The Bullet series represents the most affordable line in the entire Squier and Fender catalog. These are the simplest possible versions of some of Fender’s most iconic designs and provide a fantastic learning platform for newcomers looking to start playing guitar.
One of the models in this lineup, The Squier Bullet Telecaster, really stands out from the others. To look at it, you never know that it is one of the most affordable guitars on the market, and even experienced players often find themselves surprised by the overall quality of this model.
Despite the fact that this is the cheapest Telecaster by quite some margin, we still named it as our best budget pick in our roundup of the seven best Fender Telecasters – high praise indeed.
We only touched on this guitar briefly during our roundup, so this KillerGuitarRigs review will be going into even more depth on the Bullet Telecaster to tell you exactly why it’s the perfect entry-level guitar.
Who Is This For?
The Squier Bullet Telecaster is a low-cost beginner guitar that is clearly aimed at new
players who want a model that they recognize from a well-known brand. It’s extremely lightweight, which ensures Comfort during long practice sessions, and its slim neck means even those with smaller hands will have no problem playing either rhythm or lead on this guitar.
Appearance / Features / Controls
The guitar we were sent for this test came to us in a classic black finish. The Bullet range used to have more choice when it comes to Color options, but now, at least for the Telecaster, it’s limited to just this one black version.
While more color options are always a good thing, we have to say the black finish really does look good.
It had a poplar body, which was slimmer than the standard Telecaster dimensions. Not only does this reduce costs, but most importantly, it saves weight – quite a lot in the case of this Telecaster, as it tipped the scales at just 6 lb and 12 oz.
The bolt on neck was maple and was topped with an Indian Laurel fretboard. It had the standard Squier C profile, which we have consistently found to be comfortable and very forgiving, especially for new players.
It was fitted with 21 narrow tall frets, which work very well for newer players. The frets themselves did have nicely finished edges with no sharps. Of course, they weren’t perfect, and no one is mistaking this guitar for one that’s had a PLEK job, but Squier definitely got the fundamentals right here.
Being a Telecaster, this was a hardtail guitar. It made use of string through Saddles rather than a string through body which once again helps Squier to keep the costs under control and produce a quality guitar within the constraints of a particular budget.
The electronics included a pair of ceramic single coil pickups, one in the neck position and one in the bridge. It had a blade-style three-way selector switch and master volume and tone controls.
As for hardware, it was fitted with six individual bent steel saddles, each adjustable for tone and intonation, it had sealed-gear tuning machines, and we have to complement Squier on the knurled metal knobs on the tone and volume controls, too.
Performance / Sound
The most immediately striking thing about the Bullet Telecaster after picking it up was just how thin and easy to handle the body was. This made it super comfortable to play and caused no issues from either seated or standing positions.
We found the playability of this guitar to be excellent, considering the price. Despite being one of the cheapest guitars Squier makes, they still set it up well from the factory, and right out of the box, it was ready to go. The action was on the low end of medium height, so if you prefer low action, there is still room to bring it down without causing issues with fret buzz.
The neck was extremely comfortable and had a barely there satin finish. Players with a little more experience will find that it helps them get up and down the neck quickly, and new players will find that it allows them to reach for chords they might otherwise find difficult on a stickier neck.
Considering that this is such an affordable guitar, the tuning stability was extremely impressive. The machines may not have been the greatest for fine-tuning, but once it was at pitch, it held firm, even after extended play.
Tonally speaking, again, this Bullet Tele surprised us (in a good way). In the bridge pickup position, we got plenty of the twang that draws so many to the Telecaster, and unlike many cheap ceramic pickups, it wasn’t brittle or overly thin.
In the neck position, it had decent warmth and a nice creamy blues tone, especially with the volume rolled back just a touch. It handled cleans well in both the bridge and neck positions and was more than capable of handling a decent amount of overdrive without becoming muddy.
Other Guitars to Consider
The Squier Bullet Telecaster is the cheapest guitar you can buy new with the Telecaster name, and that alone is a big draw for many. On top of that, it offers great performance and the type of reliability and forgiveness that new players really need. However, it might not necessarily be to everybody’s taste. With that in mind, we’ve highlighted a couple of great alternatives for you to consider if the Bullet Telecaster doesn’t feel right for you.
If you think that the Bullet series model might be too basic for you, then you may very well gel with the Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster. This particular guitar is far closer to a Fender Telecaster than any other Squier model and quite accurately reflects the specs of an original 50s model. These are real Workhorse guitars priced at a truly accessible level. This Classic Vibe Telecaster will see you through your first strums to your first gigs and beyond.
In the event that you are into the Telecaster styling but want a thicker sound, then the Squier Affinity Series Telecaster Deluxe is the perfect option for you. It’s based heavily on the Telecaster customs that became so popular in the 1970s and features a pair of humbucking pickups, delivering a much beefier tone than you’d find on the Bullet series model. Because it’s an affinity series model, there are also a number of upgrades over the Bullet Series in terms of fit and finish.
Final Thoughts on the Squier Bullet Telecaster
As long as you don’t buy a Squier Bullet Telecaster thinking that it could genuinely compete with a Mexican-made player series Fender Telecaster, or even a Squier Classic Vibe model, then you definitely won’t be disappointed. What this guitar is is a good quality, reliable, and comfortable beginner guitar that you can pick up without breaking the bank.
Despite its low price point, it still offers some classic Telecaster tones, and it really nails the aesthetics.