GEAR 2021 (opens in new tab): Fender never rest long on the laurels of their illustrious past – every year they consistently make their classic electric guitar (opens in new tab) designs fresh with new design tweaks and creative ideas. And a brand new Squier Contemporary range of Strats, Tele and Jaguar models embrace that philosophy in name, aesthetic and spec.
The latest Contemporary line is the result of "a growing market abuzz with new players inspired in part by the 2020 Fender Play Through initiative" and while the Custom Shop is making $15,000 Mike McCready signature model (opens in new tab), the company is still committed to getting guitar into new hands. The idea of a Fender for everyone is truer than it ever was. But that doesn't mean this affordable range is skimping on spec.
• NAMM 2021 (opens in new tab) is cancelled, but we'll be covering all the big January gear announcements right here on MusicRadar.
All these models feature modern-voiced Squier SQR pickups, roasted maple necks, the sculpted neck heels we saw introduced on the Fender American Ultra (opens in new tab) and American Professional II (opens in new tab) ranges, plus painted headstocks with chrome coloured logos.
Select models also include switching options for additional versatility. Let's take a closer look…
Stratocaster Special and Special HT (both $429.99 USD / £379 / €399)
Don't be fooled by the proximity of the middle and bridge pickups on the Stratocaster Special and Stratocaster Special HT; those are three alnico Squier SQR single-coil pickups (opens in new tab).
Other features on the Special above include a 2-point tremolo, 22 jumbo frets along with the aforementioned roasted maple neck and sculpted neck heel.
The Special is available in Black and Sky Burst Metallic finish options.
The HT model stands for hardtail with a string-through-body and the same specs elsewhere as the tremolo-equipped Special elsewhere but with Pearl White and Sunset Metallic finish options.
Stratocaster HH FR ($449 USD / £369 / €429)
The Squier Contemporary Stratocaster brings a pair of SQR Atomic humbucking pickups with coil-taps and a double-locking Floyd Rose tremolo. It's even one of our picks for the best Squier guitars.
Finish options are Shell Pink Pearl and the very fetching Gunmetal Metallic.
Telecaster RH ($429.99 USD, £379, €399)
There's three finish options for the Squier Contemporary Telecaster RH; Pearl White, the classic Shoreline Gold, and Gunmetal Metallic. The pickups are a pair of SQR humbuckers (opens in new tab).
These deviate from the rest of the series with headstocks that match their body finishes.
Jaguar HH ST $449.99 USD / £369 / €429
That Shoreline Gold really shines on the Squier Contemporary Jaguar HH ST alongside the Sky Burst Metallic finish option. This one is also packing switching options for its SQR Atomic humbuckers that could make it the most tonally diverse of the whole series.
In addition to a coil-tap there's series/parallel switching on the upper control plate. A stop tailpiece also offers peace of mind for alternate tunings over the traditional Jag tremolo.