Fender Squier Fat-Strat Reviews 5

This guitar was purchased from a local music store in London England for around 190 UKP. I am 37 years old, have been playing the guitar (not very well!) for over 20 years and generally play blues, rockabilly and stuff of that ilk. I dabbled with a few hi-tech style Eastern guitars in my younger years but now realise that you can't really beat a good solid Fender style instrument (Strat and Tele in my case) plugged into a decent sounding amp (Marshall for me). I have now grown out of techie active stuff and the use of loads of effects, just give me classic tone, guitar and amp! So I decided that I wanted a Strat, but simply couldn't afford a USA, so that left me with Squiers or Mexicans. I'm not a great guitar player or particularly knowledgable, but from what I tried it seemed that there was little to choose between Squiers and Mex's. The USA's were noticably better, but too expensive! So I couldn't see the need to spend more on the Mex over the Squier, so a Squier Strat it was! Now, which one? Well the Affinity Strat does feel cheap and a bit limited (still good for the money though) but the Standard series Squiers felt great! All the classic tones and feel for an eigth of a the price! (in the UK anyway). I love the classic single coil sound, but occasionally like to crank it up a bit so settled on the Fat-Strat with one humbucker in the bridge position, a nice compromise. I finally chose Shoreline Gold as the colour.

I am extremely happy with this guitar, it offers all the classic tones of a "real" USA Strat and with the same great feel and balance (It seems to be based on a mid 70s one in terms of body, neck and headstock shape). Action is very fast, the neck to body join is perfect and all the electrics function well. The single coils have a nice classic sound and are particularly funky in the "in between" position. The humbucker didn't sound quite as forceful as I had expected but later proved to deliver the goods in a nice way when the amp is cranked and dirty, but it is a little more controlled and a tiny bit reserved in comparison with some overtly metal guitars, but I like it. My version doesn't have the standard fulcrum tremelo (six screws holding it to the body), but has what I consider to be an improved pivotting type (on only two posts on the body) allowing plenty of up as well as down. At first glance it looks the same as other Squier Strat trems, but it is subtly different, and nicer! I don't know whether this is particular to the Fat-Strat, or just a variation across the Strat range, but it is certainly preferably for me, and something I insisted on. Mechine heads seem smooth and quality of fixtures and fittings seems very good at this price.

There really isn't much I don't like about this guitar (as you've probably gathered!). Yes, one could find minor critisms (like the fact that it generates a bit of electrical buzz out of the amp at high gain) but one has to remind oneself that this is essentially a budget priced guitar, and for the money it is great. It plays and performs so much better than guitars I payed twice as much for ten years ago, things have improved fantastically over the last few years. So the only bad points really are a bit of electrical noise, cheap-ish looking black pick gaurd, "reserved" humbucker that may disapoint metal heads and a slighlt cheap feel to the neck finish. But I am being picky really.

The fit and finish is superb for the price, I can remember when 200 quid guitars felt awful, not any more! The finger board and frets seem well finished, action is very fast, the neck to body join is perfect and all the electrics function well. My only warning (but this goes for most guitars of any origin) is that they are a little variable, so try before you buy, and try several of the same model before picking the one for you. Paint finish is very good for the price although I don't like the black pick guard, would have prefered white, but all Fats and Double-Fats have black pick guards to set them apart (makes 'em easy to find in a shop full of Strats though!). Mechine heads seem smooth although tuning stabilty is a little flaky at the moment, but may settle with time. A little Vaseline on all string junctions (ie. nut) will ease things for the trem! All things considered, construction quality is fine at this price point and it still amazes me how much better guitars of this price are nowadays. If you still think Eastern guitars offer poor quality, well check out the Squier Standard range (less so, the budget entry Affinity range) and I think you'll be suprised!

My final thoughts on this guitar are overwhelmingly positive, it feels "classic" but costs peanuts, plays great, looks the part, and I am more than happy. I can't see me changing from my two Squiers (I have a Telecaster too) for some time now.

Greg. from London, England rated this unit 5 on 2001-11-07.

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