Squier - being the budget-friendly arm of Fender - has been responsible for some of the best beginner electric guitars that you can get your hands on. If you’ve ever listened to music we guarantee you’ll have heard a Fender - or possibly even a Squier - electric guitar.
Squier has many different ranges within its ranks, with ‘Bullet’ being the entry-level offering. Unlike some other guitar companies, coming in on the ground floor with a Squier guitar isn’t the disappointing move you’d expect, with some fantastic build quality and value for money shining through. If you’re looking for a beginner electric guitar and want a great place to start, or you’re someone with small hands, then the Squier Bullet Mustang could be the one for you.
Straight out of the box, the Squier Bullet Mustang definitely looks the part. It’s available in Imperial Blue, Sonic Gray and a standard Black gloss finish - and this Imperial Blue model we’re testing is definitely eye-catching. The finish is bold, even and pretty much flawless, which is impressive for a guitar that costs well below $200. Paired up with the white pickguard and two Squier humbuckers, the Bullet Mustang is a guitar that looks like it’s ready for action.
In our hands, this Mustang is definitely on the small side. That being said - it’s not uncomfortable or cramped like some shorter scale guitars. The diminutive thickness of the neck and body do make us feel like we could snap it in half at times, but the pros of lightness and a super playable neck soon outweigh the negatives - and within five or 10 minutes we get lost in playing the thing. Its unplugged resonance is another surprise factor, matching that of much more expensive guitars.
Now, if references to ‘short scale’ guitars have been whooshing straight over your head, then let me explain. The ‘scale length’ of a guitar is the distance between the bridge (on the body) and the nut (the small white string guide near the headstock). Most standard Fender and Squier guitars have a scale length of 25.5 inches - but as the Mustang was designed to be a ‘short scale’ guitar, it only has a scale length of 24 inches. This means that the Mustang has less string tension, and is therefore a bit easier for younger people and beginners to play.
Luckily for the Bullet Mustang, it doesn’t just look and feel good - it sounds good too. And we mean like, really good.
Squier’s pickup choice of two full-size humbuckers is fairly atypical for a Mustang, but in the case of the Bullet Mustang it works a treat. They’ve got some depth and warmth to them, without sacrificing their fairly trademark ‘Fender’ tone. Granted, they don’t offer the same kind of versatility as a Stratocaster or Telecaster pickup configuration, but the bright, snappy tones come in their droves when the Mustang is running through a clean channel on the bridge pickup.
The quality of the neck pickup was another surprise for us, producing some really lovely thick tones. It’s not ‘traditional’ Mustang territory, granted - but as a general use electric guitar, there’s little to complain about. They respond to gain and dirt as well as any other stock pickups and are perfect for making a true racket when paired with an overdriven amp.
In terms of hardware, the Bullet Mustang pleasantly surprised us, with a solid six-saddle hardtail bridge and die-cast tuners holding up well in all of our tests. Especially when it comes to guitars for beginners, hardware is an often overlooked, but crucially important factor. If your guitar goes out of tune more and more with each chord played, then it won’t be a guitar you want to pick up very much. Thankfully, the Bullet Mustang doesn’t suffer too dramatically from these hardware qualms.
For the price, the Squier Bullet Mustang is a pretty impressive piece of gear. It sounds, plays, feels and looks good - everything you need a beginner electric to do. Yes, it definitely feels like a cheap instrument in some areas, but with a target audience of children, beginners and those on a budget, the good by far outweighs the bad.
Squier Bullet Mustang review: Spec
- Price: $189/£109
- Body: Basswood
- Neck: Maple
- Scale: 24”
- Fingerboard: Laurel
- Frets: 22
- Pickups: Squier humbuckers
- Controls: Master volume & tone
- Contact: Squier