11/26/2016

1980s Korean-made Squier Bullet SSH Electric Guitar



This Bullet was in for a simple restring and setup and it turned-out sounding and playing exactly as I expected -- the feel is great but the sound is ho-hum. These Squier-branded Bullets made in Korea are the direct inheritors of the Bullet branding used on American-made Fenders of the early 80s. The shrunken Strat body shape was first used in the second year of production on American-made Bullets and then it moved to Japanese-made Bullets (with Squier branding) and finally ended-up on these late 80s/early 90s Korean-made Bullets.

This guitar was almost under the radar for the blog but I wanted to post on it because I figured I'd find a slew of misinformation (and I did) about them on the net including folks supposing that they were mated guitars using American necks and hardware... or Japanese guitars with mixed electronics... or this or that explanation that simply doesn't add up. The fact is that this is a "Super Strat" variant of the "cheap student import Bullet" and simply happens to be less-evident than the more "Standard Strat" models that can be had all the time on eBay in their Korean and Japanese forms.

Kindly, a Korean Fender serial list can be had at this link, though it doesn't narrow the date range very much.


The guitar has no pickguard and instead has rear-mounted controls and "pickup rings" to hide their mounts. The whammy apes the more modern American-style unit in that it has two posts and floats (for up/down use) more freely than the vintage multi-screw types.

The pickups are more than likely using ceramic magnets and the neck and middle positions are standard, plastic-bobbin single coils while the bridge is a "Super Strat"-style humbucker. As I said before, the tone is ho-hum and the overwound humbucker is ballsy but -- that's it. The single coils do sound a few times better than your average cheap import of right now, though.


Sealed tuners make tuning-up easy-peasy and stable.


The neck has a fairly modern feel in its slim, flatter-radius cut, but it's nice and stable and has held-up well. The dots are pearl, the board is rosewood, and the frets are jumbos.


I could imagine this as a nice little hot rod if, say, a P90-in-humbucker-case was put in the bridge instead. I just simply do not like these powerful buckers... there's no nuance to their tone.

Also, note the Tele-stye neck pocket. While the bodies and electronics on these guitars may be unremarkable, the necks are pretty nice and something like this would make a good neck to swap over to a Tele body.


The skunk-stripe seems a bit surplus on a rosewood slab-board neck, but it does look neat and the finish over the maple has aged to a nice "vintage" color.


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