Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic Review

The Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic is a blend between a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Les Paul Junior. The results, however, give us a fantastic guitar that sounds incredible. Check out Kevin’s Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic to decide if it’s for you.

Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic Review
Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic Review
FactorRating
👀 Looks5/5
🛠️ Build quality4/5
😃 Playability5/5
🎵 Sound5/5
💰 Value for Money5/5
Overall24/25

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Squier guitars are known for taking chances. Over the past couple of years, the company has made some bold moves with the aesthetics of new models—think funky colors and binding, different pick-up options, etc.

The Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic is no exception to this trend, being an apparent blend between a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Les Paul Junior. The results, however, give us a fantastic guitar that sounds incredible.

Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic Review: The Specs

Body

Material: Okoume
Shape: Stratocaster
Colour: Crimson Red Transparent
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
Bridge: Compensated Wrap-Around








Neck

Neck Material: Maple
Neck Shape: C
Neck Construction: Bolt-On
Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane
Scale Length: 24.75″
Fingerboard Material: Laurel
Fingerboard Radius: 12″
Frets: 22 Narrow Tall
Inlays: Pearloid Dot
String Nut: Graphite
Nut: Graphite
Nut Width: 42mm
Hardware

Pickups: Fender Designed Alnico Soapbar Single-Coil
Controls: Master Volume (Push/Pull), Master Tone (Push/Pull), 3-Position Toggle
Control Knobs: Black “Bell-Style”
Switch Tip: Black
Pickguard: 3-Ply Black
Hardware: Chrome
Tuning Machines: Vintage Style






The Strat-O-Sonic features an Okoume body finished in a beautiful, glossy, transparent red polyurethane (the guitar is also available in a blond finish). Though a very uncommon wood, Okoume is reminiscent of mahogany in sound and appearance and delivers a fat midrange.

The guitar features a maple neck, a laurel fretboard adorned with pearloid dots, and a graphite nut. The finish on the neck was unobtrusive, and I was able to glide up and down with ease. 

The electronics include two single-coil alnico pick-ups, which resemble P90s. These are controlled via a three-way toggle switch, volume, and tone pots. The push-pull switches on both the volume and tone pots allow you to run the pick-ups and series or parallel, as well as out of phase. 

The wrap-around bridge is unique for a Squire (or Fender, for that matter) guitar, and the scale length is 24.75 inches, as opposed to the Fender standard of 25.5 inches. This dives into Gibson territory, particularly the specs of something like a Les Paul Junior or Special.

Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic Review: Test Results

Let’s see how the Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic performed in our test.

Looks: 5/5

With its transparent red finish, wraparound bridge, and P90-style pickups, this mashup between a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Les Paul Special has exciting and beautiful aesthetics. Fans get the best of both worlds.

Build quality: 4/5

The guitar itself is very well put together. The pods and switches feel solid, the fit and finish are well done, and let’s not ignore that paint job.

One thing to note is that some of the frets exhibited sprouting on the edge of the fretboard, possibly due to the current Canadian climate. Other regions might not experience this problem. However, if it is persistent, it may require a trip to the luthier to get the fret edges smoothed out.

Playability: 5/5

Holding the guitar, those used to playing Stratocaster will find a neck and body shape that are very familiar. However, the wraparound tailpiece may require adjusting since the bridge has a different feel than your standard Stratocaster bridge.

Players may also need to adjust to the scale length, which is shorter than your traditional Fender or Squier guitar. The shorter scale length means that strings will feel slinky. An easy way to compensate is to go up one gauge to get a more familiar feel on the strings.

If this is your first guitar, these points should be fine as you immediately get used to this instrument. Some newer players might find the slinkier string tension a plus since executing moves like bends will feel easier. 

Taking the guitar for a spin, it plays very well. The narrower and taller frets offer a good grip on the fretboard, and the extra slinkiness makes bending much more manageable.

Sound 5/5

The guitar itself is a rock ‘n’ roll and blues machine, through and through. The pickups provided some very meaty tone, thicker than your average single coil pickup. I got various sounds out of this guitar with the controls. The bridge pickup had plenty of girth; the neck sounded thick and smooth, with some lovely quacks in the middle.

Speaking of the middle position, this is where you can get some very varied tones using the push-pull switches on volume and tone knobs. Hitting the out-of-phase switch on the tone knob gave me a thinner sound with more quack, which works nicely for cleaner tones. Hitting the series-parallel switch in the middle thickened the sound considerably into humbucker territory with a massive bump in the mid-range and some shelving on the high frequencies. Guys who like a little more distortion in their sound will enjoy running things in parallel mode.

Keep in mind that if you accidentally pull up the tone knob while the bridge pick-up is engaged by itself, you will essentially cut off the bridge pick-up and not hear anything anymore. I’m not sure why it is wired this way, but it is something to keep in mind.

Value for Money 5/5

Like with a good number of Squier guitars, there is excellent value for money here. 

The guitar’s sound is unique from the traditional Stratocaster sound at a price that can’t be beaten. Those who want the Strat aesthetic but want to rock a little harder will be very happy with this guitar.

Squire Paranormal Strat-O-Sonic Review overall rating: 24/25

I love an excellent P90 guitar, and players should try it for that thick and clear sound. With the Strat-O-Sonic, that sound is affordable and worth a try. If you always dreamed of owning that perfect cross between a Fender and a Gibson, this guitar is for you. Don’t be surprised if you rock with more gusto after plugging in.

As always, thanks to Daniel Sauvé at Steve’s Music in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for letting me take this guitar for a spin!

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