Fender Squier Vintage Modified Surf Stratocaster CAR - electric guitar, basswood body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, 21x medium jumbo frets, scale 64,8 cm, nut width 42mm, vintage style synchronized tremolo, 3x Duncan Designed LS 102 Lipstick pick-ups, 5-way switch. Colour: candy apple red
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The guitar was badly set up out of the box and two of the pickups were not installed properly, so I have docked a star for quality but once that was fixed the standard of this Vintage Mod is everything I have come to expect from these Squiers. The build and finish is excellent, it plays nicely and I love the colour.
First, about the pickup problems. The middle pickup was only held by one screw and the neck pickup only had one spring properly fitted. That made the pickups rattle about alarmingly but the springs are easy to find if they go astray, they stick to the magnets. I fitted the springs and screws fairly easily but the pickups were still quite loose so I bought a set of Les Paul springs and replaced the neck and middle. All the pickups are now firmly in place and adjusted properly for height. (The bridge pickup is obviously screwed higher than the other two so its original springs are tighter and work fine.)
(While I was at it I swapped the bent steel saddles for block saddles but that's just a personal preference because I don't like the height screws protruding under my right hand. I also tightened the bridge down because I won't be using the whammy.)
Back to the guitar. The neck is slim and finished smoothly. The frets will benefit from a bit of a polish but that's not urgent. It feels nice to play as it is. The radius and frets are the same as a Vintage Mod Jazzmaster but the slimmer neck seems to emphasise the curve of that radius.
With the pickups and saddles set up properly all is well. The body is a bit lighter than my other strat and finished perfectly. The lipstick tube pickups look great and have less buzz than normal single coils. The sound is noticeably a strat sound but different. The neck is mellower and the bridge is cleaner (adjectives for sound are always tricky), and position 2 and 4 sound more muted. You will have a useful variation on a strat sound, if that's what you want.
The story with the Vintage Modified (and Classic Vibe) Fenders Squiers seems to be about very good value for money and excellent build quality. I wish they had entry priced guitars as good as these when I started playing. This V M Strat Surf is no different. It's built flawlessly (with a bit of tweaking out of the box), plays well and offers a handy sonic alternative to the standard guitar. I docked one star for the set up quality but if it came properly assembled and adjusted I would give it 5.
For the money the guitar was well finished no problems with the finish and the pick ups are really good which I was a little surprised to find out seen as this is only a £220 guitar.
Then ends of the fret board were a little sharp so I rolled them of nicely not a big major task and that felt way better on the hand.
I did have a little bit of a problem with the bridge. I found it a little hard to try and set it up because the saddle screws were turning while the Allen key was turning so I was having much luck with that.
Overall the guitar is of good quality the tuners are really smooth and easy to use and the pots and pickup selector switch all work ok no crackling or anything.
I love Stratocasters and I was looking for a cheap one as a practice guitar. This one looked nice to my eyes and considering the low price I got one from Thomann. The edges of the frets were well rolled, no sharp edges like others complained about, the pickups surprised me, I liked the tone. The downsides were that the frets were a bit rough but playing for a few hours made them smooth, you can polish them before playing if you want as it's not a big deal and the tremelo was set pressed to the body as a hard tail, you can set it to float but I left it as it was. Overall, the guitar needs some setting up like all inexpensive guitars but in my opinion it's an excellent option for beginners and quite good option for more experienced players... P.S. I wrote this comment to help beginners as all experienced players will know the obvious.
Great sounding guitar, excellent price-quality ratio. I could not expect more after picking through hundreds of guitars in this price range. I was not disappointed. After some minor tuning, my strat is up and running, and I am bathing in the luxury of having a top-of-the-bottom of the line guitar always at the ready. Holds its tune decently. Using a Fender Mustang 1 amp. Very happy customer.
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