Guitar of the week #96 - Squier Bullet Mustang HH
This just might be the new perfect beginner's guitar.
But before I get into that...
I was asked my opinion about the Squier Affinity Jazzmaster HH, the new cheap Jazzmaster from Squier. I don't like it because it's nothing more than a reimagining of the Squier Jagmaster. Actually, let's not beat around the bush about that. IT'S THE SAME FRICKIN' GUITAR AS BEFORE. All that changed was the headstock shape and that's it (edit: there was one other thing that changed - the Jagmaster has a Strat-like tremolo on it and the Jazzmaster HH is a Tele-like hardtail thru-body). I didn't like the Jagmaster so I already know I don't like the Jazzmaster HH.
Then there's the Squier Bullet Mustang HH, seen above. Now this is more like it. This is the kind of guitar that makes people buy Squiers in droves, and I'll tell you exactly why.
First, price. DIRT CHEAP. Well south of $200 at the time of this writing. This is a guitar you can just buy, thrash around, put stickers all over it and not care, beat it up, and so on.
Second, ease-of-use. A pair of humbuckers, one volume, one tone. Doesn't get much easier than that.
Third, this is a short scale guitar along with a little bonus. You get the 24" scale and a 12" fingerboard radius. This means it can handle string bending really, really easily.
Is everything all good with this guitar? No. I do have 2 complaints about it.
It has a top-mounted output jack. That doesn't bother me personally (I play a Jazzmaster which has the same thing), but you have to know to use a guitar cable with a right-angle connector on it. If you don't, it is guaranteed at some point the cable will get yanked and either destroy the output jack or seriously damage it. You use a standard straight connector there and you're just asking for a bad thing to happen.
There are two string guides (a.k.a. string trees) on the headstock. The one that holds the high-E and B strings isn't a problem, but the other that holds the G and the D strings is - particularly the G string. In my experience, that second string guide makes G string kinking noises happen fairly quickly after installing a new set of strings. True, this is nothing that a little lubrication or wrapping a piece of masking tape around the string under the guide won't fix, but still, it's annoying.
Fortunately, that's it. Everything else about the guitar is otherwise good.
What does it sound like?
For cheap humbuckers, they sound surprisingly good.
The main reason anyone would buy this guitar is to rock out on it, which this guitar does do in fine style. The pickups are plenty responsive enough and can handle anything from blues to metal and anything in between.
The only styles of music it does not do are the kind that require very bright, "jangly" pickups, such as surf and rockabilly. If you want a Mustang that has the bright sound, you want a Squier Vintage Modified Mustang with the single-coils in it. But that's not really a beginner-friendly guitar while the HH totally is.
What makes this a perfect beginner guitar?
- It's cheaper than most Epiphone Les Paul Special II models.
- The short scale neck makes it easier to play.
- It's easy to operate because it has six inline tuners instead of 3x3.
- Top-loader bridge makes string changes ridiculously easy.
- The simplicity of the design makes it very modder-friendly.
The Mustang HH is a steal for what it's selling for new, and totally gets it right for what it is. This is a true plug-in-and-go guitar. Small, simple, quick-to-learn and easy-to-play.
This is a cheap, good beginner guitar. It's also a great guitar for kids. It's also a great guitar for adults that want to try a short scale for real cheap. It's also great for older men and women that want a neck that's easier to play. It's also great as a bang-around or backup guitar.
Like I said, the Squier Bullet Mustang HH totally gets it right for what it is.