Features: It is a 2003 Mexican Strat with a wickedly psychedelic splatter paint finish. It is a standard MIM Strat in terms of neck size, fret numbers and controls. It has three single coil p-ups. Everything about this guitar is identical to a 2003 Mexican Strat except for the paint job (which is why I put it in its own category of Fenders). Rosewood fretboard (would prefer white maple). An excellent sounding and easy playing guitar with a bridge that never falls out of tune unless you really dive-bomb it (or break a string or try to change your tuning - but we all knew that about Strats anyway). // 9
Sound: It suits my music style perfectly because it is so incredibly versatile. Every thing from the nice toothy bridge pick-up full of grit, to the warm smooth neck pickup sounds beautiful. I also really enjoy the throatier sounding mixture of the bridge and middle pickup. I use this guitar through a Boss tuner, an Ibanez delay/echo and a Boss super-distortion. It sounds good through any amp but really sings through a Fender Twin. Currently I use it through a Marshall MA50C and it really responds to the dirty channel well. It can be a little noisy at times but I like to play with that. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar was given to me by an old band mate as payment for personal debts. I had it professionally set-up and cleaned as it was not very well taken care of before it was in my possession. It now stays in tune great and plays like a a dream. It is 9 years old and the frets need some attention - it has been my front line guitar since 2006 and has seen a lot of abuse. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This guitar can stand up to anything except a broken string or a quick tuning change in a live performance. I always carried a back-up guitar for these scenarios. Its the Floyd-Rose bridge that causes the problem, although once in tune will stay there forever. The finnish has stood the test of time so far and seems to have a lot of life in it yet aside from a few bumps and bruises. There's a decent dent in the headstock from a slightly intoxicated poor choice of using it on a cymbal in a live show. // 8
Overall Impression: I have been in bands playing anything from Ska to reggae to punk to hard rock to psychedelic spacey weirdness and this guitar has been my number one through it all. Its a versatile music machine with a hell of a tonal range. If it were stolen, I would definitely replace it - although these Splatocasters are pretty hard to find anymore. Compared to other MIMs of the same era, it is no different. It just looks way cooler and will hopefully become a collectors item at some point (although mine has been less than mint for a while now).
The one thing I hate about this guitar is that it has a rosewood fretboard. I am very much a fan of blonde and white maple fretboards. That is all. // 10