The SQ Page

Title picture above courtesy: Brian Burns


THERE'S MAGIC IN THE BREED!

Although there have been other SQ numbered models (ie; Bullet models etc), this page will concentrate on the first SQ guitars introduced in late 1983 to 1984 with 70's style attributes.



Above: A 1983 ad introducing the SQ models. (Kindly supplied by Ed Duncan)








Above: Some scans from a 1984 US Squier catalogue (my sincerest thanks to Ed Duncan).


During the fall of 1983, the Fender company decided that it would start importing it's Squier Guitars from Japan as there was no way that they could produce a guitar for under $500 in the USA to compete with other companies taking their buisness away from them, and also the 70's style headstock of the SQ Stratocaster didn't directly compete with the current US models of the time.
Originally intended only for the US market only, 'SQ' (short for Squier) guitars were made available worldwide (known as the 'Popular 'model in the UK).

 

 

Above: A 1983 Squier SQ series headstock, showing the earlier slotted tuners.

Squier SQ guitar production started in late 1983 and ran until 1984 (exact date of the last models as yet unknown) they were built right alongside the JV line, but unlike the vintage JV guitars, SQ's were made entirely from Japanese parts and were not intended as exact vintage replicas.

Note: The export SQ models were made over a slightly shorter period than the export JV models (with fewer models available), and this at first naturally leads one to believe that less SQ guitars were produced; However it must be remembered that SQ guitars (unlike the JV models) were exported all around the world, and as I have no shipping records, I can only assume that (at the very least) there are just as many SQ's out there as JV's.

The line featured a Stratocaster, available in black with black plastic parts or white with white plastic parts, a Telecaster in blonde with a white pickguard and black with a black pickguard (catalogue picture above also shows a blonde model with a black guard), and a Precision bass in 3 tone Sunburst with a white pickguard, and also in black with a black pickguard or black with a tortie guard.

SQ's necks (available as all maple or maple with rosewood fingerboard) had a 7.25 fingerboard radius, and sported slotted Schaller style tuners stamped 'Fender JAPAN' which were attached to a 70's style headstock with bullet truss rod adjuster. (These slotted tuners would be later replaced by the "slot-less" units found on the bullet models)

Pickups are Japanese made, mostly with flat polepieces, but some guitars have been seen with staggered poles (It is likely that the Staggered units are the SQ-4 and possibly SQ-5 type found on some domestic JV Strats, but I cannot say for sure). The odd cloth wired American export JV pickup has been seen, but this is pretty rare) 250k pots and a green ceramic capacitior were fitted as standard.

The bolt on neck of the Stratocaster used the same 3 bolt (screw) fixing method of the 70's US original, complete with a similar microtilt neck adjustment, but used a wood screw where the single machine screw would have been used on an original. The bridge saddles of the Strat were copies of the original 70's 'block' versions but are very slightly smaller in size when compared to the originals (The vintage style bridge saddles of the JV models have been found on some guitars).

Above: The 70's style 3 bolt neckplate of the SQ Strat, plus stamped serial number

The picture above right shows a JV pre-fix to the serial number. According to a Japanese vintage guitar magazine article, this JV pre-fix was designated to 70's style Squier guitars known in Japan as the "Current Stratocaster Series" (CST-45 and CST-50) and were JV stamped for the Japanese home market. (for more info on these models, go to the Domestic JV page).

It is probable that all 70's style Squier JV numbered models found outside of Japan, are either domestic CST models, or more likely early SQ models fitted with CST neck plates before the advent of the SQ number.

Above left: As mentioned in the page intro, 4 bolt SQ Strat models were available (and early SQ bullet models), but these guitars are not 70's style 'SQ' in spec. There is some evidence to suggest that the four bolt SQ numbered Stratocasters were in fact part of the transition to the 'E prefixed models in late 1984 (Thank you to Tim Greene for the information on his four bolt SQ models). Photo courtesy: Joe Fortner

Pictured above right: SQ Pickups and electronics.


Above: A shipping tag from a 1983 UK imported 70's style SQ Stratocaster, kindly supplied by Steve Kirk.

Above : The 'Fender JAPAN' stamped tuners of the SQ model. The slightly rarer Telecaster model had the standard four bolt 21 fret maple neck with two string trees on the headstock, and used a 70's style logo, as did the Strat model. The SQ plus 5 digit serial number was stamped onto the neckplate. The 3 bridge saddles were stainless steel vintage style units. (Photo above left courtesy: Joe Fortner).

It's not often that you see an SQ start body stripped bare, but these photo's above sent in by Paolo from Holland, are of an SQ Start stripped of it's black factory finish, revealing a Sen wood body. Taking into account that all of the see thru finish (sunbursts etc.) SQ Precision Basses and Telecasters seen so far by this site have had Sen bodies (or 'Sen ash' as it is sometimes known), it is possible that a lot of (not necessarily all) solid colour Stratocasters and P Basses have too.

This particular guitar also has one factory fitted cloth wired staggered pole pickup, as seen on the export JV Stratocasters. (My thanks to Paolo for sending in the info and pictures).

Pictured above: A Squier SQ Stratocaster, showing the flat pole Japanese pickups and 70's style bridge saddles. Pickguards were 3 ply W/B/W on white models and B/W/B on black models. Note the Screw position on the pickguard on the upper bout between the middle and neck pickups, typical of the 1962 era. These pickguards (like the trem plates) were 'probably' continuations of the JV 'Vintage 62' items. The trem covers were single ply, with 6 separate string holes. There are also a lot of small headstock, four bolt strats around that have an SQ serial number on the neckplate.

Above: A close up of an SQ Strat 70's style bridge assembly.

Pictured above: A beautiful example of an SQ Stratocaster finished in black, with it's black plastic parts fitted as standard. (Photo credits: eBay sale).

Above: A beautiful maple neck example. (Photo credit: eBay sale).


Above: A Squier SQ headstock with the later 'un-slotted' tuners, and it's SQ5xxxx serial number pictured right.
(Photo credits: eBay sale).

SQ STRATOCASTER STRIPDOWN

Above: These two pictures show the neck tilt mechanisim, which is a similar design (though not exactly the same) to that of an American 70's 3 bolt CBS model.

Above left: This picture shows the black bobbin Japanese pickups with spring height adjusters. And above right: 5 position Switch and controls.

Above left: 250k pots and cap as used on the JV series. Pictured above right: More pickup routing details. Notice the ground wire entry point compared to the one pictured at the top of the page.

Left: Trem cavity details.

Thank you to Thorsten Krake for kindly dismantling his guitar for these photographs above.

Above: The SQ Precision Bass in it's full glory.

Above: A close up of what has to be the best example of a Squier SQ Precision Bass that I have seen in a long time. (All above P Bass picture credits: eBay sale).

Above: The headstock of a Squier SQ Precision Bass, sharing the same decal as the JV Precision bass.

Above: A veiw of the back of an 'SQ' Precision Bass headstock. (Compare the tuners with those of an export JV Precision Bass )

Unlike the JV series Precision Bass necks with their accurate vintage pre-CBS appointments, these SQ series rosewood necks have a walnut inlay (skunk stripe) in the back of the neck which is more associated with maple necked guitars. (Walnut is used to fill the rout in the back of maple necks after truss rod installation. It is not necessary for rosewood necks to have this feature, as the truss rod is usually installed prior to fingerboard glueing). Notice the walnut filler (teardrop) plug just behind the nut, this is absent from the rosewood board JV series Precision Basses. The SQ headstock lacks the vintage style strap button of the JV's on the back of the headstock .

The SQ Precision basses came in Sunburst with a W/B/W 3 ply pickguard, and Black with a tortie pickguard.

Neck radius is 7.25"

These eight super pictures below were kindly supplied by Vince Motel, and really show the great quality of these guitars!

SQ Telecaster

Above photo: A Squier 'SQ' Telecaster. (Ashtray bridge cover is not original) Photo courtesy: Ed Duncan.

Above: Two SQ Telecaster necks showing the pencilled neck dates and the 'Allen wrench' truss rod adjuster, as opposed to the slotted vintage style system of the JV series necks (Photo's courtesy: Benjamin Le).

Above left: The translucent blonde finish of this ash bodied SQ Telecaster. And above right: A close up of the bridge assembly.

The picture of the Tele neck heel above left Shows the pencilled date (10-29-83) along with the 'EXT' neck stamp and Month (11). Interestingly this 'EX / EXT mark was also stamped onto the neck heels of the very first JV guitars. Above right: The neck pocket with a small 'Fender' marked shim with '58 . 11' printed (There is an explanation of this Japanese calendar mark on the JV Stratocaster page.)

Above left: A partly exploded view of this fairly early (Oct / Nov 83 - SQ03546) Squier SQ Telecaster, with a close up of the electronics pictured above right. Notice the same DM30 3 way pickup selector switch as used on the JV models.

 

Above left: SQ Tele Neckplate complete with stamped serial number (Note black plastic support plate). Above right: Rear view of headstock with 'Fender Japan' stamped tuners.

Above: A close up view of the 'SQ' Telecaster headstock. This one has the slotted tuners of the earlier SQ models.

Thank you to ED Duncan for supplying all of the SQ Tele pictures above (the two side by side neck date pictures excluded).

Above: A later SQ Tele headstock with un-slotted tuners.

Above: These four pictures are of a handsome domestic CTC-55 'SQ Telecaster. Although this particular guitar has the an 'SQ prefixed serial number stamped onto the 3 bolt neckplate, it also has the unusual feature of an 'A serial number on the bridge plate. This may have been as a result of the guitar being assembled during a transitional period in the serial number prefixes (theory only).

Above right: The routing detail.

Above: Pickup details.

Above left: Controls layout, and above right: The 3 way toggle switch.

Above: Nicely figured maple neck.

And finally, the back of the headstock showing the blue sticker of the domestic market.

All above CTC-55 pictures courtesy: ED Duncan.

 




Home