Price paid: $ 1000
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I play anything from Delta blues to heavy metal (Metallica, Sabbath, etc.) this includes classic rock but not much metalcore or death metal. I played this guitar through a Line 6 Spider Valve 212, this is not a spider III or something similar. It comes with Bugera tubes, so the sound I was hearing is what it should be. To be brutally honest, the guitar was quite noisy when run through heavy distortion. It did, However, have a very bright, almost bell-like, sound. The neck pickup sounded great with a blues driver set to low and a compressor. The Bridge pickup handled AC/DC or Led Zeppelin sounds very well.
Overall Impression — 9
I love this guitar, after some adjustments that is. A new bridge and saddles is a must and the tuners should be replaced. I have been playing for five years and this is the best guitar I've ever owned. If it were stolen I would track down the thief and beat his face in with my bare fists. Or I would just buy a new one. I love it's tone and how well it can handle the blues and classic rock I like to play. This guitar is not for metalcore, death metal, or any other super-heavy metal.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I would gig with this guitar, but I would bring a backup, the strings would snap way too much. The hardware seems like it will hold up, the strap buttons are solid and seem sturdy. The finish is beautiful and hasn't scratched off much yet.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The Guitar was set up fairly well in the factory, the action was low, but not low enough to buzz. I later set it up myself, but the factory settings were fine. The tuning pegs were slightly loose, but nothing too bad. Another problem is that the finish on the pickguard was scratched and made it look bad. I ended up replacing it the first string change, but it was still annoying. My biggest concern was the bridge, the high E string seemed to snap a lot more than it should have, I fixed that with after-market saddles but still.
Features — 8
I bought my American Stratocaster, new from Guitar Center. It was made in 2009 in Corona California. It has a laminated, 22 medium jumbo fret, maple neck and 25.5 scale. The neck is bolted on, not glued, like most Fenders. The body is a Standard Strat Ash with a Black finish and a 3-Ply white pickguard. The bridge is a bent saddle type with a tremolo. There are three Single coil Alinco-V pickups with a five way selector switch. The tuners are stock and tend to slip. The guitar came with a high quality hard case and all the tools needed to make adjustments. The pickups and tuners could have been better and the pickguard was slightly scratched. Also, strings seem to snap very easily on this guitar, I don't know if it's me, the strings or the bridge that's doing it though.