Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Review

manufacturer: Squier date: 11/08/2011 category: Electric Guitars
Squier: Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster
Added features include basswood body(great tone) and 3 duncan designed hot rail high output pickups.
 Sound: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.3
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (2) 24 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Reviewed by: JJ2003, on august 18, 2010
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 280

Purchased from: Music store in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

Features: You can see/listen to the guitar here - this is me playing so this is the actual guitar I am reviewing below. This guitar was made in 2009. It is a Deluxe Series Hot Rails Stratocaster in a gloss black finish / with a white pickguard. The body type is basswood. Neck is the big full C-Shape. Rosewood fret board 25'5 scale Master Volume, 2 tone, 5 position Switch for the 3 pups. Twin Pivot tremolo. (Seymour) Duncan Designed pups, HotRails - so the guitar is technically a HHH layout, not SSS. For a guitar at this price, the features are great. // 9

Sound: The sound has been great. First of all, these are Hotrail pickups so they are mini-humbuckers. But that is misleading. They are not true humbuckers and are not true single coils. The sound is distinctly in between those two. It is not very deep, nor very high and twangy. Its a mid range sound that is produced by these pups. Most people who reviewed this guitar on the net have said "OMG ITS FOR METAL" - well its not. They just let the allure of the new guitar cloud their thoughts. The guitar produces a great sound for solo's, clears, and reverb effects, but over driven metal effects sound really twangy. You don't really get that evil bite and muddiness I enjoy from my other guitars. The metal effects come through a bit to twangy on the bridge pup, and the neck pup they are a bit to blurry. I have yet to find a setting that I really enjoy on my amps. I am spoiled in this regard because I am comparing this do my other guitar with a high end metal pick up that screams. (DiMarzio DP102-X2N). With that said, it is still producing a great sound. The Pups have no buzz, I opened up the guitar and the wiring was clean. The twin pivot tremolo is like a poor mans Floyd rose. While you can't dive bomb with it you can pull a note up or down which is really cool. The guitar also stays in tune remarkably well. I have taken the strings off already and done a complete re-string/re-tune. Took me about 5minutes to get the strings on. Tuned to standard. Pulled on the tremolo up and down, re-tuned. Repeated that twice. It stays in tune now. Another reason why this guitar is not for metal is because of the full C-Shape neck. I have average "man sized hands." The C-Shape is really comfortable to play, I don't get tired and my accuracy is where I want it to be. The neck is also only lightly finished so it is fast to slide up. The big shape though does mean shredding and other metal techniques might be a bit more difficult to do. While I enjoy metal, I am not a shredder so this does not concern me. I have been doing some sweep picking on it, and it gives me no problems. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The finish is flawless. Really nice and glossy black. There isnt much more to it. When I opened up the guitar I saw hints of red metallic paint all over the inside. I may have lucked out with the body--- Looking at the Squier lineup some of their highest end Strats come with a red metalic finish. This body must have been for one of those guitars but the paint finish did not pass QC. It is solid wood and from the small unpainted parts I can see, it looks like an awesome piece. Factory set up - I don't know. The guitar store I bought it from set it up for their floor model so I got their setup - it was good. There isn't a single finish flaw on this guitar and it was played in the store daily. I don't see any issues arising. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The solid basswood body weighs a lot. I have a Squier Bullet Strat and the body on this guitar is much thicker, you can instantly see the difference. The Bullet Strat feels like a toy after you place this thing in your hands. So, it is a solid beast and I have no concerns with its durability. Strap buttons are solid. I don't play live, but if I did, I would not hesitate to play this guitar. I think it will out live me. // 10

Overall Impression: I have only owned this guitar for about a week now but have played it almost constantly and I feel like I already know it extremely well. I have been playing guitar for 5 years. In hindsight I wish the pickups were not HotRails. I would rather have a true HSS layout. That doesn't mean the HotRails are not good, I just like to have one guitar that can do it all. For just under 300$ this guitar is pretty sweet. I plan to spend another 100$, convert it to the HSS layout I want with a black pickguard and a maple neck. This is the type of guitar you buy for 300$ and love -- but after spending a bit extra it will rival a $1200 Strat. While many people upgrade their Squier Bullet Strats or Affinity Strats after playing this guitar it is already leaps and bounds ahead in terms of quality compared to those 2 models so you are really starting off on a better footing. I tried to give an honest review here, hope it helps you make your decision. // 8

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8.4
Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Reviewed by: songbird.1996, on april 13, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 280

Purchased from: Music World VA.

Features: This guitar has Standard Strat features such as: double cutaway body, bolt on neck(I like bolt on necks), 3 single coil pickups(2 normal and 1 slanted), 5 way pickup selecter, 1 volume 2 tone knobs, see saw style tremolo, front cable output. Added features include basswood body(great tone) and 3 duncan designed hot rail high output pickups. // 9

Sound: Most people believe that hot rail pickups are only good for metal and hard rock, but this isnt true. Dial up the right settings and you got yourself a great soft rock or blues guitar. I don't use effects but I will soon but for now I can get from soft rock rythm to Hard rock solos in the flip of a switch. I use a cheap Ibanez 10g amp and trust me if this guitar can make this amp sound good than it can make any amp sound good. Except for on high distortion this guitar is pretty much silent when not playing. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought it from a music store that sets up guitar before they put them on the wall so I don't really know about the originall setup. High E string does ring a little when played open but its not hitting a fret so I don't really know what's going on. Action, fit and finish are very nice. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This guitar would not hold up for KISS style gigs but really what would? Its made of basswood and is very durable, I would deffinetly gig with this guitar... If I were in a band o well. VERY high reliability and durability. I'm pretty sure the hardware will last. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing classic rock and Christian rock for over 3 years and deffinetly know what a good guitar sounnds like and this is one of them. I am overall impressed with this guitar. If it were stolen I would be very angry and I would try to buy another one. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8.4
Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Reviewed by: diaboliq67, on may 11, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 250

Purchased from: Local store

Features: Standard Strat features (looks, knobs, tremolo and frets) apart from the 3 Duncan design hot rails, single coil sized humbuckers. These might not be same as the full sized humbuckers, but there just ain't no space to put 3 of the full sized ones on a strat. Mine was made in Indonesia, never checked the year. The price was down from around 370EUR (prices here tend to be higher than in the US or Europe in general) so I decided to have a look and try it. Got it in Olympic white with black knobs and pup's because I preferred the dark fretboard. I do like the slightly thicker body the Deluxe series has. It just felt better. Came without a gig-bag or anything else (apart from the whammy bar and the alen keys of course). // 8

Sound: I tried it twice in the store on a Fender Frontman 15G before buying it. What made the sale for me was the sound when playing it clean. It had that bluesy-rock sound I prefer. Also I liked the "silence" of the pup's. In the mean time I got a Peavey Vypyr 15, and I'd say these to go together really well. I mostly play stuff from AC/DC, ZZ Top, BB king and such. Probably some Epiphone would've done nice for that, but couldn't find one that suited me as well as this one, and I did get the desired sound so... // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: OK, the factory set-up sucked. There was another one in the store that had a really good set-up, alas it was black bodied with white pick-guard and a bright fretboard, so I decided to spend a bit more and get the better looking one - for my liking at least. The set-up cost me about 10EUR so it was not much, and was done by a guy licensed by Fender and it shows when playing the guitar. The action is sweet and I like the shape of the neck (my last Acoustic guitar I played for 3 years now, is a Fender so I'm rather used to their design approach) The finish has no flaws, and the paint job seems very solid. I wish only that the pup's had some sort of casing around them. As it is they don't look very cool. One has to look closely to notice that though. I also don't like the looks of the knobs (on any Strat in general), but that is something that can easily be changed in the future. After the first week or so, I have to say it holds tune really good. Sometimes it takes 3-4 days until it needs some small adjustment (probably due to the gig-bag touching the tuners). This was one of my biggest concerns, but it came out OK. I don't use the whammy, so I can't really comment on that one.Either way it's not blocked, but it doesn't make any problems as it is. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have to say it feels really solid built. Kinda heavy solid if you know what I mean... I'm sure it would withstand live playing abuse and I doubt any strap buttons would fall off. The finish also seems pretty solid, but time will tell. Anyways some aging might even look cool in time. Don't plan doing any gigs for sure, so can't comment on the need for a backup. Either way, having a plan B is always a good idea; ) Not sure about the solidity of the bolt-on neck design though. Not that it wobbles or anything... Seems solid, but I' just not sure about the design in general. I'd give it 8.5 // 9

Overall Impression: Fits me fine for what I play and for the neck design preferences I have. I generally don't really like the Strat shape, probably just too tired of seeing them around, but it looks kinda nice in olympic white, besides the sound and the action is what matters the most for me. It is definitely lot of bang for the buck and I believe I'd buy it again if I had to, though I have yet to try an Epiphone G-400 ;) // 8

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8.6
Deluxe Hot Rails Stratocaster Reviewed by: MarkoakaNiggaK, on november 08, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 320

Purchased from:

Features: Made 2009 in China. - 22 frets. - Fender scale. - Full C-shape maple neck with rosewood fretboard. - Body is basswood. - Standard Strat body. - Polyurethane finish. - Colour is Olympic white. - A nice trem, and 3 Duncan designed HOT Rails pups. - 5-way-swich and 2 tone and 1 volume pot. - Body is basswood. - Tuners have no brand name on them so I can't tell if they are made by another company. - Hardware is chrome seems pretty durable. - No accessories but the trem arm. All in all not bad for what you pay. Also the taxes in my country are ridiculously high so the best option I had was to order it out of Germany from In case something is broken on the way they always replace it is had no worries about customs and sloppy postal service. // 8

Sound: So to start with. The pups on this thing are quite good, I would not replace them, and the Strat body and the c shaped neck suites my needs perfectly. The tone is nice and warm because of the humbuckers and the 3 pickup configuration enlarges the variety of tones you can get a lot. I found it very suited for some jazz, rockabilly, crossover, groove metal, classic metal and progressive metal. It does some "acoustic stuff" as well. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was very high when I got it, but that's nothing hard to deal with. I had to higher the bridge and lower the middle pup but that again took about 3 minutes. I opened up the guitar after I got it to check for any flaws and could find none except a little blue lack on the inside and a little wood dust from production. Other than that everything was just fine. Better than most things you'd expect from an online dealer. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's built like a rock and the hardware will last so this will, with proper care of course, outlast me. Cause of the pup setting I did expect some noise live but the exact opposite happened. I didn't even need my noisegate. So I can say this is a pretty damn good guitar for live gigs. The trem is a special bonus. It doesn't tune out when bending which is awesome. I'd depend on it but would still bring my backup Cort just to be sure. You never know what could happen. And just out of fear to drop it I'd change the buttons for locks, but the buttons are nice and fat so you shouldn't have any problems. Since the finish is polyurethane I can't think of why it shouldn't last. // 9

Overall Impression: I play a little bit of everything I like so I don't have a specific style. I've been playing for 5 years now but still consider myself as a noob since I have no theoretical knowledge in scales modes and stuff. I have musical dislexiaaaaaarrrrrrgh... Hehe. I have absolutely no regrets buying this. After trying it out on a Laney head with a Orange cab I thought it was just awesome and still think so. The only thing I wish it had is a full c neck made out of maple or (a luxus version) walnut covered with nytro. But hey you can't have everything. My favourite is the trem because it's very dependable. I compared it to a Cort KX5 which I also have, an Ibanez GRG250 which I had, a Fender Blacktop and a Fender Pawnshop 51 in the same shop I tried it out first. Only the 51 had a better neck. The rest is on the HOT Rail Strats side. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear