Showmaster NLT HSS review by Squier

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 2
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.7 (21 votes)
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Purchased from: The Music Department

Sound — 10
I use this guitar with a DigiTech Grunge, a Boss DS-1, a Boss AW-3 and the Squier ten-watt amp it came with, all linked with Venom cables. It suits various sounds, Free, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Oasis, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, The White Stripes, the list goes on. Very versatile, nice sounds. The different pick-up selections really make a difference on the clean channel, from a bright, twangy sound to a smooth acoustic sound. With distortion however, there is very little variety, they just become either bassy or trebly. It has a very resonant body when used without an amp, and is also quite loud, louder than a Strat, which sounds great.

Overall Impression — 4
I've been playing nearly two years now and this was my first guitar. I love it and would never sell it, but it just has so many problems that you really can't overlook them and just enjoy the sound. The final fret, the body easily dinging, only having one tone knob, the input jack, the blandness of how it looks, the TippEx on the body. Okay not the TippEx that was my fault, but, really this guitar is loaded with problems. It really, truly is such a shame because when this baby works, my God she sounds so amazing! Maybe mine is just a bad example, so if you're gonna get one of these, try it, and ask to take home the one you tried, because mine just isn't up to scratch. Really truly a shame.

Reliability & Durability — 6
The "final fret" problem prevents live playing with it, I've got an Epiphone '67 Flying V and use that for gigs and practices, even for songwriting. This guitar sounds divine and has great features, but it has so many problems that it's just not worth the bother. The strap buttons look sturdy, but the strap that came with it keeps falling off them, and it's a very cheap strap, so I don't know, as I have no other strap. The hardware looks like it will last. The finish is nice but chips off and the body dings easily. It's reliable, but the problems outweigh the sound and reliability sadly.

Action, Fit & Finish — 2
The action was incredibly high, but is not too difficult to change thanks to the bridge, it's just a case of turning the screws and setting the action for each string individually. The pickups are fairly solid, even with extensive use of the tremolo arm, they haven't shown any signs of coming out, like my mate's Yamaha Pacifica has. The finish is very nice, but chips awfully easily. The whole guitar looks fairly bland in one colour and without a pickguard, so buy some stickers or sumthin for it if you're gonna buy one. I wrote "I Love Poptarts" on mine with TippEx when I was drunk - only go this far as a last resort, it will not come off. Anyway, the pick-ups are not noisy at all, but it's worth remembering that your lead will affect this. The lead that came with the guitar was crap so it broke and I bought Venom Noiseless leads - much better. However, when switching between pick-ups the selector does make quite a bit of noise if you're doing it quickly, mid-song. Very annoying. The input jack was and is shit and continually falls out when you're trying to plug in the lead, and regularly has to be screwed back in. The fingerboard looked okay to start with but quickly looked like a grimy piece of rubbish with use. I took the strings off and sanded down the fingerboard and now it looks all Vintage and worn, it's definately better this way, or you could just buy fret cleaner. Doesn't look as cool though. However, the worst part of all is the final fret. The metal of the fret is not fixed down properly to the fingerboard, and when playing chords the top string continually gets trapped underneath it and makes a horribly high noise, and is impossible to get it out mid-song. It can and will ruin a gig or practice - the Final Fret Strikes Again!

Features — 8
This guitar was "crafted" in Indonesia according to the back of the headstock. I would guess it was made fairly recently, I the last couple of years or so. It has 23 (I think) jumbo frets and comes in a nice metallic black finish, and has a similar body style to a Stratocaster, except it has a reverse headstock (much to the amusement of every other guitarist I know). It has a string-thru-body bridge, a tremolo arm, and has two knobs - one for volume and one for tone. The tremolo arm doesn't de-tune the guitar, and it stays in tune very nicely otherwise too. It has a five-way pick-up selector for the two single pick-ups and the humbucker. It came with an amp, strap, lead etc.

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