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The good and bad of the Squier 2019 Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster

This is my full review on the guitar.

Now that I've had the guitar for almost a week, I can now give a proper review of this thing.

"Classic Vibe" is the top-of-the-line series for Squier electric guitars, and this concentrates on '50s model. There are also the '60s and '70s models.

What makes a '50s Classic Vibe Stratocaster a '50s?

The '50s is the only model with a pine body, single piece all-maple neck and circle string retainer on the headstock. It is also the only one that has a single ply pick guard that is 100% white with no black "sandwich" stripe in the middle.

The best feature of the electronics... that there is tone control wired to the bridge side pickup.

Traditional Fender Stratocaster wiring has tone control wired to only the middle and neck side pickups. Leo Fender, inventor of the Stratocaster, designed it that way. Ordinarily, Squier Strats will always have this wiring setup - but thankfully this one does not.

I say thankfully because the #1 electronics modification Strat owners do is wire in tone control to the bridge side pickup. With the new '50s CV you don't have to. Actually having tone control there when on the bridge-pickup-only pickup selector setting is so nice to have.

The weight... light. My guess is that the guitar weighs somewhere between 7 to 7.5 pounds, which usually is the just-right weight for a Strat for most people, myself included.

Strats don't exhibit any neck dive when playing the guitar standing, but when you have one that's the right weight, playing comfort when standing gets even better.

With the previous generation of Classic Vibe Strats, some were very heavy. I once tried one, and when I picked it up, that thing must have weighed close to or over 9 pounds. This new CV is nowhere near that weight and it's a very welcome thing.

The sound... probably the most "true" Strat tone CV has ever had. The pickups used all have alnico magnets (it is unknown if they are alnico 3 or 5), and they have an interesting stagger. High-E and B are flat to the pickup cover, G and D are raised, and A and low-E are flat to the pickup cover.

While true this isn't the vintage-correct Fender pickup pole stagger, the fact the CV even has one that isn't the usual follows-the-fingerboard-radius arc is definitely different. And I mean different in a good way.

Published 2019 Dec 17

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