Squier Deluxe Hot Rails Strat
Squier Deluxe Hot Rails Strat

Deluxe Hot Rails Strat, STC-Shaped Guitar from Squier in the Stratocaster series.

King Loudness 12/30/2011

Squier Deluxe Hot Rails Strat : King Loudness's user review

« Decent enough... »

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The Squier Deluxe Series Hot Rail Strat is a recent offering from the company that harkens back to the era when walls of Marshalls ruled the world and the tones being dished out were thick, meaty and rockin'! This guitar pays homage to that in its looks and its tones. It features a basswood body, a maple neck with rosewood fretboard and 22 frets, an oh so cool CBS style headstock, sealed tuners, 6 screw fulcrum point tremolo and a trio of Seymour Duncan designed Hot Rail pickups mated to standard Strat controls. They're based on the real deal Seymour Hot Rail pickups that are often found in much more expensive guitars, but built overseas to a price point. This does offer some better tones than what you would find in a stock Squier Strat with OEM pickups.


The design of this guitar is reasonably ergonomic. Much like the seventies Fenders it is a little bit blockier and less contoured than some of the more vintage themed models. However being many shredders with fleeting fingers have played on guitars like this, it's not a major issue. Squier's QC on these guitars isn't as good as some other models in their line. I've noticed issues with sharp fret ends, poor setups, cheaper quality parts, etc. Not particularly impressive when the Classic Vibe models are flawless and sell for less than $100 more. The upper fret access isn't bad but again, the blocky neck heel and the sharp fret ends really do compromise things.

Getting a good tone out of this guitar is not difficult. The stock pickups offer a nice meaty tone that really works well for more punchy rock and shred settings. They're also Hot Rails so noise isn't a paramount issue like with the standard pickups. The guitar isn't as versatile as a CV model, but it does offer some nice tones when you use it for gutsy distorted tones.


This guitar was built for heavier sounding tones a-la Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Yngwie, etc. It's not really meant for cleaner blues or country tones, at least from my testing. I found the cleans to overdrive too early to work for true vintage flavour, and the the mid gain tones just had too much output for what I perceive to be right for that. However, the higher gain sounds through a nice EL34 loaded tube amp were right on the money for punchy rock rhythms or lead tones. The neck pickup is nice and fluid sounding, and the bridge pickup is very punchy and clear a-la Ritchie Blackmore. Definitely a better sounding instrument than I was expecting.


All in all I think the Squier Deluxe Series Hot Rails Strat is a decent guitar. It offers a cool rocky look and great sounding rail pickups for heavier music. The fit and finish really leaves something to be desired so be prepared to put in a little bit of work if you want this thing to play like butter. At $280 new it's priced on the average side... you might be wiser to get a used Squier Strat and drop the pickups in later, thus saving the $$$. Try before you buy... you might find one that just rocks.