2018 Squier Contemporary Stratocaster HSS in Black Metallic. I bought this guitar primarily for the body, neck and part of the bridge but I thought I’d at least give it a quick mini review before taking it apart. It is difficult to notice, and even harder to capture with a camera the “metallic” aspect of Squier’s Black Metallic finish on their newly released Contemporary series guitars. In many lighting conditions, it looks like any other gloss black polyurethane finish but occasionally, when the light falls on it just right, you can see a subtle glimmer that I really like. The subtlety of the effect was good news for me. I didn’t expect that it would be a heavy sparkle like what you might find on the Gretsch G5265 but I hadn’t paid much attention to the finish when I first saw the new series at Winter NAMM. Bringing the guitar outdoors and examining it closer, the effect is even more obvious and it reminds me of the black sands of Kehena Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. Although I hadn’t planned on buying a whole new guitar, I had been planning on building a black Strat for another Panzerholz experiment and I was going to put together another parts-caster like the two previous builds. When I saw how nice the Rosewood neck and black headstocks looked on the Contemporary HSS, I decided that it would be a nice foundation for my new build. The challenge then became finding one light enough to my liking. The weight range of these guitars swing pretty wide. Out of the box, it was setup very well with no issues at all. Just tuned her up and it was ready to go. The fretboard edges were super smooth which was surprising since the guitar had spent three or four days traveling by truck in temperatures that exceeded 115F along the way so I accepted the possibility of a little fret sprout. The stock pickups sound quite good, the sealed tuners work well and hold tune. The block saddles on the two-point tremolo bridge look good and the tapered small trem-block is exactly what you would expect. As a whole the tremolo system worked great. The volume and tone controls are full size (1” dia) 500K pots but the volume taper is pretty wonky. I kind of wish I had kept it together a little longer to play stock but I got a good 3 or 4 days with it and I think it’s a great little guitar. It feels solid and has a nice balance to it. It weighed in at 7 pounds 5 ounces but I hope to bring that down below 7 after my work. I’m really only interested in the body, neck and part of the bridge so the rest is up for grabs if anyone is interested. I’ll add more photos after I work on it. Cheers!