Price paid: $ 430
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Sound — 10
I'm a relative noobie so play anything that I can. Country, folk rock, rock, punk, whatever. I have a Fender 212 DSP amp which gives plenty of variety of tones and effects itself so don't have any other equipment. The humbuckers produce very full, rich sound, and are way better than you would expect. The single coils when isolated sound just like my Standard Strat. (Understand that a lifetime shooting/firearm instructing has blessed me with imperfect hearing!)
Overall Impression — 10
As I said, I will play anything that I am capable of. I have only been playing a year and a half so don't have the experience of many visitors to the site, but I believe I can tell something decent from something that isn't. I have rated this instrument with regard to the price I paid, and can only say that it is absolutely Stellar value for money. I love the finish, the maple fretboard is beautiful, the candy cola finish sparkles, the tone from the pups is full and rich. What's not to like? I bought it because I like to keep my MIA in it's case for protection and wanted a cheaper guitar to leave out on a stand and not to worry about it getting a few knocks. This piece is so good I had to buy a case for it too! You may ask why I rate it so high. It's because, even at twice the price, I can't fault it. If it were stolen I would buy another immediately. I like Strats, but wanted the tone of humbuckers, so for me this guitar is perfect.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The guitar looks as well made as my MIA Strat and I am sure it will withstand heavy use. I just play for my own entertainment, but I can't see why a person wouldn't gig with it. The finish looks well applied and not likely to wear off anytime soon. Certainly the guitar will be durable, but obviously I can't really comment on reliability as it is a new model.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was well set up on receipt, although as I am not fond of using a tremolo I have the bridge set up flush with the body. Most people wouldn't have to bother altering the setup. The finish on the neck doesn't seem to make any difference to the way it handles. Frets nicely finished. In fact, side by side with my '09 MIA it's hard to tell which is the Mexican. I can't find any fault with this instrument. Not everyone will like the black control knobs, but at least they're different.
Features — 10
2010 made in Mexico. 22 Frets, 91/2 radius Maple neck and fretboard. Alder body. Mine has a Candy Cola finish with mint pickguard. Vintage style synchronized tremolo. There are two "hot" (Fender's description) humbuckers, controlled by a master volume knob, and a tone knob for each pickup. Usual Strat 5 way Switch 1.Full bridge, 2. Inside coils, 3. Both full, 4. Outer neck single coil, 5. Full neck. There were no accessories included except for the tremolo arm. Standard Fender non staggered tuners. The neck is gloss finished back and front - unlike a MIA Standard which has a satin back.