What is HSS and what can I expect from a Bullet? Questions like these are the reason for this Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS tremolo review.
Bullet electric guitars came about in the early ’80s as student options to classic Fenders. Soon after that, their budget brand Squier picked up the production.
The Squier Bullet series is Fender’s most affordable line of classic remakes. These electric guitars stay close to the timeless formula with full functionality while minimizing the price.
What does this mean for sound quality and performance? Let’s take a closer look.
Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS Physical Features
- Body Material: Basswood
- Neck: Maple C-profile
- Nut Width: 1.65”
- Nut Material: Synthetic Bone
- Pickups: 2 single-coils, 1 humbucker
While traditional Strats have alder bodies, the Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS has basswood instead. Measures like these help keep the price down without much effect on the performance. Although Squier’s budget-oriented, they make real guitars that play well.
At this price point, a complex synced tremolo bridge may seem suspicious. However, the Squier Bullet Strat HSS pulls it off well. It’s somewhat sensitive, but it gives you colorful vibratos and dives, which is all that matters.
Also, the tuning holds well for a cheap Strat with tremolo. It has die-cast chrome tuners that replicate Fender F heads. If you want better tuning stability, you can always stick another spring in the bridge.
As for the neck, it’s a slim C-profile maple with a laurel fretboard spanning 21 medium-jumbo frets.
HSS means Humbucker, Single-coil, Single-coil. By replacing the traditional bridge single with a humbucker, you get a wider sound palette. Humbuckers have a cleaner tone and more low-end growl, which makes the Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS a great Strat for rock and other distorted styles.
The only real trade-off is that you can’t quite nail those super-twangy surf tones or Hank Marvin leads, but you still get close.
The two single-coils do get pretty buzzy, but that’s normal in this price range. Overall, the bright Strat tone is still there.
As usual, there’s a 5-position pickup selector, so you can blend the tones nicely. You also get two tone knobs for further coloring and a volume knob.
Fender’s Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS with tremolo comes in black, white, and sunburst finishes. This sleek look with a single-ply white pickguard and fretboard dot inlays gives it timeless stage presence for just about any genre.
Its polyurethane gloss finish is very shiny and seems tough. You may want to rub down the back of the neck for faster playability, though.
How the Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS Plays
Indian laurel may not be the most common fretboard material, but it performs well. It’s responsive and smooth and not too different from the traditional rosewood.
Like most Strats, the Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS has a comfortable C-profile neck and should fit most hands nicely. Plus, the lightweight build makes it great for long sessions and trips to the rehearsal space.
Combine these playability factors with the nice price, and you get a recipe for great beginner guitars.
A Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS with tremolo gives you that flexible Stratocaster tone with some extra capabilities. It’s like a cross between a classic Strat and a “SuperStrat” but with a bit less meat.
You can get warm and mellow tones for jazz, blues, and church music. It’s also possible to squeeze some crunchy rock tones out of this versatile beginner Strat.
While it may not have the cleanest tone, it’s certainly rich and balanced. And with the generous sound shaping options, you can dial in your preferred sound.
If you want better sound quality and performance later on, you can simply upgrade the pickups and perfect the setup. It’s a solid base guitar that’s easy to customize and keep alive.
What People Say
Buyers on Amazon give the Bullet HSS Stratocaster 4.6 out of 5 stars and mention that it exceeds their expectations for the price. Some weren’t perfectly happy with the fit and finish, but that’s normal for this price range.
You won’t find many similar Strats and Pseudo-Strats as cheap as the Squier Bullet HSS Stratocaster. There are some, but very few can really match its performance. See the current price at Amazon
Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS VS Squier Affinity Stratocaster HSS
One step up in the HSS Strat hierarchy, you find the Squier Affinity HSS. It features a slimmed alder body and a bigger retro headstock. Also, the nut is about a millimeter shorter, although it doesn’t make a significant difference.
The Affinity’s slightly better regarding sound and performance but costs more. If that sounds good to you, check it out here.
The video below is not in English, but you can hear the guitar just the same.
Pros & Cons
Let’s look again at the main insights from this Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS review.
- Fantastic value
- Very versatile
- True Stratocaster look
It’s got the look, the feel, and the general sound – but it’s a fraction of the price. For beginners, it’s hard to beat.
- Variable build quality
- The setup
At the end of the day, the Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS is a mass-produced budget Strat. As such, there may be slight imperfections in the build and setup. However, it’s easy to adjust the action, intonation, and any misalignments.
Is a Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS the Best Cheap Strat for You?
With its incredible versatility and easy playability at an affordable price, the Bullet HSS Strat is truly beginner-friendly. While it may not be perfect and may need a setup, that’s standard for this price range, and it’s not always necessary.
I hope my Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS with tremolo review has helped you decide. I recommend this guitar to all newer guitarists with limited budgets.
Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS John Holloway Rating: 3 out of 5