Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Review & Prices

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Review
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  • From Fender Squier's 2021 Contemporary series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Poplar body
  • Roasted Maple neck
  • Indian Laurel fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • 6-Saddle String-Through-Body Hardtail With Block Saddles bridge
  • Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Jumbo frets
  • Sealed Die-Cast with Split Shafts tuners
  • Weight between 6.75lbs (3.1kgs) and 6.9lbs (3.1kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 75
Sound 68
Build quality 50
Value for money 74
Overall Score 64
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $400, which means that the Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT is within the average price asked for this kind of guitar. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT 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.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

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 Stratocaster Special HT'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

How Lightweight is it?

We found that the Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT weighs between 6.75lbs (3.1kgs) and 6.9lbs (3.1kgs). This was recorded from some online retailers that publish the weight of the instruments they sell.

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 Stratocaster Special HT's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Scale Length Comparison
Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT'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 with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Neck Profile
Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT'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 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 Stratocaster Special HT has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT's fretboard radius compared to others

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 Stratocaster Special HT has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.65'' Nut Width
9.5'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Nut Width
Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Nut Width

The Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT has a nut width of 42mm (1.654''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. 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 more easily at the nut.

Frets

The Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT 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 with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT Fret Size Comparison
Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT'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 Stratocaster Special HT's frets are Jumbo size. This is a tall fret size that is becoming increasingly popular because it makes it easier to press down the strings cleanly. With this fret size, you won't feel the fretboard when playing, so if you press down too hard, you will get the notes out of pitch. However, this is something you can overcome by getting used to the taller size.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 80
Playability 75

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. 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

Poplar wood pattern used for guitar building
Poplar Body
Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple Neck
Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
Laurel Fretboard

Poplar Body: It's similar to Alder in terms of tone as it has a fat low-end with strong mids, but it's a lot cheaper and softer. It's a bit heavier so it's mostly used for tops.

Roasted Maple Neck: Similar to simple Maple, but even stronger, darker, and more stable to temperature changes. This is thanks to the treatment process that consists in using high temperatures to drain the water, sugar, and resins from the wood.

Laurel Fretboard: There are many types of Laurel, but East Indian is the most common for guitar building. Its color can vary from dark to light brown with black lines. Many people find its tonality similar to Rosewood, which favors the warmer frequencies.

More made with the same wood:

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 passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT's configuration is SSS. This is the pickup configuration made famous by the Stratocaster. It gives you beautiful clean tones, but also a vintage-sounding distortion. This pickup combination will sound chimey, but you might be surprised at the warmness that you can get from a single-coil at the neck position on a 22-fret guitar. The disadvantage of this configuration is the hum noise that single-coils produce due to their nature.

More with the same pickups

22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil Bridge Pickup
Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil Middle Pickup
Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil Bridge Pickup
Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil Middle Pickup
Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil Neck Pickup

Versatility

It gives you a good amount of tone options with its 5-way switch. You can use it to choose at least 5 different pickup combinations.

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 Stratocaster Special HT pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with SSS configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Funk or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 70
Sustain 70
Versatility 60
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 68

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument 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 instruments 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 Stratocaster Special HT is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

6-Saddle String-Through-Body Hardtail With Block Saddles: 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 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 it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT has a Graphite nut. This material is self-lubricating, which allows the strings to slide over the nut without too much friction. This helps to keep the guitar in tune when bending and using the tremolo. It's not as resistant and it doesn't sound as good as bone, but it is much better than a plastic nut.

More 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 with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 46
Features 50
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 50

All Specs

Fender Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special HT
General
Brand: Fender Squier
Year: 2021
Configuration: SSS
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Contemporary
Colors: White, Sunburst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Poplar
Bridge: 6-Saddle String-Through-Body Hardtail With Block Saddles
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Sealed Die-Cast with Split Shafts
Fretboard: Indian Laurel
Neck Material: Roasted Maple
Decoration: Pearloid Dot
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Modern C
Frets: 22 Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Graphite
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way
Knobs: Bell
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Squier SQR Alnico Single-Coil (Single Coil / Passive)

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