Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 5
This pickups do not sound good at all if you try to play any form of rock on it, and with speed-metal palm muting, it all kind of becomes indistinct and fuzzy. I used it with into a Dunlop Crybaby, Boss CH-1 Chorus, Danelectro Flanger, and a DigiTech RP80, into a Roland Cube 15 amp (very good buy, btw), so I dont thinnk in was my equipments fault. The sound is not in any way full or rich, kind of thin. It doesnt really make all that much noise, but it does make a bit on high-gain settings. The bridge pickup is overly trebley and thin, while the other two single coils are way too bassy even with tone at 10, everything gets lost in just a little distortion. I would not really recommend this guitar to anyone but beginners, unless you plan on swapping the pickups as soon as you get it.
Overall Impression — 5
I play hard rock and metal (slayer, earlier Metallica, Megadeth, Avenged Sevenfold, that kind of stuff), and the pickups really are not suited to high gain settings. I wish I had just not went "Fender, must be a good guitar" when I was buying it. If it was stolen, I would go buy an ESP LTD. they have many awesome guitars for around $200. I really only compared it with squiers, and it sounded good against those. I wish it had a stop bridge, as the tremolo just completely whacks it out of tune.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar seems pretty relaible. Scratches and dents do not really show up in the satin finish, and I have hit it quite hard against metal mic stands, snare stands, the computer table I'm at, etc. I do not really trust the bridge to keep it in tune with whammy antics. I would and have gigged it without a backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
This guitar had fairly high action at the factory. The routing seems to be fine. There are just some odd, seemingly purposeless circular indents under the pickguard. The nut seems to be cut a little low on my guitar, causing some minor buzz. Other than that, it seems ok.
Features — 4
This guitar is seriously lacking in the hardware department. The tremolo bar (Vintage-style tremolo) will not stay put (it rolls out of my reach as soon as I let go of it), the pickguard has started to bulge in the center, and the Fender tuners (non-locking) do a bad job of holding it in tune. The neck has 21 medium frets, and after upgrading to a warmoth guitar with compund radus fretboard, this neck seems very substandard for lead playing. It has a solid midnight blue satin finish, which is actually purple. My dads $150 Oscar Schmidt OE-30 has better hardware than this.