Sound — 10
This a very versatile instrument, but at its heart is blues. I play lots of classic rock, blues, and jazz, for which it is great. Although its immense variability allows for just about any playing style. A very bright tone is easy to get with any amp, and the creamy bridge pickup delivers as it should. The one problem I have with the instrument is the lack of rich bass sound. But this is a Strat, and that can be expected. It simply isn't that type of instrument. The new pickups, called SCN (samarian cobalt nickel), are fantastic. They deliver great sound, and have virtually no standing noise, even with all settings very high on both guitar and amp. I am very impressed with the S1 Switch, which allows you to combine a mixture of different pickups, creating a variety of tones. Overall the sound quality is great; very clear and powerful, exactly what one would hope for when purchasing a strat-type guitar.
Overall Impression — 10
For the price range (sub-$1000) I can't imagine finding a better guitar. I'm very happy with this purchase, a wouldn't hesitate to buy a similair one if it were lost.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Set up was acceptable. It wasn't set the way I'd like, so it took a bit of time to remedy this. Overall though it was fine. Pickups needed a bit of adjustment, but again these are things one can fix themselves. There were no real problems (rusting, scratches, unwanted noise, loose hardware, etc) that I wasn't able to quickly fix.