If you’re thinking about getting a Tele and you don’t want to overpay for a new Fender, there’s one guitar that you should be aware of – the Squier Sonic Telecaster. It’s a pretty new model released by this brand a few months ago.
I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews of that Tele, so I decided to check it out. And honestly, it’s a great electric guitar. Considering how cheap and playable it is, the Sonic Telecaster probably one of the best budget Teles that you can find on the market right now.
Let’s be honest – it’s not the best axe in the world. There’s a few things that could be better, but generally most guitars at this price level are far worse. Squier did a really good job with the Sonic Series – I already tested the Sonic Stratocaster and it was great too.
So in today’s review, I want to tell you a bit more about that model and what makes so cool. All photos and demos below are mine, so you can be sure that this guitar tested by an actual human. Let’s start with a quick sample!
About My Squier Sonic Tele
As always, I got my Tele from Thomann – they have a 3-year warranty which is a deal breaker for me. It arrived quickly and safely. I chose the Butterscotch Blonde finish, but there’s a few more of them – including Black, Torino Red and California Blue.
The unboxing was fun! I already knew that Sonic guitars are great, but still I was happy like a child when I saw this awesome vintage-looking Tele. You can never go wrong with a Telecaster with that finish, it just always looks awesome.
Body & Neck
The guitar has a quite lightweight poplar body and a comfortable C-shaped maple neck. I wouldn’t say that it’s thin, but it’s definitely comfortable. I chose the version with the maple fingerboard, but if you’re into that kind of vibe, these Teles are also available with laurel fretboards.
And just like most of the other Teles, this model has 21 narrow tall frets. I didn’t see any sharp edges, so that’s definitely a good thing.
There’s not that much to say about the hardware – it’s chrome and it’s just okay. It’s definitely not the best, but since it’s a budget guitar, it’s totally understandable that the parts like tuners or bridge are quite basic.
But even though it’s basic, it gets the job done. The tuning stability is great, although I think that replacing the tuners in the future may be beneficial. It’s not necessary though.
I have to say that I was really impressed about these pickups! Generally, guitars at this price level do not sound that good. Sometimes they’re noisy and they have some humming issues. But these ones? Just awesome.
Squier decided to put two ceramic single-coils here, which most importantly have that classic Tele twang. Don’t get me wrong – they’re not the best in the world, but at this price level they offer a very good value for the money.
Setup & Build Quality
If I had to rate the factory setup of Squier Sonic Telecaster from 1 to 10, I’d give it a solid 8 or 9. They guitar was ready to go right after unboxing and it didn’t have any issues with intonation or buzzing strings.
But.. yes, there’s always a but. The original string action was a little bit too high for me – it made bending quite difficult. It’s not a huge problem and it can be easily fixed though.
I feel like Squier really improved quality inspection in their factories. I tested quite a lot of their guitars recently and most of them were really good. I remember that a few years ago it was all a lottery, but I guess that things have changed.
When it comes to the overall build quality, it’s great too. I didn’t notice any issues here, which is quite surprising for a guitar that was made in China.
In my opinion, the playability of that Tele is great! It’s fun and easy to play, but personally I think that it needs lowering the string action. Of course, you can still enjoy playing even without it, but it will definitely make it more comfortable.
I took some time and I recorded a few sound demos for you guys! So sit comfortably, grab your headphones and enjoy the tones of the Sonic Telecaster. Full video review is available here.
If you’re a complete guitar geek and you want to know absolutely everything before your purchase, I know how it feels! I’m the same. So I created a table for you with all the most relevant info about that Tele.
|Pickups||Two Ceramic Single-Coils|
What Could Be Better?
I’m sure that some guitar purists would argue about the things that can be improved in that Telecaster, but to be honest, I don’t see the point of complaining about the disadvantages of that model.
Here’s what I think – if a budget guitar works fine and plays good, that’s fine. If it has a comfortable neck, that’s even better. And if it actually sounds like a more expensive guitar, that means you’re winning!
I’m just used to seeing cheap guitars that are terrible. So when I stumble upon a really good Squier (just like this Sonic Telecaster), I’m actually very impressed. Even though the string action could be lower, I don’t see it as a disadvantage.
I like to say that you get what you pay for, but it’s not entirely true in this case. Why? Because you get even more. You can find a lot of other cheap guitars at that price level and I’m convinced that not all of them are on the same level as this Squier.
If I had to choose what exactly I don’t like about that Tele, I’d say that I’m a bit disappointed that it comes without a gig bag. It would be nice to have it included. But is it a deal breaker? Definitely not.
Who Should Get It?
I’d say that this is a perfect instrument for anyone who’s looking for their first electric guitar. Honestly, it would be awesome to start with an axe like that.
You guys have it too easy! Back in my days (I’m talking about 2008), cheap guitars were rubbish. The quality of budget guitars significantly improved throughout the years, that’s for sure.
But apart from amateurs, I’d also say that this is a fantastic base for upgrades. Let’s say that you want to build your own Tele – maybe you want to get some vintage Tex Mex pickups. If that’s the case, you can definitely do that with the Sonic Telecaster. It’s a great foundation for future modifications.
If you’re a bit more advanced guitarist, you will still enjoy the high quality of that budget axe, but you probably won’t be amazed by it. So if you’re looking for something better, the Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster may be a better option instead.
When it comes to styles music, the Sonic Tele will be perfect for classic rock, blues and country. It will also work well for punk, emo, indie and alternative rock. Due to the fact that it has single-coils, it’s probably not the best choice for metal though. If that’s your favorite style of music, choosing an axe with humbuckers may be a better option for you.
Overall, it’s a great and very versatile electric guitar. I’m sure that a lot of you will really enjoy using it. It’s cheap, it sounds good and it’s comfortable to play – what’s there not to like?
Obviously, if you want your guitar to last you for years to come, you need a proper maintenance routine. Don’t worry though – it’s nothing complicated.
Here’s what you need to do to keep it in mint condition:
- don’t forget about cleaning it – just wipe out the dirt on the body and neck from time to time
- change the strings every couple of months – you don’t have to do it too often, but doing it a few times a year is not a bad idea
- wash your hands before playing – less dirt on your hands means less cleaning in the future!
- keep it in a gig bag or a hardshell case – especially when you’re commuting
- and of course, don’t smash it on stage – even when you’re playing the best live show of your life
These things aren’t that difficult – they usually apply to all guitars out there. Just keep it nice and tidy and you’ll see that it will serve you well for many months to come.
As I mentioned before, the market of cheap guitars is VERY saturated. There are so many brands out there! You can try other Squiers, Harley Bentons, Jay Tursers, Epiphones or Donners. In the end, it all comes down to what you’re exactly looking for.
If you’re thinking about getting something cheaper and you still want a Tele, choosing the Harley Benton TE-20 is probably the best option. This is a crazy cheap guitar which offers a stunning value for the money. But it may require a little bit of work when it comes to setup.
Check out the photo below – it’s the one on the left.
If your budget is a bit higher, you can also try out the Harley Benton TE-62. This one costs pretty much the same amount of money as the Sonic Tele, but it it’s made of different materials and it has slightly different pickups. I tested it out and honestly, it was awesome. Harley Benton guitars are awesome these days.
Alternatively, you can also check out the Squier Classic Vibe Series – these guitars are absolutely amazing too. They have a very unique oldschool vibe. I’m planning on comparing the Sonic Tele with the CV Telecaster in the next few weeks, so if you’re reading this article in 2024, that video is probably available on my YouTube channel.
And if your budget is not limited and you’re thinking about getting a Fender – check out the Fender II Vintera Telecaster. These guitars are awesome.
But generally, there are a lot of other guitars out there. Think about your budget, your skillset and the music you want to play. That should give you a brief idea whether you should get a cheap guitar like this Tele or maybe you should save up a bit more to eventually get something better.
I already heard that Sonic Telecasters by Squier are really good, but I’m very happy that I managed to confirm it on my own. This is a very good electric guitar which will be ideal for anyone who’s starting their musical journey.
I’m sure that intermediate guitarists will also notice that’s it’s not rubbish. Obviously, you can’t expect it to be on the same level as some of the most expensive Teles with the Fender logo on the headstock, but come on – finding a better Telecaster at this price level will be pretty difficult.
That being said, I highly recommend checking it out – you won’t regret it. And if you experience some issues with the high string action, don’t worry – it can be easily sorted out.
Thanks for reading this review, hopefully it was helpful! If you end up with getting this axe for yourself, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts about that model. I’m sure that other readers will benefit from hearing your opinion too.