GearMusic

GEAR UP: SQUIER CONTEMPORARY TELECASTER RH REVIEW

August 9, 2021

For years, Squier was regulated to lists of budget and beginner guitars. But recently, Fender has made a concentrated effort to shed the entry-level budget stigma and give the Squier line a refresh. The new offerings seem to target beginners who want a guitar they can not only learn on but play for a long time without the feeling the need to upgrade or players who want something less traditional. The recently released additions to the Squier Contemporary line are perfect examples of the company’s new direction. The line includes 5 new options: the Stratocaster Special, Stratocaster Special HT, Stratocaster HH FR, Telecaster RH, and Jaguar HH ST. 

In the ’80s and 90s, the Contemporary line was Fader’s high-performance line made in Japan to differentiate itself from the more traditional offerings. As part of Squier’s new direction, the line was moved under them and continues to push the envelope. Today the line features offerings you would expect on higher profile and priced models. The roasted maple neck has been one feature that, at under $500, has put many of the other brands on notice. Add SQR modern-voiced pickups and a range of finishes, and you have a line that gets attention. The good people at Fender let us take the Contemporary Telecaster  RH for a spin. 

The Squier Contemporary Telecaster RH is a beautiful instrument that is a great choice for someone who wants a Tele but not in its strictest sense and is open to something a little different. And while it might not hit all the dials for the traditionalist, one look at the features, and you can see why the Contemporary was the High-Performance line. The Contemporary Tele RH was designed not only to look and sound good, but to feel good while playing.

 

One of the standout features of the Contemporary line is the beautiful roasted maple neck. For years this was only found on premium-priced guitars as the process made it rather costly to produce. And while theoretically there is a benefit to humidity resistance because of the moisture removing method to create the neck, many swear by the feel as well as the tonal benefits, but for many, it’s just the look that made these necks desirable. As time has gone on and technology has advanced you saw these being offered as options on boutique guitar brands. Fender didn’t even really offer them at all until around 2017. But now it has found its way to their Squire line. The neck and fretboard are smooth, gorgeously figured, and a pleasure to play on. It ends at a sculpted neck heel for better access to the lower frets with a 12” radius fretboard and Jumbo frets.  It is also fully bound around the body and neck.

The engine powering this beauty is a pair of SQR pickups. An Atomic humbucker in the neck and a rail (where the RH comes from in the name) in the bridge. The Atomic Humbucker tends to run hot but sounds great. Also, a quick note that these aren’t the ones in the Tornado but more like a copy of the Fender Atomics like in the Fender American Special. For those unfamiliar and perhaps thrown off by the Rail Humbucker, don’t be. The SQR Rail Humbucker is a humbucker, but instead of the poles, it uses one rail that the coil is wrapped around. These tend to increase sustain and better articulation because of the lack of gaps in the magnetic field and allow for a smaller-sized humbucker to be made. Despite the two humbuckers, you can still achieve that Tele twang, and while powerful, the pickups are very articulate and capable of a wide array of tones, from crystal clear tones to heavy chugging. To keep things simple, it has a 3-way blade selecting switch,  one tone knob, one volume knob, and to make things easier, a reverse control plate that puts the knobs closer. It might take a little getting used to if you only play teles, but it won’t be a big deal if you play different guitars. 

It comes in 3 finishes, Shoreline Gold, Gunmetal Metallic, and Pearl White with a matching headstock.  

The Squier Contemporary Telecaster RH is an amazing guitar not just for a new player but for anyone looking for a great instrument with modern features. And for under $500, it might be one of the best guitars at its price point with its mix of features, playability and name recognition, support, and availability as Squier is sold almost everywhere. 

Get One Here

SPECS

Price: $449

Body Material:  Poplar

Body Finish:  Gloss Polyurethane

Color: Shoreline Gold, Pearl White, Gunmetal Metallic

Neck / Fingerboard Material: Roasted Maple

Neck Shape: C

Neck Joint: Bolt-on

Radius: 12″

Frets: 22, Jumbo

Scale Length: 25.5″

Nut Material: Graphite

Bridge/Tailpiece:  6-Saddle Standard String-through body Bridge with Block Saddles

Tuners: Die-cast Sealed

Neck Pickup: Squier SQR Atomic Humbucker

Bridge Pickup: Squier SQR Rail Humbucker

Controls: 1 x master volume, 1 x master tone, 3-way blade pickup switch

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