Fender goes oddball on a budget with Squier Paranormal guitars
Like Fender's Parallel Universe guitars, the Squier Paranormal series explores bizarre model combinations and "what if?" oddities, but at more budget-friendly price points. The latest release includes a 12-string Jazzmaster, a Strat with Gibson appointments and a re-imagined first guitar.
The official announcement follows the now customary online leaks a couple of months back, and the new batch is made up of four electrics and one bass – all at once familiar but also strangely different.
The Esquire Deluxe is an exploration of what Fender's first electric guitar might have looked like if it was birthed in the 1970s. The 1950 Esquire became the Broadcaster and then the Telecaster, and featured a now iconic single-cut body shape, originally rocked a single bridge-positioned pickup that was quickly joined by a two-pickup version, and had all six tuners positioned at the top of the headstock.
The Paranormal model retains the single pickup design, but goes with a wide-range humbucker at the bridge instead of a single-coil. Interestingly, this has a coil-split feature that's brought into play using a three-position rotary switch to the top of the extended Tele Deluxe-style pickguard. The top position dials in single-coil vibes, the middle lets the humbucker roar, and the bottom bypasses the humbucker volume and tone settings – giving players a good spread of tonal possibilities.
The Strat-O-Sonic is basically a Squier reissue of a 2003/4 Fender guitar that was itself very much a Les Paul Special in Strat clothing. It comes with two alnico soapbar single-coil pickups selected by a three-way pickup switch, features push/pull volume/tone knobs for series/parallel/phase switching, there's a wraparound bridge with compensated saddles for "optimum intonation" and a 24.75-inch scale neck with a 12-inch fretboard radius.
As its name suggests, the Jazzmaster XII model is a 12-string Jazzmaster with a suitably huge hockeystick headstock, at each saddle one string is fed through the body while the other is secured to the bridge, the guitar sports a C-shape neck with graphite reinforcement, and it comes with alnico single-coil Jazzmaster pickups.
The Custom Nashville Stratocaster is a Tele/Strat hybrid with a Strat-shaped body minus any comfort carves, a Tele-like three-saddle bridge, and three single-coil pickups with a five-way selector plus push/pull knobs for adding in the neck pickup to the bridge or middle pickups for more flexible tone options.
The final model in the latest Paranormal releases is the Rascal Bass HH, with a short 30-inch scale neck and C-shaped profile, a Mustang Bass-style bridge, offset Bass VI body, and wide-range humbucking pickups.
All of the new Squier Paranormal guitars are priced at US$429.99, with the exception of the $449.99 bass.
Product page: Paranormal series