The Squier Wayne's World Stratocaster

Bob Leggitt | Monday, 8 October 2012 |

The Squier Wayne’s World Strat was one of the quirks of guitar history, in which a good, value-for-money instrument, was stripped of its credibility by what may have been an ill-judged piece of marketing.

Wayne’s World was a comedy movie, notably serving as a big screen debut for Mike Myers, and targeted at a young audience. The film was undeniably a massive hit, but since it was far from a serious and widely respected exhibition of guitar playing, the appeal of a Wayne’s World instrument for genuine guitarists seemed very debatable.

Nevertheless, made at the highly reputable FujiGen Gakki factory in Japan, the Wayne’s World Strat was effectively a Squier Silver Series model, with a basswood body subbed in for the standard model’s officially listed alder, and Kluson copy retro tuners instead of the regular Silver Series Gotohs. Oh, and a branded neck plate which had the Wayne’s World logo imprinted into the metal. Other than that, the appointments were the same…
  • Vintage type vibrato bridge.
  • Three ceramic pickups with single slab bar magnets on the bases.
  • Mini tone and volume pots.
  • Enclosed YM-50 selector switch.
  • Satin finish on the neck.
  • Truss rod adjustment on the headstock face.
However, the Wayne’s World was more limited in its options than the regular Silver Series Strats. It came in just one colour – Arctic white – and was rosewood fretboard only, with an obligatory white/black/white 3-ply scratchplate. Regular Silver Series Strats had optional single-ply scratchplates, a choice of fingerboard woods, and a choice of finishes.


The first ads for the Squier Wayne's World Strats I can find in UK magazines were not published until 1993. This ad quotes the RRP of £189, which was well below the £249 RRP of the Silver Series Strats around this time. Interestingly, whilst all the Squier Wayne's World Strats I've seen had/have pre-CBS style tuners, and Fender's own records confirm that as the spec, the guitar in the ad has the then modern Gotoh tuners which were fitted to regular Silver Series Strats. I wonder if any Squier Wayne's World production models were shipped with Gotohs?

TIMELINE

Fender state that the Squier Wayne’s World Strat was both introduced and taken out of production in 1992. However, a look back through the UK guitar magazines of the early ‘90s reveals quite an interesting slant on that information. The first Wayne’s World movie came out in mid February 1992, but I can find no sign of the Squier Wayne’s World Strat in any UK guitar magazine until the start of 1993. Very few dealers advertised this model – perhaps for fear that their cred would go down the lav, or maybe because they simply didn’t think the guitar would sell and refused to stock it… But Guitar Village in Farnham, Surrey, were an exception brave enough to advertise the Squier Wayne’s World in publications hitting the shops between January 1993 and November 1993. Given the likely cut-off dates for those ads, I’d guess they first took the model into stock around December 1992, and sold out around October the following year.

The first official Fender ad I can find for the guitar coincided with the first Guitar Village ad, probably submitted for publication in December 1992. It appears from this, that Fender may have come up with the Squier Wayne’s World as a Christmas gift idea in the year of the movie, expecting a big uptake and a quick sell-out. But despite the guitar being incredibly good value priced at £189 (with FujiGen MIJ manufacture, don’t forget), if Fender really did stop making it in 1992, it took a long time to sell out on the UK market.

In terms of performance, you should expect exactly the kind of experience you’d get with a regular Squier Silver Series Strat. I imagine that the only reason the Wayne’s World was cheaper, was that it was irrevocably associated with an unsophisticated, young-audience comedy film, and in the process of distribution Fender had realised it wouldn’t be anywhere near as easy to sell as they first expected. I suppose it was a bit like making a Derek Smalls signature bass. Everyone thinks it’s a cool and highly amusing idea. But are you gonna be the one to walk into a shop and actually ask for the Derek Smalls bass? Nope. You’ll never live it down.

But if you do see one of these Strats knocking about on the cheap two decades on, don’t be fooled by the rather cheesy association. They are good guitars and they should rival most post-1985 MIJ Squier Strats for tone. And if you really can’t deal with the Wayne’s World thing, a quick replacement of the neck plate leaves you with what most people will see as an ordinary MIJ Squier Strat. Do keep the original neck plate though. Whilst I’d suggest that some of the claims regarding the total number of Squier Wayne’s World Strats made are stupidly low, they weren’t made for long, and let’s face it, it’s almost certain Fender ain’t gonna be makin’ any more of them.

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