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Fender Releases The New $199 Squier Sonic Series: The New Bullet?

Squier Sonic Series Overview
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The Squier Sonic Series has been unveiled, basically replacing the older Bullet Series. So what has been changed? And what models are there to choose from? Today we do an in-depth look!


The Squier Sonic Series: Some Healthy Competition?

You know what really drives creativity and innovation sometimes? A dose of healthy competition does, usually. I think this is true for just about any business, but it especially applies to guitars. The market is over-saturated with budget brands popping up everywhere.

In case you haven’t noticed, budget-friendly guitars are very popular right now. From Harley Benton to the crazy affordable Glarry instruments, everyone is trying to make guitars for cheap prices. But these brands are relatively new when it comes to the public eye.

Squier on the other hand, has been making affordable versions of Fender guitars for a long time now. In fact, just 10 years ago most people would tell you to buy a Squier or Epiphone if you were just starting out as a guitarist. Because the choices were not so vast as they are today.

The Squier Bullet was popular among beginners because of its low price. But I have also known people to take the Bullet, Standard, and Affinity Series on stage. In fact, I was one of those people! I used a $99 Squier 51 for years as a backup guitar, and never had a problem with it.

The thing about the Bullet Series, was the incredibly affordable price, lower than any other Squier range. So beginners flocked to them, as well as people who wanted a mod project or were on a tight budget. The Bullet Series was basic, though… too basic for today’s standards.

The Bullet Guitars lacked most of the interesting designs that other Squier guitars had to offer, and had limited color options. Squier is usually where Fender likes to test the more “risky” designs, like the Paranormal Series that start out as Squier, but may move up to being pricier, Fender Custom Shop designs.

That was never the point of the Bullet Series, however. These were bare-bones versions of the most popular models that Fender designs. Just because they are simple, doesn’t mean they have to be boring. And modern players are anything but boring.

I think the Squier Sonic Series is not just an overhaul of the Bullet lineup, but a response to these other budget brands that are gaining attention. The years of Squier and Epiphone being the sole choices for budget guitars are gone, so now is the perfect time for Fender to spruce up the most affordable guitars it has to offer.

The new Squier Sonic Series has a lot to offer when it comes to designs, and the company definitely left some room for more experienced players to modify these guitars. While the Sonic Series may seem like beginner guitars, they make great mod platforms as well.

New features like finish options, new models, and interesting pickup layouts offer more than the Bullet Series ever could, but the same, low $199.00 price carries the torch where the Bullet Series left off. So what does two hundred bucks get you from Squier these days?

Well, it definitely gets you more options! The sheer amount of guitars in the Squier Sonic Series is almost overwhelming.

Today we go over all of the new models, and take a look from not only the beginner perspective, but also the budget-conscious experienced guitarist. We have four Strats, Two Mustangs, and even a single humbucker Esquire to take a look at, all with some cool new finishes.

Editor’s Note: If you want one of these and you are in the USA, you probably want to pre-order, or buy it as soon as it hits the shelves. Especially if you want the pink or purple variants, since those sold out quickly overseas.


Stratocaster Models: Something For Everyone

Squier Sonic Series Strats
There are so many finish options, we couldn’t show them all here!

The Stratocaster is one of the most iconic designs ever created, and quite possibly the most copied. This is due to the fact that Strats can do just about anything musically, and they have been favored by guitarists from all types of genres.

There is truly something for everyone in the new Squier Sonic Series when it comes to Stratocasters. Just about every base you can imagine was covered, and I can already see tons of people turning the single humbucker pink Strat into the famous Hello Kitty design.

While many people enjoy Strats of every price point, lots of players do not like to mess around with the floating tremolo system, especially beginners. The addition of hardtail options was a smart play on Fender’s part. Let’s go over each model, and the finish options available.

  • Stratocaster HSS With Trem: Black and Tahitian Coral Pink
  • Stratocaster SSS With Trem: Black, Sunburst, California Blue, Ultraviolet
  • Stratocaster HT SSS With Hardtail: Torino Red, Arctic White
  • Stratocaster HT H Single Humbucker With Hardtail: Black and Flash Pink

These all offer a very comfortable C-shape neck, with a satin finish on the back. A cool upgrade is the graphite/synthetic nut that comes on all of the models, instead of the usual cheap plastic. The choice between Maple and Laurel fretboards vary between the models.

The lightweight Poplar body was also a good decision on Fender’s end. These all share Ceramic humbuckers, and players seem to have mixed opinions on these. Personally, I liked them back when the Mexican Strats came stock with ceramics.

I find it a little crazy that for the same amount of my last guitar purchase, I could buy every guitar in the picture above! There really is something for everyone with the Squier Sonic Series, and I can see the pink and purple variants selling out FAST.

If you are a beginner, I would go with one of the HT hardtail models, since fiddling with a trem can be a pain if you’re just starting out. Likewise, experienced guitarists will appreciate the redesigned neck. No more baseball bat necks!

These were definitely designed as mod platforms as well. If you missed out on the original Blink-182 single humbucker Strats, well… now you can make your own. I can see the mod community having a field day with these models.

Squier Sonic Stratocaster Laurel Fingerboard Electric Guitar
$199.00

The Squier Sonic Stratocaster electric guitar with a laurel fingerboard is ready to launch your musical adventure into warp speed, offering iconic Fender style and tone for players at any level. This Strat sports a slim and inviting C-shaped neck profile and a thin, lightweight poplar body for optimal playing comfort.


Telecaster Models: The Original Workhorse

Squier Sonic Series Telecasters
All available finishes, two for the Esquire, and four classic finishes for the Standard Models

The Telecaster was the first mass-produced electric guitar, and since Leo Fender made the first batch back in the 50’s it has remained relatively unchanged. Sure, the bridge has changed a bit, and the pickup options have varied over the years. But Leo got it right the first time around.

The Squier Sonic Series offers some very cool renditions of the classic guitar that started it all, with a few small changes. We get the more traditional single coil guitars, as well as a single humbucker Esquire in a wide array of classic and flashy finishes.

Just like the other guitars in the Squier Sonic Series, these all get a graphite/synthetic bone nut and fretboard color is based on which color you get. But I think the biggest thing to point out, is how beginner friendly this bridge can be.

Top-loader Tele bridges are a breeze when it comes to restringing your guitar. Also, having individual saddles instead of the 3-barrell design will make intonation easier to dial in, even for beginners. While there may be some discourse when it comes to tonal changes, a top-loader will be easier for a beginner.

I can already see a lot of people doing some crazy mods with the single humbucker variants. Although the ceramic pickups it comes with are no slouch, throwing a Duncan JB in the bridge can turn these guitars into aggressive beasts!

The Tele is one of the most “unforgiving” guitars, and I say that as a big fan. Telecasters are simple, no-frills guitars that are known for being workhorses for the stage and studio. The new Sonic models offer that same vibe for a low price.

Squier Sonic Telecaster Laurel Fingerboard Electric Guitar California Blue | Guitar Center
$199.00

The guitar that started it all! This Tele sports a slim and inviting C-shaped neck profile and a thin, lightweight poplar body for optimal playing comfort. A pair of Squier ceramic single-coil pickups chime with crystal clarity.


Mustang Models: Hard Tail, Short Scale

Squier Sonic Series Mustang Colors

Rounding up the last batch of models in the Squier Sonic Series, is the new Mustang guitars. These come in both single coil and humbucker options, but all are hardtail versions. This means no complicated trem system to deal with, and the six saddle fixed bridge is dead-simple.

The Fender Mustang has a rather sad history, as it was originally released as at “student” model in 1964. The short scale made it easier for beginners of all ages to get into playing guitar, but it never really caught on. It was produced until 1982, but sales were never great for the Mustang.

But then the 90’s happened, and suddenly Kurt Cobain was on MTV playing this forgotten guitar model that he bought for a crazy-low price. But it wasn’t just Kurt that was seen playing these guitars, since many members of the Grunge scene used them. Mostly because they could be found in pawn shops for cheap prices.

Also, Kurt was a lefty, so that made it much more difficult to find guitars that suited him. Japanese-made Fenders became a little bit of an obsession for him. Eventually, the Fender Custom Shop would make him some Mustangs in Dakota Red and Lake Placid Blue. But that’s another story entirely!

As Grunge started to blow up, this caused Fender to start re-issuing the Mustang (as well as other models, particularly offsets) and it has remained a popular staple in the Fender/Squier catalog. It has also been a staple of the Bullet Series for a while, as a dual humbucker hardtail.

The Mustang is still used in Indie Rock music, by tons of artists that prefer the 24” scale length. This short scale makes bends easier, and gives the guitar a unique tone. The Squier Sonic Series expands on the Bullet lineup with new colors, and two pickup configurations.

Squier Sonic Mustang HH Maple Fingerboard Electric Guitar
$199.00

This Mustang sports a slim and inviting C-shaped neck profile and a thin, lightweight poplar body for optimal playing comfort. A pair of Squier ceramic humbucking pickups serve up substantial, high-output tone, with a 3-way pickup switch.


Squier Sonic Series: Wrapping Up…

I think a little healthy competition is a good thing, and the Squier Sonic Series offers some options that were missing from the lower range of the catalog. You have to give it to Fender, someone realized that other budget guitar brands are walking all over Squier, and they did something about it.

The myriad of Amazon brands, Glarry, and Harley Benton guitars have made a huge impact on the guitar market. Not that I see Fender really going out of style, but when it comes to low cost options Squier was definitely lacking recently.

Not that there is anything wrong with Squier, in fact most of the newer offerings are very good. But with price hikes across the board, even some of the Classic Vibe Series are reaching the $500 mark. Which is fine, those guitars are worth it in my opinion.

But when it comes to bare-bones entry level guitars, the Squier Sonic Series was exactly what was lacking. These are great options for beginners, as well as anyone that wants a “mostly finished” mod platform. This was a much needed overhaul for Squier, filling a niche again that the name is known for.

I can’t wait to see what people do to these, about six months from now. While I am sure there will be plenty of Hello Kitty mods, there will also be some really unique and creative people out there that have been waiting for something like the Sonic Series.

If you want one of these, especially in the more delicate colors, you definitely want to pre-order. These were already released overseas, and they went FAST. The pink, single humbucker Start is hard to find already! The Sonic Series Should be shipping within the month.

Squier Sonic Stratocaster HT H Maple Fingerboard
$199.00

This Strat sports a slim and inviting “C”-shaped neck profile, a solid maple fingerboard and a thin, lightweight body for optimal playing comfort while a Squier humbucking bridge pickup delivers substantial, high-output tone. 

When is the Squire Sonic Series coming out?

While the Sonic Series has already shipped overseas in many areas, they should be available by May 2023. With pre-orders coming first.

Is the Squire Sonic Series any good?

These are replacing the low price “Bullet” series, but they do have some notable upgrades like a bone nut, and ceramic pickups. Likewise, you have hardtail models to choose from, something fender rarely offers.

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