In 1986, I bought a Squier Stratocaster, made in Japan, in Lake Placid Blue. It was my fourth strat, with the first being an Ibanez copy, then a 25th Anniversary Fender and lastly, an early 1983 Fender 1957 reissue. I sold or trade all those away and was strat-less for a few years. This guitar was bought for around $250. Who knew that in 2007, these Japanese-made guitars would be nearing collectable status? Of course, very little of the original guitar remains, as I stripped the LPB finish off, replaced the weak pickups with Texas Specials and put in new pots, switches and bridge saddles. It is now a matte white with a black pick guard. The body is poplar, which works just fine.
Early 1983 Squier Stratocasters, which were 70’s era copies, are going for over $500. A friend of mine had a black Squier strat, with a rosewood neck. He first stripped off the damaged black finish to reveal a highly figured ash body. He also installed Fender Vintage noiseless pickups. It was a fantastic guitar that was later, unfortunately, stolen. He later bought another one off of e-bay, and after keeping it a few years, sold it for over $500.
These guitars are as good as any American made Strat of that time. That is reflected on today’s market. My 1986, an E-series on the serial number, is collectable, but not nearly as the early 1970’s-style copies or the JV series.
I bought another Squier Strat in late 1987 that was made in Korea and was made to be similar to a 1957 model. It was ok and could have possibly been better if I had taken the time to fix it up.
Another friend has a 1983 Squier Telecaster, in black with a maple neck. It has the vintage styling’s, with the 3 brass saddles and small frets.
By far, it is the best Telecaster I have ever played and has the classic Tele sound. This guitar outdoes any American or Mexican Telecaster I have played in recent years. I made an attempt to get my Mexi-Telecaster to sound like that by ordering a vintage style GFS pickup. It comes close, but is not there yet.
I would seriously consider buying the new Squier Thinline Telecaster. I have always wanted a thinline and have thought about building one with parts. This is priced below $300 and looks like a great guitar. Note – link to Fender site.