Lovers of offset guitars have it easy these days – in the end, we live in a world full of cheap guitars that are actually good. And the Squier Sonic Mustang is a great example of that.
I recently bought the Torino Red Sonic Mustang and honestly, it made a very good impression on me. I find it hard to believe that it’s a budget model – it just sounds and feels like a much more expensive guitar!
So in today’s review, I want to tell you a bit more about my experience with this guitar and who knows, maybe this post will inspire you to get it for yourself too. All photos and sound samples below are mine, so you can be sure that this axe was tested by an actual human.
Let’s start with a quick sound demo (recorded with the Focusrite Solo audio interface and Logic Pro X).
About My Squier Sonic Mustang
As per usual, I bought my Mustang from Thomann. If you’re from Europe like me, it’s probably your go-to place when it comes to guitars. The 3-year warranty period is just awesome! But if you’re from the US, you can also try Amazon or Sweetwater.
There are a few different color versions of Sonic Mustangs, so if you don’t like that red color – don’t worry! There’s also blue, pink and sunburst as well as a few extra limited edition models. I believe that the blue and pink versions have humbuckers instead of single-coils.
Unboxing & First Impressions
I have to say that it doesn’t matter if I’m getting a cheap or an expensive guitar, unboxing is always a fun experience. And trust me – seeing that beautiful and brand-new red Mustang in a box was just awesome.
That red finish made a great first impression on me – it seemed to be slightly brighter than on the pictures online. I expected it to be darker, but it looks even better and it actually reminds me of a Ferrari.
Body & Neck
It is a quite lightweight guitar. Just like the vast majority of other Squiers, it has a body made of poplar. It’s a very common tonewood which is often used in budget guitars, but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Perhaps it’s not alder or pine, but it’s not too heavy and it’s durable.
The neck of that model is made of maple and it has a C-shape which will be comfortable for most guitarists. My Mustang has a maple fingerboard, but if you don’t like these then you can choose a version with the indian laurel fretboard instead.
What’s important, Squier Sonic Mustang is a short-scale guitar. For those who are not aware, it means that it has a 24″ scale length. As an example, Stratocasters and Telecasters have 25.5″ scale length.
This slight difference affects the overall playability – playing on Mustangs feels a bit different than playing on Strats or Teles. The spaces between frets in Mustangs are a bit shorter, so there’s less space for your fingers. And this is actually a good thing for those who have small hands. But even if you have large hands, you can get used to it.
As you can see on the pictures, my Mustang has a set of single-coil pickups. I’d love to try the version with humbuckers too – it would be cool to directly compare tones of these two models.
The pickups are basic, but they don’t sound bad at all – they give you access to that classic Mustang sound. It’s bright, but it’s not the same as a Strat. It’s difficult to describe it – you’ll hear it in the sound demo. Generally, it’s a very versatile axe that can be used for a lot of different genres.
And what’s important, it also works extremely well with overdrive. That’s not a surprise though – in the end, there is a reasony why Kurt Cobain loved playing on Mustangs.
The Sonic Mustang doesn’t have the slide pickup switches, so it’s not exactly the same as some of the original Fender Mustangs. But maybe that’s a good thing? A regular 3-way pickup switch and two controls (tone and volume) make it extremely easy to use.
When it comes to hardware, it’s all pretty basic, but it gets the job done. The tuners feel a bit cheap, but they hold the tuning well. There’s also a hardtail bridge – unfortunately, there’s no tremolo (which for me is a disadvantage), but at the same time it eliminates potential issues with tuning stability.
Maybe I was just lucky, but the factory setup of my Sonic Mustang was great! Same with the overall build quality, I didn’t notice any major issues here.
The Mustangs from Sonic Series are made either in China or Indonesia (my Mustang comes from China). Right now I can’t confirm whether Chinese models have better setups or not.
But it seems that Squier recently improved their quality control in China, because my Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster had a fantastic factory setup as well.
I didn’t notice any problems with the buzzing strings or intonation. The fret edges were not sharp, so it didn’t require any extra work.
So when it comes to the setup – well done, Squier!
I’d give this Mustang 9/10 for the overall playability. Why not 10? Well, in my opinion short-scale guitars like Jaguars and Mustangs work best with thicker strings (like 10s or 11s). Squier uses 9-42 strings, so it may be a good idea to replace them at some point.
But apart from that, what’s there not to like? The guitar was ready to go straight after unboxing and it was just fun to use. So if you’re thinking about getting this model as you first electric guitar, dude – this is exactly what you should be looking for.
You probably wonder where’s the catch.. and the truth is that there is no catch in this case. There is a few things that you should be aware of (and that could be considered as disadvantages), but none of them should discourage you from getting this model.
In my opinion, the Sonic Mustang has three cons:
- it usually comes without a gig bag
- no tremolo bridge
- it may require changing strings if you want to sound and feel even better
Most budget guitars comes without cases, so that’s totally undestandable. Just keep in mind that it may be a good idea to add a soft case (or a better hardshell case) to the cart before ordering your axe.
The lack of tremolo bridge is probably the biggest disadvantage, because there’s nothing that you can do with it, unless you want to buy a high quality Mustang bridge (which may be expensive). But it’s not the end of the world. If you’re a beginner, you probably wouldn’t even use it that often.
And when it comes to the strings, replacing them is optional – the factory 9s are not bad, but thicker ones will be better.
I recorded a full video review about that Mustang, so if you have a few spare minutes, I highly encourage you to check out the video below. You can also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and watch my other reviews of cheap guitars.
If you’re a guitar nerd like me, you probably won’t to know absolutely everything before ordering your next guitar. We’re talking about things like fretboard radius, scale length, nut width and more.
You can check out full specifications for example on Thomann, but I also created this little table below with the most important specs. Hopefully that helps!
|6-Saddle Hardtail Bridge
|China / Indonesia
|22 Narrow Tyle Frets
|2x Ceramic Single Coils
|42 mm (1.65″)
Who Should Get It?
The Sonic Mustang is an excellent instrument for all aspiring guitarists who are just starting out. But don’t get me wrong – it’s not only for beginners.
I’m sure that more advanced players will love it too, especially after a few upgrades. Putting some better tuners, pickups and strings will turn it into a killer axe.
So although it’s a cheap guitar, it’s a great foundation for future modifications. Why? The answer is simple – VERY comfortable neck. You can changee the electronics, you can change hardware, but you can’t change the feel of the neck (unless you want to literally get a new neck).
Summing up, I’m pretty sure that all guitarists will be happy after getting the Sonic Mustang. It’s the cheapest Mustang made by Squier and Fender, so honestly it’s probably the best option that you can get at this price level.
Obviously, if you want your Mustang to last you for years to come, you need a proper maintenance routine.
Don’t worry though – it’s nothing complicated. Maintaning a Squier Mustang isn’t different than maintainng any other electric guitar.
You just need to stick to the basics. That includes: cleaning the body and neck regularly and removing any buildup of dirt from frets, changing the strings every couple of months and keeping the guitar inside of a gig bag or hardshell case.
As long as you’re not planning on throwing that guitar at walls (or smashing it on stage like Kurt Cobain), the Sonic Mustang will last you for decades. And if something goes wrong – visit your local luthier and sort it out right away.
Squier Sonic Mustang vs Telecaster?
If you can’t decide whether you should get the Mustang or the Tele, I actually recorded a comparison of these two guitars. Have a listen and figure out whether you should stick to the Mustang or maybe consider getting the Telecaster instead!
Is There Any Alternative?
To be honest, it won’t be easy to find a beter cheap Mustang at this price level. The only alternative option that I can think of is the Harley Benton MS-60, which is a really cool budget Mustang copy.
That Harley Benton isn’t as beautiful as this Torino Red Mustang, but at the same time it has a tremolo bridge and pickup switches similar to the original Fender Mustang. It also sounds pretty good – you can check out my video review below.
Apart from the MS-60, you can also consider getting the Squier Classic Vibe Mustang. It’s significantly more expensive though. We’re talking about paying two or even three times more than paying for a Sonic Mustang.
But the CV Mustang is awesome too! I had it and it sounded and felt great. It was actually very similar to the Mexican-made Fender Mustangs from the Player Series.
So the Classic Vibe Mustang may be a better option for those with a bit higher budget. I’d say that it’s a better guitar than the Sonic Mustang, but of course it doesn’t mean that the Sonic isn’t worth the money either.
Alternatively, you can also check out some of the other modeles made by Squier – such as Jazzmasters or Jaguars. Jazzmasters have a regular scale length (25.5″) and Jaguars have a short scale length (24″) same as Mustangs, so keep that in mind before making your choice.
Summing up, Squier Sonic Mustang is an extremely well-made electric guitar that punches above its weight. It’s crazy that we can get such good guitars at such low prices these days. You guys have it too easy these days!
Thanks for checking out my review, hopefully it was helpful and you found what you were looking for. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel called Best Guitars Now – especially if you’re interested in learning more about budget guitars and budget amps.
If you end up with getting this Mustang for yourself, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughtts under this article – I’m sure that opinion will be valuable for other readers who are also considering getting this model :)!