Before I begin, I’ll admit that I’m a fan of Jim Root. I think his Telecaster is a blast to play (sounds great, too!), he’s an obvious fan of Orange (my favorite amp company), and he seems like a cool guy with a good head on his shoulders. When I ordered his Sound & Story DVDs, I ended up with the unexpected bonus of a signed card from him and am probably more stoked about that than I should be.
And I’ll have to promise you that there’s only a little bias when I say this:
Squier needs to release a Jim Root Strat.
This needs to happen for a variety of reasons, few of which have anything to do with Root (the person) or Slipknot:
1) The Jim Root Strat shape is unique. Well, not the shape, but the curves. Where the traditional Strat is very sleek and curved, Root’s is harder, featuring sharper edges and a more aggressive, dangerous look. It’s kind of like an unfinished Strat and I can’t express how much I love this. We’ve grown up playing and looking at Strats. Every company has their interpretation of it, and it’s always the same. It’s so ubiquitous that it’s become tame. For such a small thing, these curves carry a serious weight to the aesthetics of the guitar and it draws you in. I’m not the only one that thinks this, either.
2) It’s mahogany. Strats are (easily) dismissed in the metal world because they sound brighter than most guitars associated with the genre and that falls largely on the fact that Strats are almost NEVER made of the traditional metal genre wood of mahogany. There are plenty of options – even within Squier’s own line – of traditional Strat woods, but this is ignoring a whole sect of players that could be giving Squier money.
3) Humbuckers. I know there are humbucker Strats, but none like this. It reminds me of the old Showman Strats that Fender released in the early ‘00s that were more metal-focused. I know the Fender models have EMGs and that’s fine, but not necessary for a Squier model. The Tele has passive humbuckers and that works for today, since more and more people are getting into passive pickups for metal (see the Seymour Duncan Nazgul).
4) There’s a bit of a precedent here. This one is a bit of a reach, but the timeline goes like this: Jim Root gets a Fender Tele. Jim Root gets a Fender Strat while Squier gets a Root Tele. So it seems like when Root gets a new model that can be treated as a Fender exclusive, Squier could get the previous model. Make sense? I think this makes a lot of sense, honestly, and should be carried on. And since Root has a Jazzmaster now, it’s time for Squier to get the Strat.
5) They’re affordable. I don’t play metal exclusively, but would love to have a dedicated metal guitar for when I get that itch or need that tone. I can’t be the only one who wants a specific tool in their arsenal, either. The problem is that I don’t want to spend a thousand bucks on a guitar I won’t want to play all the time. $300-$400, though? That seems pretty fair.
6) Fans will buy it. There have been reports of fans who couldn’t afford the Fender Tele buying BOTH Squier Teles (fun!), so there’s obviously a market that would take the plunge on a Strat model as well.
Pretty good reasons, right? By implementing this ONE model in Squier’s line, they would open themselves up to a new market of player who have already shown a willingness to buy Root’s products in the past and players who want that aggressive shape, different tones, and more options all while keeping a Root model exclusively in the Fender line. Basically, they’re leaving money on the table by not going through with this.
So why not? What could the reason possibly be?