13 days on the new squier
I've owned my new 2010 Squier Bullet Strat for just a hair under 2 weeks, but it feels like I've had it a lot longer because it plays so well.
The entire point of why I bought the '10 Squier is so I could semi-retire my '89 Squier II, which is my first guitar. I wanted a Strat, and I wanted it to be cheap. It's true that I could have bought something that looked almost exactly like the '89 did, but I didn't want a copy of the '89, I wanted something different. The end result is the Bullet Strat pictured at right. And yes, the color had a lot to do with the purchase, as only the Bullet has that particular finish offered with a rosewood fingerboard.
Banana is my first Strat that has a rosewood fingerboard, which is actually the preferred choice for most guitar players regardless of who made the guitar. The reason players like rosewood over maple on the fingerboard is because it accommodates better to the player. What happens over time is that as you continue to play the instrument, the rosewood will indent in the spots that you play most because of the soft nature of the wood while maple won't.
Maple fingerboards aren't bad, they're just different. You can't really "break in" a maple fingerboard whereas with rosewood you can. However it's also generally true that rosewood fingerboards result in a less-bright sound compared to maple. If you want the absolute brightest, "clackiest" sound out of a Strat, maple is the only way to go. This is true on both Stratocasters and Telecasters. Concerning the Telecaster in particular, if you want the ultimate in country twang, the maple needs to be there.
Concerning tonal characteristics, these are the differences I've noticed between the '89 and the '10:
On 5th position (back pickup), the '10 growls a lot more than the '89 does. In some instances, the '10 damn near sounds like a humbucker on that setting, like on a Gibson SG.
On 4th position, this is a weird-yet-cool thing because the '10 is "dark" enough to sound like like 2nd position on the '89.
On 3rd, the '10 is the first Strat I've ever played where that setting is actually usable. On the '89 the 3rd setting is almost completely flat, but not on the '10. Has much more of a 'round' sound to it.
On 4th, I will admit the '89 is better here compared to the '10 because it has that classic Strat twang. On the '10 I really have to bang the strings hard to ring the twang out.
On 5th, the '10 is darker but I can exert more control over the sound based on how hard I pick compared to the '89 which is full-bright all the time.
Lastly I'll say the that I actually use the tone and volume knobs on the '10 compared to the '89 where I always have everything turned up all the way for the best sound. The '10 can exhibit different character depending on where you set volume and tone whereas on the '89 it really doesn't matter because it's all-bright all the time.