Price paid: $ 440
Purchased from: local guitar shop
Sound — 8
Pretty good pickups for a MIM Strat. The bridge is trebly, but add a Fralin baseplate to it and do the short jumper wire on the switch to have the middle and bridge controlled by middle pickup tone knob. Replace the tone block with a steel one from GFS for about $25. Easy fixes. Set the pickup heights better with a luthier or setup guy's help. Rated "9" because it's a $450 guitar new! You don't get great pups in a modest MIM guitar, but they are good enough for most guys.
Overall Impression — 9
Every player needs a Tele, Strat, then all the others... Especially a good P90 guitar and maybe a PRS style. I have Squier Classic Vibe 50s Strat and like its tone, but the glossy neck and no tint does not feel good like a satin neck. It's a preference, but I may keep the MIM and sell the other on eBay. The Arctic White finish with parchment guard looks killer... Classic look with a dark rosewood board and p/b/p pickguard. This one I would replace if stolen since it is modestly priced and a good guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's a Strat... Little to break or fall off. The finish is too thick, but it's poly and shot by a machine most likely. But it's what most guitars are finished with nowadays in the modest price range. This is a budget priced guitar, but is not "cheaply" made in any way. It's not an American Deluxe, but I have seen plenty of American Strats that do not offer what the MIM ones have.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Well finished in poly; pickups always need adjustment; neck pocket is not perfectly tight, but not shabby and the neck is on straight. Very clean guitar in every way; well cut nut (slots need to be deepened by a setup guy) for a stock guitar, but definitely playable. Frets are medium jumbo and good steel, so will stay shiny with buffing at string changes (get SFARZO strings... Best I ever found and cheap). For a guitar that is under $450 with the rebate, it's a lot of guitar and I have owned an EJ, Tokai Silver Stars, and other American Deluxe Strats in the past. A good MIM Strat is a value!
Features — 9
Current year MIM Standard Strat in Arctic White w. Rosewood fretboard, parchment pickguard, padded Fender gigbag+strap. Check a website for details... I like a headstock face with gloss and the rest of the neck in soft satin poly; it's a good feature. Decent tuners and chrome.