-end instruments based around the concept of taking vintage designs and adding "hot rod" features such as hardware variations, gloss maple necks, new finishes and pickguards, and Duncan Designed pickups. S/E: The S and E serial number prefix Korean Squiers are from the late 1980s/early 1990s.The SQ Squier series was introduced in late 1983 to early 1984.The SQ Squier series was based more on 1970s Fender models and also had USA made pickups installed.To this day, their violins are noted for their exceptional varnishes, and they command high prices as fine examples of early U. In the 1930s, Squier began making strings for the era's new electric instruments; the company also sold pianos, radios and phonograph records until divesting itself of all string-related products in 1961. Squier Company became an official original equipment manufacturer for Fender in 1963. By the mid-1970s, the Squier name was retired as the strings had taken the Fender name.