Price paid: $ 110
Purchased from: Music House
Sound — 8
I like to jump around to different styles when I play, and it sounds pretty good on all of them. It can give you a good blues sound on clean and a harder rock sound if you use distortion with it. You can get a lot of different sounds by messing with the 5-way selector. If you are looking to play hardcore metal then buying some humbucker pickups would help you to receive the raunchier sound that you might be looking for. I use an AG10 amp, which is an excellent amp for the size and price. It's good for practice or if you just want to jam with some of your friends. I'm not a big fan of pedals, so I don't use any with it. If you push the selector all the way to the fifth setting and really crank up the gain on your amp then you will get some feedback, but once you start to play it is not too noticable. It has a very nice sound either clean or with distortion.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a good bit of everything (blues, hard rock, a bit of metal, punk rock, etc.) and it seems to do fairly well at everything. It lacks a bit of the heaviness in metal, but I think that could be fixed by replacing the single coil pickups with some humbuckers. I wish I had known the strap that comes with it is pretty crappy when I had bought it, just so I could've saved myself a trip in getting a better one. I've been playing for about a year and a half, and I also own an Asheville acoustic. The one thing I would've liked it to have had was a humbucker pickup or two. I love the 5-way selector though. The only thing I really find wrong with it is that it gets some minor feedback sometimes (another reason I want a humbucker or two) and that my G string tends to get out of tune a bit more than usual (though this often happens on even the most expensive guitars). I did my research before I bought it and compared it to the Fender Squire. As well as coming with an amp and being much cheaper, it also sounded better to me. I had heard that Squires usually didn't last much more than a year without requiring some work on them, and I just wanted something I could learn on. I checked out some reviews on each and asked around; this seemed to be the better choice. If it was stolen, I would probably buy an Ibanez just because I want to try out some more distinct types of guitars too. It's an excellent guitar for beginners, and I highly reccommend it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would most definetely use this guitar if I was going to play in front of a small group of people (friends, family, etc.) If it was going to to be playing for a larger audience (more than 50 or so people) then I'd probably try to get a bigger amp at least. It's always good to have a backup on a gig, as you might break a string etc. The hardware seems like it will last for as long as I have the guitar, and the finish still looks great. As long as you have a decent strap, the strap buttons are great. The jack where you plug the cord into the guitar got a little loose once, but all I had to do was twist it in a bit. Not a problem since.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The only thing I had to change with the guitar was the tuning of the G string and the length of the strap. The finish is very good and for the year and a half that I've had the guitar, I've had no problems with it. The only maintenance I ever do on it is cleaning the fretboard and replacing the strings periodically. As long as you take good care of it, it should last you for a very long time.
Features — 9
The STG-003 includes 22 fairly large frets, an alder body, a rosewood fretboard, a Strat style body, one volume and two tone controls, chrome hardware, locking tuners, a 5-way selector, three single-coil pickups, transparent finish, pick-guard, passive electronics, and a tremolo bridge. It came with a gig bag, strap, cable, AG10 amp, whammy bar, a cheap pitch pipe used for tuning, nine gauge strings, and tools.