What could possibly be more fun than a great guitar that only costs $299? How about if it’s the Vintage Modified Cabronita Telecaster—Squier’s low-cost spin on the Fendermade Cabronita Tele? Classy and to the point, the Vintage Modified Cabronita comes dressed in black with a contrasting white pickguard, chrome hardware, and a gloss polyurethane finished neck. All of these factors work together to give the guitar a clean, purposeful appearance.
The headstock trussrod access, simple bridge design, and 2-screw control cover allow for quick and easy maintenance and adjustments. Neck-to-body contact is critical to any guitar’s sonic performance, and the Cabronita’s neck fit tightly into its pocket even before the 4-bolt neck plate was screwed down. Tested acoustically (something I always do first when I’m trying a new guitar), the guitar had good chime and plenty of resonant presence.
Plugged into my Mesa/Boogie Electra-Dyne 1x12 combo with a Celestion Vintage 30, the Fideli’Tron pickups delivered harmonically balanced tones with a healthy fullness that made it easy to get good tones with minimal futzing with the amp’s tone knobs. Often times, inexpensive guitars will pair a woofy neck pickup with a too-thin and anemic bridge unit, but the Cabronita’s neck pickup provides lots of sweet high-end on the attack of notes, and the bridge pickup’s vintage-like output facilitates a range of clean to overdriven rock ’n’ roll tones that can take you from Cliff Gallup to Malcolm Young. If you’re looking for super bright Don Rich-style Tele twang, the Cabronita’s pickups aren’t going to do what you need. However, flicking the robust 3-way switch to the middle position sounds great for funky rhythm playing à la “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players.
The 9.5" radius allows for smooth string bending with no tendency to fret out when notes are bent up a step and a half, and even when doing absurd bending intervals, the Cabronita held its tuning very well.
The Volume control has a perfect glide that isn’t too easy or stiff, and the placement of the knurled knob encouraged me to do volume swells with my pinky. The pot’s taper is very even throughout its range, and the highs remain well preserved when you turn down to get cleaner tones from a gained-up amp.
Bottom line: If you have an itch to add a new guitar to your arsenal, the Vintage Modified Cabronita will play just as nice in your hands as it will with your bank account.
VINTAGE MODIFIED CABRONITA TELECASTER
PRICE $299 street
NUT WIDTH 1.650"
NECK Maple,“C” Shape
FRETBOARD Maple, 25.5" scale
FRETS 22 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Vintage style
BRIDGE Tele with six stamped saddles
PICKUPS Fideli’Tron humbuckers
CONTROLS Master Volume, 3-way switch
FACTORY STRINGS Fender, .009-.042
WEIGHT 7.3 lbs
KUDOS Straightforward design. Plays and sounds great.
CONCERNS No Tone control.