Purchased from: PMT Norwich
Features — 10
I purchased an American 1996 Fender Stratocaster Eric Clapton signature used. It has 22 vintage frets, maple fretboard and neck in cream. Came with vintage bridge and tuners with gold lace sensor pickups with mid boost. The lace sensors were one of the biggest part of my decision in this guitar, I had always loved the look and read great things of them, but never had the chance to try them out, as soon as I plugged into a Fender Hot Rod Deville, I was sold. Also came with a Fender strap, tweed case, lead & tools.
Sound — 10
I enjoy playing Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Tommy Emmanuel, Yngwie Malmsteen, Bryan Adams, Foo Fighters, The Shadows as well as Eric Clapton. I mostly play blues, rock, jazz, pop. Whenever I am using this guitar for work however, I needed something extremely versatile. The Eric Clapton Strat is certainly that. I feel like I can get sounds ranging from B.B. King to Gary Moore and Joe Satriani. Some more subtle songs such as hand on heart by Steve Vai play very well. Hendrix with the mid boost maxed out is phenomenal!
I use a Fender Hot Rod Deville 212 for all my clean tube needs and dirty up with the Boss DS1 adding Delay when needed. I keep my setup as simple as possible to make it flexible, quick and easy to set up. I use George L's cables. If you like rock, pop, blues and a little jazz. I think this guitar is a complete package for these styles.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Action is very ideal, however, this guitar was purchased used and clearly had a professional set up. This guitar does need to be looked after, set up regularly, the frets are getting very worn now and I imagine that within the next year a complete re-fret will be needed. Only flaw with the instrument is a cosmetic joint on the body by the neck, quite a large space on the left hand side. For the expense of the instrument new, I am very surprised there was such a flaw. Regardless of the gap, It has no affect on the sound, playability and durability, just doesn't look as fantastic as I'd hoped.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I play this guitar live all the time, never had an issue. I have had this guitar for 4 years now, used every day for an average of 8-10 hours, except Saturdays, she gets a little rest. I haven't got a single issue with the hardware, although that being said, the vintage tuners were originally annoying when restringing. I had looked on YouTube for a better way and soon realised I was being pedantic when I restring the instrument before the guy had put one string on. Still annoying though when a string pings out of the tuner hole and whips your finger. I have had no issues with the strap buttons nor even the input and dials... very surprising.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall this is the best guitar I have purchased and so far used. I own an Ibanez Jem, Ibanez RG320FA (1990) among others. I have been looking at 2 more stratocasters as back ups, but nothing has yet come close, and I don't really wish to look like an Eric Clapton fanatic. I had tried a few different Stratocasters, Les Pauls, Ibanez's & PRS, but nothing really suited my style so beautifully. I am a full time guitarist and have been playing for 12 years, I needed something reliable and versatile. It's lived up to my expectations.