“Legendary design and quintessential tone for today’s aspiring guitar hero”: Squier expands beginner-friendly Affinity Series with lightweight, slimmed-down guitars and basses at affordable prices

Squier Affinity 2024
(Image credit: Squier)

Squier has announced a mega-drop of beginner-friendly models that has something for everyone, refreshing its Affinity Series with scaled down electric guitars, including short-scale Jaguars and HSS Strats – plus a Starcaster Deluxe that is surely one of the coolest budget semi-hollows you will find on the market today.

There new 2024 Affinity Series models also includes the Active Jazz Bass in four and five-string variants, and a passive Jazz Bass VI for those looking for an affordable introduction to six-string bass guitar

And there are some very sweet options for the Telecaster aficionado, especially for those looking for that high-end electric guitar look on a $299 instrument. If that is you, look no further than the Affinity Series Telecaster FMT SH FMT? Flame maple top. And it’s very easy on the eye, resplendent in a choice of Crimson Red Transparent and Mocha finishes. 

The Affinity Series Telecaster FMT SH FMT might be one of the full-scale instruments in this 2024 release, with its 25.5” scale and giving it the familiar dimensions of its siblings in the Fender catalogue, but it too has some player-friendly concessions to make it a neat choice for younger players, with a generous belly cut taking some of the weight out of the okoume body and making it a more ergonomically forgiving.

It is equipped with a ceramic humbucker at the neck and a ceramic single-coil at the bridge. The C profile neck is very much of a piece with contemporary Fender designs and it is no surprise that the Big F’s more affordable brand is rolling these out too. It is a neck shape that is kind to young fingers.

The Crimson Red Transparent model has an Indian laurel fingerboard, while the Mocha version has maple. Both have a 9.5” radius, 21 medium jumbo frets. Other details include the six-saddle through-body bridge, knurled metal control knobs and sealed die-cast tuners and for a £/$299 instrument these look very nice indeed.

If you are in the market for a Telecaster but would like a lighter instrument, the Affinity Series Telecaster Thinline – offered in 3-Color Sunburst and Olympic White – might be just the thing. It has a chambered poplar body, with the distinctive f-holes on the top. These also offer a more traditional Telecaster range of tones, with single-coils at the neck and bridge positions, a three-way pickup selector, volume and tone.

Again, we’ve got the same hardware, the die-cast tuners with split-shafts, the string-through-body six-saddle bridge; the neck and fingerboard proportions are the same, too. And the Olympic White version is offered with an Indian laurel ‘board and black pickguard, the 3-Color Sunburst with maple and a white pickguard. There is no belly cut on these but these will be naturally lightweight. Again, the price is £/$299.

Squier’s 2024 Affinity Series options for the Strat is where things get really interesting. There is a strong case to be made for the Stratocaster Junior HSS being the ultimate beginner electric guitar

It is purpose-built for smaller players; with a scaled-down body, a 24” scale length, and all kinds of tones for all kinds of styles from its humbucker/single-coil/single-coil pickup configuration – plus a 2-point tremolo unit for introductions to whammy bar vibrato – this is the one to get the kid that’s learning.

No question, this will be approachable, lightweight, and versatile, with and the 3-Color Sunburst and Ice Blue Metallic finish options are pretty sweet too. It is priced £239 / $249.

Staying on the short 24” scale theme, we’ve got some Jaguars here, offered in Mystic Metallic Brown and 3-Color Sunburst. These budget offsets wear their finishes well, and have poplar bodies, bolt-on maple necks with that same C profile we see across the range. There are a pair of single-coil pickups and a floating bridge and vintage style vibrato. It is priced for a beginner.

That scale length is definitely child-friendly. But in truth this looks like a lot of fun for players of all ages and abilities – a very affordable option for some Johnny Marr tones. The Mystic Metallic Brown model has a maple fingerboard, the 3-Colour Sunburst model’s is maple. Both are priced £/$299.

One of the most high-profile signature guitars of 2024 so far is the Fender Tom Delonge Starcaster, which was launched in April. At £1,149 / $1,199, however, that is out of range for many beginner players – which is where this new Affinity Series Starcaster Deluxe comes...

This Starcaster Deluxe presents itself as A) an good value alternative, and B) with dual humbuckers, a more versatile instrument, and one that might take establish the model's cult appeal among a new generation of players. 

Priced £339/$349 is offered in Olympic White (like DeLonge’s model) and Sienna Sunburst, it has that classic offset semi-hollow build, the Strat headstock that makes it look like a hybrid model, and the dual-humbucker pairing makes it an excellent option for those looking for a fatter, warmer tone. 

There is a centre block in these models, which should tame unwanted feedback at high volume.

Now for those beginner bass guitar options. Here we have two four and five-string Active Jazz Basses, each featuring a pair of Squier Noiseless J Bass pickups, with an active 2-band preamp to control them.

The Jazz Bass is offered in Mystic Sea Foam Green and Olympic White, while the Jazz Bass VI is finished in Black Metallic. With vintage details such as the block inlay and open-gear tuners, they’ve got a nice understated vibe. Squier also promises a lightweight body. These are priced £289 / $329 for the four-string, £299 / $349 for the five-string.

The six-string version arrives with a similar aesthetic to the five-string, albeit with dot inlays not blocks, with the Black Metallic finish making it look a little like something Jason Newsted would have rocked circa 1990. 

The body is thin and contoured and Squier again promises it will be lightweight, which is a boon to younger players, sure, but we are quite sure the idea of a slimmed down bass would poll favourably among players of all ages. This has a pair of passive single-coil bass pickups, sealed tuners, an Indian laurel fingerboard, and it is priced £319 / $329, which, as six-strings go, is one cheap bass guitar.

Last, but not least – and certainly not if you are looking for an all-in-one package for the beginner player – we have the Strat Mustang pack, which offers one Black Affinity Series Stratocaster, one Mustang Micro headphone amp, a pair of PreSonus HD9 studio headphones, plus a guitar strap, guitar picks, and some online guitar lessons via three months of Fender Play. 

All of which is offered for just £369 / $429. Not bad. For more details, head over to Fender.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.