The Bullet Strat is a good choice if you are looking for an affordable and practical model that is a perfect first guitar for teens and kids ages 12 and up. This is a full sized guitar by Fender’s budget brand Squier that has the classic Stratocaster styling of a ‘real Fender’ but without the price tag. Squier is my favorite brand for beginners since Fender has been working hard on the quality of their low end models in the last few years. With improvement in manufacturing Squier is able to make a really solid instrument without a high price tag, so you are getting a brand name instrument for an exceptionally low price. I specifically like this model because of its classic styling and slightly smaller body and neck (even though it’s a full size). It’s very comfortable to play for a kid who has grown into a full sized guitar, but isn’t quite ready for a heavy Les Paul style. You can get the Bullet with or without the tremolo arm (whammy bar) which is lots of fun for kids. Since it doesn’t cost much you don’t have to worry about your child knocking it around too much like you would if you bought a more expensive model.
The Bullet Strat body is the standard Stratocaster shape, which is a very popular and time tested design. It has a nice vintage Stratocaster look to it that come with a beautiful glossy smooth finish. You can get it in a wide range of colors (Artic White, Daphne Blue, Brown Sunburst, Black, Fiesta Red, Pink) which are pretty appealing to kids and teens.
The Bullet has a slightly thinner body and narrower neck than a standard Stratocaster, making it comfortable and easy to play for anyone with smaller hands. It is also very light weight, which is something you need to consider when buying a guitar for a child. If it is too heavy it will be uncomfortable to play. The neck is smooth and has nice action, although it might be a bit high for some people.
For a beginner instrument the main thing you are going to be looking for is does it stay in tune and the Bullet does. Some guitars in this price range go out of tune quickly if you use the tremolo arm, but his one doesn’t have that problem. It’s obviously not a high-end model so you shouldn’t expect it to sound like one if you are very particular about sound, but for this price range the tone and sound are very good.
Squier have added a Humbucker ahead of the bridge and two single-pole classic pickups which is different than the Fender Standard Stratocaster which has 3 single-coil Strat pickups, which is kind of an interesting change and all three sound great.
The hardware is pretty decent on the Bullet, the tuners maybe aren’t the greatest but they are easy to use for kids and will stay in tune. You will probably have to fiddle with the setup when it is first out of the box but Fender has all the info on their website on what you need to do to set it up.
The Bullet Strat is very good quality for what you are paying. On some Bullets the frets can be a little sharp and might need to be sanded or filed down, so check that before you buy this model, since that can be a bit of a hindrance for kids.
Things to look out for with this guitar
If you are buying online you may want to consider getting a guitar set-up, which just means that you can get the action set, the truss rod adjusted, the string changed, etc. You can get that done at a guitar shop or Fender has instructions on their site about what you need to do.
Another thing to be aware of if you are buying online is that some of the colors aren’t as they appear in the pictures. The Daphne Blue is more like a Surf Green, the Fiesta Red isn’t like a candy apple red but a bit more of a reddish brownish tangerine and the Artic White has a sort of yellowish hue. So if you can, stop by a guitar store to check on the colors before you buy.
Obviously if you are into guitars and you have to have Fender or Gibson on the headstock and wouldn’t consider a Squire or Epiphone then the Bullet isn’t the right model for you or your kids. But if you are looking for really good value in a first guitar for kids, this is a great choice. It looks good and sounds great and is a million times better than a no name starter pack that you would get at a big box store for not much more money.