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Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster Review

I’ve long talked about how good the Squier Classic Vibe series is. So it was about time I did a review of one of the models. So here it is: the Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster.

For those who don’t know the Squier Classic Vibe series is Squiers most high end set of guitars. Still affordable when compared to the full Fenders but better quality than the Squier Sonic and Affinity series.

squier classic vibe 60's stratocaster review

So, is it worth the extra you pay? And how does it compare to the Fender alternatives?

The Bottom Line

If you want that 60’s Strat vibe without having to spend big then the Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster is perfect. It’s fantastic value and you get a guitar that is well above its price in terms of build quality and sound.

The neck feels fantastic, there were no issues with sharp frets or the finish and the pickups give that classic Strat sound.

I’d definitely recommend it ahead of a Made in Mexico Fender. It’s at least as good if not better and yet significantly cheaper.

It would make an absolutely brilliant first guitar if you’re just starting out or want a quality back up for gigging (although it’s more than good enough to be your main guitar to gig with). But it’s simply a great guitar in its own right for whatever you want or need.

Check the availability and current price of the Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster:

squier classic vibe 60s stratocaster

Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Specs

Spec Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster
Body Wood Nyatoh
Neck Wood Maple
Fretboard Wood Indian Laurel
Neck Shape C
Scale Length 25.5″
Fret Size Narrow Tall
Fretboard Radius 9.5″
Nut Width 1.65″
Nut Material Bone
Pickups Fender Designed Alnico Single-Coil
Pickup Configuration SSS
Pickguard 3-Ply Parchment
Inlays White Dot
Left Handed Yes

First Impressions

The first thing that stood out was the lake placid blue finish. Even before properly getting my hands on it the blue really popped and was an eye catcher.

I’ve been a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to finish colors in the past. But that blue really works. In fact the pictures don’t really do it justice.

squier classic vibe 60s stratocaster body


The Classic Vibe series is all about recreating the Fender of the specific eras – in this case the 60’s – and they’ve done a good job. The vintage tint gloss on the neck and retro headstock are true to the Fenders of that time.

That gloss neck is one of those touches that gives off a real nostalgic vibe. Whilst it looks great it’s also feels smooth and plays really well.

Depending on what you like though you may find the gloss finish gets a bit sticky during long sessions. Especially if you’re prone to sweaty palms. I didn’t have any issues myself and like the gloss but I know others aren’t as keen.

There’s a lot of attention to detail been paid and it shows. It gives the guitar an extra bit of character. But it isn’t purely for show.

The nickel-plated hardware feels solid and works well.

And there’s no need to worried about noisy electronics that are sometimes associated with vintage instruments. Squier have combined the classic design with modern playability very well. You get to enjoy the best of both worlds basically.

squier classic vibe 60s stratocaster headstock

Build Quality

As Squier are Fenders budget line you can’t expect premium build quality. So I was expecting the odd blemish, maybe some uneven or sharp frets etc. on the Classic Vibe.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I found none of that. It was pretty much flawless. The intonation was fine and I didn’t have any string buzz.

No marks on the body, no sharp edges to the frets or areas that needed filing down. It was just… good!

The only thing was the action. It was high. Too high for my liking. But that is an issue you tend to get with a lot of guitars when they come from factory.

Very few are perfectly setup out of the box. Most will require the odd tweak here and there, not least because everyone has different ideas about what a perfectly setup guitar should feel like.

String height is a personal preference so it makes sense for manufacturers to set it quite high and then let the player adjust it to their liking. Which was the case here.

squier classic vibe 60s stratocaster back


Along with the gloss finish the 60’s Classic Vibe Stratocaster comes with a slim C shaped neck. As someone with very small hands I prefer a slim neck and if I’m honest I didn’t think it was that slim.

Don’t get me wrong – it certainly wasn’t fat or like a baseball bat. I didn’t struggle with it at all and it was more than comfortable enough, even for my tiny hands.

I just felt like calling it “slim” is a slight exaggeration. It’s more standard.

squier classic vibe 60s stratocaster fretboard


The laurel wood used for the fretboard gives it a warm look and fits with the 60’s vibe. The 9.5″ radius and narrow-tall frets are commonplace on a lot of Fenders and Squiers now.

If you’re used to a rosewood fretboard and are hesitant about the laurel – don’t be. It feels and plays just the same.


The majority of the hardware is nothing special but solid and good enough.

Having a bone nut is a nice addition. Most Squiers and cheaper models stick with a plastic nut. So using the better quality bone is welcomed.

The bridge is a vintage style tremolo and held tuning well. I put the whammy bar to the test and it didn’t go out of tune even with a lot of use.

However, I do wish Squier had used slightly better tuners. It’s the one area where sticking with the vintage feel works against the guitar.

The vintage tuners aren’t terrible by any means. But they can be stiff and take a lot more turning than modern alternatives.

I get they wanted to keep with the 60’s feel but I think it comes at the expense of what could be better tuners.

Really that’s a minor quibble though. It doesn’t ruin or make the guitar unusable in any way.

squier classic vibe 60s stratocaster body


It’s a real pleasure to play. Once I lowered the action a little it was a dream.

The neck is smooth and going up and down it feels easy and effortless. It definitely has a better feel to it than my Affinity Stratocaster.

It’s not a shred machine, and frankly I’m not a shredder, but you can still move freely and quickly around it.

It’s a comfortable guitar too. Not particularly heavy but still solid feeling. It has a nice body shape that sits against you well.


This was probably the biggest surprise – the pickups sound great. My Affinity Strat was fine but the pickups were pretty weak and thin sounding.

The pickups on 60’s Classic Vibe are awesome. “Fender designed” doesn’t sound all that special but the alnico single coils produce the bright and clear tone Stratocasters are known for.

They’re balanced but crisp and sound great when playing a whole range of genres. You can comfortably go from blues to classic rock and back to some funk.

I tried the Classic Vibe out through my Orange Rocker 15 and Supro 1605R and it was fantastic on both. With the little Supro it especially came alive for some classic rock. I turned up the gain and I was getting that warm, vintage growl without losing any clarity.

Does it sound as good as a USA Fender? Probably not. The premiums pickups in those should be better. But the difference isn’t nearly as big as it should be considering the price gap.

For getting that authentic Strat sound on a budget it didn’t disappoint.


I’ve mentioned the tuners and that’s really on the only thing that stands out. I’m sure there are some parts that could be improved, but for what you’re paying you can’t expect it to be flawless and perfect.

I’m genuinely surprised there weren’t more issues. If it’s only the tuners that I’m listing here, and even those are hardly dealbreakers, that’s a very good sign.

Who is it for?

It’s really a guitar for anyone. From beginners to intermediate to those gigging or needing a backup guitar.


If you’re looking for a first guitar the Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster will be amazing. It costs a bit more than some of the other Squiers like the Affinity or Sonic series, but I think it’s worth it.

It’s undoubtedly a better guitar than both of those. It sounds, plays and feels superior to them. And whilst I don’t think you should spend big as a beginner (in case you end up not liking it) I do think you should get a good guitar. Because so many people give up due to having a poor instrument.

A badly made guitar with high action and an uncomfortable neck would put anyone off. So if you’re committed to learning getting a guitar that is going to make that process as easy as possible only make sense. A Classic Vibe Stratocaster is a really decent guitar that will be a joy to learn on and is good enough so that as you improve and grow you won’t need to upgrade.

For more help do choosing a beginner guitar see this guide.

Gigging Backup

It would also be a really good option as a backup for gigging. If you need something that isn’t too expensive and you can fall back on then it’s a no brainier.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself using it as your main guitar though.

The Competition

Classic Vibe 60’s Strat vs Affinity Strat

The Affinity is a little bit of an oddity in the Squier range now. It gets lost between the very affordable Sonic, the modern Contemporary series and of course the Classic Vibes.

But I think it’s a decent option for beginners. It’s only marginally more expensive than the Sonic series and to my mind is a better guitar. It’s worth paying that bit more for.

Compared to the Classic Vibe series it doesn’t compete. The Classic Vibes are simply better. But they should be because they cost significantly more.

So the question is whether you think it’s worth paying more for the better guitar in the Classic Vibe. For a beginner I’d still recommend the Classic Vibe Strat ahead of the Affinity Strat.

But I understand money is a consideration. If you feel like the Classic Vibe price tag is just too much then the Affinity Stratocaster is still a good option.

Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster Electric Guitar - Olympic White with Maple Fingerboard
Check price of Fender Affinity Stratocaster

Classic Vibe 60’s Strat vs Sonic Strat

The Classic Vibe is better in virtually every way. But as with the Affinity it’s also much more expensive. You’re paying extra for that better quality, pickups etc.

If you’re a beginner then I can understand not wanting to splash out on the Classic Vibe. But if that’s the case I’d go with the Squier Affinity Strat. As I mentioned above it’s slightly more money than the Sonic series but is worth it.

Squier Sonic Stratocaster Electric Guitar, with 2-Year Warranty, Tahitian Coral, Maple Fingerboard, White Pickguard
Check price of Fender Sonic Stratocaster

Classic Vibe 60’s Strat vs Fender Player Strat

The Fender Player series are made in Mexico compared to the Squier Classic Vibes which are made in China. The Player Stratocasters, at the time of writing this, are close to double the price. And as far as I’m concerned the Classic Vibe is the better guitar.

The Player Strat is decent, but the Classic Vibe is just as good, and considering it’s so much cheaper it feels like a no brainier to me.

The only argument in favor of the Player series is if you want something more modern. The Player Stratocaster has a 2 point tremolo bridge, and extra fret (22 instead of 21) and more modern sounding pickups. If that’s important to you then go for the Player but for me it isn’t worth it.

Fender Player Stratocaster SSS Electric Guitar, with 2-Year Warranty, Polar White, Maple Fingerboard
Check price of Fender Player Stratocaster


If you want to look elsewhere then G&L do some excellent guitars. If you’re not familiar with them then they were setup by Leo Fender, the man originally behind Fender, after he left the company.

You can quite often get a G&L guitar that’s just as good as a Fender with the same philosophy behind it but for a fraction of the price.

The G&L Tribute series is really good value for money. A very strong alternative to Fenders.

See Price of G&L Tribute Legacy

If you wanted something more modern and very versatile then the Yamaha Pacifica range is incredible value for money. A Pacifica 112 is arguably the best “cheap” guitar and with the HSS pickup configuration it’s capable of playing pretty much any genre.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC12 Electric Guitar; Metallic Blue
Check price of Yamaha Pacifica PAC112

Final Thoughts

I can’t really sing the praises of the Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Stratocaster enough. The whole Classic Vibe series is excellent and this Strat is no different.

I was genuinely surprised by how good it sounded. It feels fantastic to play,

If you want a vintage inspired Stratocaster, or simply a really good guitar, there’s very little else at this price that can compete.

About Andy Fraser

I'm Andy and I've been crazy about music, and specifically the guitar, for longer than I can remember. As a former guitar teacher I've been immersed in the world of music for years. It's this passion and enthusiasm about all things guitar that drove me to start this website. A place where I could talk about the gear, techniques and general awesomeness that is the best instrument. I began playing somewhat late compared to a lot of people. I was 15 years old as it had taken me a while to find the confidence to believe in myself and take that step to learn to play an instrument. It started my lifelong love of music and playing in general. Since then like so many before me I've become an addict and gone through more guitars, amps and gear than I care to remember. I taught guitar for some time but unfortunately was forced to stop due to ill health. This lead to me starting this website so I could still share my love for and what I've learnt about the guitar. Guitar Inside Out is my way of sharing that love and passion with the music community and hopefully inspiring and helping others to enjoy it as much as I do. Learn more about Andy

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