Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Telecaster Custom Review: Let’s Get Crazy LOW!

By Christoper Horton •  Updated: 10/10/22 •  12 min read

The Squier Classic Vibe Baritone telecaster has arrived, and it is pretty amazing for the budget price. Today we go over what a baritone guitar can do, as well as the features on this beast!

Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Telecaster Custom: Another Hit!

The Squier Classic Vibe lineup has been a hit pretty much from its inception. I remember them first hitting the market, and the guitar forums lit up. People were buying them left and right, some were upgrading them, some just played them as they came.

I had to see these amazing guitars for myself, so I ended up ordering one of the 60’s Stratocaster models. Like everyone else, I had owned a few Squier guitars before, but this thing was next level. It gave my American Strat a run for its money, and it was actually more comfortable to play. This is one reason Fender upped its game. These budget guitars were out-selling the regular lineup.

Squier was out-selling the Fender brand by a longshot for over a year. The redesigns we have seen, like the Player’s Series has made a better distinction between the brands, and you get more for your money with Fender these days. The Player’s Series saw all kinds of upgrades over regular MIM guitars.

That was over ten years ago, and the newest of the Squier Classic Vibe lineup is a Baritone Telecaster Custom. Now most people see a Baritone Telecaster and start thinking “this is going to be great for certain country songs”. And yes, that is primarily how I have seen a Baritone Telecaster treated.

Spoiler Alert For The Sound Samples: That Is NOT How We Treated It!

But think of the possibilities for metal! This thing can be a heavy, mean metal machine if you want it to be. Today we are going to take a look at what makes a Telecaster Custom special, and what makes these guitars in particular amazing for the money.

So let’s dive in and talk about the features, along with what you can do with a baritone guitar!

Classic Vibe Baritone Telecaster Custom: Features And Specs

baritone telecaster

The Squier Classic Vibe range is going back to its roots a little with these Baritone Telecaster Customs. Of the few original Classic Vibe Series, one was a Tele Custom in Sunburst. I owned one of those at one point as well, and it was a great playing guitar for under $500. The other was a Butterscotch Pine Telecaster upon original release.

The Classic Vibe Series has all of the features you would expect in a Tele Custom, that make it special. But this time, we get two different colors to choose from; Sunburst and Black Gloss. Both look great, and I got to test both. Vintage spec is only in appearance here:

The Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Telecaster Custom has some modern features starting with the woods that are used. The Nato body is an economical version of Mahogany, but the body is still pretty lightweight. Both of the models I tried weigh in at about 7.5lbs.

The cream body binding is a staple of the Telecaster Custom, and it really makes the guitar have a bit of “class” to it. I wish that the pickguard was a little bit aged, as it would really match up. But if you know some tricks with coffee or tea, you could easily age the pickguard yourself!

The neck is by far the star of the show here, and it is a dream to play. The frets were perfect right out of the box with no sharp edges. The slim C profile is more like a Stratocaster in feel, and the vintage tint makes the maple look like it has been aged for a while. Like an old, vintage guitar that has never been played, but with a more modern neck carve.

The frets are the Fender “Narrow Tall” style, and they really work well with the Baritone Telecaster design. The fretboard radius is also more modern, with the 9.5 radius that you usually find on modern Fenders in lieu of the vintage 7.5 style. You will not be fretting out when you play big bends, and these frets work better with the larger strings needed for a baritone scale.

The Indian Laurel fretboard feels and looks a lot like the Rich-lite that Gibson uses, but it also feels a little like Rosewood. It could easily pass for a lighter version of Rosewood, just more uniform in grain. The Pearloid dots are a great touch that also bridges the vintage style with modern appointments.

All of the hardware is pretty solid, and this is where the design of a Telecaster really shines. Its dead-simple when it comes to design, and all of the hardware can be upgraded if you like. Telecasters often get the “mod treatment” by players of every genre.

The vintage 3 saddle bridge could be a little bit better, but it gets the job done. To be fair, I have always had trouble with a 3 saddle bridge and intonation. I happen to like Fender Vintage Tuners, so these are great to me, although locking would be preferred. These are both easy mods to do.

The baritone scale length is perfect at 27” and it comes from the factory to be tuned B to B, like any standard baritone. Baritone Telecaster guitars have been a staple of country music for a long time, and this guitar delivers that tone, all day. The stock .014-.068 strings have just the right amount of tension.

Squier Baritone Telecaster neck
The Neck Is THIN.

Both pickups are Fender design Alnico V, and these things are very midrange heavy. The neck pickup has that usual warm sound that you expect from a tele, but it also has a good bit of bite. Much more than you would usually expect from a Tele that has more of a “woody” tone.

The bridge pickup is exactly what you would expect from a Telecaster. The high end frequencies take center stage, and it really cuts with a little bit of overdrive. With this being a baritone Telecaster though, that high end is going to come in handy for the lower tuning.

The middle position does the famous Telecaster “acoustic-like” sound, and both pickups together sound great. The baritone scale would usually mean “instant mud” with lower quality pickups. I am surprised that a guitar in this budget range sounds so good! The alnico magnets definitely push the midrange and highs without over-doing the bass.

These are the same Alnico pickups that Squier has been using for a while now on the Classic Vibe Series, and I have yet to meet anyone that dislikes them. They do the “clean spank” sound without it sounding like an ice pick being jabbed into your ear. The bridge pickup was made for country chicken pickin’.

The baritone Telecaster is a staple of Nashville country players because they use the bottom string to perform walking basslines. This can sound even cooler if you drop tune the bottom string to A. This works like drop D on standard guitars, but also give you extra range for walking basslines that you hear on songs like “Neon” by John Mayer.

That’s About All You Need To Know About This Amazing Baritone Telecaster! Right? Oh Wait…

Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Custom Telecaster

The Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Custom Telecaster is a vision from the ’60s with its double-bound body. Great for surf, spaghetti western or any style of music where you need to get low, this Squier is an accessible instrument that sounds like an instant classic—credit the single-coil pickups, designed by Fender. 27'' scale

Just Kidding! Of Course It Chugs!

Did you honestly think that we would just end the review talking about the country sounds this thing can make? No way! We focus on all kinds of guitars here at Electrikjam, but anything metal is our forte‘. If you want this axe for country, by all means it will do that. But that isn’t what makes this guitar so cool.

Baritone guitars have become very popular these days for guitarists that want the 7 string sound without having 7 string guitars. The standard tuning for a baritone is the same as a 7 string, B Standard. You see lots of Prog Rock bands using baritone guitars these days.

So if you have always wanted to get into 7 string territory with your tuning, or even 8 string, this Squier Classic Vibe Tele might be a great place to start! I know what you’re thinking, single coil pickups are not used for metal. That’s…not entirely true in every case.

But just to prove you wrong on that front, look at Baroness, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, and Tosin Abasi! Baroness have been playing Fender for a few years now, and they definitely get heavy. Tosin uses them all the time on his 8 string. But if using examples is not enough for you, then how about a demo?

My signal chain for this demo was the black Baritone Telecaster going into my STL Tones Amp Sim. Because these are single coils, you are going to want a tight noise gate. So that’s exactly what I used. The rig is: Baritone Telecaster>Scarlett Solo> ISP Decimator>Laptop>STL Tones Dual Rectifier>My own IR>All into Reaper. The first part is the neck pickup, the second is the bridge pickup.

I had to turn down the tone control a little bit to smooth things out, because these are definitely pickups designed to bite. But don’t think just because this baritone Telecaster isn’t meant to chug, doesn’t mean it can’t! I think it sounds mean as hell, and I would totally gig this thing.

This was just in the regular B Standard tuning. You can definitely go lower, and we even tried it out in Drop A for a little while. If you have always loved the sound of a 7 string, but could not get along with the neck, this might be your answer!

But why stop at B Standard? You could easily put this baritone Telecaster into 8 string territory with some heavier strings (although Fender told us these were .014-.068), and a little bit of work on the nut. The nut is cut perfectly for the string gauges it comes with, but you can easily file the nut or replace it to tune to F#.

The neck is absolutely perfect for guitarists that just can’t get used to a 7 string neck. It feels very much like a skinnier version of the Player’s Stratocaster, and the Narrow Tall frets make the “metal” experience a little unique. You would usually find jumbo frets on a 7 string or 8 string guitar, so this is a slightly more traditional feeling neck.

So if you ever wanted to get into extended range territory with tuning, but 7 strings are just not for you, this guitar is a great equalizer. It only has 6 strings, but the scale length allows you to go just about as low as you want.

Getting used to playing a baritone is not that hard, either. You would expect the extra length between the frets to throw you off, but you get used to the feel quickly. Now shredding on one of these is a different story, but for people with long fingers like myself, I have never had a hard time playing solos on a baritone. I own two right now, and use them all the time.

Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Telecaster Custom: Wrapping up…

Baritone telecaster

Sure, this Baritone Telecaster Custom can do some awesome extended range country stuff. If you want to learn how to do walking basslines, and try out different country tunings on a budget, this is definitely a great guitar to start with. Squier is still knocking it out of the park with the Classic Vibe series.

But if you are little open minded, this can be a straight up chug machine right out of the box. Not to mention the potential it has for mods. You could easily put a humbucker-sized single coil in the bridge to really nail the metal tones, and still have a single coil in the neck for cleans.

Add some locking tuners along with a stacked single coil to this baritone telecaster, and you have a metal gigging machine. Since parts for Telecasters are so universal, you could also swap the pickguard to something wild! With these simple upgrades I would gig this guitar for 7 string material, all day!

Baritone guitars are a lot of fun, and the lower tunings can easily open your playing up to new possibilities. The thing C neck is perfect for doing fast runs, and I think the body binding on this Baritone Telecaster really makes it “classy”.

If you have ever wanted to try out extended range material and tunings, but didn’t want to drop a fortune on a guitar you might not vibe with, this Baritone Telecaster Custom is perfect to start with. If you like it, then mods are easy. I don’t think I have ever played a neck this comfortable before on a baritone.

Squier Classic Vibe has never disappointed us before, and it looks like this lineup will keep getting more and more interesting. The Contemporary Series might be aimed for metal guitarists, but this Classic Vibe can chug with the best of them. I think Squier knew this, and that’s why we have the black model.

Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Custom Telecaster

The Squier Classic Vibe Baritone Custom Telecaster is a vision from the ’60s with its double-bound body. Great for surf, spaghetti western or any style of music where you need to get low, this Squier is an accessible instrument that sounds like an instant classic—credit the single-coil pickups, designed by Fender. 27'' scale

Christoper Horton

Christopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.

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