An Odd One

33. Squier Vista Series Super-Sonic

THIS distinctly odd bird came into our household as a consequence of two singular obsessions, both of which I’ve touched upon before.
On the one hand, there was Owen’s desire for a Lake Placid Blue Strat. On the other was my growing fascination with Strats with left-handed headstocks (See No 24). I can’t honestly remember where this funny little guitar came from, though I do know where it went – more of which later.
In the 90s, Fender Japan made some very fine guitars, some under the Fender brand name – and others with Squier on the headstock. Squier, of course, had generally been a budget range, but in this case, the build quality of these Vista Series Squiers, made between 1996 and 1998, was easily on a par with the Fenders that were most likely coming off the same machines at the same factory anyway.
The Vista series seemed to be aimed at the alternative/indie rock crowd – I seem to remember Courtney Love having some kind of signature model – and they were certainly quirky enough. The Super-Sonic definitely fitted that weird and whacky offset vibe, with its squat, upside-down body and large, 70s-style reverse headstock – slightly oddly, fitted with a 70s-style bullet truss rod adjuster, but still boasting a four-bolt fixing at the heel.
I’d had half an idea I might take off the neck and put it on a Strat, until I discovered the Super-Sonic had a 24″ scale length – same as the Jaguars and Mustangs beloved of many of the indie crowd – and a full inch and a half shorter than the Strat. So much for that idea… It would never have quite played in tune.

Owen with the Super-Sonic

Still, was a beautifully-made instrument. It played well and the blue sparkle (almost Lake Placid Blue, but not quite!) was rather fetching. It had a Strat-style bridge and tremolo system and a very non-standard neckplate (with the strap button attached at the heel via one of the neck screws in a most non-Fender way). The noise came from a fairly indifferent pair of humbuckers – the bridge one slanted the opposite way to a Strat pickup. Oh, and no tone control, just a volume control for each pickup, a la Gibson. Weird, and indeed, whacky.
I can’t remember exactly what I paid for it, but it must have been cheap enough to take a chance on. I played it out a few times, as did Owen, but neither of us ever really took to it. Fortunately, my pal Dave Werewolf did, so I sold it to him. He tells me he still has it among the vast heap of guitars in his magic lockup.

The back of the body: Mote the odd-shaped neckplate with the strap button attached via one of the neck screws – presumably for the sake of balance

Published by 43guitarsandcounting

I'm a musician, studio owner, writer and former specialist broadcaster of far too many years experience. I started writing and posting this daily blog on Facebook at the beginning of the Lockdown for something to do and it took me something like 19 days to run out of guitars to talk about!

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