Strat Player Deluxe review by AXL

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (21 votes)
AXL: Strat Player Deluxe

Price paid: $ 146.4

Purchased from: Ian Lewingtons LTD

Sound — 8
Like all strats, you get hum when near any other electric kit, but hey that's just single coil pickups for you. Obviously hum isn't noticeable when put through a clean channel, or with less than medium gain on overdrive. The inside was pretty well shielded when I first got it, and this probably kept the hum to a minimum. Pretty decent bonus that, as most manufacturers barely bother with cavity shielding at all. Sustain is identical to a real Strat. Once you've got the basics set up well (as on this guitar), locking bridges and fancy nut mechanisms make negligible difference, and in my mind are merely there for mental satisfaction for poor mislead people that have coughed up 1000 for an electric guitar! The 3 single coil pickups are labelled 'EMG-AXL.' At first I thought this was a shameless attempt of leeching off EMG's hectically amazing reputation (being that of the best pickup manufacturers there ever were). However, it turns out Axl were kindly allowed to use the design notes of an EMG model single-coil when designing this pickup. Obviously, due to the price and quality restrictions, the pickups aren't anything like real EMGs, though they put up an amazing fight in proving themselves in the world of other single-coil pickups. Their output, bold sound and frequency response range are nothing short of a small miracle given that they probably cost less than 10 each. As a result, this guitar sounds like it cost you at least 300 (that's about $400 for you Americans over there). How's that for unexpected?

Overall Impression — 9
If three words could sum up this reviewer's opinion, they'd be: 'value for money'. Great for playing anything that isn't metal. Originally I compared it to other Strat imitations such as the Fender Squier. I can safely say (with full evidence) that it smokes them all, and I am thoroughly satisfied with my purchase. Because it's Axl, you don't have to pay extra for the name/label, you don't have a stupid round head shape like a true Strat, and you get very good value as this small company is obviously trying to get a name for itself through thorough customer satisfaction. If someone stole it I'd probably be glad that it would have another life of music, as it didn't cost me much and I seldom play it these days.

Reliability & Durability — 10
After a few weeks of playing, the strap buttons and machine heads became a bit wobbly, but that happens in any vibrating system involving threads. Nothing that a few twists of a screwdriver didn't fix. This guitar is solid. The number of lessons I have learnt with it (which would have ended in a large repair bill had it been another make of guitar) is large and varied. It's withstood being dropped on a variety of surfaces, left in the rain, wedged in a door frame etc. Mind you, it has the occasional tell-tale scratch and dent as a result. But even the dents are not very deep, owing to the dense wood (which also helps with sustain) nor are the scratches, presumably due to the durable paintjob/finish.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
In hindsight, the intonation and action were well factory set. Again, an unexpected bonus. Probably for reasons I outlined somewhere above. It came with 10s on (a very light string gauge, i.e. thin strings) which I soon changed to 12s for a richer tone and a lower rate of snapping! There were no flaws in the paintwork, the filing or the routing of the cavity (not that you can see it anyway).

Features — 9
Strat imitation made in Asia somewhere I suppose, by skilled workmen and women toiling away for their next meal. Due to the work culture over there the workmanship on this axe is far better than most things made by shortcut-taking westerners. God bless 'em. Anyway, 21 frets, rosewood, thinner neck than my other electric (not that neck thickness makes any difference, it's just something annoying kids whine about as an excuse for their poor technique). Solid top with see-through red paintjob. From what I can see, the grain of the wood has very little imperfection. To cut short further rambling, it has everything a real Fender American Strat has (including the funky black line around the scratch-plate), the only noticeable differences other than the named parts (i.e. tuning mechanisms with 'Axl' imprint) is the shape of the head which is a sleek kind of Ibanez-fender mix to the extent that instead of a stupid round bell shape, it finishes in a cool curved point. This was my first electric guitar, and now, many (too many) years later, I have chosen to type this review as I like to think I finally have the experience and know-how to actually do a decent review.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    this guitar was sold realy cheap to me cos it had a broken bridge, although it was brand new and only cost me 50 ( i haggled the price a bit) anyway this guitar is the best ive ever played on. it even plays better (for me) than the Ibanez JEM series!! now that's saying something!
    I got this oneat a second hand shop for 40 with no damages at all, great sound and value for money-10/10
    i got it for 200, but that was with a marshall mg10cd amp and a ritter gig bag (and the usual crummy things like books and pleckys) the main thing that I like about it is the headstock, i hate the fender bells, and gibson have never designed a fun one, this ones just cool! Mines slihtly different to the one in this review thou, ive got a single coil and two humbuckers(just like a fender fat-strat) and i love it
    rubbish, i have one and it sounds terrible, i adjusted the pickup height today and it sounds a bit better, but still rubbish, its no where near as good as a fender. Sturdy and reliable tho
    i brought this as my first guitar, so didnt really know if it was good or not but now i play 3 guitars, the other 2 being les paul's and i cant believe what value for money this guitar was, the sound, all i can say, outstanding, especially seeing i paid 150 (for guitar, AXL amp, strap, lead, and stand) GREAT BUY
    This was my first guitar (and my only guitar), You can rely on this guitar, It's verry sterdy and hart do brake, not that i've tried, mine has had quitae a lot of bumps, but it's still almost in perfect condition (1 or 2 dents :S), But the only problem i found with mine is that, the sound isn't that good, for example. The notes don't sustain and it doesn't seem to be able to do harmonics. It's a good guitar if your a beginner and for practicing e.c.t. but if you are playing at a gig or something i wouldn't advise. but still a good guitar .
    I got a deal on a beautiful AXL, white with black pickguard, very different looking from the ones advertised. I put three real strat pickups in, and this is my favourite guitar now.
    Mother Goose
    I just bought an AXL player deluxe - but found it was Left Handed. Can I restring it to Right Handed? Have to turn round the 'top nut' Mother Goose
    Mother Goose
    I just bought an AXL player deluxe - but found it was Left Handed. Can I restring it to Right Handed? Have to turn round the 'top nut' Mother Goose
    I bought this strat for $15 from somebody who couldnt pawn it . at first it was out of shape because it was used but a full night of fixing its neck, changing the strings, shifting the tremolo spring position & a spit shine here and there it was good as new. Sounds GREAT !. I often play it in 2nd position since i often play modern rock and blues . Very durable . i gave it a few chips and wears after dropping it a few times but the bruising makes any strat looks sexy . i dnt use the tremolo to often because of the fact its very easy to fall out of tune . but 10/10 great guitar for beginners .!