Reviewed: Squier Contemporary Telecaster HH and Stratocaster HSS

Fender Music Australia | fender.com.au | RRP: $899

When a person walks into a guitar shop, there are only so many ways that the ensuing conversation will go. Some people venture inside knowing exactly what they want, be it a spare set of strings or ’72 Tele, some are just in for a gawk, and others are barking up the wrong tree altogether (no, we don’t buy vinyl!) One of the most rewarding conversations is the one where a precocious youngster tentatively creeps in ahead of his allowance/parents. That kid is floored by the shiny expensive things and thoroughly distracted in their quest to find their first ever riff stick.

If the salesperson in question is genuine enough, they will lead the apprentice riff-master to the humble corner of the store where the Squier guitars are stabled so that an appropriately priced instrument may select the fingertips it will be in charge of callousing up from this moment on. With the Squier badge on the headstock, generations of salespeople and novices alike have left feeling safe in the knowledge that they have picked up an instrument that will hold its own during the ritual of initiation. Such is the place that Fender’s subsidiary range has taken within the vast expanse of the instrument world.

 

Sad as it is, many of us have long since outgrown our first Affinity or Bullet Strat; however, in spite of that levelling up we still see that same script logo and remember fondly our first forays into fumbling through Hendrix and Metallica solos. The last few years in particular have seen this arm of the empire lift their game tenfold with Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe models blurring the line between American and Asian factory quality, and this new Contemporary range smears the colours even further. Tricked up with a more modern sensibility than their aforementioned cousins, this series is aimed at a more recent memory in six-string history.

 

The glorious Ocean Blue Metallic finish on the Strat I see before me is like something ripped from the Super Strat playbook. From the matching headstock to the jet-black, HSS configured pickups and knobs, it looks every bit the late ‘80s/early ‘90s shredder. The Tele, on the other hand, looks a little more finessed. A dark metallic red finish gives it a debutante ball sense of style, while the twin P90 style humbuckers offer a warmth and girth as well as super low noise floor that more traditional models sorely miss. Both have super slim, unfinished maple necks that are comfortable in the hands no matter how long you’ve been at it.

 

In the culinary world they say the first taste is with the eyes. The same can be said in the guitar world, especially where your first entry point is concerned. At the end of the day, if you like the look of the axe propped up in the corner of your bedroom then you’re going to want to pick it up more. Squier’s Contemporary range has this covered, but that’s not where the success ends. These guitars sound as good as they look and that combination is bound to inspire a healthy new set of gunslingers from here on out.

Hits and Misses

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Super sleek look and feel without even thinking about Custom Shop price tags

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A little unfinished around the edges, but that’s par for the course

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