Sound — 9
My music style is mainly metal like I have already said. It gets the job done with the Standard settings. I replaced the bridge pickup with a Cold Sweat BareKnuckle. I use it with my Randall 200 Watt Tube combo, pretty bad amp, but has good tones. I have played the Strat through a Tube Marshall Combo and it sounds even better through that. As for it being noisy, there is absolutely no hum or any feedback, even at high volumes. The guitar is EXTREMELY quiet even when the gain is at full blast. It has a very chunky sound perfect for power chords. As for the sounds I can produce with this guitar, the possibilities are unlimited. Like I said, I play metal and it kicks ass. You can get amazing clean tones out of this as well, very rich sounding and when you throw a little reverb or chorus in it, prepare to make some soothing music. For pinch harmonics, it kind of lacks. You can get some nice pinches here and there. One thing I love to do is tap. Not just scalar lines but as well as chords, the neck provides a solid structure to do so on and sounds amazing.
Overall Impression — 9
I wish the guitar came with better pick-ups to suit my needs, but it is a Strat. If it wasn't for the metal playing, it would be phenomenal. I have been playing guitar for about 5 years now and I know a good guitar when I see/play one. This is among the best I have ever played. My favorite feature are the locking tuners and the LSR rolling nut that keeps everything in tune. It's great not having to always worry about the guitar randomly getting out of tune. Basically, this is the best Fender Stratocaster I have ever played. I recommend anyone looking for a tight guitar to by this. So hop on over to guitar center and pick one up.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will definitely stand live playing. Not once has it cut out on me and when played loud the guitar really sings. As for the hardware, it is top notch. The locking tuners/pegs are brilliant. The strap buttons handle abuse very well and at a gig, the only reason for a backup would be to get a different sound for different songs. It will not crap out on you unless you treat it badly. Honestly, it would take a beating to hurt this bad boy. Everything about it is flawless. The finish stays golden and bright even with my sweaty arms rubbing against it constantly. The white pickguard saves most of the damage to be done from my pick. It's a beautiful guitar, and nothing could make it not so.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set-up for me before I received it. I'm assuming because of it's sky high price, it would come set-up perfectly. The pickups and everything are perfectly in line. There really is nothing about this guitar I can say that deeply dissatisfied me. Pick-up change was just for me to get heavier tones, but with it standard, it still makes for a damn good guitar.
Features — 8
The guitar was given to me by my dear uncle who was currently under the influence of alcohol so whether or not he regrets it means nothing to me because, guess what? It's mine now. I'm not sure when this guitar was made honestly. It is a U.S. built guitar though. It boasts 22 medium-jumbo frets with mostly easy access although reaching the 22nd fret on the bottom strings is a slight challenge, but if you really need to get that high on those strings, I guess you have to work for it. It has Sperzel locking tuners and as for the bridge it is an American Standard 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo. I'm going to be honest here, from my experience with Floyd Rose Tremlos and the Ibanez tremolo, this one has it beat. Beat in the tuning sense, because it will stay in tune no matter how hard you drop it or de-tune it. Of course it will get out of tune eventually, that is purely inevitable. I play mostly heavy metal/prog and believe it or not, this guitar gets the job done. If you are familiar with Meshuggah, they have one song on their Catch Thirty Three album called "Mind's Mirrors" and it starts off with a humongous tremolo drop where you can hear the strings rattling. I can re-create that with this guitar and keep it in tune. Check it out so you can get a real picture of what I'm talking about. This thing means business and really does not mess around. For just subtle vibrato, it is a piece of cake. Literally. The picture for this article shows the model with all single coil pickups, mine has two single coils and a humbucker at the bridge. They are licensed Fender Laced pickups. Beautifully crafted white covered pups. For styles on this guitar, If you are playing metal, I recommend switching it out to something like a Bare Knuckle so you can at least keep the integrity of the Fender by not too-metalifying it. Yes I realize that isn't a word. For anything other than metal, this will stomp plenty of other guitars to the curb. With that said, it can handle heavy tones with the Standard pickups, just for the users preference. Obviously this guitar isn't made for metal. For jazz, rock and anything of the sort, you are good to go. It contains a 5-way selector switch, with a volume and 2 tone knobs. Also it has a button to Switch to single coil. Comes in very handy when playing southern rock. Personally, I don't use anything but the Neck and Bridge switches so I can't tell you how good the other options are because I wouldn't know. The guitar is a beast so most likely they will suit if you use them. I am not sure if it came Standard with a case but it was given to me in a tweed Fender brand case. It comes with a whammy bar of course. It has a Standard Strat body style with a contoured heel to aid you in the upper fret region. It's very comfortable to play with sitting down or standing up. It is slightly heavy, but not too much. As for the neck profile, it boasts a comfortable maple, C shaped neck. There isn't any trouble reaching around the neck, very comfortable. As for the finish, it is a metallic purple color and is gorgeous. Just for the record, I had my Ibanez painted purple to match it.