Price paid: $ 583.77
Purchased from: Soundcontrol - Edinburgh
Sound — 8
Using it with either a 15W Crate practise amp or a Fender 30W amp for band practise, a Boss DS-1 Distortion, a Boss CS-3 Compressor, a Boss ME-50 multi-effects, D'addario strings and Dunlop 1mm Tortex picks. Good for almost any musical style, bar really heavy metal - one of the most versitile makes of guitar around. Significantly noisy when you have only one pickup selected and you have distortion, very quick to give feedback. But that's an issue with most single-coils, if it bothers you get a humbucker! Just turn down the guitar's volume and the noisy goes away. Found it was too sharp on my practise amp but sound really warm and rounded on a better quality, bigger amp. I almost exclusively use the bridge pickup which sounds very clear and warm on a good amp. The other pickups all sound good and when mixing two together (selector Switch 2 or 4) the sounds are great
Overall Impression — 9
Wonderful. I would recommend checking that the bridge is staying in position but, apart from that, it is great for nearly everyone. It is s touch trebly but that can easily be solved by turning the tone down. A great buy for any price less than 350.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The hardware all seems good and solid. For me, an amateur guitarist, or for anyone bar the pros and the very fussy, the hardware should last them as long as the guitar does. Only thing I would change would be the tuners but that's a minor thing. Strap never falls off, ever. I have no choice regarding a backup, as this is my only guitar. But if I had more I would use them to give different sounds, not as backup because this seems totally solid. The finish on mine is still perfect after a year, apart from a tiny scratch where I hit it against the side of my car and then my amp.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Most of it was well set-up but the bridge became a problem, after a while. It started to move away from the body of the guitar even though I barely tuned it or used the whammy bar. But I took it back and, using the one free service you get within the one-year warrenty, I got it sorted. Plays like a dream now. Power, and bar-chords are so easy now, takes almost no effort. Bends are quite good but that's not the type of music I play. I keep it very simple. Pickup selector is smooth and I can't hear any noise when switching between pickups, even though I barely do that. It was probably just the individual guitar that was the problem and not the make. Also, mine was an ex-display model so it hadn't been properly set-up for a while.
Features — 9
I don't know about most of the features nut here are some. 21 fret maple neck, very easy to play. Classic Strat body, reasonably light. 5-way selector switch, two tone controls and one volume control. The tuner is a bit dodgy but only because it's factory standard, it's good enough for most people but pros would probably buy a better make. Three standard single-coil pickups.