Price paid: $ 60
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 7
Fender Bullet SSS Stratocaster Electric Guitar Features:
- Contoured basswood body
- Bolt-on maple neck with rosewood fingerboard
- Three standard single-coil pickups
- Master Volume, Tone 1 and Tone 2
- Vintage-style tremolo bridge
- Black hardware and knobs
- Case sold separately
- Body Material: Basswood
- Body Finish: Polyurethane
- Body Shape: Stratocaster
- Neck Material: Maple
- Neck Finish: Polyurethane
- Neck Shape: "C" Shape
- Scale Length: 25.5" (648mm)
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Fingerboard Radius: 9.5" (241mm)
- Number of Frets: 21
- Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
- String Nut: Synthetic Bone
- Nut Width: 1.650" (42mm)
- Position Inlays: White Dot
- Neck Plate: 4-Bolt Standard
- Bridge Pickup: Standard Single-Coil Strat
- Middle Pickup: Standard Single-Coil Strat
- Neck Pickup: Standard Single-Coil Strat
- Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Middle Pickup)
- Pickup Switching: 5-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 3. Middle Pickup, Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup, Position 5. Neck Pickup
- Pickup Configuration: SSS
- Bridge: 6-Saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo
- Hardware Finish: Black
- Tremolo Arm Handle: Vintage-Style tremolo arm
- Tuning Machines: Standard die-cast
- Pickguard: 1-ply black
- Control Knobs: Black plastic
- Switch Tips: Black
Sound — 7
The pickups were actually ok. I play a heavily diverse style that ranges anywhere between Dimebag's melt your face off tone, and Hendrix's smooth blues. I bought this for the latter, and I could have very easily stuck with the pups it came with. However, they were staggered, and I don't use vintage style strings, so the response on the lower pole pieces was a bit unresponsive. Can you get away with using these pickups? Sure. Some clever eq and you can probably balance things out. I wound up just buying flat pole Artec single coils (Alnico V Vintage to be exact) and just stuck with that. Whether or not you stick with these pups is a matter of personal taste, and should not be a decision you take lightly. There are quieter and cheap pickup alternatives all over the place (GFS and Artec being my personal favorites), so if you mind, make the change.
A 7 for stock pickup sound, as it was usable, but positions 1,3,5 buzz more than I an appreciate.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Interesting section for this particular model, as it was setup very well, the pickup height was correct, although, as I just mentioned, the vintage stagger is nonsense. The woodworking and wiring were quite solid and in all honesty, were it not for the fugly black hardware, which I replaced with gold (locking tuners, brass nut, gold trem, gold tele dome knobs), the guitar is easy on the eyes. As soon as all that was changed the guitar was a nice accent to my small collection. The finish is nice, in my opinion, while some may say it looks a little cheap. I say it's a well done job on a very inexpensive instrument. I did, after all, buy it for it's body.
Reliability & Durability — 5
I would not play this live with the stock hardware. The hardware itself was ridiculously cheap and just didn't seem like it even could last a while. The strap buttons were ok, but I even replaced those with locking buttons. This guitar, as it is stock, is not something I could have looked at and said, "Yeah, I can count on this one without a backup," simply because of how badly out of tune it got, and very consistently. The bare minimum of work you would need to do on this guitar is replace those tuners, because they just aren't good, or even okay. They're cheap and unlikable. Fortunately there are decent locking tuners that don't cost an arm and a leg, so that is something to keep in mind in making your decision.
Overall Impression — 5
My style tends to be very diverse, and the stock model wouldn't stand a chance at covering even a fourth of the ground I'd want to. Between the vintage staggered pups and the awful hardware, I couldn't honestly recommend this instrument to anyone, unless you're looking for a cheap stratocaster body to do work on, and even then, I might not have gone this route if I'd known that replacing the tremolo was going to be such a nightmare. There are almost no blocks that fit, so you're going to have to cut a decent chunk of it off, then drill holes for the springs to latch onto, unless you want the thing sticking out the back and if you do that, you need to leave the cover off. I wasn't willing to do that.
I've been playing for 11 years, have a Schecter Tempest Custom, Heavily modified Washburn Wi66 Pro (LP style guitar), Squier Jazzmaster (great, save for the bridge) and a Schecter Raiden Special IV. The stock Squier Bullet is trash in comparison to all these. Having modified it into a real players piece, I could recommend "mine," but if you want something you're not going to have to go crazy working on to get it to be something an actual musician would play, do not go this route. If it were stolen now, I would be upset, but I would not get another one of these even just for the body.
Now that it's fixed up I love everything about it, when it was stock I hated the tuning stability more than anything else. This guitar does not stay in tune worth a damn. The stock trem doesn't help that but you could theoretically buy locking tuners alone and make this an OK instrument. The vintage stagger thing I just don't get, it's impractical, as it's no longer valid since string gauges have changed. If you aren't aware, the original stagger was designed to deal with balancing out the sound on older strings, where the g was wound, modern strings don't have that issue, therefore it's nonsense for them to still be using them at all. Google it.
I didn't compare it to anything, as I was getting it to do work on, and even for that it was meh. Now that it's done, it is good, and as repetitive as this has gotten, I can't recommend this guitar. This guitar stock, sucks. And be mindful of the small trem cavity, if you're thinking about buying one to do work on. Not fun at all.