Price paid: £ 1025
Purchased from: R&B Music Aberdeen
Sound — 8
I mostly play music such as Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Who etc. I have to say, it suits my playing style perfectly. I'm playing it through a Vox VT40+ and it sounds really good, although I'm looking to purchase a proper tube amp soon. I get some really good clean tones from the guitar thanks to the mixture of maple neck and an ash body, it sounds great. It's not quite that classic Strat tone, but more like an evolved sound from the original. It sounds really bright and "spanky" when the tone knobs are turned up, but when you roll them back you get a really nice creamy tone that's really mellow and sounds great with a bit of distortion. Obviously it's not quite as raw as a humbucker, but if I was after that I would get a Les Paul. There really is quite a lot of sounds you can get from the guitar by playing around with the pickup selector and tone knobs as well as the amp settings. I don't use any pedals with it, but I'm sure the possibilities are endless when you take them into the equation. I prefer these pickups by far to any of the noiseless ones Fender make (N3, SCN, Vintage Noiseless etc) and they sound great but I would like them to be a little bit more like the classic sound. I might look into some 57/62's or some 69's.
Overall Impression — 10
This is my main guitar now, I really can't put it down. If something happened to it I would buy another one ASAP. The finish is absolutely beautiful, the best I've seen. I spent a while trying out different guitars before I bought this and it really was the best I played. The only thing that was better was a Custom Shop Clapton Strat - but that was a bit out of my price range. This is my first strat, and my first Fender and I'm impressed. Everything from the attention to detail to the sound to the playability is just spot on. It truly is worth more than the sum of it's parts. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a versatile workhorse of a guitar. It really is a brilliant guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I haven't played anywhere but out of the house yet, but I would feel totally comfortable taking it to a live gig. It feels like it would withstand some pretty hard knocks, after all it's a strat, Its going to last a while. The finish is polyurethane so it's pretty tough - no chance of it looking like a relic a few years down the line. I probably would take another guitar as a backup, but that would just be as a precaution or for different tunings, I really wouldn't expect to have to use it because of a problem with the strat.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar came set up pretty well. I'm not sure if that was from Fender or if the guys in the shop set it up before I picked it up. The action was pretty low, but too low. It's just the way I like it, really easy to fret notes but with no rattle or anything. The pickups were set to the factory recommended settings and I haven't felt the need to play around with them, but no doubt I will at some point. The tremolo was set to float straight out of the case, and it stays in tune pretty well, sometimes requiring a quick pull in the up on the whammy bar to bring it up to pitch. I gave the whole guitar a good look over and haven't seen or found any flaws. The two piece body is really well matched up, the neck is comfortable and there's no rough frets. There's no marks on the body or on any of the metal parts. The quality control at Fender must be spot on, and it came with a tag where the guys that inspected it before it left the factory signed off on it. I'm really impressed with how flawless it is, my only gripe is that it came with .09's and I usually use .10's. Not that that's exactly what I would call a fault.
Features — 9
Guitar was made in 2010 at the Fender Corona plant (in California). It features an ash body in Sienna Sunburst polyurethane finish and a maple neck with medium jumbo frets. It has 22 frets, a satin finish on the back of the neck, staggered tuners, a single string tree and a 3-ply pickguard. It has a two point American Standard tremolo, with bent steel saddles and a copper infused high mass block for increased resonance and sustain. It has three single coil American Standard Alnico V pickups, a volume control and two tone controls. It also features a Delta Tone System, which has an indent at ten which eliminates any filtration through capacitors resulting in a clear bell like tone. It came with a cable, strap, whammy bar, strings and a SKB moulded hard case. It would have been nice to have some locking tuners but that's the only improvement I can think of.