Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Review & Prices

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Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Review
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  • From Fender Squier's 2019 Contemporary series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Laminated Maple body
  • Maple neck
  • Maple fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Squier SQR Active Ceramic Humbucker (Humbucker/Active)
  • Neck pickup: Squier SQR Ceramic Humbucker (Humbucker/Active)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • 6-Saddle Adjustable Bridge Fixed bridge
  • Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Narrow Tall frets
  • Die-Cast Sealed tuners
  • Compare Specs >
  • From Fender Squier's 2019 Contemporary series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Laminated Maple body
  • Maple neck
  • Maple fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Squier SQR Active Ceramic Humbucker (Humbucker/Active)
  • Neck pickup: Squier SQR Ceramic Humbucker (Humbucker/Active)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • 6-Saddle Adjustable Bridge Fixed bridge
  • Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Narrow Tall frets
  • Die-Cast Sealed tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 78
Sound 68
Build quality 55
Value for money 77
Overall Score 67
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster
  • Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Tremolo
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Videos

New Squier Starcaster Guitars - Striking Colours, Offset design & Active Pickups!
SQUIER Contemporary Active STARCASTER
Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster MN GMM | TV Guitar Center
Squier Contemporary Starcaster - Hot active pickups and a sparkly finish for $400 - SNAMM19
Exploring The Squier Contemporary Series Guitars | Fender
More Videos

Price: is the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $850, which means that the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster is around 68% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all guitars of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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Your feedback

Not all guitars are created equal, and there are many important things they won't tell you about the guitar you're buying. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our visitors who have played this guitar say. If you've played it before, help others by voting for your experience below.

Weight

Vote
Heavy
0
Slightly heavy
0
Lightweight
0
Very lightweight
0

Tuning stability

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Won't stay in tune
0
Sightly unstable
0
Not bad
0
Holds tune well
0
Won't get out of tune
0

Neck speed (thickness)

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Chunky
0
Slightly chunky
0
Balanced
9
Fast
1
Herman Li fast
0

Neck access to high frets

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Very Hard
0
Hard
0
Normal
0
Easy
0
Very Easy
0

Neck profile shape

Vote
Baseball / U
0
V
0
Asymmetrical
0
C
9
D
0

Fret edges

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Very sharp
0
Slightly sharp
0
Smooth
0

Pickups noise

Vote
Noiseless
0
Slightly Noisy
0
Noisy
0

Pickups power

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Clean
0
Slightly Hot
0
Hot
0

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Is The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Easy to Play?

The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster meets 5 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Scale Length Comparison
Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Neck Profile
Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More guitars for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster has a 12" fingerboard radius. Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
27'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.65'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.65'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Nut Width
Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Nut Width

The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster has a nut width of 42mm (1.654''). This is narrower than the typical 43mm (1 11/16") width. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string much easier at the nut.

More guitars with the same nut width:

Frets

The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More guitars with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Fret Size Comparison
Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's frets are Narrow Tall size. These are similar to Jumbos, but they might be slightly shorter (or taller, depending on the maker), and they tend to have a narrower crown width. You'll be able to press the strings easily, but if you're not used to them, you might get the notes out of pitch if you press down too hard on the strings since their height won't let you feel the fretboard.

More guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 80
Playability 78

Does the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood Used in the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Body, Neck, Fretboard

Maple Body, Neck and Fretboard: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are active pickups, so you can expect a lot of output with a highly compressed signal that will give your tones more distortion while retaining a clear, defined sound, which is what many Heavy Metal guitarists need. However, they have the disadvantage of lacking a fully clean sound when playing without distortion.

The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More guitars with the same pickups

22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Squier SQR Active Ceramic Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Squier SQR Ceramic Humbucker Neck Pickup
21 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Squier SQR Active Ceramic Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Squier SQR Ceramic Humbucker Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Squier SQR Active Ceramic Humbucker Bridge Pickup
Squier SQR Active Ceramic Humbucker Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, guitarists tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster's switch options

What music genre is the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Active pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Heavy Metal or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 60
Sustain 90
Versatility 50
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 68

How well is the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Built?

Where is the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Made?

Knowing where the guitar is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive guitars are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

More guitars made in Indonesia

Bridge

6-Saddle Adjustable Bridge Fixed: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More guitars with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster has a Synthetic Bone nut. One of the best nuts you can have is a Bone nut thanks to their rich tonality and resistance. The problem is that they're a natural material, so different bone nuts will have inconsistent tonal properties. In other words, one bone nut might not sound as well as the other even when they're made from the same piece. Synthetic bone helps with this by giving you a high-quality, consistent nut that resembles the tone produced by bone.

More guitars with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More guitars with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 51
Features 50
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 55

Most Popular Comparisons With The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster Specs

General
Brand: Fender Squier
Year: 2019
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Contemporary
Colors: Black, Blue, Green
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Laminated Maple
Bridge: 6-Saddle Adjustable Bridge Fixed
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Die-Cast Sealed
Fretboard: Maple
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Black Dot
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Modern C
Frets: 22 Narrow Tall
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Synthetic Bone
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Squier SQR Active Ceramic Humbucker (Humbucker / Active)
Neck Pickup: Squier SQR Ceramic Humbucker (Humbucker / Active)

User Reviews of the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster

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