Squier FSR Bullet Telecaster in Surf Green
Yep, I bought one.
It's my tradition that whenever I get a guitar, one has to go. The one that went was the 2012 Squier Bullet HH. It was traded out. I pretty much never played that thing, so nothing was lost there.
This is my third attempt to get along with a Telecaster, and this time this just might be the one. Maybe. I've not decided just yet.
Why the Bullet Telecaster and not another Bullet Strat?
I hinted recently that I was considering getting another Bullet Strat. But the Bullet Telecaster was the better option. The reason I can't link to the Bullet Telecaster is because presently there is nowhere online to even get one, and from Guitar Center it's a special order only.
Did I special order my FSR Bullet Telecaster? No. I got lucky, which I'll explain in a moment.
"FSR" is Fender Special Run. The reason this Telecaster is FSR is simply because of the color, Surf Green. While a nice color, that's actually not the reason I wanted it. I wanted it because it was a Bullet and not an Affinity series because there are distinctive differences between the two guitars.
Here's a quick list of the differences:
- Affinity requires pick guard to be removed to adjust height of the front pickup. Bullet has screws in the pick guard itself for front pickup height adjustment just like the Fender Standard Telecaster.
- Affinity has "top hat" pickup selector switch tip. Bullet has "barrel" switch tip, again just like the Fender Standard model.
- Affinity nut width is 1.60". Bullet nut width is 1.65".
- Affinity is a top-loader, Bullet is a thru-body.
- Affinity does not have a walnut "skunk" stripe on the back of the neck, the Bullet does (redundant since it has a rosewood fingerboard but whatever.)
Bullet Telecasters are rare birds
If you know Squier Telecasters at all, you've seen Classic Vibe, Vintage Modified and Affinity. But the Bullet Telecaster isn't seen that often. Heck, the Bullet series isn't even mentioned at all on Fender's own web site, yet it exists.
In addition, a longstanding complaint of mine is that even here in Tampa Bay Florida where there are several high-volume guitar stores, Squier Telecasters really don't have a presence. You can find Strats easily but with Teles you really have to hunt around to actually try out different Squier models.
How I bought my Bullet Telecaster
Just by chance I went to the Guitar Center web site and saw the rare bird. Bullet Telecaster. Brand new. Cheap. And the GC web site stated the guitar was in stock. I knew right then and there that if I didn't go try to get that guitar right now, I'd never be able to buy it since Squier Teles are only in GC infrequently at best.
I wrote down what I wanted for the Bullet HH trade-in and what I was willing to pay for the Bullet Telecaster, and off I went.
After arriving, I soon found out why nobody had bought the FSR Bullet Tele yet. It wasn't even on the showroom floor and was still in the back of the store, new in the box.
I played the guitar for a few minutes and it seemed okay. GC was able to match the price I wanted to pay with trade-in, so I bought the guitar and took it home...
...but will I keep it?
Too soon to tell. The guitar plays nice but it has a much different character compared to the Jazzmaster.
What I can say about it so far is this:
- Everything works and nothing appears broken or assembled improperly from the factory.
- The tuners are about average, which is to say they work. Not the best but not the worst.
- The rear pickup sounds great. The front pickup, not-so much, but that may be a blessing in disguise.
- Pickup selector switch is a bit stiff. Might need a shot of DeoxIT D5, which I do have (technically a cleaning solution but does lubricate, and I feel more comfortable spraying DeoxIT into a guitar instead of WD-40.)
- Weight of the guitar is just right. The combo of basswood body + maple neck works really nicely here.
- Surf green color is a bit on the light side but looks nice.
- Pick guard is parchment 3-ply white-black-white and definitely the right color.
And the most important thing:
- This is the first Telecaster I've ever played that "speaks" to me.
There are very few guitars where I play them and think to myself, "Oh yeah, this is good. This is real good." My sonic blue Jazzmaster is one of those guitars. I'll sit there, strum, play and when I put the guitar back on the stand I just have a moment of being wowed by just how good that guitar is.
This surf green Telecaster has the potential to be one of those guitars. I am already getting tones out of it that are "very Telecaster" that only a Telecaster can do. Spanky, twangy sounds in the rear, softer sounds in the front. It plays great, sounds good and reminds me why I love single-coil pickups so much.
I've been having a dry spell with songwriting lately, but this Telecaster cured that real quick. It's definitely the better songwriter's guitar simply for the fact there's no distractions. Single circuit, no whammy bar, two pickups, two knobs and that's it.
The guitar is great so far, so hopefully this one will stick around.