Price paid: $ 95.95
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
It suits my style, which is whatever I feel like, actually very well. It's not so much a two-hand tapper, but it does wail out trem-picked Dick Dale stuff perfectly. I use it with a Behringer GM108 (dubbed 'Little Bastard') and a Zoom 506 bass pedal. Like I said earlier, the pickups only really buzz when only one pickup is in use. It can make all kinds of weird noises, my personal favorite is dropping to D, strumming the bottom two strings, mashing the trem to the body, and revving it like a motorcycle (listen to Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf, it's awesome.) The tone is a little bright, but a little down tuning (C#-C#!) can fix that.
Overall Impression — 10
The first time I played Iron Man (my first song! ) I was blown away. I've been playing for only five months, and this, a few cheap (two were gifts!) pedals, the practice amp that came with it, and the GM108. I generally play, well, anything! I can go from Dick Dale to Day Tripper to Dream Theater in one sitting, just because my left hand wanders with my mind. If it were lost or stolen, I would probably hunt it down and strangle the guy with piano wire, not buy a new one. I love that it is so light, has a thinner neck than a genuine Strat I played at Guitar Center, and that it's finish is so beautiful. What do I hate? Probably that it doesn't have a floating bridge and locking nut. My favorite feature would have to be that clang you get when you strum right at the bridge. I didn't compare it, I just saw it, saw that it was in my price range, checked it out, and went for it. Like I said before, though, I really wish it had a floating bridge. Final Note: My cousin has a PRS Santana Signature model, and I think my guitar has a sweeter tone.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I haven't played Live yet, so I don't know how good it'll survive, but I've walked throught doorways wrong, put the neck back on badly, and even almost bent the tuner, but it still sings. The buttons could probably survive a Chevy commercial and beat out the truck, though. I can definitely depend on it, and the only damage I can see is where I dropped it against my bed's metal frame and only got a nick.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Action was a little high, and I think I lowered it too much, because the eighth fret on the low E it buzzes a tad. The pickups were great, but I adjusted them a little to get a more penultimate awesome sound. Bridge was routed great, top well done. The only problem that I could find with the controls was that the previous owner didn't take all the wrap off the bottoms of the knobs, and the tip on the selector is a little loose.
Features — 8
Mine is technically an Ariana, which is the '02-'03 name for the STG series. It's got 22 frets, Rosewood fingerboard, regular frets. It's kinda laminated, but it's got better tone than my friend's Squier Strat. It's got a beautiful blue finish that you can see the grain through, Strat shape, and a thru-body with down trem bridge. One volume, two tones (I can't figure out what tone does, though, ) five way Switch. I guess the pickups are Aria, they don't have any kind of label on them. They're single coils, and only hum when you're only on one pickup (mainly bridge, I stay mid-neck.) Tuners don't lock, but that's fine. It came with a gig bag, a couple picks, the trem bar, and a little practice amp.