Price paid: C$ 699
Sound — 10
I use a variety of effects with this guitar, including a Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion pedal, a DigiTech RP80 Modelling pedal, and a Dunlop 95Q Wah Wah, with a Marshall amp. The stock bridge pickup was a little noisy, but not distractingly so - it was only noticeable at all when using a lot of distortion. I play in a Punk/Thrash band, and have played in Country/Folk trio. This guitar does it all, and it does it well. I have never had any problem attaining the sound I have wanted for any style.
Overall Impression — 10
I am a guitarist Who enjoys playing everything, from rock to punk to blues to pop to country to folk - and this does it all. It's an amazing buy, and I highly recommend it. If you're serious about playing, don't get a Squier - the low price seems great for a visually similar guitar, but I have yet to find any guitar that felt or sounded as awesome to me as my Mexican Strat...and believe me, I've played quite a few.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This is a solid guitar, which is why I use it as my primary stage instrument. All of the hardware and the strap buttons are in perfect shape even after 5 years of heavy use, and 3 years of that playing shows. I have never had it fail me in any way.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Well, I did have to adjust the bridge, but not out of necessity - it was something I wanted to do, and encourage all guitarists to do, as customation helps the guitar's sound match you more than any other. The finish was flawless until I dropped it on a tile floor due to a faulty strap...but even with a couple of blemishes, it's still a beauty. The stock strings were awful, however.
Features — 10
Purchased in 2004, the Mexican Strat was my first electric, and to this day remains as my primary stage, recording, and recreation electric. When I first got it, the stock strings were terrible - they were very slack and provided a very tinny sound. However, after changing the strings and making minor adjustments to the bridge for optimum whammy-usage, I fell in love with this guitar. Although I had no real troubles with the stock pickups, I swapped for a SD JB Jr. single-coil sized humbucker in the bridge position. It made an already awesome sound even better. I left the other two stock pickups alone, because they provide an amazing range of low and mid tones that the bright humbucker can't always achieve. The maple neck and fingerboard are incredibly comfortable, and although it has only 21 frets as compared in 22 in most Epiphone or Gibson models, I find this guitar much more fun to play than any other I have ever come across.