Price paid: $ 315
Sound — 7
With humbuckers and 22 frets, it is quite versatile suits my musical style (i.e. a bit of everything). I use it with a Marshall 15CD amp, and I am generally quite satisfied with the sound, but I do get interference, sometimes quite bad, on the neck pickup. Otherwise good though, fairly versatile.
Overall Impression — 8
This is an outstanding guitar for starters, in my opinion. It's cheaper than a Squier Strat and has more features. In particular the 22nd fret is handy with many songs I play. I would recommend this for anyone starting guitar, but I would advise them also to check the action and set-up before buying.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar could take a lot of abuse before giving up. Nothing seems like it break/fall off it at any stage. One problem I would have playing live with it is the whammy bar: it de-tunes the strings, especially the G. I have heard thet the necks on starter guiatrs like these tend to warp after a few years. I've had it about half a year, and it still seems fine to me. I expect to upgrade before too long, but I intend to keep this guitar as a back up. I would use it at a gig without a backup, but only because I don't have one! I would use a backup if possible to be on the safe side.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The set-up let a lot to be desired. The action was far too high, and there was mysterious buzzing on the strings. I adjusted the action, and the buzzing seems to have sorted itself out also, so it's fine now. Another problem was the input jack on the body, which was quite loose. I eventually removed the jack plate to try to tighten it from the inside, and in doing so one of the wires broke off! Luckily the guy in the shop fixed it for free for me, and I have no problems with it now.
Features — 8
This is a Strat-style guitar. It has a sting-thru bridge, volume and two tone controls and a 5-way pickuop selector. It also has a 2-way Switch (beside the tone control) that seems to boost the sound from the bridge pickup. There are three pickups: a humbucker on the bridge and siglecoils in the middle and neck position. The neck is bolt-on maple. The fingerboard is rosewood, with 22 frets. The body is made of alder (I think) with a flamed-top finish.