Sound — 10
To put it as simply as possible: This guitar sounds great. I play quite a lot of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Green Day, Metallica and Yngwie Malmsteen and this guitar fits those styles nicely. I play it through my Fender amp, although I am saving up for a bigger Marshall amp. Obviously, things such as 'tallica would sound better through something with humbuckers, but the pickups on this thing handle high distortion levels better than I was expecting. You can get some really beautiful sounds for soloing with. I especially love the sound of the neck pickup, which produces some gorgeous clean sounds. The 5-way pickup selector and tone controls allow for easy tweaking of one's sound and make this an incredibly versatile guitar. But of course you knew that right? This is a Strat after all. I don't have any particular problems with hum, although if the TV is on then there is a noticeable buzz, but nothing serious. I just turn the TV of. Overall, in terms of sound this guitar delivers a wide range of tones ranging from beautiful, ringing clean sounds to wailing distorted epicness.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing since about September '07 and this was my second guitar. I also own an Epiphone flying V, an Aria STG (my first guitar - Strat shaped), a black Stagg acoustic, A mahogany Freshman acoustic, a Martin Backpacker, A Stagg mandolin and a beginner's Encore bass. I have also placed an order on a Gibson Les Paul Junior, which should be arriving within the next week. If this guitar were stolen, I would definately feel as if a part of me had been lost, and (I know everybody says this in their reviews) I would find who stole it and bring a world of unimaginable pain and torment upon them. So, to sum up, I LOVE: the look, the sound, the versatility, the feel, the fact that its a strat, the quality and the value for money compared to other strats I've seen. I don't like: The fact that the G string caused me so much grief, and the fact that the finish is so delicate. To be honest, the whole G string thing was probably my bad luck and the chances are that your one, if your thinking of buying one (which you should), should be absolutely fine. OVERALL, I think that this is a gorgeous, top-notch instrument which produces a huge array of sounds, all of them beautiful. Whatever your style of music is, this guitar will fit the bill perfectly. Unless you like rap, in which case you should go to your room and have a good hard think about what you've done.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have done 2 gigs with this guitar and have another one coming up and it's great. The hardware is all top quality and I had no trouble with the strap buttons. I feel like I can totally depend on it and used it without backup for both of the gigs. The finish, whilst beautiful to the eye, dents easily, as I found out on my first day of owning it when my brother accidentally hit it with the headstock of his guitar, creating a small dent on the contoured bit that rests against your body. It was small and barely noticeable, but I knew it was there. But that's not really the guitar's fault, only my careless brother. Despite that, I still prefer a nitro finish to the more common, thick poly finish. Overall, this Strat feels solid and reliable and is an excellent quality instrument that will survive all but the most vicious of thrashings, But of thrashing's your thing you'd probably be more interested in a Dean or an Ibanez, right?
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Now, this is the only area where I had a couple of issues. Overall, the guitar was fine. The finish is gorgeous (although, being a thin nitro finish, it dents quite easily), the wood is good quality, the neck feels great, the intonation was perfect, 2 out of 3 pickups were perfectly adjusted and the action was just how I like it. However, I had some serious tuning problems with the G string. Every time I bent the string or used the whammy bar (which is quite often if you're playing Malmsteen), there was an unhealthy twang and it went about a half-step out of tune. Don't let this put you off though, I probably just got a lemon but to try and remedy this, I used lighter strings, heavier strings, I filed the nut where the G string was and I adjusted the bridge. None of this worked, so I asked my guitar teacher if he knew what to do. He replaced the springs in the bridge with compression springs out of a Volvo or something. Don't ask. But it did the job, and now this thing never goes out of tune, even under the most furious whammy-ing. But it took a while for me to get there. He also adjusted the middle pickup, as it was a bit low. Now, the guitar is near perfect and I adore it, but it took a while to get there.
Features — 9
2006, USA, 21 fat frets, Alder body, Sunburst finish, 60's style headstock, Nitrocellulose lacquer finish, alnico single coil pickups, whammy bar. 5-way pickup selector, two tone controls and one volume. Came with gig bag and strap.