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Squier John 5 Signature Telecaster - Black Reviews

4.5 stars based on 29 customer reviews
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Questions about the Squier John 5 Signature Telecaster - Black?

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  • from California January 8, 2016

    Amazing quality & Super Value!

    This is the 1st Squire I purchased in my 30+ years of playing. Honestly, I was quite stigmatized by the brand name so this was a leap of faith kind of purchase. This John 5 is the only guitar that is almost perfectly setup and playable right out box. I will be playing a 7 tune set tonight and I am confident enough to take this guitar to stage along with a backup. I own Gibson LP, SG, 335, American Stratocaster & Tele, American G&L legacy, 2 American made Charvel San Dimas, Canadian Made Godin Jazz Box, Japanese made Randy Rhodes V, Martin DM & Taylor 314CE. Everyone of these nice instruments needed some degree of adjustments out of box. I am very happy. Sweetwater customer service (Brandon Eden) also deserves 5+ Star rating

  • from Lafayette LA November 5, 2015Music Background:
    Hard Rock , Heavy Metal


    I was skeptical of a Squier from China. I watched the video of John 5 playing it and thought I would give it a shot. Completely blown away by the this guitar. Checked it out top to bottom frets were great, action was right on. Sweetwater's 55 point inspection really does the trick. Not to mention the excellent help from Tyler Moore.

  • from Bellingham, MA USA June 2, 2014Music Background:

    Awesome guitar

    Great guitar. I was amazed at the quality of this guitar. I own some high end guitars and this plays just as good as any of them . And Sweetwater these guys are the best

  • from Altamont, IL July 3, 2013Music Background:

    Best $400 I spent on a guitar

    Made in China and Chinese guitars are hit or miss and this is a hit. Not a US quality but for the money, I can't complain. A real stainless steel pickguard. Saddles are non magnetic-- heard they are chromed brass. Neck is smooth and straight. I lowered action to 2mm with 10's and she stays in tune. At 1.5mm it buzzes with a .10 relief. This thing is a tank! I don't know how Fender sells this so low for all you get. Sweetwater is the only place to purchase guitars.

  • from Tennessee December 7, 2012Music Background:
    Player for 25+ years


    This is truly one of the best guitars in this price range. Perfect out of the box and in tune. The pickups really can cover about any style and clean up really well. I have owned a couple of different Teles over the years and this is by far my favorite. Plus, the quality and service of Sweetwater is outstanding. This guitar definately lives up to the hype it is getting.

  • from TN August 21, 2012Music Background:

    J5 Tele

    Great action, smooth neck the guitar feels great. Have heard complaints about the weight but no issues there. The finish is fantastic and the white binding, chrome hardware and pick guard make it really stand out. It gets finger prints like crazy though. The pickups a HOT sounds great paired with my Mustang III. Couldn't be more pleased with the purchase.

  • from Stavanger, Norway May 9, 2012Music Background:
    Intermediate skill level with around 4 years experience.

    Great Value

    I've got a custom shop strat and I bought the J5 Squier as a less expensive guitar for travelling as I work overseas. Wow, what a value! The neck, the pickups (especially the bridge) sounds fantastic, plays great, solid feel. I can't say enought about it and for the price it's a great, great value. The fit and finish is perfect. John 5 and Fender should be proud of this axe.

  • from Greenwood, S.C. USA April 30, 2012Music Background:

    I consider this one a steal!

    I am completely blown away by this guitar, I see a lot of reviews that all say the same, "I don't expect much from a guitar at this price......Really! Doesn't matter to me if I buy a squier bullit strat for $119.00, I expect to get a quality instrument, without all the bells and whistles of course. I feel like this one was a steal! Never heard of J5 and admit, I bought this tele for its looks, and it does not disappoint! This guitar is the "easiest" telecaster I have ever played, meaning the effort on the fretboard takes a lot less effort than any I have or have ever played. I have 5 including an American made custom shop I paid 1600.00 for, haven't played that one since I got this one! The tone on this one is incredible, super clean and clear, we always want to set up our axes to our own liking, haven't touched this one! As for the quality, can't find a thing wrong, the finish on all parts is incredible, awesome looker, head turner, you can't go wrong with this one, if you love teles like I do, you owe it to yourself to check this one out!

  • from Lafayette, Tn USA November 25, 2011Music Background:
    Weekend Warrior


    I've been looking for a double humbucker tele, that didn't have the giant ugly pickguard, for awhile now. I was just about to get the Blacktop version, when I ran across this bad boy and decided to give it a chance. I'm so glad I did. The quality of this guitar will blow you away. It should last a life time. The pickups are crazy good. I prolly won't even worry about changing them. The neck is smooth as silk. It's right up there with guitars 2 to 3 times the price. It's a nice weighted, great playing, fantastic sounding, high quality instrument that should be alot higher in price. It can be a learner guitar for a student or just as easily be a work horse for an expert. It's become my #1 over all the rest I have. And at this price, I'll prolly be getting a couple more of these, just to see what else I can do with one.

    Do yourself a favor and grab this one before it's gone. You'll be glad you did... I guarantee.

  • from California April 30, 2011Music Background:
    Semi Pro

    A Special Squier

    Like everyone says, this thing is built great, plays great and sounds great. Absolutely crazy good for a guitar of this price. The pickups are hot, made for rockin. The neck is flawless as far as I can tell. The body has some heft to it but not too heavy. All in all, a fantastic guitar especially at the low Sweetwater Price. Awesome.

  • from Quincy, IL March 2, 2011Music Background:
    Begining guitarist/hobbyist

    Great Guitar

    I ordered this guitar after looking at one in a shop. I liked the feel of the neck, nice and smooth on the back and frets that are pressed in well. The frets do not have sharp edges like some lower priced guitars. The pictures on this site do not do this J5 justice. The chrome pick guard, really looks awesome after you peel off the clear plastic. The action is already set fairly low right out of the box, just the way I prefer it. I would recommend this guitar to anyone who wants a sharp looking guitar with humbuckers.

  • from Buffalo, New York September 20, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist player, professional engineer

    I was Shocked!

    I had been toying around for several months, deciding whether to purchase the Squier J5 Telecaster or an American Standard Tele. I have played the Fender Tele that belonged to a friend, and liked it very much, however, the pickup configuration and the overall looks of the John 5 really caught my attention. After lengthy consideration, I decided to purchase the J5 Tele. Thinking, if the guitar did not stand up to the reviews I have read and did not perform as well as the Standard Tele, I would have the option to send it back and exchange it for the Fender.
    Once I got this guitar in my hands, I was totally amazed! It has the feel of the Standard Tele with options built in. I found the guitar to be well balanced (some have complained of the weight of the body), the neck was very comfortable, and the sound is what really got my attention! This guitar can sound as clean and bright as a $3000 competitor, or as nasty as you would want. I would not hesitate to recommend this guitar to anyone, wether you are a beginner or experienced guitar player. This is one guitar that I am proud to own, and look forward to many years of playing pleasure. Fender Squier got this one right on!

  • from Louisville KY July 9, 2010Music Background:
    Guitar player for 30 years recording for 10 semi pro

    Great Playing & Looking Guitar for life

    OK so what you should know about me is I have been playing over 30 years and a Sweetwater customer for 9 years. I have lots of reviews here. About 2 years ago I got to buy (finally afford) my dream guitars a PRS Custom 24 & a PRS Tremonti. I have several mid level guitars Washburs, Mexican Fenders, Dean & Ibanez guitars. I play classic rock, a little modern stuff & some blusey feeling songs. I also believe a good guitar is a good guitar regardless of the name on it.

    So with all that why did I get this J5 Squire Telecaster. 1. a local store had one in almost new condition for 150.00 off retail, 2. I'm a fan of John 5 3. The guitar looks VERY COOL. Last but most important 4. It plays GREAT.

    The first thing you notice about it is the look something about the black & chrome with double white binding that makes you take notice. Even the drummer said that is a great looking guitar. The headstock writing is also chrome a very nice touch. Picking it up you find it has some weight to it. The neck is super comfortable & fast to play, there is NO string buzz anywhere. I don't have to push hard to play at all so it is comfortable to play for long periods. It will sustain forever. It will ring out as long as any set neck guitar. The tuners also feel very good & solid. No name on them. but they hold a tune even when I bend behind the nut. Nice job on those. All the hardware on this guitar feels solid.

    Like John's guitar there is no tone control & the volumes are set with the bridge pickup at the top. That can be useful. The 2 humbucker pickups scream & would be great for the heaviest of music. They do clean up nicely & working the volume knobs you can get a nice blend of the 2. You can get a little twang but not typical telecaster twang as these are humbuckers. However, you can get a very satisfying country sound. Think Les Paul country.

    So how does it sound next to my PRS? Different is the best word I can come up with. Will I go with my PRS most of the time yes. However will I take the J5 Squire telecaster to a gig & play yes absolutely. I can think of lots of songs in our set where I will use this guitar. The J5 is definitely the best of my mid levels & some of them cost 4x what the J5 retails for. This guitar is a wonderful addition for any player & would be an excellent choice for a new player. They would have a guitar for life rather one they trade in after 3 years. For me the only drawback is no trem as I like having one. I guess I could buy a bigsby for it someday.

    I enjoyed playing the one in the store so much I got it on the spot. Had I not been able to do that & it was gone I would have spent the money for a new one. Squire could charge a lot more for the J5 and get it. I'm surprised but glad Fender did not do a Mexican fender version of this in the 700 range. It is a great guitar you won't go wrong. If you are looking it this I recommend you buy it now.

  • from Normal, IL November 10, 2009Music Background:

    Great Sound, Smooth Play

    This guitar is incredible. The Telecaster neck is very comfortable and the play is smooth. I was most impressed with the tone and it stays in tune great. The two humbucking pickups are a perfect addition to the Telecaster. High quality - Squire has done a fantastic job with this model.

  • from Fresno, CA October 2, 2009Music Background:
    Played guitar since 1994, Record my own tunes, Jam with others

    You owe it to yourself to give this guitar a try

    Just like a lot of others are saying, I wasn't expecting much being it's a Squier, but this guitar is now a favorite of mine...and that's over my Dean ML and Epiphone LP Custom just to name a few. The pickups put out some serious tone and if you're into playing metal, you can't go wrong. The neck is just awesome. The guitar feels a bit heavy, but it feels solid and it delivers...if you can try it out at a local shop, do it....and this was my first purchase through Sweetwater. The customer service was first-rate and I couldn't ask for a better experience.

  • from Austin, Texas July 27, 2009Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    As Good as it GETS

    Bottom line this guitar kicks serious butt.

    The double bound body is flawless, heavy and has tone to spare. The neck is surprisingly good. You have to put one of these in your hands to appreciate this guitar. My only complaint is the bridge pickup is to hot (for me) but that is an easy fix.

    Don't be fooled by the Squier name. This guitar is a keeper and a hard core player. I have no problem putting this guitar up on stage and proudly showing off this puppy.

  • from colorado May 9, 2009Music Background:
    guitar player, musician


    normaly, i wouldnt even think about picking up a squier, but the sales rep insisted that i play this guitar. WOW!!!! this guitar is amazing and really, is no different than a fender. i actually prefered this guitar over a gibson just because this tele had the real heavy ballsy sound that you would get from a gibson without the $1700 price. this guitar is a must have for guitar collectors everywhere.

  • from Ca December 24, 2016Music Background:
    Wannabe pro! Helpless guitar tinkerer!


    Definitely a keeper for the $! This unique guitar came to me after being back ordered right before Christmas! Thanks to my sales engineer John Short! Finally got a chance to plug it in after a couple of days as I've been too busy to give it a proper listen. I'll say it again, very unique guitar! Out of the box it was in tune but after playing a bit I realized the strings haven't been stretched at all. The neck is a modified "C" with no edges at all and no buzz anywhere! The fretwork was flawless! I wish the radius was closer to 10" but it'll do. The back of the neck is perfect as I usually end up refinishing most of my necks for that barely finished wood feel. The pickups were a nice surprise. The bridge was a typical ceramic magnet pickup. Little harsh but smooth enough. The neck is perfect though! And when you combine the 2 you get a semi-passable tele twang. The electronics are a bit of a different animal as there is some bleed through from the other pickup when you turn the bridge vol all the way down. Plus the grounding is horrible! Buzz like crazy if you don't stay in contact with the metal parts! So a couple of fixes are needed. The grounding issue, the tuners might have to be replaced(as its having a hard time staying in tune to my satisfaction.) I need to fix the wiring and someday I might put a different configuration of controls in to split the pickups. Excellent guitar for the money and a real keeper! Once it's all setup and molded to my liking it'll be perfect! Except the fingerprint machine chromed metal pick guard! All good though! Thank you again Sweetwater for an awesome/flawless purchase! Looking forward to doing business again with you!

  • from OHIO July 8, 2016

    Squier John 5 Signature Telecaster - Black

    Hey ! a lot bang for the Buck! Nice job SweetWater. The 55 pointt set-up was nice. Thanks ...Guys !!!!!

  • from United States August 26, 2014Music Background:
    Semi-pro musician.

    Great buy!

    Cheapest guitar I ever bought... now it stands right next to my '92 Les Paul! Playability, sound and action were perfect out of the box! Great addition...it's #13 in my collection.

  • from Champlin, MN May 13, 2014Music Background:
    Recording artist, Semi-pro musician.

    Amazing for the Money

    This is an amazing guitar for 399.00. Sweetwater did a good job on setting up the instrument, and it was nearly in tune when it arrived, and decently playable. Like all guitars, it seems, the nut is set up a little too high, so I did have to take it to my normal guitar tech guy to have it set up perfectly. I enjoyed the candy in the case. It is also comforting to know that the guitar was inspected by the Sweetwater staff so I feel reassured that I would not bet getting a lemon.

    This guitar is solid, and I could find no finish flaws. All the controls worked perfectly. It does feedback a bit when on high gain, but that is pretty easy to control. I like the pickups, as even on high gain setting there is good articulation and it is not too muddy.

    This guitar solved the problem of needing a humbucking guitar without buying another Gibson. I like the fact that the toggle switch is where it is, so I don't keep hitting it in the normal tele position. Also, since I never mess with the tone knobs (and have not in 38 years of playing, I like the two volume knob option, which works well for me.

    The guitar sounds amazing clean, and a bit Les Paulish to my ears. The frets are nicely cut so they don't stick out and jab my left hand as I move around the fretboard. The neck feels wonderfully fast.

  • from Jacksonville, Fl July 20, 2012Music Background:
    Semi-Pro Musician, Live Sound Engineer

    The Squier J5 Telecaster rocks

    The squire J5 is a versatile guitar that can provide the standard twangy telecaster tones and sustain but when opened up can get very thick and heavy. It is easily the best looking telecaster I have ever seen with the glossy black paint, white striping and chrome hardware and pick guard.
    At first I didn't get the reversal of the knobs but after playing I actually prefer it that way. This guitar is a steal for the money. It plays like a standard tele and can provide thick les paul sounding tone when opened up.

  • from TN September 15, 2011Music Background:

    If you try it you'll probably buy it!

    I just plugged mine in after getting it today and man this thing is awsome. The neck is just the best,a little heavy but nothing you cant get used to especially for the price. My dad has played a thinline tele for as long as I can remember and came over and played it and said(you paid how much for this!!!!) He couldnt believe the value in the little work horses. The neck , the hardware, the looks, and that awsome sound cant be touched for the money anywhere. Nothing can be nit picked other than the weight and thats why I could only give it a 4.5. I've got mine now and it's not going anywhere for a long time if ever. Feels like a much higher end guitar. I LOVE IT!!!

  • from Concord, NH July 20, 2011Music Background:
    30 years pro musician, 8 years recording engineer/producer, retired from that, only record myself now.

    Yes, the reviewers here are right on!

    I'm highly unlikely to give a 5.0 to anything as I would have to be truly shocked (like if the quality was identical to a Fender Custom Shop Tele!). But you're not gonna go wrong by looking at all the other very positive reviews here. They give it a big thumbs up generally.

    Some years back in a local store I tried out a Squier Tele (or a Strat, don't remember). I had actually gone to the trouble to take in my own tuner and little screw drivers as I knew the store didn't set up their guitars. Keep in mind I used to set up studio clients guitars all the time (as I'm fussy and don't like interruptions to work flow). I can get the max possible intonation happening pretty fast. Well, this Squier in the store from years ago was major junk! I could NOT get this thing intonated, not even close to being acceptable. The feel of the neck wasn't all that great, either, but I figured, hey, it's very low priced, and I decided I'd never even pick up another Squier the rest of my life.

    Now we come to today. For just a bit more money than what they used to charge, Fender apparently has gotten the Squier line squared away. At least for this John 5 guitar, as I have not tried other Squiers.

    When I first strummed this thing right out of the packing box, it was very close in tune. I tuned it and then checked the intonation: Not much at all to do! Maybe I'll be very slightly tweaking 3 strings! Very surprising. This is not the same as a Fender Custom Shop (I've played a few of those). But it's entirely pleasing and no problem using for live gigging or recording, and costs a fraction of a Fender Custom Shop.

    The overall feel is good. Weight not an issue for me as I've had some heavy guitars and also am used to playing bass guitar. This guitar is not light but I also don't consider it heavy. As noted in other reviews, overall fit, finish, etc. is fine, and really fine if you consider the price.

    I already have what I need for the typical Tele guitar sounds, and this is another flavor of Tele when running clean (not entirely a classic sound but still nice), plus it can get hot when you crank it, and I needed another flavor of hotness compared to another high output guitar I already have. I tend to like guitars with character, and this is a Tele character with it's own thing, like other Tele's over the years (Thinline, maple vs. rosewood fretboard, etc.)

    I should say this is a cool looking guitar as well! And if you haven't already, I recommend you check out John 5 and his considerable talents for different genres including metal and country. He also has an incredibly huge collection of Telecasters (including many rare ones), so he REALLY knows what they're about, and this had to play into what he required of Fender when building this guitar, especially considering it's a Squier.

    If you want a nice guitar for a very nice price, plays similar to a conventional Tele with a rosewood fingerboard feel, can get hot and shreddy with a hot amp, and has a different Tele flavor when in a clean amp setting, buy it. If you're looking for a very traditional Tele sound, don't get it.

  • from Trenton, MO July 25, 2009Music Background:

    Thumbs up!

    I have recent experiences of Squire guitars before in the mid 90's. The cheaper one's back then were made in Mexico but, with good quality, craftsmanship, materials, & sound which were very close to real Fenders, yet, this is one of them. This beauty is a complete stand out, a tone machine. Despite it's made in China but looks & feels real close to Mexican made.
    The j5 guitar is very versatile & can play enough fast shreds thanks to the 12" radius neck, it offers smooth action. I have no plans replacing the pickups, I just love the way they are. I thought fender made this one really special. Thumbs up!

  • from October 4, 2016Music Background:

    This is the

    I grabbed the frost gold model. Now. I'm back to get a black one. I had a nice collection of guitars going. A Dean Camo Dime w/Floyd, Les Paul White and Gold Studio, Epi Vintage SG, Standard Strat,with Texas Specials, and 3 acoustic guitars. This John 5 guitar has taught me so much about where things need to be for easy access. I never had a problem beating up guitars when I play them. This guitar changed that. This guitar is so fun to play. Learning some J5 tricks like behind the nut, squeals off the p/u, chicken pickin will show you just what this guitar is capable of doing effortlessly. I'm a Fender only guy now. The block neck type guitars gotta go, they create a ton of drag. I don't get that playing this one. I do plan on throwing some p/u's at it that should quiet the hum. There's a sound that a loose ground sound like there's a constant short so keep your hand in the right place to keep it quiet. Touching the metal around the pots quiet it down but personally I'll enjoy the sizzle until I drop a kill sw. in it and some super D. But for now it's like she's hot and ready to go in an instant. BTW- People want to tell you they can't believe it's a Squier. I've had it for 2 years now and I still can't believe it is a Squier. It only makes sense for me to get another one. Then, I can keep them in different tunings and just switch guitars for songs. It just makes sense. Everything feels right. Believe me I never even thought I'd like a Tele.

  • from United States January 29, 2013Music Background:
    Live sound Engineer and musician

    Amazing guitar for the money

    Pros - Great neck and play-ability, cool look, nice pickups. Cons - Pots are wired strange.

    I read a bunch of reviews before I got this guitar. Most of my other guitars are american made, but this one really holds it's own. I'm very impressed with it.

  • from northwest, ohio May 19, 2009Music Background:
    bandmember and collector

    watched John 5 play it at sweetwater headquarters on 5-18-09

    John 5 put on a great show let us know what he did to learn and still continue to learn all he can - as we all should. i bought this guitar and had it hand signed for my collection.
    Fender and John 5 put on a great show - it's going in a display case.

  • from Missouri December 13, 2016

    Looks good

    Looks great but does nothing but squeal and howl and the buzzing and hum even when the volume is down is terrible. Not sure if this thing was ran through an amp before being shipped out the door. I suspect it is not wired correctly. Through research via the web several others have had this issue with no real answers. The microphonic buzz is overwhelming and when one touches any piece of metal on the guitar it just makes a pop pop noise. Guitar seems grounded fine but something is definitely wrong. A complete and total downer.

Questions about the Squier John 5 Signature Telecaster - Black?

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