Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: musicians friend
Sound — 8
I've been waiting for this guitar for quite some time. Everytime I've tried to find a humbucker strat, Fender or other brand, it always has something I don't like, but this managed to package everything I wanted. Sound: IMO, better than a regular Strat for my style, which spans many genres incluying rock, blues, metal, jazz, etc. I need a versatile instrument and a humbucker at least in the bridge for high gain. I can deal with SCs in the neck but this has the best of both worlds, the HB in the neck but the coil tap on the outer coil so you can get that bell-like Hendrix sound also. In general the sound of the HBs is fairly warm and, as expected, less chimy than an SC strat. But I think people go overboard calling this a metal guitar, cause the pups aren't hot enough to be ideal for full blown metal. Myself included, I think people are stoked about be able to play hard rock and metal on a Strat at all, because with a regular one you just can't, period. The sound is quite satisfactory for basically any style you want, but let's not exaggerate. It's about on par with your garden variety Ibanez for high gain stuff. The cool thing for me anyway, is finally we have as versatile an instrument as a double HB guitar but in the stylish package of a Fender and not some generic boring Asian strat-style guitar or the other camp completely of a Gibson-style guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a competent guitar that can serve a pro's needs. Sound wise, it is a good match for anything you want to play, but I'm not sure the real motivator for buying it is sound and not because you just WANT the charm of a genuine Fender (even if it's Mexican) but NEED an HB guitar, which is my case. There are dozens of strat-style guitars with HBs on the market just as good but some of us love the idea of playing the same guitar as Hendrix, Gilmour and our other heroes, as opposed to a generic knockoff. I'd say this is a really good value and you should buy it if you are clear that the true motive for getting it is sheer style.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I don't see why this guitar could not take live playing. The finish is good enough and the hardware also. It's a good, practical and solid instrument. Although I've gigged plenty with no backup, I don't recommend it regardless of the guitar you use. This seems as solid as any.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The neck on this guitar is its best feature, nice and glossy with perfect fretwork. It is far superior to many Fenders I've seen before and due to those I've come to be somewhat wary of Fender craftsmanship. The tuners are decent and stable, the bridge is fairly cheap but typical of Fender and works. In general as good as I've seen Fender MIM do, which is good enough to be a pro-level guitar.
Features — 10
Made this year in Mexico. 22 medium jumbo frets, maple neck, alder body. 2 covered humbuckers with coil taps. I give it a 10 because one has to judge this primarily as a strat, even if it has a variation in pups, and as such it has everything a Strat should have. tuners work and the bridge, although not the fanciest, is as good as any Strat I've tried.