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SX Hawk from Rondo on the way, and why I bought it


I don't have this guitar yet, but will tell you the story of why it was bought.

The first thing I'll mention is that neither I nor anybody else has this guitar yet at the time I write this because it's preorder-only. If you want one, it's here. Or, if you fancy one in Vintage Green instead of Lake Placid Blue, that's here. Same guitar, different color. With either, you'll get it in January '22.

I made the decision earlier in '21 to go back to Strats, and ended up going 100% with vintage Squier. The one I bought works great, but as time went on, I found I wanted something new with modern engineering.

My first choice was the SX, but before I went ahead and made the preorder, I looked around to see if there was anything else that could match up to it.

The best thing about SX guitars in my experience (yes, I have bought them before) is you get what you pay for in a positive way. When you attempt to match up what you get with SX with any other brand, that's when you really see the drastic price difference.

With the Hawk, you get an American alder body, 21-fret Canadian maple neck with decent shoulder and a fretboard radius of somewhere between 12" and 14", plain pickups (probably ceramic magnet), nut of unknown material (probably plastic), sealed steel tuners (which are nice to use), vintage style 6-screw bridge/tremolo.

The Squier Affinity Stratocaster is over $50 more, but uses a poplar body. The Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster is well more than double the price of the Hawk, but uses a nyatoh body.

What are you paying more for with the Affinity over the Hawk? Not much of anything, really.

What are you paying more for with the Classic Vibe? A bone nut and better electronics, with heavy emphasis on electronics. That guitar has what are described as "Fender Designed Alnico Single-Coil" pickups. What type of alnico? Unknown. But if it follows the previous generation of Classic Vibe, the '50s model uses alnico 3 and the '60s model uses alnico 5. I would personally choose the 5.

I couldn't justify spending more than double the price for a CV - especially when I can just outright buy a Fender alnico 5 pickup set for the Hawk, with guitar + pickups still having a total price way under what a Classic Vibe sells for. And again, I'm talking about Fender pickups here, not "Fender Designed" stuff. Heck, I can get Tonerider pickups for the same price, and those are great too!

Another thing that factors in is that I can't build (as in part together) a Strat guitar for under the price of a Hawk. Just the American alder body and maple neck alone with no electronics, no bridge and no tuners would bust over the Hawk's price.

And concerning the neck again, SX uses necks with more thickness and more shoulder without it feeling like a boat oar. Some cheap Strat copies have thicker necks with good shoulder, but there's thick done right and thick done wrong. SX gets it right.

It's not exactly easy to find a cheap-and-good Strat style guitar

Strat style guitar defined: Double-cutaway body with 25.5" scale, 3 single-coil pickups and inline tuners on the headstock.

If for example you go to the Guitar Center web site and search for any Strat style guitar sold new other than Squier brand that has the double-cutaway body with 3 single-coils and the 25.5" scale for under $250, you'll find that doesn't exist. You'll find HSS Strat style guitars for under $250, but no SSS other than Squier. You don't see SSS again until $300 with the Ibanez AZ line, and $300 is obviously much more than the Hawk sells for.

When you want a good, cheap guitar that follows what a Strat style guitar is supposed to be (more or less), SX is the go-to brand, and that's why I bought one.

And will the Hawk be truly good once I receive it? It should be. My last SX guitars, the pair of Furrian (Telecaster copy) models I had, were decent until I decided I didn't want to play Tele style guitars and go back to Strats. The Hawk should be just as good if not better.

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