Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
The guitar a little jewel, my influences are Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, U2, Queen, Nirvana, Guns n' Roses, Air, Coldplay the list doesn't end! If I like the sound of something I'll try to play it, simple as. This Strat is enormously flexible ans willing to produce any tone, other then a fat Gibson tone, without much hard work. I use a small Fender Bullet Reverb amp, Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95 and a Boss Metal Zone MT2 for some serious crunch. This guitar is just as quiet if not quieter than my Les Paul Standard, this due to the Fender Lace sensors which don't actually pickup on that well known nasty 60 Hz hum so common to Standard Strats. As a result of not having and magnetic field in the sensor, there is not pull on the strings which means the sensors can be raised as close as resonable possible to the strings to get the best out of the sensors. This guitar has better sustain than my Gibson Standard Les Paul! The sound has been compared to a rich bell-like '50s tone, and I believe she sounds like she was made in heaven. No problem geting the Pink Floyd or Dire Straits tone which I cherish. Add the distortion and she rips the house down despite what some people say! She can be quite loud but you really need to turn the amp up for that. One point to note is that by having such a quiet guitar you can really get the best out of the amp by pumping it up to 10, which I thoroughly enjoy doing, in the absense of my landlady of course!
Overall Impression — 10
I have very varied style and she fits me just like a glove. I've been playing for 7-8 years on an old Eko (acoustic), Westfield (acoustic), Transfer (electric), 2003 Gibson Les Paul Standard(elect), Dunlop GCB95 Crybaby, Boss MT-2 Metal Zone, Zoom 9002 Pro with foot switch, Dunlop capo & slide, Fender 38 Watt Bullet Reverb amp and any pick I can lay my fingers onto. I pretty much new everything about the product prior to purchase. If stolen/lost, my aim would be to find a clone somewhere soon. I love everything, the vibrato isn't really my best friend as the electric I started off with lost it's arm prior to my acquiring her, but I'll get used to it soon enough. Favourite features: Locking tuners, LSR roller nut, hipshot tremsetter, rosewood fretboard, Bi-fles truss rod, DBX tone, Fender-Lace pickups, Pearloid scratchplate, Moulded case, sunburst, two-point floating bridge. That sounds like the whole guitar to me. I compared it to the American Standard Strat, Strat pluses and all the Deluxe models. I chose this one over a contemporary 1995 Strat Plus for: the sunburst, the rosewood fretboard which I greatly prefer. The bonus is I didn't know it was a Fender Anniversary model, with the added tone pot which other Strat Pluses don't appear to have. I'm not excatly sure if it is really just a Strat Plus or a Deluxe Strat Plus, as I have heard that Deluxe models: don't have a "D" prior to the serial number, have been known to come with 3 gold Lace sensors instead of more usual silver-silver-blue, the Deluxe also has the DBX tone control. So yeah, Purchase of the year with as much satisfaction as my Gibson Les Paul Standard. I wish I wish she came with a couple more of her kind as safety backup, but that would be greedy as I do wish other guitarists out there to get hold of one of these if they can.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Unless stolen or broken by anyone else, this guitar will carry on on its time journey and I do hope when I have kids that they'll be abe to appreciate her as much as I do. The body should survive a nuclear holocaust but I may one day remove the lacquer and get the wood out as I'd realy prefer that to the nitocellulose finish. The strap buttons are as lousy as with any USA brand instrument so I've replaced tham with nice wide ones. When I have some more money I'll get some locking straps and remount the original hardware. I can most ertainly depend on this one but would nevertheless have my Gibson not as a backup but accompanying instrument as she's my baby too! The finish is in brilliant nick, but as I said it might just come off! I've got to see how much work it involves, what the risks are then plan my move.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Seen as I only got the guitar 10 years down the line, I have absolutely no idea how well the factory set her up. When I got her from Ebay, she needed seeing to (removing a little wooden block used to block the tremolo action, then tighten the springs) The Hipshot Tremsetter also needs to be seen to but I'll do that when I've put my required string guage on. The sensors, as previously mentioned should be as close to the strings as possible, and they weren't when I received her. Haven't had a look under the pickguard yet, but from the rear and jack cavities, the internal routing appears to be of high standard. Considering her 10 years of age this guitar is in pretty good condition, albeit several dings most of which only visible from less than a meter and one scratch deeper than the lacquer but fortunately for me, in the dark area of the sunburst and thus easily covered up. There is also some peeling of the lacquer on the upper section of the skunk stripe on the rear of the neck. The guitar's hardware is perfect condition and none of the metallic parts have tarnished.
Features — 10
This Stratocaster was build in 1996 in the USA, she has 22 medium-jumbo frets set in a Rosewood fretboard which is glued to a maple neck that finishes with a standard sized headstock, all this kept straight with a bi-flex truss rod. She's made of solid Ash with a transparent tripletoned red sunburst nitrocelulose layer of lacquer over the body and a polyurethane finish over the neck. The fretboard has a natural finish with white dot inlayed position markers and small dot marker inlays at the boundary between the rosewood board and maple neck. The body style is that of a standard contoured Stratocaster and is mounted with a two point fully adjustable floating bridge, the strings are naturally passed through the body as with all Strats. The guitar does not have any active electronics but is mounted with a DBX tone that work together with the bridge and middle sensor. From 1 throught to 5 the tone acts as a nornal tone pot at 5 there is a detent afterwhich a dually mounted pot acts to brighten the sound of the bridge and middle sensors, three gold Fender-Lace sensors grace this guitar, mounted on a pearloid scratchplate and controlled by a standard 5-way rotor switch. The guitar has locking Schaller tuners and a LSR roller nut but lacks any string trees. To maintain tuning during string breakage a hipshot tremsetter is factory installed between two springs in the rear cavity. The guitar came with it's original moulded hardshelled case with plush grey interior, tremolo arm, Fender strap and banana-yellow loinfree wiping cloth.