Fender launches the $199 Squier Sonic series – hear the successors to the Bullet range in action

Fender Squier Sonic electric guitars and bass guitar
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender has officially launched its latest lineup of affordable electric guitars and bass guitars: the Squier Sonic series, which serves as a successor to the ultra-popular Bullet range.

Since its inception, the Bullet collection has proved to be a hit among beginners and pros alike, serving as both a gateway for those looking to start their playing journey with a solid beginner electric guitar, and as a reliable option for seasoned players who take the sub-$200 six-strings on some of the world's biggest stages.

The Sonic series looks to pick up where the Bullet line left off, comprising a quartet of Stratocaster variants, two single-cuts – the Telecaster and Esquire – and a pair of Mustangs, as well as a double helping of basses.

Across the board, the Sonic models look fairly similar to the Bullets that came before them, though the presence of new finishes – such as California Blue, Flash Pink and Torino Red – and the arrival of models previously absent from the Bullet range – clock the single-humbucker Strat and Tele – means these guitars look like they have the potential to become even more successful than their ancestors.

In terms of price, each and every Sonic model you see below, with the exception of the basses, are available for $199 – the same as their Bullet forebears. The four-strings are slightly more expensive, but still affordable, starting from $209.

Read on to find out more about each model, including Fender's newly launched demo videos of their tones in action.

Squier Sonic Telecaster

Leading the way is the Squier Sonic Telecaster. Replacing the highly popular Bullet Tele, the Sonic single-cut sports a poplar body, bolt-on maple neck, either a maple or Indian laurel fingerboard, depending on the finish, and 21 narrow tall frets.

So far, it’s all very similar to the Bullet blueprint, with the Sonic Tele also coming equipped with a synthetic bone nut, 25.5” scale length and 9.5” ‘board radius, as well as a set of Squier ceramic single-coils that are wired to a classic Tele control layout.

Hardware-wise, there’s a six-saddle top-loaded bridge, die-cast sealed tuners and a head-adjust truss rod.

In fact, the only differences between this and the Bullet seem to be the colors: classic Butterscotch Blonde and Black finishes are joined by extravagant Torino Red and California Blue options.

Squier Sonic Esquire

Fender Squier Sonic electric guitar

Squier Sonic Esquire in Arctic White (Image credit: Fender)

As a new addition to the Big F’s affordable family, the single-humbucker Squier Sonic Esquire arrives in either Ultraviolet or Arctic White finishes, and boasts the same specs as above aside from the presence of that ceramic humbucker in the bridge position.

Because of this, it’s only got master volume and tone knobs, but otherwise subscribes to the Squier Sonic Telecaster DNA.

Squier Sonic Stratocaster, Stratocaster HSS and Stratocaster HT H

Most of the activity has occurred in the Sonic’s Stratocaster department, which has introduced not one, not two, but four different double-cut variations of Leo Fender’s iconic solidbody shape.

Starting simple, the Sonic Stratocaster flashes the standard three single-coil and tremolo bridge combo, featuring a poplar body, bolt-on maple neck, either a maple or Indian laurel fretboard and a choice of Ultraviolet, California Blue, 2-Color Sunburst or Black finishes.

Other appointments include 21 narrow tall frets, a synthetic bone nut and a vintage-style six-saddle tremolo, while the electronics are headed up by Squier ceramic single-coils and a standard Strat control circuit.

A hardtail version of the above, available in Torino Red and Arctic White, is also available, carrying the same components save the six-saddle HT bridge.

Naturally, a HSS variation of the Squier Sonic Strat is also on the cards. Arriving in Black or the surf-y Tahitian Coral, this model swaps out the ceramic bridge single-coil for a humbucker, though otherwise flashes the same build specs: poplar body, maple neck and vintage-style tremolo.

Fender Squier Sonic electric guitar

Squier Sonic Stratocaster HT H in Flash Pink (Image credit: Fender)

Keeping the single-pickup Esquire company is the final Squier Sonic Strat – the single humbucker, Tom DeLonge-esque Stratocaster HT H. A no-nonsense offering that will cater to fans of Blink-182, sonic simplicity and that mad Hello Kitty Strat that’s become insanely popular, the HT H Strat does away with the frivolities of three single coils and tremolos, instead opting for the bare essentials.

The core ingredients are the same – poplar body, maple neck, 9.5”-radius ‘boards – but these are paired with a single ceramic humbucker, master volume and tone knobs… and that’s about it.

Two bold colorways complement the bold aesthetics: Black and Flash Pink.

Squier Sonic Mustang and Mustang HH

Quite possibly the coolest guitar of the entire Sonic series, the new wallet-friendly Mustang is available in SS and HH configurations, and positively oozes coolness. While the former offers Torino Red and 2-Color Sunburst options, the latter arrives in California Blue or Flash Pink, though each model comprises the same core specs.

You know the drill by now: poplar bodies are paired with maple necks, maple or laurel fingerboards, and an assortment of ceramic pickups, which are wired to control circuits appropriate to the Mustang build.

A notable point, though, is the fact no tremolos are to be seen here. Instead, Fender keeps this Squier simple with just a six-saddle hardtail bridge.

Fender Squier Sonic electric guitar

Squier Sonic Mustang HH in Flash Pink (Image credit: Fender)

Squier Sonic Bronco Bass

Fender Squier Sonic electric guitar

Squier Sonic Bronco Bass in Arctic White (Image credit: Fender)

A new Bronco bass has also made the draft, arriving in Black, Arctic White and Tahitian Coral colorways, and with a functional spec sheet almost identical to its Affinity Series predecessor.

The short-scale four-string offers a 30” scale length, which is partnered with a standard Sonic build setup comprising a poplar body, maple neck and ceramic pickups.

The Bronco is the cheaper bass of the bunch, weighing in at $209.

Squier Sonic Precision Bass

Fender Squier Sonic electric guitar

Squier Sonic Precision Bass in Black (Image credit: Fender)

And for those wanting a full 34” bass experience on a budget, the Sonic Precision Bass – available in Black, 2-Color Sunburst and California Blue – is sure to deliver the goods, offering up classic P Bass playability at a fraction of the usual price.

Again, it’s a poplar body, maple neck and maple or laurel fretboard, with a four-saddle hardtail bridge, split ceramic single-coil pickup and vintage-style open-gear tuners.

Slightly more expensive than its Bronco sibling, the Sonic P Bass is available for $219.

Head over to Fender.com for more info on the new Squier Sonic lineup.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.