Price paid: $ 735
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
Somewhere between the combination of the wood, the finish, the fretboard, the pickups and the wiring, something went horribly and freakishly right. No, these are not Cadillac components, and I can't full explain the sound of this guitar, but it gets brighter than an American Strat, heavier than a H/H Strat and cleaner than a hospital room. I've had techs ask me "what did you do to get this tone," and my reply is always the same. "Nothing. I just loved this guitar until it loved me back."
Overall Impression — 10
I'm the kind of guy who spent his life searching for the one. I believe there's a special fit for everybody. This is mine. My H1 Strat is not perfect, but I love it's flaws. You know how SRV's Lenny got beaten up over the years, but he still continued playing it his whole career? Well, this is my Lenny. I call her Marilyn.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Like I said, the finish won't last. The guitar dings easily. I wouldn't call it weak, but I don't think it would survive falling out of a van, either. You can be a mad man with this baby on stage, but be gentle with her off stage.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This is where I'll get a bit critical, so PAY ATTENTION: This guitar's finish will not last. As you probably know, dings and scratches on a Strat show character, and I love that my axe only took a few years to get that delicious Vintage look. But if you're looking for a guitar that will look great for years to come, look somewhere else. This Highway 1 is meant to be a workhorse, not a showroom decoration. On the bright side (literally), the tuners and tremolo are still as shiny as the day I bought it. They won't tarnish easily.
Features — 9
I bought Marilyn (she's a honey blonde H1 Strat) in 2008. I had no idea what I wanted, but something about this guitar caught me eye and I walked out with it. It took me a long time to pay it off, and I kept thinking "I made a mistake buying this guitar." But as the years set in, I fell more and more in love with it's bright, warm sound. This is not the most feature-packed Strat for the price tag, but there's just something about this guitar.