Price paid: $ 89
Purchased from: Trade Up Music
Features: This is a Korean Strat copy made by the Kaman plant. That is the same company that makes Ovation, Applause, Jasmine, and other brands. If you have seen a Strat, you have seen this guitar. Mine is a color similar to lake placid blue, but with a touch more teal.
The neck is a soft v shape. It is actually a fantastic neck. Of all of the guitars that I have owned, this is my favorite neck. In fact, the neck is probably 80% of the reason that I wanted this instrument. The electronics are not bad, but they aren't terrific, either. The pickups are serviceable. The Strat tones are definitely there.
The body is laminate (plywood). That is anathema to some, but the guitar feels solid and it resonates just as well as a solid wood-bodied guitar. I really like the way it sounds, in all seriousnes. Don't be thrown by the plywood body; it's not a deal breaker in this case. The neck is maple with a maple fretboard.
The tuners are labeled Ping. They stay in tune reasonably well, even when using the tremolo arm. Not bad. I'm still going to drop the score from 8 to 7 here because I, too, prefer solid wood to plywood. // 7
Sound: I like the sound a lot. Very Traditional Strat tones can come from this cheap knockoff. I have been thoroughly impressed by the sound from the pickups. They are strong and clean. They aren't very strong in terms of output, however. Still, I would rate the sound as better than most Squires. That's just me, though.
I play it through my Peavey Studio Pro 110 and it sounds just great! I get Mark Knopfler circa 1978 sounds and when I crank the gain some I can get some cool blues sounds. Also, the tremolo is very responsive. I love the surf tones that I can coax out of this hodad. Just crank the reverb and work the tremolo and you've got a beach vibe going. The really percussive pops and slaps that, for me, define the Strat sound are also present in this guitar. I Imagine that if you felt the tone was lacking, you could replace the pickups and solve your dilemma nicely. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: I got the guitar used. It has some dings. The color is very nice. The action is perfect for me. It really is a pretty guitar to look at. Still, I don't know how it came out of the factory. So... I'm just going to go to the next part.
Or, I will continue writing junk in this box against my will because the field parameters require me to do so, even when doing so serves no useful purpose because I already said all that I had to say about this category. I mean, seriously, I can write 500 characters without problem, but is the end result really worth it? I could argue that no, it is not. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This guitar feels sturdy, but I doubt the plywood body will last forever. The bridge material seems a bit cheap, but not atrocious. The tuners actually seem to be of decent quality, even if they aren't anything special. The springs for the floating bridge are okay, too. I am still going to give the guitar a somewhat low score here, because I just don't trust the laminate body. As far as customer support goes, believe that GTX was discontinued some time back. Therefore, I don't think they will be reachable. Nonetheless, the guitar is solid enough to play and I would use it in a gig setting. I would definitely want backup with me, though. // 6
Overall Impression: I owned a Mexi-Strat when I was 16. I had money difficulties and had to sell it. I have missed it ever since. This guitar fills that void. Due to the neck, I may even be able to say that, given the choice to get the Mexi-Strat back or stick with the GTX, I would probably stand pat. This guitar certainly sounds Stratocaster enough for me, and I don't have to take out a small loan to own it. It is also very light. I mean, it's not balsa wood weight, but it's still super comfortable.
Bottom line: I am very happy with this guitar. If you find one listed somewhere, check it out. Due to this being made with a lower price point in minder could be that the same quality experience won't hold true across the board. You'll want to be sure to take a playtest first.
If it gets lost or stolen, I'd look for another or maybe try another bargain brand like Axl or Johnson or SX or S101. It's always fun to find a great guitar at a great price. Look around for a GTX model 18 and you might find just that. // 8