Starcaster Vs Squier Strats: Which Is Better? [2023 Guide]

Table of Contents


If you want to know more about Starcaster vs Squier, this is the post for you!

I don’t own either guitar, but I have played both and know a bit about each instrument.

So I thought I’d share my thoughts on these guitars here on the blog.

You can also check out some other instrument comparisons I’ve done like Yahama’s FG700s vs FG730s.

But in this post, I’m going to focus on the Starcaster and Squier Strats which are Fender products.

Before I start comparing the two, let’s take a closer look at them individually.


The Starcaster Stratis an entry-level guitar model manufactured under a Fender license.

Given that the Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most famous electric guitar of all time, it is not surprising that Fender decided to make a cheap version of this guitar.

This inexpensive Stratocaster model is produced in East Asia. You can find it as part of the Starcaster Strat pack along with a small Squier amp.

These beginner guitars became popular in 2006-2007 thanks to their low cost and accessibility. You can easily find them in superstores such as Best Buy, Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.

In appearance, the Starcaster is identical to the popular standard Stratocaster. It has three single-coil magnets, one master volume, two tone knobs, a five-way pickup selector switch, and a tremolo.


Unlike the Starcaster, the Squier is a brand that produces more Fender models and accessories.

Like the Starcaster, the Squier guitars are a cheaper version of the famous Fender models such as the Stratocaster and the Telecaster.

To make our comparison fair, I will compare the Squier Strat to the Starcaster.

These guitars are usually made in the USA, Mexico, or Japan. 

Many well-known names are associated with Squier guitars, such as Freddy Stardust, Jack White, and Tom Morelo.

In addition to standard guitars, Squier has distinguished itself by manufacturing good bass guitars as well.

Many famous musicians play a Squier’s bass like Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy), Frank Bello (Anthrax), Mike Dirnt (Green Day).

There are five different Stratocaster models:

  1. Bullet,
  2. Mini,
  3. Affinity,
  4. Contemporary,
  5. and Classic Vibe.

Although similar, these differ in build quality and sound.

In appearance, this Squire Strat model is almost identical to the original.

On the front, the guitar has three single-coil magnets, one master volume and two tone knobs, a five-way pickup selector switch, and a tremolo.

Now let’s start with the shootout!

Starcaster Vs Squier: Comparison

To capture the difference between the Starcaster as a model and Squier as a brand, I will compare the Starcaster with two Squair Strat models – Bullet and Affinity.


Fender's cheapest guitar! The confusing Starcaster by Fender in the House Of Guitars
You can get a sense of the sound of a Starcaster in this video!

The sound of the guitar depends on two factors – the body material and the electronics.

The Starcaster’s body is made of Basswood. This is a low-quality material that you find in many low-budget guitars.

The same goes for the Squier Bullet.

This type of wood has little sustain and weaker sound.

the Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster - Good or Bad?
You can hear how a Squier Bullet sounds in the video above.

However, the Affinity model is made of Poplar.

Poplar is typically considered a step above basswood.

When it comes to pickups, the Starcaster and the Squier Bullet are the same.

They have SSS pickups which are the lowest quality electronics that Fender makes.

Once again, the Affinity has one level higher quality pickups: HSS.

However, these are nothing to brag about compared to mid to high-end guitar.

Starcaster Vs Squier: Playability

The playability depends on the wood material of the neck and the wood material of the fretboard.

The Starcaster has the first move again.

The neck is a standard “C” shape and is made of Maple. When it comes to building guitar necks, Maple is the most popular material.

And the fretboard is made of Rosewood.

Some claim the fretboard feels sticky and the movement of the hand on the fretboard is more difficult than other types of wood.

The situation with the Bullet is similar. The neck is a standard C shape made of Maple.

And the fretboard is made of Indian Laurel which has the reputation of being a bit easier to play on.

Finally, the Squier Affinity has a neck and fretboard made of Maple.

Tuning Pegs and Tremolo System

In this section, in addition to the tuning pegs, I will also talk about the tremolo system that affects the tuning.

The tuning system of the Starcaster and the Squier guitars is the same. A well-made guitar can stay in tune for days, whether it is a Starcaster or any Squier model.

The Starcaster and the Squier Stratocasters do not have the reputation of having good tremolo systems.

However, if you own a guitar like this and you are happy with it, there is an option to replace the standard tremolo with a better version.


You can pick up older models of a Fender Starcaster Strat for around $100.

However, for some of the Squier models (such as the Affinity, Contemporary, or Classic Vibe), they will be priced more like the mid-range electric guitars that they are.

The price of these models usually varies between $300 and $450, depending on the model. Check here for latest pricing.

Starcaster Vs Squier: Conclusion

If you are reading this post as a beginner looking for a low-cost guitar, the Starcaster is a solid option.

But if you can afford to spend another $150+, go for a Squier.

Do you have either of these guitars, or do you have more questions about how they compare?

Let me know in the comments!

6 Responses

  1. Michael Drentea says:

    I own both, play both, and work on both, they are essentially the same guitar, same pots, etc., I called Fender about the electronics being the same, and the rep backed this up. Most Starcasters, and many Squier models are made of Agathyis. Starcasters hold more value, since less were manufactured they are harder to find and now go for $200 -$300 used online on most sites like Reverb, Amazon, and E-bay and are easier to make Partscasters if your into building and modding!

    1. Hey Michael,

      This is great insight! Thanks for commenting – really interesting. Also, I like the term “Partscasters” – haven’t heard that one haha.

  2. I picked up an arrowhead Starcaster in charity shop, but it is missing its tremolo arm. Any idea what the right replacement arm is, or the thread size? Thanks.

    1. Hi AC,

      Thanks for commenting. I’m not totally sure about that, but I did find this one online, and it looks like it might work. Worst-case scenario, it’s an inexpensive test to see if it works!

  3. I’m a guitar tech and a “flipper”. I’ve worked on hundreds of Squier Bullet & Affinity models as well as many Starcaster Strats (not to be confused with the assymetrical Starcaster hollow bodies which are still made).
    The last Starcaster Strat was made in 2018. The hardware – tuners, bridge, saddles, tremolo and pickups are totally interchangeable with Bullets & Affinity models.
    I’ve found that body material varies between basswood, poplar and agathis among all models and that you can find full-thickness bodies in Affinity, Starcaster and sometimes even Bullet models.
    So, my question is – on what basis do you advise people to spend an extra $150 for a Squier? And even with today’s inflation, you’d be hard-pressed to find a $300 – $400 Affinity Squier!

    1. Hey Hank,

      Thanks for your input! Your experience is probably more valuable than mine since it seems you’ve had much more experience with these instruments.

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