Price paid: $ 450
Sound — 9
The pickups are set up with an active Lo-Z output 6db boost when plugged in, and 6 more db when the boost is on 10. This configuration work well with my 5e3 clone on normal channel. Other passive strats sound muddy on the normal and I use the bright channel for them. Also the pickups measure out at 14.2k ohms, and 26k ohms when the boost is up on ten. The dummy coil reduces the 60cycle hum at idle. The tone/sound is clearer and louder than other strats and more of a up front in your face sound. With other hybird amps the boost sends the amps into overdrive sooner. But with a clear Strat like sound, not humbucker overdrive. Less gritty and more bright clear depending on your amp. I use no effects when possible, just a 5e3 clone and a SF princeton reverb. With the 5e3 I can get a variety of tones, full and dynamic.
Overall Impression — 9
I play the blues and some old day rock, surf, jazz, funk, etc. Along with Acoustic guitar I've played for over 30 years. I have owned a lot of guitars and amps. This is the only guitar I have that is completly stock. The only change I see for this guitar is a refret. I like playing this one live at jam sessions because of the boost. I wish it had a V shape neck, TBX, and Vintage noiseless pickups, then it would be a fine clone of a Clapton strat.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar will hold up for gigs. The only piece of hardware I would not trust is the ping tuners. The finish appears to be polyU and they use relic resisive materials, so it will last a long time. The electronics is said to be the same as the Clapton boost. Mods would be: swaping the no-load for a TBX, and disconnecting the 2 limiting resistors on the boost pot to get the full 24db boost.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up well. The only problem I had was the action on the nut, Appears the previous owner had a fret level and crown and the action on the nut was too high. After lowering the nut action it now is easy to play, and sounds very good. The craftsmanship is as good as any USA Strat. The Vintage hardware is the same as you get on the cheaper USA strats with American Vintage hardware.
Features — 9
It's a used 2007 model MIM. Vintage width 9.5" radius C shape 1 piece maple 21 medium jumbo fret neck. Color 306, with Vintage ping tuners and American Vintage Tremolo with large steel block (not the cast zinc). It has a no-load tone, master volume, and active mid boost with low noise SSS alnico pickups and electronics. Requires 9v battery. When I saw this for sale I could not pass it up for the price. IMO People pay way too much for a new Classic series, Classic players, or an American standard.