SMG Review: Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster Electric Guitar
Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster Electric Guitar
Fender acquired the Squier brand name in 1965 when it bought a USA based string making company. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Fender was facing competition from lower priced and some would say better made Japanese guitars. The lower priced Fender guitars were made in America and could not compete with the lower prices of Japanese made Fender knock offs. In the early 1980s, Japanese labor and production costs were lower than in America and to compete with the Japanese made guitars, Fender moved the lower priced Fender guitar production from America to Japan and Squier began production of some very high quality low cost guitars that many guitar players chase after these days.
OUT OF THE BOX
The first thing I noticed about the Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster Electric Guitar was the larger headstock which made me do some digging and find out what model this was based on. The Squier Vintage modified was based on the 70’s Fender guitars with the larger headstock and the thinner profile neck. The 9.5 C-shape neck is thinner than the 12” radius neck found on a lot of American made Fenders. Those who play Fenders are familiar with how difficult it can be to play on those necks nicknamed the ‘baseball bat necks‘.
After messing around with this guitar for about 45 minutes I handed over my credit card and bought it. This is hands down the best feeling Fender guitar I have ever played.There may be a few Fender snobs out there that might not feel the same simply because of the name on the headstock. I have played original 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Strat’s and Custom Shop Strat’s and the Squire holds its own. The tone is amazing for such an inexpensive guitar — I feel that this should cost a lot more but I’m not complaining! The pickups are the Duncan designed SC-101’s which are based on the Seymour Duncan’s SSL-2 Vintage Flat and SSL-6 Custom Flat models.
The body is made of indian cedar, which was surprisingly smooth and balanced between bright and warm. The tone is great and the combo of the cedar and the out of phase positions on the bridge/middle and the middle/neck are amazing. The neck is semi fast and has great action out of the box. The rosewood fretboard is smooth and has a soft feel — the maple neck with the aged finish feels great but can get sticky if you play in humid conditions, but not a hindrance.
- Bolt on construction
- Indian cedar body
- 25.5″ Scale maple neck (Large 70’s headstock)
- 9.5″ radius
- Rosewood fretboard
- 21 frets
- Duncan Designed SC-101 bridge, middle and neck pickups
- 5-Way pickup selector
- Master volume
- Neck and middle tone control
THE LOW DOWN
My overall opinion of the Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster is that this is a great guitar that was built with the utmost quality. There are various countries that produce these models, the one I got just happens to be made in Indonesia. The feel and tone that are produced are nothing short of amazing for the price range. It has good weight and well balanced harmonics and overtones that just sing. The 70’s tuners are phenomenal and stay in tune superbly. Even with my aggressive style and forceful bending I never have to worry about falling out of tune. The saddles are rounded as opposed to the square saddles found on the classic tremolos, which I suspect is why the tuning and string tension are so great.
The volume and tone pots are very responsive and controllable. The vintage modified guitars come in three colors — vintage blonde, sunburst and black. The black model has a maple fretboard while the vintage blonde and sunburst have the rosewood fretboard. Check with your local dealers and see if they have any in stock, I can guarantee you they will not be in for long as they are hot guitars. Final thoughts are if you are a Fender fan, try this axe out. It is amazing. This coming from a guy who was not a fan of Fenders for many years because they were difficult for me to play. I am probably going to purchase the black with the maple neck to have the maple. I would have loved to have the vintage blonde in the maple fretboard but you can’t win them all.
Pros: 70’s neck/headstock, superb tuning, great tone, great colors, extreme value, quality build better then you would think.
Price Range – $249.99 – $399.99
Till next week, thanks for reading and keep on shredding!