- April 29th, 2013
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This Christmas my wife gave me the ultimate surprise gift, a Fender Squire Strat. Now being the tech/guitar geek I am, she did not get me just any Strat, it was the Fender Squire iOS Strat. What boggled my mind most about this guitar is that how did my two favorite companies come together to make a product and I did not know it even existed? As I unwrapped this guitar I could not have been more surprised and curious. I carefully unpacked the guitar and began to inspect every inch of it. Squire is not a brand that I run to because of pa
st experiences with lack of quality, but I knew that they had made a lot of changes in recent years and I wanted to see what kind of detail went into this guitar. After all, Apple is one nit picky company, so this should be pretty good, right?
As I poured over every detail on the guitar I became more and more impressed. For a guitar that I would consider a budget or entry level guitar, this was one well put together instrument. The finish is absolutely beautiful, so much so I am curious to know if this was on of the “photo finishes” that Fender had perfected in the late 90′s. The neck felt great and has a nice gloss finish, which I prefer when it comes to necks. My only complaint with the entire guitar is that the frets were sharp and in need of dressing, but this is something I am used to with guitars in this price range. A quick trip to my favorite guitar shop, Pittsburgh Guitars, and the guitar was good to go.
While it is still a fully functional traditional guitar, what really sets this guitar apart is it’s direct connectivity with the iOS. At the bottom of the guitar near the strap button are a USB and headphone jack for connecting the included USB to 30 pin Apple Dock connector or standard USB cable to your iOS device or your computer. So after I finished going over every inch of the guitar, I put that USB connection to the test. I plugged it into my iPhone and then launched the Agile Partners Ampkit app and I have to say that I was quite pleased with the sound. Up to getting this guitar I had been using the Apogee Jam as my iOS interface. I really like the Apogee because it is a clean sound and it works with any guitar and I have to say that the USB connection on the iOS Strat is just as clean of a signal. I also like how the iOS Strat has a headphone jack on the bottom of it for monitoring and you can control that jack with a volume knob on the guitar itself.
The bottom line on this guitar is that it raises the bar for entry level guitars. While it is still budget priced, it has a lot to offer in quality, playability and sound. With just a minor set up, this guitar plays as well as any guitar I own and it plugs right into my iPhone or iPad, which makes it the perfect practice and songwriting guitar. I made a couple quick audio samples and posted them to sound cloud. you can listen below.