Bill Alston

Squier Classic Vibe Series

Simon Neil Signature Stratocaster

These guitars are highly regarded as being great value for money and as an affordable way to get that vintage feel Fender guitar I have owned a couple of these including a Simon Neil signature and they really do feel like a guitar that is double the price or more. They are made in China and all have Gold Logos and Vintage Style tuners making them relatively easy to identify, below are some headstock photos illustrating this

A Thinline Telecaster and a Stratocaster

A word on electronics

Early models had small Chinese made pots and later models full size Alpha pots if anyone knows more exact details I would appreciate knowing. I do know that a 2009 had small size pots and a 2012 had Alphas.
It has been said in various places that these guitars have Tonerider pickups. Strictly speaking this is not the case The factory that made the CVs also makes pickups for Tonerider and they have made Fender branded pickups to similar specifications to Tonerider sets:
Strat CV 50 has Alnico iii pickups marked STA5 which are very similar to the Tonerider Surfari TRS5 set
Strat CV 60 has Alnico v pickups marked STA3 which are very similar to Tonerider Classic Blues TRS3 set
Telecaster CV 50s has a set similar to the Tonerider Hot classic TRT2 set
The Simon Neil has a bridge pickup partly Alnico V and Partly Alnico 111 the rest are Vs similar to the Tonerider City Limits set.

Details of the series from launch

2009 Catalogue
50s Stratocaster Maple Fretboard in two colour sunburst
60s Stratocaster with Rosewood Fretboard in three colour sunburst
50s Telecaster Maple Fretboard in Blonde
50s Duosonic Maple Fretboard in desert sand

2010 and 2011
50s Stratocaster Maple Fretboard in two colour sunburst added Lake Placid Blue and Olympic White
It says Rosewood Fretboard in the 2010 catalogue but in the 2011 catalogue only says Maple Fretboard The Rosewood is a catalogue misprint.
60s Stratocaster with Rosewood Fretboard in three colour sunburst added Candy Apple Red
Added a Thinline and a Custom to the Telecaster range both three colour sunburst
50s Duosonic Maple Fretboard in desert sand

2012 Catalogue
First left handed versions available. Stratocaster 50s in two colour sunburst with Maple Stratocaster 60s in three colour sunburst with Rosewood plus a Telecaster 50s in Butterscotch Blonde
50s Stratocaster Maple Fretboard Colours now two colour sunburst Olympic White Fiesta Red
60s Stratocaster with Rosewood Fretboard in three colour sunburst or Candy Apple Red
50s Telecaster Butterscotch Blonde and Vintage Blonde now the colour options
No Duosonic now discontinued.
This catalogue is the first appearance of the Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro) signature Strat. This is a variation on the CV 60s in Fiesta Red with a mint green pickguard and a mixture of Alnico 3 and 5 vintage style pickups. It may have been available earlier.

2013 Catalogue
No changes

2014 Catalogue
Added Stratocaster 50s 60th Anniversary model in Aztec Gold with gold hardware currently still available at around £478
At some point Lake Placid Blue 60s Classic Vibe Stratocaster with a matching headstock was introduced but isn't in any catalogue that I can find and isn't on the current UK website nor on the Squier USA website. See picture below

2015 from the UK website with MSRPs shown

A quick look around shows that retailers are charging a bit below MSRP but usually less than 10% lower but with the odd real bargain to be found.
Stratocaster 50s Now Available in 2 colour sunburst, Olympic White, Sherwood Green Metallic with a matching headstock now added. Left handed version unchanged £360.
Fiesta Red available on the USA website. Now discontinued in US also Nov 2015
Stratocaster 60s Three colour sunburst (left handed version available) £360 Candy Apple Red £420
Burgundy Mist with matching headstock available on USA website
Stratocaster 50s 60th Anniversary model in Aztec Gold still available £415
Telecaster 50s Butterscotch Blonde (Left handed version available) and Vintage Blonde both black pickguard both £360
Telecaster Custom Three colour Sunburst Rosewood neck, mint green pickguard £380
Telecaster Thinline Natural Finish white perloid pickguard Maple neck £405
New Model introduced in the previous year but not in 2014 catalogue Deluxe HSH Stratocaster Crimson Transparent White Pearl pickguard Rosewood neck 2 point bridge £445
Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro) signature Stratocaster £370

Classic Vibe Deluxe HSH

Update November 2015 The 50s Strat is no longer available in Olympic White.
The 60s Strat is no longer available in Candy Apple Red but the matching headstock Burgundy Mist is available in the UK

July 2016

Stratocaster 50s Available in 2 colour sunburst, Olympic White is back and Sherwood Green priced £360 to £390 depending on colour
Stratocaster 60s Burgundy Mist or 3 colour sunburst £390
Simon Neil Still available £390
Telecaster 50s Butterscotch Blonde or Vintage Blonde £390
Telecaster Custom Sunburst £410
Telecaster Thinline Natural £410

2018 Offering

On Fenders UK website as at July 2018 the following models are on offer
Strat 60s 3 colour sunburst only with Indian Laurel board on maple neck and perloid pickguard
Strat 50s Sherwood Green Metallic or 2 colour sunburst with a white pickguard left handed version in sunburst only
Telecaster 50s In Butterscotch Blonde or Vintage Blonde a pine body, maple neck and board with a black pickguard the left handed version in Butterscotch Blonde only.
Thinline 68 Telecaster Natural only Maple neck and board white pickguard
All models show a price of £455 except for the Thinline and the Left Handed Telecaster 50s which both show £480. Obviously retailers charge less.
Not on the UK site but still on the USA site is the Telecaster Custom in 3 colour sunburst with an Indian Laurel board. Some UK retailers do have this model but whether the site is wrong or they are selling old stock isn't clear.

Update November 2016

I have had an Email from Mark Cochrane from Manchester. Mark has a CV50 Classic Vibe Mary Kaye model. He tells me that this guitar was available for a short time only and that he bought his in 2013. The serial number begins CGS12 suggesting a 2012 or 13 manufacture. These don't appear in the catalogues that I can find. I guess this was a special run and that fairly limited numbers are around. Here are a couple of pictures. Thanks Mark much appreciated.

Beautiful guitar indeed

I have also found a FSR Telecaster Custom in Gold Bronze, made in very limited numbers. 28 were available in the UK but how many in other countries I am not sure. They were available in late 2014 I have seen one bought in the UK and one bought in the Netherlands it is a superb looking guitar as the pictures below show.

Thanks to Alainvey of the Strat forum I now know that there is a Stratocaster version of the Gold Bronze. Again we are told only 28 to be imported to the UK.

The Gold Bronze Strat

This Olympic White 60s FSR was still available in Feb 2017 for £398 at gear for music but only three left.

This seafoam green strat was an FSR in 2013
This guitar is said to be Burgundy Mist but looks like purple sparkle to me.

Update April 2018
Two FSRs have just sold on Ebay both from 2013. The first is a Strat 60s in some kind of blue or purple sparkle with a matching headstock the second a Black Telecaster Custom. Some pictures


Specifications Pre 2019

All models have Modern C shaped necks with a 9.5" radius board so not strictly vintage, some later models had Indian Laurel boards instead of Rosewood because of CITES.

Model Body Fretboard Neck Finish Frets Nut Width Pickups see also above Bridge Finish
Strat CV 50s Alder Maple Gloss Polyester Medium Jumbo 1.65" Vintage Style SC Alnico iii 6 saddle vintage style Gloss Polyester
Strat CV60s Alder Rosewood Gloss Polyester Medium Jumbo 1.65" Vintage style SC Alnico V 6 saddle vintage style Gloss Polyester
Tele CV 50s Pine Maple Gloss Polyester Medium Jumbo 1.625 Vintage style Tele SCs 3 saddle string through body brass barrel saddles Gloss Polyester
Tele Custom CV Alder Rosewood Gloss Polyester Medium Jumbo 1.625" Custom Vintage SC Tele Alnico 3 saddle American Vintage string through body threaded steel barrel saddles Gloss Polyester
Tele Thinline CV Mahogany Semi Hollow Maple Gloss Polyester Medium Jumbo 1.625" Custom Vintage SC Tele Alnico 3 saddle American Vintage string through body threaded chrome barrel saddles Polyester
Strat HSH Deluxe CV Basswood Maple Venner top Rosewood Polyurethane Jumbo 1.65" Bridge HB Ceramic Middle Vintage style SC Alnico Neck HB Alnico Alnico 2 point sync trem block saddles Polyurethane
Simon Neil Strat Alder Rosewood Gloss Polyester Medium Jumbo 1.65" Bridge Alnico V and iii others Alnico v 6 saddle vintage style Gloss Polyester

Fender have added to their classic vibe range by renaming the Vintage Modified series production of these continues in Indonesia.

Further Update and The Move to Indonesia is Complete
The Fender USA web site in July 2019 shows the new range it shows that all models are now made in Indonesia some changes are evident throughout all models.
Pickups are no longer the tonerider types but Fender designed Alnico Vs Headstock logos are different and feature Crafted in Indonesia on the back. The 50s and 60s models have gold logos the 70s black logos.
Frets are now Narrow Tall
Nuts are now 1.65" bone not synthetic bone.
Body woods and colours are different
Strat and Tele Models
Strat Classic Vibe 50s Body wood is Pine colours are 2 colour sunburst, Fiesta Red, Black or White Blonde
Strat Classic Vibe 60s Body wood is Nato colours are 3 colour sunburst, Candy Apple Red or Lake Placid Blue
Strat Classic Vibe 70s Body wood is Poplar colours are Olympic White, Natural or Black
Strat Classic Vibe 70s HSS Body wood is Poplar colours Black or Walnut
Tele Classic Vibe 50s Body is Pine colours are White Blonde or Butterscotch Blonde Black Pickguard
Tele Classic Vibe 60s Custom Body is Nato 3 colour sunburst
Tele Classic Vibe 70s Custom Body is Poplar colours 3 colour sunburst or Black
Tele Classic Vibe 70s Deluxe Body is Poplar colours Olympic White or Black
Tele Classic Vibe 60s Thinline Body is Nato colour Natural
Tele Classic Vibe 70s Thinline Body is Soft Maple 3 colour sunburst or Natural

A couple of the new style CVs Note the black logos

70s Strat

70s Telecaster Custom

A Strat CV 60s with the gold logo

The back of the two headstocks

This is a 70s serial number indicates Cort factory

This is a 60s serial number appears to indicate the Samick Factory

18th November 2019
Comments below are from Guitarmaggedon from the strat forum who knows more about Squiers than almost anyone else I know.

Not sure if everyone knows, but some of the new CVs are STILL made in China by Grand Reward same factory as the old CVs there are CV50s and CV60s Strats, MIC with 'CGRI19' serial number prefixes
Two identical guitars both with same new Squier logo and new Fender designed pickupssame as the Indonesian spec CV's just some are still being made in China.

I haven't seen a new Chinese one yet but I trust the source.
Further update August 2020
I have read that the Grand Reward factory has applied for bankruptcy so Chinese production will probably cease soon. There are reports on the Squier forum of some Indonesian guitars coming with full size trem blocks at some with the small ones also some with the tone control wired to the bridge pickup. So specs may be inconsistent.

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