Squier Standard Telecaster Review – Upgraded Tele from the Budget Masters

Squier is rightly seen by many as the king of budget electrics, producing a vast catalog of models based on Fender’s most iconic guitars. It’s therefore no surprise to see that Squier has an extensive collection of Telecasters on offer – such as the Standard Telecaster, which slips nicely into the sub-$300 market. It comes in at around fifty bucks more than the Affinity Telecaster and in this review we’re looking at whether it’s worth the extra dough.

Body & Neck

Squier always stay faithful to Fender’s original designs and this model is no different, sporting everything that makes a Tele a Tele. This includes the unique single-cutaway body shape that made waves back in the 1950s, along with its distinctive pickup configuration and that iconic Telecaster headstock.

The Standard Tele is made from solid agathis (aka basswood), which is standard practice for affordable models these days, and – truth be told – is a great wood. Lightweight and comfortable, and fits this Telecaster well. It’s covered with a creamy vintage blonde paintjob and a polyurethane coating, which is surprisingly well finished for the price.

Moving up and this Tele features the standard bolt-on maple neck, with an Indian laurel fretboard (the newer alternative to rosewood) and 22 medium jumbo frets. The satin finish gives it a sleek and smooth hand feel, making for a pleasant playing experience. You will also find the addition of the traditional ‘skunk strip’ on the rear – something the Affinity doesn’t have.

Hardware

In terms of hardware, the Standard is very similar to the lower-priced Affinity, fitted with two single coil pickups – one slanted at the bridge and the other chrome covered at the neck. These are stock pickups, but are a solid addition at this price. These are controlled by the standard Tele configuration, comprising volume, tone and a three-way selector switch.

This Tele lacks the authentic three brass barrels on the bridge, instead sticking with the six stainless-steel saddles that are present on the Affinity – with one key difference. The Standard has a string-through-body design instead of top loading, which offers more sustain to the sound. Up top, the inclusion of modern sealed tuners won’t be to everybody’s tastes, although they hold tuning relatively well.

Sound

The two pickups on the Standard are a little hotter than the Affinity and offer a bit more oomph with both rhythm and lead playing. The word ‘twang’ comes up a lot in any Tele review, and the Standard does offer the classic bluesy tone that Tele guitarists crave, even if the overall sound is a bit more modern than the Affinity. The bite you get with the bridge pickup will be well received by lead guitarists, while the neck pickup offers more warmth.

The Verdict

The highlight of this guitar is its build and playability – the modern upgrades make it fast and comfortable. The existing hardware and electronics are fine and do the job, although if you were to buy this with the intention of modding, you could end up with a seriously good Telecaster on your hands. In its current state it is great for practice and jamming, while performances are not out of the question either. Worth the extra cash over the Affinity? We’d say yes – just.

For more info about the Squier Standard Telecaster, click here.
For more electric guitars under $300, click here.


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