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Squier 40th Anniversary Stratocaster Gold Edition review

There’s more to this guitar than its upscale features and eye-catching design.

If you want to find out what makes this Squier Strat model so special, especially concerning the price, make sure to read on.

Not only am I going to lay it all out in terms of grading its features, but I’m going to compare it with other similar options on the market.

Squier 40th Anniversary Stratocaster
40th Anniversary Strat in Sienna Sunburst | Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the 40th Anniversary Gold Edition Stratocaster 4.5

By all means, this is a great guitar for this pricing point. Even the less impressive features can be modified since the Strat is a highly customizable guitar design.

The folks at Squier really stepped up their game for this 40th Anniversary model. Their dedication to quality shows in both the looks of this guitar and its stunning playability.

Another important feature here is the high portability of this guitar. The fine selection of tonewood provides great sound while also making this a lightweight guitar.

Finally, the tones are a dream come true for any vintage guitar enthusiast.

What I like

  • Legendary tones at an affordable price.
  • Suave look/design.
  • High playability and portability.

What I don’t like

  • Mediocre hardware.
See current price at: AmazonReverb

Why you should trust me

Djordje Lukovic, writer at Higher Hz

I’m a guitarist, composer, and producer with over 10 years of experience in the music industry.

Over the years, I garnered a lot of studio experience, as well as impressive touring mileage.

My theoretical and practical knowledge of guitar gear and audio design is what I rely upon, delivering my take on different pieces of gear that I review.


Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Woodwork 4.0

The finely contoured Strat body is made in the best Fender tradition with all of the distinct features present.

Having said that, the choice to use different tonewoods is rather unique. Namely, the body is made of nyatoh, which ensures a lightweight guitar.

The neck is made of maple, and the fingerboard is made of Indian laurel, which ensures the smoothness of the neck.

The elegant block inlays and the neck binding provide a suave feel to the design.

Electronics 3.5

The pickups that we have here are everything a vintage guitar enthusiast would dream of. The pickups are Alnico V.

Combining the pickups with the five-way pickup switches is sure to give you a nearly infinite array of sonic textures and capabilities.

Squier 40th Anniversary Stratocaster guitar body
Guitar’s body | Image: Higher Hz

This guitar comes with that traditional Strat pickup configuration. Three single-coil pups are sure to give you that signature Fender bell-like twang.

However, if you are into playing some high-gain type stuff, you might need a humbucker in the bridge. So, you may need to find a different option on the market or invest in a bridge pickup change.

The good thing about the Strat is that it’s highly customizable.

Hardware 3.5

Design-wise, the hardware here is definitely something that any guitar player would drool over. The gold-plated design really adds to the sleek look of this guitar.

However, with all of the guitars in this price range, the hardware quality isn’t quite top-notch.

Playability 4.5

This guitar really aims to honor the tradition of the Strat as well as Squier themselves. You are sure to have a great playing experience.

The 9.5-inch fretboard radius is something that made greats like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton fall in love with this style of electric guitar design. The good news is that’s exactly what you are getting here!

Squier 40th Anniversary Stratocaster fretboard
Close-up look at the guitar’s fretboard | Image: Higher Hz

The C shape may be an acquired taste for any ultra-modern guitar design fan, but it really is worth getting familiar with.

In my experience, the slight uphill battle of taming the C-shaped beast makes for a more expressive guitar-playing performance.

The vintage-style synchronized tremolo ensures that you can do all the dive bombs your rocker ass would like to.

Also, if you want exceptional tuning stability, just set up your bridge to a non-floating position, and voila! There you have it!

Build quality 4.5

Since this is a commemorative piece that celebrates the 40th anniversary of Squier, they have really stepped up their game in this department.

Squier 40th Anniversary Stratocaster guitar head
Guitar head with tuners | Image: Higher Hz

All of the rough fret edges and similar hiccups are ironed out here. Even more so than usual, you should expect perfection here.

Compared to other electric guitars

Now, let’s compare this one to some of the prominent market competitors in a similar price range.

40th Anniversary Strat vs Affinity Strat FMT HSS

If you want a Strat but would like a more modern variant, you can check the Affinity Series Stratocaster FMT HSS.

The 40th Anniversary model is not better or worse than this one, it’s just a matter of your personal preference or… Affinity… See what I did there?

40th Anniversary Strat vs Schecter Demon-6

If you are really into playing metal or any other high-gain rock form, make sure to check the Demon-6. It’s a truly outstanding guitar with a lot of perks to offer for any aspiring metalhead.

In comparison to the 40th Anniversary Strat, again, it is not better or worse. It’s just different.

40th Anniversary Strat vs Classic Vibe ’70s Tele Thinline

Also, if you’re an alternative/grungy/indie freak, make sure to check out the Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Telecaster Thinline.

Although this Squier Strat is sure to give you some great sounds in this regard, the Tele Thinline model may just be a tad more specialized in that area of music and guitar playing.

All in all, this guitar is one of the best in this price range. It’s just a matter of your taste.

Who is the Squier 40th Anniversary Stratocaster best suited for?

First of all, stylistically this guitar is great for any classic rock situation. The same goes for pop, jazz, and even some hard rock. Not to mention the ever-so-popular lo-fi guitar genre.

However, if you are into playing metal or any other high-gain genre, you are going to deal with some 60-cycle hum problems.

Overall, this guitar is geared towards intermediate players. It’s also great for any traveling musician since it’s very lightweight and highly portable.

Having said that, with a few investments, this could be a great guitar for professionals as well.

As far as beginners go, if this one is within your budget, go for it! You’ll have a guitar that will serve you well for years to come!

See current price at: AmazonReverb

Video demo

Watch this video by my colleague Fabio, where he puts the Squier 40th Anniversary Gold Edition Stratocaster to the test.

Recent updates

  • April 16, 2024: I’ve updated the text and structure to the latest standard and adjusted the scores to reflect the guitar’s performance and price-to-value ratio.
  • April 28, 2022: I published the original review based on my experience with the instrument and offered a comparison against similar electric guitars.