Classic Vibe vs Mexican Strat

Squier Classic Vibe 60s StratocasterSquier Classic Vibe 60s Stratocaster
Fender Standard (Mexican) StratocasterFender Standard (Mexican) Stratocaster

The release of the Classic Vibe series back in 2008 gave Squier a much needed boost in reputation, proving they could cut costs intelligently and maintain excellent quality control from their Chinese factory.

Regardless, there are still people out there who would rather be given a BC Rich Warlock enema than have Squier on their headstock.

We try to look at things objectively. And on that note we ask the burning question: what does the Fender Mexican (MIM) Strat give you that the Squier Classic Vibe Strat doesn't?

Classic Vibe vs MIM Stratocaster - side by side

Model Classic Vibe Strat MIM Strat
Rating 92
($300-$500)
89
($500 - $700)
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Model Classic Vibe Strat MIM Strat
Website 50's - Squierguitars.com
60's - Squierguitars.com
Fender.com
Weight 3.3 kg / 7 lbs 5 oz 3.6 kg / 7lbs 14oz
Tuners Vintage-Style Fender Standard Cast/Sealed
Neck Bolt-on Maple
Modern C
Scale Length 25.5"
Nut Material Synthetic Bone
Nut Width 1.650"
Fingerboard Maple (50's)
Rosewood (60's)
Maple or Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius 9.5"
Frets 21 Medium Jumbo
Inlays Black Dot (50's)
Pearloid Dot (60's)
Pearloid Dot
Body Alder
Pickups Custom Vintage Style Single-Coil x3 Standard Single-Coil x3
Bridge 6-Saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo
Classic Vibe Strat MIM Strat
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Classic Vibe Strat MIM Strat
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Key Differences between The Classic Vibe & MIM

It's surprising just how many people prefer the sound of the Classic Vibe over the Mexican Standard.

The price difference isn't huge, and that can make the decision all the more difficult. Let's break it down...

Hardware

Classic Vibe tunersSquier Classic Vibe head & Vintage Style tuners.

A typical point of cost-cutting for manufacturers is the tuners. The MIM is installed with more expensive Fender Standard Cast tuners.

That's not to say the "Vintage-Style" tuners on the CV are poor. But it's fair to say the MIM will handle more "whammy action" or aggressive bending without having to re-tune.

It's worth noting that both guitars have the same tremolo system.

Playability

There's nothing to suggest the MIM plays any better than the CV.

Both guitars use a modern C profile neck, same nut width, fingerboard radius and users have been pleasantly surprised at the ability to achieve low actions on the CV straight from the shop.

Sound

Here we find the first major on-paper difference.

The MIM technically has more expensive stock pickups, but since Squier were attempting to capture a certain era with their CV's, they've installed pickups that are quite different from those you'd expect on a Standard Strat.

So comparisons are based purely around personal preference. Some like it hot, and the CV's Vintage Style pickups arguably deliver a more gutsy punch than the Standards.

In fact, it's the pickups that really made the decision easy for a lot of CV users.

▲ Compare Sound

Bottom Line

When you really break it down, you'll be left scratching your head over why people would reject the Squier outright simply for being... a Squier.

With decent materials and hardware, excellent quality control and pickups that can hold their own, it's clear why so many people are willing to swallow their pride and declare a preference for the Classic Vibe 50's and 60's Strats.

Plus you get to keep a couple of hundred in your bank account which you can put towards a comprehensive setup or even just some tasty accessories.

May the age of Squier bashing be over.

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