Price paid: $ 360
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 9
I play punk, pop-punk, and classic hard rock. This guitar suits these genres well. I don't have big equipment; I'm using a Fender Champ 15 as an amplifier. While distorted, I have to say, the sound bites hard. It's really full either with or without distortion, mostly because of the humbucker at the bridge. I want to get a better amp, because the guitar gets really noisy past 7, and I usually need to turn it up to 9 for practice sessions. The 3 pickups allow a nice variety of sounds, so you can play country, blues, classic rock, and with some added distortion, metal.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a perfect match for me, being in a pop punk band. This is much better than my first guitar, a Squier SE Special Strat, in sound, quality, durability, and feel. If this guitar was stolen, I would try to find another humbucker equipped used Strat, but I'm sure that it wouldn't measure up to this one. This guitar is the best that I've ever played. (Trust me, I got to Guitar Center, Sam Ash, and all the other big music stores just to try out guitars.) I may be saying a bit much about it, being made in Mexico, but I've compared it to Les Pauls, even, and prefer this model. I just wish it had an HH configuration, because I prefer humbuckers over single coils.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will certainly withstand live playing. The wood and hardware are terrific for a Mexican Strat. The strap buttons, unlike my first guitar, stay on perfect. I can absolutely depend on it, but I always bring my first guitar as a backup to gigs just in case I break a string.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I got my guitar used, which explains the price. It had low action, just how I like it. I was worried that the climate that I originally kept it in, (my damp, cold basement) would affect the action and hardware, which is why I store it upstairs. The pickups were set correctly and the bridge was a huge improvement from my previous guitar. (My old guitar had a bridge that was mounted too high and the tremolo messed up the action, the bridge set, and the tuning.) This guitar has a perfectly flat bridge when the arm is not screwed in, making it ideal for me. (I don't use pitch bend.) The guitar does not contain any flaws except TAT sometimes the socket on the jack becomes loose, but I learned that this is common for all Stratocasters, even American ones.
Features — 9
It was manufactured in Mexico in 2002. - 21 large frets - Laminated top - Maple neck & alder body - Black finish - Standard Strat body - 6 saddle Strat tremolo bridge - Passive electronics - 1 volume, 2 tone, 5 way selector - HSS configuration Pickups made by Fender - Locking tuners - Case, Fender manual, care kit, and Fender bumper sticker included