Squier’s Paranormal range follows in the footsteps of big brother Fender’s Parallel Universe series, releasing bizarre and brilliant combination builds in limited runs. However, the recently-announced Strat-O-Sonic truly lives up to the name – utilizing an Epiphone bridge on a Squier.
The revelation came in a review of the electric guitar posted by YouTuber Landon Bailey (below), who appears to remove the wraparound-style bridge as part of his breakdown [approx. 4.40] – and show-off the clear Epiphone branding on the reverse of the hardware.
To our eyes it looks like the Lightning Bar wraparound bridge found on the current Epiphone Les Paul Special model. We’ve reached out to Fender to confirm.
It is, undoubtedly, world-altering and weird to see Gibson-made components on a Fender-made guitar – sort of like watching your long-divorced parents suddenly make out – yet that is largely the point with the Paranormals.
The Strat-O-Sonic build already showcases some cheekily Gibson-like qualities, notably the Alnico soapbar pickups and two finish options (Vintage Blonde and Crimson Red Transparent) that seem inspired by the perennial TV Yellow and Vintage Cherry/Wine Red finishes of the firm’s Les Paul Special and Studio models.
Then there’s a Gibson-like 24.75” scale-length and the wraparound bridge completes the picture. As our colleagues on MusicRadar, point out, if the firm is only making a small batch then it’s likely more efficient to buy-in than retool machines and produce your own.
We just didn’t expect the bought stuff to come direct from Epiphone, especially when third-party options from the likes of Trev Wilkinson et al are available.
This all said, it’s not the first time Fender has mischievously tipped its cap to its chief rival. Back in 2018, its first Parallel Universe range saw the launch of the Troublemaker Tele – a direct amalgamation of Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul DNA, featuring a mahogany body and bound maple top.
All of which begs the question: given the Squier Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic is a Gibson-inspired electric that’s built in China... does it technically qualify as a Chibson?