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Review: Squier Sonic Esquire H – Best Single Humbucker Tele?

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Today’s review will be really special – we’re gonna talk about a very cool guitar with just one humbucker – the famous Squier Sonic Esquire H.

I think it’s awesome that Squier decided to bring these back – for those who are not aware, the original Fender Esquire was actually the first solid body axe sold by Fender back in the ’50s.

So in this article, we’re going to take a close look on that model to eventually find out if it’s worth it (and if it’s better than a regular Telecaster with single-coils).

About Squier Sonic Esquire H

squier sonic esquire h review

The Squier Sonic Esquire H is not just a guitar; it’s a piece of history, reimagined for the modern player. Its roots trace back to the original Fender Esquire, a trailblazer in the guitar world. Launched in the early 1950s, the Fender Esquire was Fender’s first foray into the solid-body electric guitar market.

It was known for its simplicity, durability, and the unique twang that became synonymous with the Fender name. The Esquire was a one-pickup wonder, creating a niche for itself in an industry that was just beginning to explore the potential of electric guitars.

So when I found out that Squier decided to manufacture these guitars again, I immediately thought that it’s going to be awesome. And when I heard about their price, things got even better.

Here’s the official sound demo.

Body & Neck

When we dive into the Body & Neck of the Squier Sonic Esquire, we’re looking at the core of what makes this guitar both a joy to play and a durable instrument.

The body is crafted from poplar, a choice that strikes a fantastic balance between quality and affordability. Poplar is known for its lightweight nature and balanced tonal qualities, making it an excellent choice for a guitar body, especially in this price range.

Moving on to the neck, we find it’s made from maple, a classic choice that guitarists have loved for decades. Maple is renowned for its sturdiness and resilience, which translates into a reliable playing experience over the years.

esquire closeup photo along with the poplar body, maple neck and laurel fingerboard

This bolt-on maple neck also contributes to the crisp and bright tonal character of the guitar, a signature feature that many players seek.

The fingerboard, made from laurel, offers a smooth and comfortable playing surface. It’s adorned with pearloid dot inlays, adding a touch of elegance to the overall design. What’s particularly noteworthy here are the 21 narrow tall frets.

This feature is a significant plus, as it enhances playability for a wide range of playing styles. These frets offer greater control and ease for intricate fretwork, making it an ideal choice for both beginners finding their way around the fretboard and experienced players executing complex solos and chords.

Electronics

The electronics of the Esquire center around a setup that’s as straightforward as it is effective. One control for volume and one for tone – that’s pretty usual and there’s nothing exciting about that.

benefits of single humbucker

However, the most interesting feature about that axe is the single humbucker.

Here’s what makes it so cool:

  • Ceramic Construction: This humbucker uses ceramic magnets, known for their ability to produce a crisp and powerful tone. The ceramic construction contributes to a sound that’s both clear and assertive.
  • Warm and Rich Tones: One of the key characteristics of this humbucker is its ability to churn out warm and rich tones. It’s perfect for genres that require a full-bodied sound, like blues or classic rock.
  • Grit and Edge: When pushed, the humbucker can deliver a gritty and edgy sound. This makes it suitable for more aggressive styles, such as punk or hard rock, providing a raw sonic edge that cuts through the mix.
  • Simplicity and Focus: The choice to go with a single humbucker is a nod to simplicity and focus. Instead of navigating between multiple pickups, you have one source of sound that’s capable of a wide tonal range. This setup encourages players to explore and maximize the potential of a single, yet powerful, pickup.
  • Direct and Uncluttered Output: With no other pickups to color the sound, the output from this humbucker is direct and uncluttered. It offers a purity of tone that’s hard to achieve with more complex setups.

Summing up – the single humbucker on the Squier Sonic Esquire proves that less is more.

Hardware

The hardware on the Squier Sonic Esquire is a blend of functionality and style, reinforcing the guitar’s overall quality. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Bridge: The guitar features a 6-Saddle Top-Load Tele Bridge with block saddles. This design ensures stable tuning and accurate intonation, making it reliable for both studio recordings and live performances.
  • Tuners: Equipped with enclosed die-cast tuners, the Squier Sonic Esquire maintains tuning stability. These tuners are smooth and responsive, allowing for quick and precise adjustments.
  • Pickguard: A single-layer black pickguard not only protects the body but also adds to the guitar’s sleek and minimalist aesthetic.
  • Hardware Finish: The chrome hardware used throughout the guitar adds a touch of class and durability. Chrome is not only visually appealing but also resistant to corrosion and wear, ensuring the guitar’s longevity.

Potential Disadvantages

Let’s be real – cheap guitars usually aren’t that ideal. I think that all these flaws aren’t that relevant, but here are a few things that may discourage you:

  • Single Pickup Limitation:
    • Limited Tonal Variety: The single humbucker setup, while powerful, offers less tonal flexibility compared to guitars with multiple pickups.
    • Not Ideal for Certain Genres: This guitar might not be the best fit for genres that require a wide array of sounds, such as jazz or progressive rock.
  • Niche Appeal:
    • Specific Audience: The minimalist design and straightforward setup might appeal more to purists or players who prefer simplicity, potentially alienating those who seek versatility and complexity in their instruments.
  • Factory Setup:
    • While the factory setup is generally decent, players may need to invest in some personal adjustments or modifications to suit their specific play style or preferences.

Specifications

If you’re a nerd like me and you want to know all the details before the purchase, you can check out the table that I created for you.

FeatureDetails
BodyPoplar
NeckMaple (Bolt-on)
FingerboardLaurel
Fretboard InlaysPearloid Dot
Scale Length648 mm (25.5″)
Fretboard Radius241 mm (9.5″)
Nut Width42 mm (1.650″)
Frets21 Narrow Tall
PickupCeramic Humbucker
Controls21 Narrow Tall
PickguardSingle-Layer Black
Bridge6-Saddle Top-Load Tele
TunersEnclosed Die-Cast
HardwareChrome

Squier Sonic Esquire H vs Sonic Telecaster

I recently tested the Sonic Telecaster and it was awesome, but to be honest, due to the different pickup setting, this is a completely different guitar.

squier sonic telecaster

I think that both of these guitars are worth the money, but if you can’t decide whether you should get the Esquire or the Tele, you need to listen to their sound demos and eventually figure out what kind of tone you prefer more.

Here’s a table that compares both of these guitars – as you can see, most of the features are actually similar.

SpecificationSquier Sonic Esquire HSquier Sonic Telecaster
BodyPoplarPoplar
NeckMaple (Bolt-on)Maple (Bolt-on)
FingerboardLaurelMaple
Fretboard InlaysPearloid DotBlack Dot
Scale Length648 mm (25.5″)648 mm (25.5″)
Fretboard Radius241 mm (9.5″)241 mm (9.5″)
Nut Width42 mm (1.650″)42 mm (1.650″)
Frets21 Narrow Tall21 Narrow Tall
Pickup ConfigurationCeramic Humbucker2 Ceramic Single Coils
ControlsMaster Volume, Master ToneMaster Volume, Master Tone
PickguardSingle-Layer BlackSingle-Layer Black
Bridge6-Saddle Top-Load Tele6-Saddle Top-Load Tele
TunersEnclosed Die-CastEnclosed Die-Cast
HardwareChromeChrome

My Experience With Squier Guitars

Generally, I’m a huge fan of Squier Guitars. I tested A LOT of them throughout the years, and you can read more about my favorite Squiers in this in-depth article.

squier classic vibe jaguar

Are Squiers better than Fenders? I doubt it. Well, some Squiers have the potential to compete with some Mexican-made Fenders, but in the end, the Fenders will almost always win.

So in my opinion, this Esquire will never be the same as a high quality Fender, but considering the fact that these models are EXTREMELY rare (the original models from the 50s cost literally thousands of dollars), getting this Squier is simply not a bad idea.

What would I do with it? Well, I would probably replace the tuners and maybe replace this humbucker with something even more powerful. And that would make this axe into a real killer.

But you don’t have to do that – for most people, the Esquire will be as good as it is in its original setting.

Other Guitars Worth Recommending

For those who are looking for more gear recommendations, I highly recommend checking out my YouTube channel called Best Guitars Now – I reviewed dozens of electric and acoustic guitars and I’m regularly recording new videos.

te-20 and te-62 photo

But if I had to choose a few other axes that are worth recommending, I’d definitely choose:

  • Harley Benton TE-62 – an incredible budget Telecaster that in my opinion is underpriced. These Roswell pickups REALLY do the job.
  • Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar – one of my favorite guitars of all time! It’s a bit more expensive than the Esquire, but it’s ideal for those who love indie and alternative rock
  • Harley Benton MR-Classic – this Mosrite copy really gets the job done and it’s not only cheap, but also very versatile

Of course, you can read more about all of these guitars on my blog too 🙂

Final Thoughts

Summing up, it’s awesome that Squier decided to bring the Esquire back. It’s a very cool guitar, although it may not be appealing for everyone.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of that model. I like the idea that less is more and I think that you can still create an amazing tone with just one humbucker. In the end, it makes you appreciate it more.

If you end up with getting it for yourself, feel free to leave a comment down below. Share your thoughts with our readers – I’m sure that someone will benefit from reading about your point of view!