Squier Affinity Stratocaster Beginner Pack Review 2020 – Before You Buy

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Fender crafts excellent mid to high priced guitars for players. But what about their lower-priced beginner guitars? These guitars have the ”Squier By Fender” label on them.

Squier Affinity Stratocaster Beginner pack includes:

  • Squier Affinity Stratocaster Electric Guitar(with whammy bar)
  • Frontman 15G amp
  • Gigbag
  • Free 3-month subscription to Fender Play®
  • Strap
  • Cable
  • Picks

This pack doesn’t include a tuner (it should).  I recommend either using Fender Tune-app (basic tuner features of the app are free and it’s really easy to use) or this Fender Clip-on tuner.

Squier Affinity Stratocaster Beginner Pack Review

Sound

Squier Stratocaster has an HSS pickup configuration. So it comes with 2 single-coil and one humbucker pickups. That means a nice spanky and funky tone, but you can add warmness to the tone with the humbucker. Great for funk, jazz, blues, and rock.

As many beginner guitars, this is not the best option for metal. But it can definitely handle some distortion too. So this guitar is no one-trick pony sound-wise.

In some cases, there seems to be a fret buzz, but by adjusting the action of the strings, the problem should be fixed.

Overall, the sound of this guitar is good. I think that Yamaha Pacifica 012 and Epiphone Les Paul Special II are better sounding starter pack guitars than this, but the difference is small, and opinions about this can vary.  This is Affinity Strat is still great sounding guitar and definitely good for a beginner.

If you want to hear how it sounds, check this video: 

Playability 

Out of the box action of this guitar is OK. Usually little adjustments into the action(distance between strings and fretboard) might be needed. But with a truss rod, this is easy.

The neck feel comes surprisingly close to higher-priced Fender Stratocasters. Pretty slim and still easy to play. Upper fret access is really good too. You can still notice some roughness on the edges of the fretboard, but this is no game-breaker and this can be expected when the guitar is really affordable.

Nut width is 1.61”(41mm), so the neck is narrow, and this is definitely good news for beginners. You can easily access the frets, even with small hands.

The neck shape is Standard C, this shape is really easy to get started with, and works great with small hands too. These features make this guitar a solid option for kids or teens, but I think that Yamaha GigMkaer pack that includes Pacifica 012 guitar is even better for this purpose. If you are buying a guitar for a really small kid, smaller 3/4 sized guitar might still be even better choice.

While this guitar is easy to play, I still think that Yamaha Pacifica 012 that Gomes with GigMaker pack is even easier to get started with.

Quality

Surprisingly, some people have issues with the quality of this guitar. But I think that those people are comparing Squier Start too much to the original Fender Stratocaster. You have to look at the price tag when reviewing the quality.

This guitar has some issues with staying in tune, gladly this guitar is easy to tune, but of course, this flaw that is bothering some users is annoying.

But otherwise, my opinion is this: for a beginner guitar, quality is solid. Only slight problems with staying in tune. But otherwise, this one doesn’t lose quality-wise to any other beginner guitars. 

What comes to amp quality it’s good, Fender Frontman amps are great for beginners.

The cable offers the lowest quality from this pack. This is a really common flaw with the guitar starter pack, and I wish that manufacturers would include better cables in these.

Looks

Iconic Fender look. What else can I say? I really like it. It’s always nice to play and look at Stratocaster. The main question is this: Do you like how Original Stratocasters look?

My personal favorites are the black body with a white pickguard and a red body with a black pickguard.

Amp

This pack comes with Fender Frontman 15G Combo Amp. It’s nice to have 15watt amp because it helps you to drive your family and neighbors even crazier. 

Clean sounds are clear and detailed. You can also get some nice distortion out of it too.

The headphone jacket is a nice plus and also, there is an AUX input, so you can jam with your favorite songs.

I couldn’t find any major flaws from this amp, it seems like a perfectly fine practice amp for a beginner. But don’t expect to get very extreme metal tones out of it.

If you want to hear more tone samples of this amp, check this video(note that different guitar is used in the video, but this still gives you some idea of how the amp sounds like):

Accessories

Picks are solid and will get you started. I personally use these picks Dunlop Max-Grip Nylon Jazz III, and I can’t even imagine using anything else. I recommend that you try out those at some point.

The strap does the job, but it’s not very comfortable.

Guitar cable is ok, it’s not so bad as with some other packs (Yamaha Gigmaker), but I still recommend that you replace it as soon as possible. This post helps you with that: Best Guitar Cable Under $20 in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide.

The gig bag is protective enough, but as usual with starter pack bags, it only protects the guitar from small bumps and dust.

Free 3-month subscription to Fender Play is really nice. In my opinion, it’s the best learning tool that comes with starter packs. Fender has done a nice job of transferring guitar learning into the digital environment. But note that after those 3 months you have to pay if you want to continue using Fender Play.

Also, if you need help with kickstarting your guitar career check this guide I made: How to Play Guitar? Get Started Fast and Free!

Summary

Pros

  • Nice original Stratocaster look and sound
  • Free 3-month subscription to Fender Play
  • Amp is solid
  • Guitar is great for beginners
  • Easy to play guitar
  • Overall, a really solid pack

Cons

  • Staying in tune is sometimes a problem
  • Fret buzz in some cases
  • Adjustments into the action are usually needed (easy with truss rod)
  • Guitar cable only gets you started
  • No tuner included

Really good value for the money-pack. And the flaws are only small ‘’sometimes it does that’’-stuff or easy to fix.

If you are a Stratocaster fan, who doesn’t play extreme metal and want high-quality digital guitar lessons with your starter pack, this is a really good option for you.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Alternatives

The Best Starter Pack  – Yamaha GigMaker EG Electric Guitar Pack

If you want comfortable to play guitar that sounds and good, and you also need an amp that is full of punch, Yamaha GigMaker is my go-to option. All the aspects of this pack, except the guitar cable are really strong, and the price is not too bad either.

I think that Yamaha GigMaker pack offers more value for money than Squier Affinity Stratocaster Pack, that’s why I think it’s better for beginners.

You can read my full review of this guitar pack here: Yamaha GigMaker Electric Guitar Pack Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

This guitar pack has been available for 10 years. The reason is this: they got it right for the first time. At it has been a high-quality pack since then.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Best Les Paul Pack – Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack

If you are into heavier stuff, or you just love Les Paul- type guitars, this is a solid choice. The guitar is easy to play, and sounds great. You should still note that upper fret access is a little bit worse with Les Paul-type guitars, and this is no exception. But still, crunchy riffs and rock solos are made for this guitar.

An amplifier that comes with this guitar is slightly worse than amps coming with Fender and Yamaha packs, but this pack is still a great option for Les Paul and metal lovers.

You can read my full review of this guitar pack here: Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Conclusion

This Squier pack is a really good option for beginners. The difference between this and Yamaha GigMaker back is really small, and you are probably not going to be disappointed, no matter which one you end up buying.

Starter packs are a really good option for beginners. If you want to learn more about starter packs, check out these posts I made:

If you want to kickstart your guitar journey with the ”post I wish I had when I started”, check this guide I made: How to Play Guitar? Get Started Fast and Free!

In case you want some way to display or give more protection to your new Stratocaster, these articles might be helpful:

I hope that this post helped you out! If you have any questions, leave a comment down below and feel free to share this post too.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

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