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. It 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 the improvement in manufacturing, Squier can 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 famous 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 (Arctic 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 lightweight, 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 whether it stays 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 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 excellent.
Squier has added a Humbucker ahead of the bridge and two single-pole classic pickups which are different than the Fender Standard Stratocaster which has three single-coil Strat pickups, which is kind of an exciting 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 of outstanding 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 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 Arctic White has a sort of yellowish hue. So if you can, stop by a guitar store to check on the colors before you buy.
If you are into guitars and you have to have Fender or Gibson on the headstock and wouldn’t consider a Squier or Epiphone, then the Bullet isn’t the right model for you or your kids. But if you are looking for excellent 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.