|Body And Neck:|
It’s 2019 – there should be no reason you can’t play metal on a Strat! That’s exactly what Fender’s affordable little brother Squier is out to prove with this Active Stratocaster, part of the brand’s new Contemporary Series. As well as looking the part, it features active electronics and components tailored to the heavy rock and metal guitar player. Plus – as with most Squiers – it’s very affordable. We’re loving it already…
The body of this Contemporary Active Stratocaster is naturally very familiar, as it sports the timeless double-cutaway Strat shape and is made from solid poplar. There are two colors to choose between and, while the Olympic White is a pleasure to look at, it’s the Flat Black that really does it for us, with an ominous matte finish that just screams ‘METAL!’. These colors both feature on the painted headstock too, which is reversed to really cement the rebellious attitude of this Strat.
The neck is also classic Fender/Squier in its construction – bolted on, made from maple and featuring a C shape, with a satin finish for fast playability. It’s such a comfortable guitar to hold and play, and shredding on this is a joy thanks to the flatter-than-a-normal-Strat 12” fretboard radius. Finally, note that it features a rosewood fretboard, with 22 jumbo frets for good string grip and easy bending.
While the body and build of this model is typical of many Squier Strats, it’s the hardware where it really sets itself apart. Starting with electronics, the Contemporary Active Stratocaster ditches the standard trio of single-coils for a duo of Squier Active Humbuckers, at the bridge and neck positions. Sure, they aren’t EMGs, but for the sub-$500 price tag they are a very solid set. These are controlled by a master volume and master tone pot, along with a three-way selector switch.
While the tuners are a standard die-cast set, the bridge also shakes things up and cements its position as a real metal guitar with the inclusion of a licensed Floyd Rose tremolo. This is a great addition and offers huge scope with onboard effects – from slight vibrato to all-out divebombs, while the Floyd Rose locking nut keeps your tuning in check.
It… doesn’t sound like a Strat. Great! Because it would be pointless wasting all that heavy rock-focused hardware to deliver a generic Strat. No, this model offers a super-hot high output for heavy, crunch-saturated rock tones, and it’s perfect for metal rhythm and lead. It’s bright and focused when played cleanly, and the pickups stay focused and clear even at higher volumes. Compared to some other active pickups, especially those in higher price ranges, the tone is a little more sterile, but for this price it’s hard to complain.
This is a winner. Of course, those players who believe Strats require a certain pickup configuration and tone won’t be impressed, but anyone who wants a solid Strat for heavy rock and metal won’t go far wrong with this affordable beauty from Squier. If this is the benchmark for the Contemporary Series, we’re looking forward to seeing more.
Check out more on the Contemporary Active Stratocaster in the short video below: