Pros: Absolutely none
Cons: Poor quality, terrible sound, unplayable even for a seasoned guitarist
The Squier brand of acoustic and electric guitars is best described as Fender's "bargain brand"--technically, I guess these guitars can be loosely called Fenders, but the fact remains that they are assembled in such distant places as Mexico, Indonesia and Korea, where the labor is much cheaper, and inexpensive (and inferior) materials are used in their construction. Think of the Squier brand as Epiphone's counterpart--Epiphone is Gibson's "bargain brand", although I believe the overall quality of Epiphone guitars to be superior to the guitars of the Squier brand. That's not to say that you can't find some good Squier guitars--they're out there, but they're the exception rather than the rule.
My review today deals with the Squier MA-1, a component of the Squier MA series. The Squier MA-1 is a six-string acoustic guitar built on a 3/4 scale, which means that it's built on a smaller scale than a standard size acoustic guitar. The Squier section of the Fender website says that the Squier MA-1 is designed to suit school music programs and beginners who are more comfortable with a smaller guitar. Sez I--stay away from this turkey--all it could possibly do is discourage the beginner who might get the idea that all guitars are like this one. As far as school music programs are concerned, if any administrator in my area used public tax money to buy these guitars for our schools, I'd probably report it as being one of the most monumental wastes of tax money than I could possibly imagine.
Do you get the feeling that I don't like these guitars (and I use that term loosely)? Well, here's why:
The Squier MA-1 has what Fender calls a "mini-acoustic body style". The top, back and sides are made of agathis (I don't have any idea what type wood this is--looks and feels like cardboard to me), and the neck is nato, with a rosewood fretboard and dot inlays. It's equipped with chrome tuners and comes in a natural satin finish.
The Squier MA-1 is uglier than a busted blister. Seriously, it's a drab, brown, depressing looking instrument that really has no right hanging on the wall in any respectable music store. And considering the price, which is around $90.00, what would you expect?
It looks totally slapped together--I mean, the Squier is built on a production line by people who know absolutely nothing about guitars simply adding parts, and with not much care or attention to detail, I might add. But again, what can you expect for $90.00?
None, zip, zilch, zero. This beast has all the resonance and intonation of strings stretched over a cardboard box. The bass strings buzzed on almost all frets, while the treble strings were actually dead on certain frets. The sound is tinny, has no depth and is completely disagreeable. I won't dignify it by saying anything further
For starters, the strings were about 1/2 inch above the fretboard, very difficult for me to play and making it virtually impossible for a child taking his or her first guitar lessons to press the strings down comfortably. It can probably never be any better with this guitar--there's a nut inside the soundhole where a truss rod normally is, but I suspect that this is how the neck is bolted on to the guitar. There's really no way to make this guitar play any better once it comes from the factory, unless you're into endlessly sanding bridges and nuts to get the action lower. Believe me, it's not worth it.
I guess the question that's been eating at me after I played several of these guitars is why Fender would even bother to produce such an obviously inferior and completely worthless instrument. If there was something nice I could say about this guitar, I would, but the Squier MA-1 has no redeeming features whatsoever, except for the price, which offers a pretty good clue about what you're getting with this guitar.
You've been warned--stay away. Add about $200.00 to the $90.00 you'd pay for this turkey and get a Taylor Baby--your child or school district will thank you.