Price paid: $ 120
Purchased from: Reverb.com
Features: Current year semi-hollow Strat style Cozart branded guitar. Rosewood fretboard and laminated top of striped zebra-type wood. Semi-hollow F hole in upper bout. Volume, tone, tone controls and standard 5-way switch. Bridge pickup has no tone control yet, as in original Strats from Fender. Solid saddles. Gloss body finish is clear and neck is unfinished. 3 single coil Strat type pickups are actually pretty good, not great, but OK. Tuners are inexpensive, but fairly smooth, yet too tight. Guitar cable and tremolo bar (threaded type).
I rated it "9" for value to build+features. About $100 to the door and well made and well finished, decent setup and pretty good pickups and cosmetically attractive and light. We seldom see a semi-hollow Strat and to find a project guitar that simply needs setup and adjustments is welcome for guys who are handy with doing setups. // 9
Sound: My initial check is at standard tuning into a '73 Princeton Reverb with Celestion speaker... very clean and pure sound that will reveal any shortcoming in a guitar. I generally play clean into the clean or dirty channel (for humbuckers) and both are very good if the guitar has good pickups. A Princeton reveals any tone problem with nothing to cover it up. I rate it an "8" with original pickup settings from the factory. No adjustment of the pickups at all and the factory somewhat corroded .010-.046 string set. No tone control yet for the bridge pickup, as expected. My "8" is to tell you that you could play it at open mic night or at a party and no one would mumble the guitar sounds mediocre. It's not like having Fralins or Duncans in it... but the delivered price is about $100 range, new! Remember the context. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: "8" since the nut slots needed to be deepened to satisfy the "3rd fret test" that all setup guys know. The neck was barely backbowed, but loosening the truss rod nut by 1/4 turn resolves it. I suggest that adjustment with string tension let down somewhat... I never tighten it with full tension on strings, especially on a cheap guitar (lesser steels and not as smooth mechanism as in a nice guitar from the USA or by a top maker).
The top is an eye catcher in striped "zebrawood" look and the headstock face matches. Body is clear gloss over solid wood and the neck appears unfinished. It needs ordinary help by taking tuners off and lubricate the knob/shaft joint and loosen, lightly tighten the knob screws. I lubed the hex nut threads lightly before reassembly.
The switch needs the small jumper wire soldered in to add the bridge pickup to the forward (neck pickup)tone knob. It seems odd to some, but you cannot play the neck and bridge pickup together, so the jumper makes the forward tone knob control both neck and bridge pickups. That means you can control both pickups with 2 tone knobs on position 2 and 4. Rear tone knob is only for middle pup and forward tone knob always controls the neck and bridge pups. See? // 8
Reliability & Durability: "9" is my rating since a semi-hollow cannot be as robust as a solid ash body Strat! But for an overseas (likely Vietnam) guitar, this is well made. The neck fits really well in the pocket, which is clean and needed no shim; that is unusual for any Strat! It's a sturdy guitar with a 1-piece neck (no scarf joint) of lower quality wood that is shaped and smoothed well. It needs a light fine-paper smoothing and wipe clean and then a coat or 2 of wiped-on semi-gloss poly (like MinWax small can) to keep it clean and make is a bit more uniform and like what we are accustomed to in satin finished guitar necks. Body gloss is neat and not too heavy and well-shot. It looks quite nice. Remind yourself of the cost of the guitar new. // 9
Overall Impression: "9" because it does not floor me. Had it been sent with nice and real tuners and darn good pickups and a good setup, I would have voted "10". But I had the Cozart Tele in semi-hollow and both guitars are about identical. They need ordinary adjustments and maybe 2 hours time to do them. For the price to my door, it's a lot of guitar, looks impressive, can be made to play well, and sounds good. Having owned and played pretty good and really good guitars (electric, acoustic, and classical) I am seeing that we can get well-made and inexpensive guitars that are "good enough." Some guitars are simple to adjust and make into pretty good and sellable used guitars to get all your money back. And a nice looking guitar that plays well and sounds good in a shop "used" for $150 will sell faster than a used $800 Mexico Strat. "Good enough" means you can get all your money back and have the fun of guitar tweaking and learning. I like it when pro setup guys tell me my guitar does not need anything else done. It's a hobby, not serious work... See? // 9