Price paid: £ 20
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 7
This guitar is good for country, blues and rock music. It covers all tastes. As you can probably tell, I'm a seasoned player, not a spotty little inexperienced teenager who doesn't have a clue what he's on about. You could use effects, but this guitar sounds great when clean. I did put it through my Line6 pod and it really came to life. But, all in all, you really don`t need to plug it in anything other than an amp. The pick-ups are very powerful and have a smooth sound. Playing with the tone knobs gives great results. Most people just turn the volume and tone all the way up and play. That philosophy beats me. Some people buy a Les Paul because they want to sound like Slash. They get a shock when they realise they sound the same as they did with a cheap guitar. If Slash got hold of your 20 dollar guitar, guess what, he would sound like Slash.
Overall Impression — 8
I play, country, folk, blues, blues-rock and rock. Basically, I play all kinds of music. I have been playing for 28 years. I own a USA Strat, a Mexican Tele, a Vintage AV6HGW, a 1988 Encore (as good as a Mexican Strat) and now this one. If it were stolen, I would be p-ssed off. It's a good guitar, I would buy one again.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is as solid as a rock. I would put it on par with Epiphone, Squier etc. The paintwork is tough as old boots. The hardware is, well it's hardware, the same as any other guitar in this price range. This guitar would easily withstand live playing. The only thing you need to change is the tuners unless you use 9's. Like I said earlier, it`s built to last.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was only used a few times by the last owner. The action was as usual. Strings were approximately 5-6mm from the fretboard. I soon sorted that out. Although, action doesn't really mean anything. It all depends on how you like it. Some people like high, others like low. The neck is straight as an arrow, with perfect relief. I lowered the action right down and there was no string buzz at all.
Features — 8
First and foremost, I'm a Luthier. This is an older model. I think it's 2004. It is Strat style and has 22 frets. The body is basswood, the neck is hard maple with a rosewood fretboard and it's very well made. The pick up arrangement is H-S-S, with one volume, two tone controls and a five way selector switch. The colour is Midnight Blue and the finish is excellent, it's as tough as nails. Standard tremolo bridge, the same as you get on all Strat copies. The tuners are standard and stay in tune well, even when bending strings, which is quite odd for a cheap model of guitar.