Purchased from: Mill Music
Sound — 7
Really bright. Gets very fizzy at high gain settings. Nice sparkly and quacky clean. Excellent for twangy sounds as well. Blues and country all the way. As far as high gain sounds go, it IS possible. With the tone knob at 4-6 you can get a decent, not so fizzy high gain sound. The definition is lacking compared to a HB, and the punch is not there. Very articulate, though dark. That spot where you get rid of the fizz gets rid of what you need to survive in the mix as well. It can cover a lot of ground, though blues and country are its home. It can get into some rock for sure, but humbuckers have proven to be better suited (for me atleast). Running through Marshall TSL60 and Mesa/Boogie Mark IV.
Overall Impression — 6
It was bought in a period of Strat craze. I was big into SRV, Jimi and Skynyrd. It worked well in the few specific applications I needed it for, but failed in all others. Was not reliable for me, and was sold within 6 months of purchasing. It remained at home more often than it went out to gigs. Beautiful guitar, just never worked out for me. Wouldn't buy another strat, unless I drastically changed my style of playing.
Reliability & Durability — 6
As mentioned, the low E saddle was nothing but trouble. One gig it ended up causing me a ton of fret buzz by the end of the night. Wouldnt gig it without a backup, mainly because it can't handle everything. When I gigged with it, it was kind of a sub-in guitar. Like a pinch-hitter for Jimi tunes and stuff like that. Trem caused tuning problems, and was no fun to setup. PRS trem is far superior in my opinion.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action was a little high at first. The neck shape was awesome, I really like it. Maple fretboard felt great. The saddle for the low E string always caused trouble, it used to just keep getting lower with use. I played it fairly hard, but I would expect an American made guitar to hold its own. My Korean tele always did fine. Wiring was great, finish was great.
Features — 8
2009 American SSS Strat. Candy Cola finish, maple freboard. Typical Strat features, plus a no hold tone pot for the bridge and middle p/ups. Having it set at 10 essentially bypasses it in your wiring. Awesome neck curve. I usually hate bigger necks, but I kinda liked this one. 5 way Switch offers anything from ice-pick, to quackin, to warm and clear.