AudioRumble rating 88/100
What We like
At under $200 you get great value.
Lovely vintage sounds.
Quite versatile with two pickups and coil-tapping.
What We don't like
The thin Tele headstock.
A case is sold separately.
No master tone control.
Squier are renown for producing highly affordable versions of its parent company Fender’s most famous models. However, they also produce a couple of their own original guitars, and the Squier ’51 is one of them. With really intriguing looks, let’s see what it’s all about…
Is it a Strat? Is it a Tele? Is it a P-Bass? When it comes to design, Squier’s ’51 is pretty much all three in one guitar!
There’s a Strat style, double cutaway basswood body, that’s finished in three colors – Candy Apple Red, Two-Color Sunburst, or a lovely Vintage Blonde. They all have their own colored single-ply pickguard that extends across the top of the guitar, and is similar in this respect to Fender’s Precision Bass.
The guitar also takes inspiration from the Telecaster with its chunky a bolt-on neck – modern C-shaped and made of maple. The maple continues into the fretboard, which is home to 21 medium jumbo frets, and classic black dot inlays. There’s also a thin Tele style 6-in-line headstock with die-cast tuners, which is the weakest design point of this guitar (but this is just because I really dislike the Tele headstock).
Overall the ’51 sports good vintage looks, feels very well built, and is unique enough to turn a few heads.
The Strat influence continues into the electronics, with a bright single-coil pickup at the neck position. This is complemented by a hot humbucker at the bridge position. Neither are much more than stock pickups, but offer a clear sound and lots of tone.
As for controls, interestingly the ’51 offers no traditional pickup selection switch – instead the chrome control knob that you’d initially believe to be the tone control acts as a three-way selector (humbucker, single-coil, or both pickups together). There’s also a master volume control, which offers push/pull single-coil tapping, turning the humbucker into a second single-coil in an instant. So there’s much more versatility than may first appear.
Finally, there’s an adjustable, six-saddle fixed bridge, which offers good tuning stability. Otherwise there are no bells and whistles with this guitar. You just get everything you need to find a sound you love.
One thing we’ve not discussed is the price, which – at $199 – is very reasonable for the amount of guitar you are getting. The neck is satin smooth and very playable thanks to the medium jumbo frets, while the body of the guitar is well contoured, lightweight, and comfortable to hold.
The pickups and coil-tapping offers great versatility, and you can find everything from the vintage twang of a Tele to some thick distortion through the hot humbucker. It sounds great playing everything from funk to classic rock, and everything in between.
Mass produced as it is, the craftsmanship out of the box can let it down a little and it may require a set up to have it performing properly – but when it does there’s not much wrong with this great vintage-style guitar.
Can't choose between a Strat and a Tele? Have both! This original '51 model from Squier is a real hybrid that offers great sound, awesome vintage looks, and very good value for under $200.
AudioRumble rating 88/100