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Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster Review 2021 – Before You Buy

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Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster – Classic Tones At Budget Price

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Versatility

Summary

Pros
-9,5-inch radius, narrow-, and C- shaped neck make this axe really easy to play
-Usually no sharp edges on the fretboard(comfortable)
-Amazing value for the money
-Sounds great
-Nice rock tones
-Looks just like the Strat should(beautiful)

Cons
-Not the best one for heavy distortion
-Adjustments to the action are sometimes needed(depends from your play style ofc)
-Sometimes fret buzz and set up problems out of the box
-Sometimes rough fret edges

I tried this out in a music store nearby a while back. I compared lots of different Stratocasters there and I think that this one is a lot easier to play than most Fender Stratocasters.

And this Squier didn’t lose much to the higher-priced Original Fender Stratocasters sound and quality-wise either. 

This axe is a great option for small-handed folks, and for people who are looking for a high value for money guitar with spanky & bright Strat tones.

Worth the money in my opinion.

4.3

How Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster sounds:

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This one is just like Stratocasters in the 50’ies with some modern updates(for example, a 5-position blade switch). But how are the sound, playability, and quality….and most of all is this axe worth your hard-earned money?

Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster specs:

Body type: Solidbody

Body wood: Pine

Neck wood: Maple

Neck Shape: C

Scale length: 25.5”

Truss rod: Yes

Fretboard material: Maple

Fretboard radius: 9.5”

Number of frets: 21 Medium frets

Nut width: 1.65” (42mm)

Pickups: 3 Fender® Designed Alnico Single-Coil

Pickup switch: 5-way

Bridge: 6-Saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo

Who crafted this Review:

reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author & Reviewer: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although plays acoustics too. Started this blog in January 2020.

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Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster Review

Squier Classic Vibe '50S Stratocaster Maple Fingerboard Electric Guitar 2-Color Sunburst

Sound

It’s not so common to see pine used as a body wood nowadays…and while it’s really soft wood, it doesn’t ruin the tone. Tones are not muddy and details of the sound are not getting lost.

This guitar doesn’t sound good as more expensive Fender Stratocasters (for example Player series Strats that are a couple hundred more expensive), but for the price, this Squier sounds great. But this is just my opinion.

3 Fender Alnico Single-Coils give you tonally well-balanced performance, bright and spanky tones are guaranteed. Tones are articulate and clear, even with some distortion.

Especially classic rock riffs and Eric Clapton-style blues licks sound really good with this guitar.

If you are into classic rock, jazz, blues, or some other genre where high distortion is not a must, this axe is a great budget choice.

Another sound demo:

Playability

I tried this out in a music store nearby a while back. I compared lots of different Stratocasters there and I think that this one is even easier to play than most Fender Stratocasters.

Fender probably had beginners and intermediate players in mind when crafting this axe.

Fretboard radius, 9’5 inches. Nut width is 42mm(1.65inches). So, the neck is narrow, and the small curve on the fretboard feels natural in my opinion. Great for playing rock riffs and chords.

The neck shape is C, this is, in my opinion, the most comfortable shape in general, and it’s especially good for beginners and intermediate players. It just fits a hand of a human being.

Fretboards edges are rolled, so there will be no sharp edges on this one. At least usually this is the case, but sometimes a little bit ”rougher” Squiers slip through, but this seems to be rare.

Narrow-tall frets make hammer on’s, pull off’s, and bending very easy.

All these qualities make this strat very comfortable and easy to play, this means a couple of points more for this Squier.

But, I have found out that in most cases the action in Squier and Fender Stratocaster is a little bit too high for my liking, and this guitar is no exception. Fortunately, the action is easy to lower with truss rod or saddle adjustments.

Quality

I have not noticed any major issues with the quality of these Strats, and most long-time users agree. But not all.

Some folks have been facing frett buzz, right from the start and in the long run too. Of course, you will face frett buzz with most guitars when the years go by. Usually, frett buzz is easy to fix with some truss rod adjustments.

And most issues are about the setup overall. And the single most common reason seems to be too high action. Of course, this can annoy players a little bit, and I too love guitars that are ready to rock from the start, but adjusting the action is far from an impossible task.

Vintage-styled tuning machines keep this axe in tune quite well, but it’s not the best option out there. For example, locking tuners usually do a better job with staying in tune.

When the price is this affordable, you can face these issues sometimes, but the overall quality of this guitar is still really good in my opinion.

Looks

I personally like this ’50s look a lot. The headstock is not oversized, and the body and neck look just as they should. Legendary Stratocaster, I’m a huge fan of these looks.

This of course depends on the taste of the individual. What do you think? Comment down below!

Summary

Pros

  • 9,5-inch radius, narrow-, and C- shaped neck make this axe really easy to play
  • No sharp edges on the fretboard(comfortable)
  • Amazing value for the money
  • Sounds great
  • Nice rock tones
  • Looks just like the Strat should(beautiful)

Cons

  • Not the best one for heavy distortion
  • Adjustments to the action are sometimes needed(depends from you play style ofc)
  • Sometimes fret buzz and set up problems out of the box

You definitely get really good value for the money with this one. So easy to play, and the quality is solid. If you like to play funk, jazz, blues, and rock, this is a really good option.

Worth the money.

But for metalheads, there are better options available sound-wise.

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Alternatives

Better With Distortion ESP LTD EC-256

This one is not a cheap guitar or a beginner guitar. This is a great value for money guitar. Some minor issues can be found, but if you look at the price tag, you can accept those little issues.

This guitar is a good choice if you want to play heavy riffs and catchy solos. Not the easier option for shredding, but you can definitely shred with this if you got the skills. A great option for metalheads on a budget.

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Great Budget All-Rounder – Fender Player Telecaster HH

While being slightly more expensive than Squier Strats, this one is an excellent all-rounder with one of the best split-coil tones I have heard for under $1000.

Modern C neck shape ensures easy playability, and the affordable price makes this guitar a really interesting choice. I definitely recommend that you check this guitar out. Really high value for money. 

You can read my full review of this guitar here: Fender Player Telecaster HH Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

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If You Can’t Decide Between Single-Coils and Humbuckers – Fender Mustang 90

Fender Mustang 90 is an excellent instrument in my opinion. It offers you different looks and tones (this axe comes with 2 P90 pickups), and that’s why you either like it or don’t. Personally, I like it. A great option, especially if you love punk and rock.

And if you have small hands, this axe is the best option in my opinion. It has a comfortable, narrow, and thin C-shaped neck. Also, it has a shorter scale length (24”) than most regular-sized electric guitars, this lowers the string tension and makes strings easier to press down.

You can read my full review of this guitar here: Fender Mustang 90 Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

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FAQ – Buyer’s Guide

Are Squier Classic Vibe guitars any good?

I have been playing Squier Classic Vibe axes a couple of times in a music store and in my opinion, these are great guitars, especially with the price this affordable.

Of course, if you spend a couple of hundreds more, you usually(not always) get better quality, playability, and sounds. But for beginner and intermediate players on a budget, Squier Classic Vibe guitars are great options in my opinion.

Should I buy a Tele or a Strat?

Both of these usually offer quite similar playability, especially if you look at guitars from the same series.

But of course things like

  • body-shape(Strat has more curve, Tele doesn’t)
  • bridge (some Teles has legendary ash-trail bridges that really change playability)

But personally, neither of these differences is a game-changer for me. I would choose base on this instead:

Choose according to the music you want to play.

  1. Stratocasters with 3 single coils are great with classic rock, bright blues, funk, and jazz. Tones are bright and spanky.
  2. Tele with 2 single-coils offer you slightly more warmness in tone, great with rock, hard rock, and blues. Teles are also better with metal in my opinion.

Of course, you should also carefully consider the pickup configuration of the guitar.

  • Humbuckers offer you warmer, thicker, and darker tones,
  • while Single-Coils give you brighter, colder, and spankier tones.

Conclusion

Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster is a great budget option for players who are not into metal, this axe handles all the other genres really well. This Strat is also comfortable to play, and the quality is really good for the price.

Note: I recommend that you check out the alternative options I mentioned above.

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 review helped you out! I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

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