Price paid: $ 1279.17
Purchased from: Nevada Music
Sound — 8
This guitar is brilliant for many styles and you can easily get many classic Strat tones. I've used it for Red Hot Chili Peppers style music, Hendrix style, Clapton style and Brian May style and various Indie styles and it sounds like a dream. I use a Marshall AVT 150 and it sounds great played through the clean channel with a little reverb through the neck pickup. The only problem is that distortion/overdrive can sound very muddy through the pickups, especially with high gain settings, getting a decent distorion pedal like the Boss MD-2 helps but the guitar is best played with a little overdrive.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar can match many styles, and doesn't let me down. I have only been playing for 2 years so I guess I'm fairly inexperienced but I am not considering another guitar yet as it can do everything I need it to. My only regret is that I didn't consider an American Strat with a humbucker in the neck position, as this would enable me to play some heavier styles without the need for a distortion pedal. If it were stolen I would hunt down the criminal responsible but if that fails then I guess I would definitely buy another 1. When I was buying I compared it with an Epiphone Les Paul Custom and a Gibson Les Paul Studio and it kicked the Epiphone's ass, although the Gibson was a special guitar I felt the Strat was far better suited to my style when I bought it. I love the neck on this guitar as it is so easy to play and the general design is a thing of outstanding beauty. The only problem I have with it is it's inability to stay in tune whilst being abused. This guitar rocks!
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar just cries out to be played live, I have had no problems with it (although I've only gigged it twice) and definitly don't need to worry bout a backup. I have had a problem with the strap buttons which resulted in me playing 1/2 a song sat down! This should not be a problem though if you check them and don't abuse them like I do! The hardware is solid and strats are renowned for going decades without the need for hardware repair. The finish already has a few dents in it due to my clumsiness. You have to be fairly careful with the finish, and if you are you won't have any problems. I do feel as though this guitar will probably outlive me!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I got the guitar, it was an upgrade from a Strat copy that was falling to pieces, The guitar was set up perfectly, although if you wish to change the string guage (like I did as I prefer 10s to the normal guage 9s) Be prepared to make some tricky adjustments to the tremelo bridge (I had to take mine to my local repair shop after not realising this). I have found that the guitar can struggle to stay in tune, especially if you try a hendrix style dive bomb, and this can be very frustrating, but a mate of mine who owns a Mexican Strat says he doesn't have the same problem with his guitar. All in all this guitar is brilliantly set up from the factory.