Squier Affinity HSS Stratocaster Bundle Review
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What's in the box?
Guitar: Alder body
Maple neck with rosewood fretboard
2 single coil pickups
1 humbucker pickup
5 position selector switch
Frontman 15G amplifier with mains lead
Fender branded strap
Fender branded lightweight gig bag
Fender branded tuner
Fender branded 3 metre jack to jack lead
Two Fender picks
DVD - Getting Started on Guitar â€“ The First Step
Spare tremelo spring
Summary: I couldn't be happier with this guitar. A quick play in the shop was enough to persuade me that my â‚¬200 would be well spent. As I already owned a Fender Mustang 3 I wasn't really interested in the amplifier, but more of that later. The guitar itself is well finished in a cherry red and is blemish free, as is the varnishing on the neck. The chrome hardware looks and feels relatively cheap, but is quite functional, with the exception of the machine heads which seem thickly chromed and have a good positive action. The guitar holds its tuning well. The strings are presumably Fender, and are light gauge, probably 008s. I have not tried the tremelo at all, so cannot comment on how the guitar responds to its use, ie does it stay in tune. I have been obeying the dictum for tyro guitarists of 'avoid the Floyd'.
So easy to play. This is function of the light standard strings and what is a superb neck and fretboard for a guitar of this price. Classic Fender clean, detailed and bright sound from the two single coils and a more distorted sound from the humbucker, although the latter does not pump up the output in the same way it does on a Yamaha Pacifica for example, and it is also noticeably quieter than either of the humbuckers on my Antoria ES335. Low output is I suspect a characteristic of budget guitars; my Les Paul copy isn't very loud either. This means that although you do not get a wall of sound from switching to the humbucker it is in better balance with the two single coils and the very positive five position selector switch can be swung back and forth with no large variation in volume, but a fairly wide range of tones.
The body is solid alder, which albeit not from North America (my example was manufactured in Indonesia) does give that characteristic Fender sound, one which I was not sure I would like that much, but having become accustomed to it I currently prefer it to the thicker tones from the ES335 and my Wilkinson pickup equiped Les Paul (Harley Benton 450L Vintage) copy.
The fretboard on my example is rosewood, which I prefer. I suspect that the sound might be overbearingly bright if the varnished fretboard option is chosen instead.
The built down to a price hardware. The jack socket on mine came loose within a few weeks, and looks a likely candidate for early replacement with something more up to the job. But that really is my only criticism.
Not a huge amount to say about this, other than it has found a home in my study for occasional use. It looks workmanlike, but again it was obviously built down to a price as the loud 'click' whenever it is turned off testifies. It is nevertheless gamely loud, very definitely has the clean detailed Fender sound without the drive engaged, and what is more the drive circuit is the best I have heard on such a bargain basement small amplifier. When you add to that the headphone socket (1/4â€), the stereo RCA input for your MP3/CD player to play along with, and the fact that it is pretty much free with the guitar, you have a bargain. After I started using this I sold my old 20w practice amp, because of the two this was easily the best.
The DVD â€“ I found this a very useful supplement to my 'larn yousel guitar' manuals.
The clip on type tuner is a joy to use and very accurate as well as very portable.
The 3 metre lead â€“ above average quality, nicely made
The so so:
The picks are OK, a bit on the thin side as befits the light strings
The gig bag is a bit on the thin and insubstantial side, OK for keeping the dust off, but I would not want to transport the guitar in it â€“ I'd use something like the Thomann gig bag instead. I have these in two different sizes for my ES335 and HB 450 Vintage and they are excellent, both in terms of quality and value.
The strap is thin with what are probably imitation leather ends. In any event, my strap lasted less than three weeks before it snapped. Luckily the Strat is not a particularly heavy guitar and I managed to catch it on the way down. I went back to the shop and was given a much stronger, if rather unattractively camouflage patterned, non Fender replacement. I have now replaced the strap with the old one from my ES335 which is much more sturdy. The camo strap is on the acoustic now.