Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster Review

manufacturer: Squier date: 07/26/2016 category: Electric Guitars
Squier: Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster
The guitar is amazing for the price. This might just be the best kept secret in the guitar world, almost.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.5
 Features: 8.5
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reviews (4) pictures (9) 28 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 23, 2011
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Lovemore Music

Features: This guitar is of year 2009 as indicated by the Serial Number, and is made in China. 21 frets on a great feeling 1 piece GLOSSED maple neck (The neck finish is really immaculate). Full alder body just like real strats. I got mine in the Olympic White with Gold Anodized pickguard, and I think it looks great. It has a Gloss Polyester Finish. It really does capture the Vintage style and the guitar doesn't feel like just another guitar that millions of others have. It has the vibe, look and sound of something that is really special and unique. It really makes one feel different and the guitar looks great playing on stage. As indicated, it really is a true Strat in its own right; Classic 50's style body contours (deeper than 60's and current strats) which makes for an amazingly comfortable play like most strats. The guitar is equipped with 3 Custom Vintage Style Single-Coil Strat Pickups (really Vintage Voiced) with Staggered, AlNiCo 3 Magnet Pole Pieces and Aged White Covers. It has 1 Volume, 2 tone, 5-way selector switch. All pots and controls have an off-white vintage-aged look to them which I think is really cool. In correspondence to the 50's vibe, the guitar is equipped with Kluson style Vintage tuners. As far as I know, the guitar only came with a Whammy Bar (also Vintage tinted), allen key, and manual on how to adjust the truss rod. The reason I give it 8, is because it didn't really come with anything special, meant to capture classic vibes, it isn't exactly feature packed, but how much more could even be done? // 8

Sound: I play almost all kinds of music, but on this guitar I play mostly blues (Jimi Hendrix, and SRV kind of stuff) and classic rock. The guitar is definitely not suited for metal (as anyone could deduce because it's a strat.) The guitar definately sings, and with plenty of delay and gain it has that awesome Strat Solo tone which sounds awesome if you like it. The throatyness of the neck pickup is great for blues, and it really does sing this baby. The Bridge pickup is VERY bright, which is expected for a guitar meant to encompass the 50's vibe. Currently I'm using it through a Roland Cube 30X and a Boss DS-2 distortion pedal. I've played it through a Marshall MA50C Valve amp, and a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Definately would recommend a tube amp, a solid state just doesn't justify the amazing classic Strat tones that this guitar exhibits. The pickups are not noisy, but it does have single coil pickups; so expect the normal 60 cycle hum on the Neck, Middle, and Bridge positions when on Medium-High gain. Noise is profoundly increased on the middle pickup only, and at very high gain. However, in positions 2 and 4 (combined Neck-Middle and Bridge-Middle) the 60 cycle hum is eliminated thanks to reverse wiring of the pickups which cancels out noise. The pickups are very Vintage voiced compared to the Fender American Standards. The pickups (being single coils) are very dynamic, and you can get almost any sound. It's what makes the Strat famous for emotionally fuelled music and what makes it so personal, the single coil pickups will pick up any rake, scratch or slightest variation in picking. You can make all kinds of Vintage tube "pops" and smooth blues with this guitar. It makes it great at High Gain, because you don't loose any emotion or dynamics, most of it will be retained meaning you can squeeze that extra bit of flavour into your music. The whammy bar I use rarely, but it does a good job like it should. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I cannot really comment on the guitars set up from the factory, because I had the guitar tech change the strings on site because the originals were rusted. But I recall him not even having to set up anything after the string change; perhaps he was rushed. But the guitar feels great. Pickups are adjusted well, action is great! Everything was great, but there was some ticking when using the whammy bar, and I used an old Strat tip of putting some graphite shavings (from a pencil) into the nut grooves. Which sufficiently lubricated it and the ticking stopped. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have already used this guitar live and it's great. The build quality on this guitar really is outstanding especially considering the price. The neck finish is really immaculate. Hardware is of good quality, strap buttons are very solid, but I have had a strap end pop off (not live, it was at home) which gave me a fright, I think If I really was gigging a lot with it I would invest in some strap locks, but for what I'm doing; just the occasional small gig and jam, they're perfect. I have had a loose input jack socket which has needed tightening. If I were to have a backup, there is nothing at this price that would be nearly as good. So it would have to be the same guitar. I would definitely use it without a backup. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, the guitar is amazing for the price. This might just be the best kept secret in the guitar world, almost. I've been playing for 5 years now; I've had an old Strat copy; and an Ibanez ART-120 - which was a great guitar, but not nearly as good as this. If there's only one thing needed to complete this awesome guitar, it would be a beautiful valve amplifier to really bring it alive. If it was stolen or lost, I would cry, because this guitar feels so special because it's so unique, I've never met anyone in my area/province with one, and it would break my heart to loose my first step down Stratocaster lane. If it was, I'd definately buy another one, or even try the CV60's Stratocaster. I compared it to an American Made Standard strat. They feel about the same, but the Standard has very differently voiced pickups which makes the comparison hard; but the USA made definately is the better instrument, but considering the price tag the CV50 really is amazing. I've played normal Squier stratocasters and they don't even come close to this. I'd say this is about on par with the MIM stratocasters. // 10

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overall: 8.8
Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster Reviewed by: stoopdown slim, on september 05, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Kennelly Keys Music

Features: Brand new. Made in China. This is the Squier knock-off of a Vintage re-issue strat. I believe the body is pinewood. Neck is one piece maple. The guitar has a (accurate) Fiesta Red poly finish. Neck has a Vintage tint, which is unfortunate - they always look so fake to me, whether it's on a Fender custom shop or a cheap Squier. Standard Vintage configuration on the pickups, bridge etc. // 9

Sound: OK, peoples, you probably won't believe this one but here goes: I am a 30 year plus gigging blues guitarist on the westcoast. I've owned them all: real 60's Vintage strats, expensive custom shop strats, Mexi strats, etc. I started using this guitar for lessons at the store where I teach. The first thing I noticed was how EXTREMELY resonant the guitar was - always a sign that it could possibly be a great axe. The next thing that amazed me was how awesome the frets were - GREAT feel, well rounded on the ends, smooth playing and NO fret outs. Week after week this guitar was the one I would "go to" for teaching. The amps in the teaching room were the cheap made in China Fenders, but amazingly, the Squier sounded VERY Vintage and stratty, nice output but not over the top and plenty of quack, transparency, sustain and warmth from the 2 and 4 positions on the switch. I brought in an expensive custom shop Vintage Strat to compare, and the Squier blew it away sound wise. That was enough for me. I bought the guitar for the ridiculously low 3 and 1/2 bucks and some change, set it up and took it to the gigs last weekend. I play a 1968 Super Reverb Amp, straight with no pedals in between to mess up the tone. THIS GUITAR WAS AMAZING. Vintage Vibe indeed! Sounds about as close to an old '50s Strat as you can get. Nothing matches the real deal - Fender as well as the boutique guys either can't or won't replicate the old pickups - but this guitar was awesome. I didn't even touch my other Strat both nights at the gig, just played the Squier. My band mates laughed when I walked in the club with it. They're not laughing now. They are also blown away by the sound. I'm sure much of the tone is due to the resonance of this particular guitar (strum the open strings acoustically, hold on to the headstock and the darn thing vibrates like a jetliner taking off), as well as the pickups. I checked on line, and the pickups are different than what they use in the '60s model - this model has Alnico III magnets, which account for the softer, more Vintage like tone and warm overdrive. I'm sold. I'm sure the hardware is mostly cheap pot metal, and the tuners should probably be replaced, but hey, these are details. The guitar is a great. Find one that resonates well, and you'll dig it. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Great set up, no finish flaws, loose jack screws (like all of them - cheap pot metal). Selector switch about the same as the American ones - cheap and loose. Body is supposedly pinewood, but is resonant and sounds great. Can't really find any flaws. Amazing guitar for the price. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Too early to tell, but I plan to continue playing it at my upcoming gigs and blues fests around the area. Impression is that the hardware is cheap, like all of the new stuff, probably needs replacing at some point. I'm sure I'll take it to a gig at some point and it will be the only guitar I'll use. I'm an older, lazy blues guitarist--one guitar is plenty for me as long as it's the right guitar. // 7

Overall Impression: Classic Blues - Chicago, Texas, Jazz influenced - gutbucket, but not overdriven rock blues. Clean tones with a smattering of natural tube overdrive from the amp. If I was in charge of the design and could still keep this guitar in a moderate price range, I would include better quality tuners, saddles, trem block, jack, and use a clear, non-tinted thin skin finish on the neck. That's it. The guitar is awesome. // 9

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overall: 7.8
Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster Reviewed by: Pianochris123, on december 21, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 379

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: The guitar is brand new and made in China. It has 21 frets and an alder neck. The fingerboard radius is 9.5" and has medium jumbo frets. The fretboard is glossy and very well finished. The nut is decent and made of synthetic bone. The body is made of alder and is quite light which I like. The finish on the body is polyurethane with a metallic green paint and very glossy and well finished. The bridge is a Squier bridge but saddles are good and hold string bends really well and the tremolo system is good enough. The pickups are Alnico III and sound great, very bright though so might not suit everyone's taste.

The guitar has a standard strat setup of volume, two tone controls (one for the middle pickup and one for the neck). Although a '50s style guitar it has a standard 5-way switch rather than the original 3-way on the '50s Strats. The tuners are Squier and ok, will probably change them at some point but certainly better than the tuners on lower end Squiers. The guitar comes with no accessories apart from a couple of allen keys and obviously the tremolo arm. // 9

Sound: The guitar suits my music style. I sold my old Korean '92 Squier series to get this and it sounds different but I like it. The guitar is very bright and there is a little noise when using distorted sounds, this may be remedied by upgrading the electrics though later. The guitar sounds like a '50s Strat should, I played some Hank Marvin stuff and it definitely has that twang. The sound is very bright though and as I said above might not suit everyone's taste. I have a few amps but it not surprisingly sounds best through a Fender amp - Fender Mustang I. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: There was a problem at first and actually the potentiometer on the volume pot was wired incorrectly so was acting as a tone control and I had to get this repaired. The rest of the setup was fine and the guitar played great straight out of the box and I didn't have to adjust a thing. The finish is very good although the painted headstock has some paint overlapping on to the nut. I can't find any other flaws though. The body finish is polyurethane and I got a chip on it after a couple of days. It chipped very easily so might want to look after the guitar. // 7

Reliability & Durability: The guitar won't be used for live work only studio and teaching. The sound through the studio is pretty clean but again upgraded electronics will help improve this. The guitar is cheap enough so a seasoned professional may want to upgrade the hardware such as tuners, bridge and get locking strap buttons. As mentioned above the finish probably won't last too long with constant use. If I was gigging this would be a backup guitar and not the main one. With upgraded hardware and electronics I would consider using this a main one though as it's a lovely guitar to play.

// 7

Overall Impression: I play all styles of music and this guitar is suited to most. The sound is very bright with not much bottom end so will sound thin for hard rock or metal. There's a lot to love about the guitar and it stacks up well against a USA Strat. It's a cheapish guitar though and a Squier so I guess you get what you pay for. Those who like to Mod will love this as the body and the neck are great and it's a great base to start with. If you upgrade the hardware and electronics then you'll have a very nice guitar indeed if you don't mind it saying "Squier" on the headstock. // 8

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overall: 9.6
Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster Reviewed by: frankievallitribute, on july 26, 2016
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 450

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Features: These guitars come with standard Stratocaster features: 3 single coils, 9.5 inch fretboard radius, which I think is perfect! The guitars from this era had 7.5 inch radius which I don't find very comfortable to play. Standard fender controls. This is a squire so the features are pretty basic. The bridge is good if you set it up like a hardtail but is not good if you plan on using the tremolo. However, some of these guitars have flame maple necks which are AMAZING! So try and find one with the flame maple necks. I've seen a lot floating around. The Chinese manufacturer seems to not separate out the flame maple and charge more. The only Strat I've personally seen with my own eyes (I'm sure there are exceptions) that have had flame maple necks are the custom shops and the classic vibes which I find very peculiar. Tuners are good and the guitar stays in tune better than guitars I've owned that are triple the price. Pickups are decent but all the pots, jacks etc need to be replaced so you mine as well replace the pickups too with something really nice - I went with Vintage Noiseless but might switch to hot noiseless down the road. // 8

Sound: these guitars sound awesome. The real value of these guitars is in their build quality. Seriously, the build quality on these things are just F-ing unbelievable. At any price point. The way I came to own one was that I had been hired to fill in on a gig last minute. Made 450$... Driving home I saw an advertisement outside Long and McQuade (music store chain in Canada) for the Classic Vibe Strat. I had heard some older pros in Toronto talk about how great these were and they all seemed to own one. The store had order a batch of custom coloured Strats from Squire... SEAFOAM GREEN! I love seafoam green and always wanted a Strat with that colour and was saving up for an American one. So I decided to pop in and check it out (I wasn't really planning to buy it). To my amazement the guitar was just KILLER. It had one of the best necks I have ever played on a guitar... PERIOD! And it was flame maple with a flawless finish. So I bought it and upgraded the electronics (which actually were very decent). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Eventually, I couldn't believe how often I would pick this little guy up and play for hours. At the time I had a LP Studio, LP Junior, and and American Deluxe Strat... Soon I moved in to a condo in the city and space was limited for my recording gear and guitars so I sold off my Gibsons (more of a Strat Guy) because they were just sitting in their cases... Eventually I got a gig touring for 6 months and I found myself playing this squire more and more! I kid you not, it has now become my main guitar! I even sold my American Strat... This squire was better made! Seriously it is a total MIND F*@k. So when I got back to Toronto I started shopping for a nice American Strat Elite. I was disappointed, for 2000 I could not find a better Fender. In fact the Elite series necks felt WORSE to me! And the wood did not look as nice.

I dragged my GF to half the music stores in the city and could not find one American Strat I liked better. So I picked up another Classic Vibe '50s and... OMG! It was like Sex! It was another one with the flame maple neck. The Action Fit and Finish was better than the American Elites. I'm sorry if people think I'm crazy but it was. // 10

Reliability & Durability: These guitars come with a modern poly finish. Which I actually like. The finish on these may be a little too thick maybe but I like it because I felt very comfortable taking this guy with me crossing borders, getting tossed around backstage, getting tossed around ONSTAGE. Basically the REAL way to relic a guitar. And it took the abuse better than any other guitar I've ever owned. A few times I've picked it up and it was still in tune and I've thought WTF... How? Also, it was so great to have an instrument where you don't really have to worry about anyone stealing it or about beating it up too much and breaking it because its not worth a whole lot.

// 10

Overall Impression: Overall, I would say if you are a snob... Don't be! Try these out. I know a lot of pro guys that play these and you'd be surprised. I would bet any money that some song on the charts right now has one of these guitars on it. If you are looking for a guitar for your kid. Spend the money on one of these and he will be good for a while. This series of guitars really seemed to capture lighting in a bottle and there is a huge drop off between these and lower end squires I've tried recently. If you are buying a guitar and you are starting or even if you have been playing for a while and you want something really good for a good price, try out a bunch of these and take the one that feels best to you. Also look for one that has a flame/figured maple neck. // 10

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