The worst Squier I ever owned
Not all Squier guitars are good. This is the tale of the worst one I owned.
I've gone through a fair share of Squier guitars. And contrary to what some believe, no, I do not keep them all because I'm not a guitar hoarder. For example, there was one particular Squier guitar I kept for only 3 days before returning it for another guitar (which led me to getting my first Jazzmaster, so that was definitely meant to happen).
One Squier guitar in particular however was the worst, and it's a guitar still being made at the time I write this, the Squier Vintage Modified Surf Stratocaster.
Said up front, the guitar is built well. Build quality is not the problem. The problems are the saddles, pickups and electronics.
Something on certain Stratocaster guitars I absolutely cannot stand are bent steel saddles, which the Surf Strat has. I've talked about this before so I'll keep this short. You lose a ton of adjustment range with bent steel compared to full block. And the ironic thing is that you get the the full block saddle on the cheap Squier Bullet Strat while you do not on the Fender American Standard Stratocaster. Full block saddles used to be on the Standard but the chintzy bent steel is now used and has been for a while now.
I did change out the saddles on the Surf Strat from bent steel to block, but it didn't help the next problem.
The pickup set in the Surf Strat is too bright to the point where 3 out of the 5 pickup settings are unusable. Mid+Neck and Neck are usable and the rest are not. The best way I can describe this is that the pickups just sound screechy. Too much treble response comes out of those lipstick pickups. And it doesn't help that there is no tone control wired to the bridge-only pickup setting.
There is also a physical problem with the pickups. They sit loose in the pick guard because of the rounded lipstick casing. It is required to take off the guard and place small pieces of silicone tubing around the pickup height adjustment screws just to keep the pickup from rattling around.
Usually, a Strat or Tele pickup only shifts around and rattles when sitting very low in the pick guard. But the Surf Strat's lipstick casing on the pickups being very rounded on top means they always shift around. What a stupid design.
What would fix the Surf Strat?
A saddle change and pickup change is all that's required...
...or you just buy the Squier Deluxe Stratocaster instead. That guitar has the block saddles and traditional Strat pickups in it and is $50 less than the Surf.
I didn't want the Deluxe model (not a bad guitar but it's not what I wanted), and I wasn't willing to do the mods to the Surf to make it a usable Strat, so I traded the guitar out.
Again, the Surf Strat guitar isn't built bad, but the hardware choices for saddles and pickups are what make it suck.
My suggestion is that if you like the guitar and you're willing to put some work into it, pick up one in Surf Green, change the saddles, change the pickups to ones that have traditional casings so they sit in the pick guard correctly, and you're all set.
To put it another way, buy it with the intention of modding it, because I guarantee you will not like the guitar in stock condition.
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