Price paid: $ 699.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
A mostly play Pop-Punk, Alternative, Grunge, and Ska but this is a very versatile guitar with the HSS setup and can easily do everything from Metal to Vampire Weekend well. I run it through a Bandit 65 with a Vox wah and MXR Distortion III (All you need baby). With distortion the Single Coils can get noisy for "Hot Single Coils" but if you play with the Neck and Middle the Coils are reverse wound so it shuts up quick and can give you a nice Hendrix-y sound. The Humbucker has very high output but have good, warm cleans. I usally leave the Neck tone on 10 and the Bridge on 7 or so. The Tone can get you a lot of places on the bridge pickup which is really nice. 10 can get you modern metal, 7 normal distortion, and 5 or below very classic sounding if you used Medium/Heavy gain. I love the sound of this axe, very well rounded
Overall Impression — 10
The tremolo is not as good as many of the Strat trems I've tried but it stays in tune well when using which I don't know to credit to the Tremolo or the Tuners. If it was stolen or lost I would get it again. I've been playing for around 3 years. I love the HSS setup. I was thinking of buying a Standard but it didn't have the Humbucker, or the sexy 70's Headstock, and it was cheaper, so it waskind of a Win, Win, Win. I love this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is solidly built (With the exception of the jack mentioned above). The tremolo stays in tune perfectly when you use it until you start bending down maybe 1 1/2 steps. The finish is supposed to wear off, the more you play it the faster it comes off I heard. But this is the desired effect and I've had this for 1 year and a half now and still no sign of the paint wearing off with 1-3 hours of play everyday so it isn't THAT fast.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was setup well, of course it took some adjusting to get to my liking, but it wasn't to far off from what it came it, I have always been impressed at Fenders consistency to put out good guitars. The person at guitar center gave me the wrong tremolo so I spent an hour trying to get the tremolo in and then I took it back to get the right one. The jack was total junk but they always are, I've switched it out with a DiMarzio Switchcraft which I recommend doing, as it well loosen once every week (one of the worst I've experienced).
Features — 9
This guitar was made in America in the year of 2008. It has 22 jumbo frets. Rosewood fingerboard with 9.5" radius, Maple Neck with C shape and the big 70's style Headstock/Writing. It has an alder body with the Flat Black finish, however it also comes in Wine Red and a Three Color Sunburst. It has a satin nitrocellulose lacquer body finish which is supposed to "Let The Bodies Natural Tone Shine Through." It has your normal Strat controls with a greasebucket tone circuit that "Rolls Off Highs without Adding Bass" which they repeated to me many times, I have the HSS version. It has a Vintage six-screw tremolo. Fender/Ping Standard Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines. It came with a strap, whammy bar, allen wrench, and the a Fender Booklet.