Price paid: $ 950
Purchased from: Skips Music
Sound — 10
When I first began looking for a guitar, I was looking for versatility and flexibility of sound. I wanted to play rock and blues, but I also didn't want to be restricted from playing metal on the same guitar. This Stratocaster was perfect for my needs. The guitar can hum a B.B. King tune, or it can scream Metallica or Slayer sounds. There's great versatility on the tone selectors, I was surprised how much the tone can change with merely using the knobs. My previous guitars could not change their tone so easily. I use a Fender HotRod Deville 60 watt tube amp with this guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
I play whatever the crowd wants, which normally turns out to be a wide variety from metal to blues. This is why I bought this guitar. But I didn't expect this guitar to be so perfect. When I think of a guitar that can be perfect, a guitar that can do everything, sound perfect, feel great, look great, I can't think of anything else that can be better. I would not buy another one if this guitar was stolen because the MSRP is over $1000, the price is the only pet peeve I can find about this guitar. I know it seems immature to be so positive and "superficial" but, I'm not exaggerating how amazing this guitar is. Nine for me, only not 10 because of the price.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've used this guitar in a gig without a backup guitar and have played it at least an hour, maximum 5 hours, everyday for the past month and one-half of owning it. The factory stings still sound top notch and clean, and have no visible marks after all this time. While my fellow band member is changing stings every week on his guitars, my Strat has not failed me. The solid feel of this guitar adds a sense of security when playing live, which helps very much if you are inexperienced. The guitar does not go out of tune when using the whammy bar, surprisingly. The strap buttons obviously fit the factory strap perfectly, although the roughness of the strap can annoy your shoulder if playing for prolonged times. This guitar will still be playing in 50 years.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory did a magnificient job on this guitar. The stings hug the fretboard as close as they can possibly get without ringing, making it extremely easy on your fingers, unlike korean and other outside-US made stratocasters, which are more difficult to play. The pickups have obviously undergone wonderful fine-tuning, they are factory-angled at an upward slant towards the high E string for maximum tone and volume leveling. The finish is incredible, after admiring the instrument fully, I could not find one imperfection in the finish.