Price paid: $ 272.55
Purchased from: Centre Musicale De Robertville
Sound — 8
Well, my music tends to be mainly metal, and blues. This guitar does both very well, but is more suited for blues, and classic rock, just for slightly overdriven sounds. I play guitar guitar through a Samick LA40R, with a Zoom 505 #2 pedal. On the blues setting on the pedal with this guitar, it sounds so good, I tryed this guitar out on a larger higher quality amp at the shop, and it sounded incredible, it has great cleans, distortion will get you a bit of a buzz though (as will any single coil). The guitar has a tremelo set up on it, so you can do the basic vibrato, I try making the elephant noise like Herman Li, but it doesnt have the range (obviously). It is not a guitar meant for divebombing and doing all sort of crazy stuff with, it's more geared for blues, classic rock, and maybe a few more genres.
Overall Impression — 9
Well, the impression is not perfect, seeing as how the first one came with a stress crack and shoddy wires, but the second one I have had no problems with, I jump around, it doesn't make noises, I abuse the whammy bar, it stays in tune decent, but that's all it is, a decent guitar, its high end beginner, low end intermediate, its made for a Strat lover, Who is on a budget. I have been playing about 2 years, I also own a Epiphone G-400. If it was stolen, I would probably buy an Ibanez S520EX, just because I want a floyd style trem, but if I was on a tight budget, and really wanted a Strat, then I would buy it again for sure. I love the looks about it, I hate the fact that its made in China. My favorite feature is probably the beautiful maple fretboard, or have the use of a whammy bar, my Epi doesnt have that. I compared this guitar to an Ibanez RG321 and like it much more, I only played on the clean channel though the Austin had way better cleans than the Ibanez, and I didn'tlike the Ibanez neck that much, but the more I think about it, the more I liked it, this guitar has a quite fat neck, which can get tedius after awhile. It also has horrible upper-fret access, I have great trouble reaching any higher than the 17th fret. Other than that, its a great guitar for the price.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar would definatly withstand live playing, but I wouldn't do it without a backup, just because its china-made and doesn't come completely well put together. The hardware has withstood my abuse thus far, strap buttons are good with my jumping around, the finish seems very good, and seems like it will last along time, it could also withstand a lot of abuse too.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar was set up just decent from the factory, the action was decent, but not as low as I like it, but I got use to it, because with higher strings my playing has become cleaner. The pickups were set up good, the bridge was routed good, I cant get it flat though, I've tried adding springs, messing with the screws in the trem cavity, nothing worked, but its not a big deal. Now, the first guitar I had like this, had a stress crack on the body by the neck not even a week of owning it, so I brought it back, and they ordered me a new one free of charge, other than that, it has no flaws taht I am aware of so far. Another thing I don't like about this guitar is it's upper fret-access, its not very good, to reach farther than the 17th fret is a horrible task, but that may be a problem with all strats, not positive though. This guitar is good, but since the first one came with a stress crack and shoddy wires, I give this a 7.
Features — 8
Alright, this guitar was made in 2006, in China. It is the standard Strat-style copy, 21 frets, fairly thick maple neck and a maple fretboard. The body is made of solid alder, with a tobacco sunburst finish, just beautiful in my opinion. This guitar comes with a Wilkinson classic style trem, which is good for me, all I need. It has the typical 5-way selector switch found on Strats, and with 2 tone and one volume. This guitar has 3 single coils, which I absolutely love, they are the Wilkinson Vintage '50s pickup, and they sound very good, no buzz, but can work with distortion very well before buzzing will occur, and if buzzing does occur, if you set the switch to the 2 or 4 position, the buzzing will be eliminated (that is only if you use loads of distortion though, and if you do that, you might as well get a guitar made for metal). Another great feature that comes stock with the guitar, is locking tuners, E-Z-Lok. They may be a cheap name, but they are working fine for me, I can go retarded with the bar doing things I should with a strat style trem, and it only falls a little out of tune. I wish they would have given some accessories, the shop gave me 3 picks, that's it, but I had my own gig bag, if I didn't, it would have come home in a box. Other than that, the guitar has pretty nice features for the price I payed.