Fret-King 'Black Label' Country Squire Semitone Special review

Possibly the most over-looked brand in the history of overlooked brands, Fret-King continues to offer affordable and intelligently designed guitars. This one’s rather special...

Fret-King 'Black Label' Country Squire Semitone Special review
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

A well-designed T-style with boundless potential for modding that underscores Fret-King's reputation for affordable quality.


  • +

    Typically tidy, well-designed and well-priced.

  • +

    Considerable sound potential.

  • +

    Heaps of features.

  • +

    Gigbag included.


  • -

    The Vari-coil control needs a better taper.

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Exactly why Fret-King has never hit the big-time is beyond us. The company has consistently produced good guitars, and has always ticked the affordable box at its ‘Black Label’ level.

The brand parted company with its original owner and designer, Trev Wilkinson, in 2018, but there remains no shortage of guitars, now made in India. The current range is certainly expansive, covering numerous classics with the Strat-inspired Corona, the Eclat’s take on a Les Paul and, as here, the Tele-derived Country Squire.

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Dave Burrluck
Gear Reviews Editor, Guitarist

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.