Price paid: $ 499.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
This guitar is capable of a wide variety of tones, thanks to the two single coil and one humbucker pickups. As a fan of alternative rock and contemporary pop (a la Coldplay, The Fray, One Republic), I love the sound of the humbucker pickup, which has an edgy yet full tone. The single coil tone is somewhat muddy (which can be useful for certain types of music), but I find myself primarily using only the humbucker. The guitar is capable of blasting out some serious volume (using a Spider IV 15 amp) while still maintaining quality tone.
Overall Impression — 8
I absolutely love both the look, feel, and sound of this guitar. I've only started playing electric recently, but have been playing classical (finger-picking) guitar for roughly three years and piano for over eight years. This guitar sounds great and is stylish, with great features at an affordable price. It definitely can't reach the level of a Gibson Les Paul or another premium guitar, but for a medium budget this guitar is hard to beat.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have owned this guitar for about five months, playing it 1-3 hours every day. I strum pretty violently sometimes, but the strap buttons are firmly secured and the hardware looks the same as the day I bought it. Although the pickguard is beginning to show a few scratches (as I said, I strum violently) they are only visible under certain lighting conditions. So far, the guitar has held up excellently and I expect to be playing it for a long long time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The reason I bought this guitar is its looks. This is a drop-dead gorgeous guitar. The white pickguard stands out against the metallic light blue body, and the light maple neck continues the excellent color scheme. The chrome hardware and black dot inlays are great accents. And of course, you can't go wrong with the comfortable and stylish Stratocaster body shape. Although the action of the guitar was good overall, I have dealt with buzzing on the low E string when playing it open. This buzzing is not audible when playing at a somewhat high volume through an amp. However, it does become a little annoying when playing more quiet acoustic songs.
Features — 8
Specs: - Stratocaster body style with "Lake Placid Blue" polyester finish; white pickguard. - 21 medium-jumbo frets on a modern "C" shape maple neck; black dot inlays - Two single coil "Strat" pickups and one humbucker (dual coil) pickup with 5 position blade - Volume knob and two tone knobs - Chrome hardware