Price paid: £ 120
Purchased from: Windows Newcastle
Sound — 9
I play metal, mostly, and while this Strat isn't very metal-looking, it actually has quite a nice sound and you can get some pretty meaty riffs out of it with the gain Drive on the amp. Yes, you do get a lot of noise at the best of times (ESP. with gain on), which can be expected from the single coils, and it does annoy me a bit, but I can still play Metallica on it without it sounding muddy or tinny. W/o gain, the guitar has a nice bright sound.
Overall Impression — 9
A lot of people don't like this guitar. A certain ex friend/boyfriend of mine said it sucked and that his 'real' high-end Strat from Florida was so much better. Yeah, that high-end guitar probably is better, in fact I hope it would be tbh, but this guitar is actually very, very good value. It does what I need it to, in that it makes a good noise, is playable and looks quite nice too. It's good for learning on, which is what I initially got it for, and it's ok for gigs too. No, its not a super-special awesome custom or a high end metal death machine, but its actually easy to customise (you just have to be wary of the fact that 'import' Squiers- i.e. Chinese, Taiwanese- have slightly diff. dimensions to American ones, so be careful when ordering new parts!). I also like the fact that the serial number's on the headstock so I can write it down in case it gets stolen. And I would actually be quite sad if this guitar was stolen, because it's a good guitar. Not posh, not top-of-the-range, but good for what it is. And come on, a decent little-bit-higher-than-entry-level guitar like this with an amp too... you can't grumble, really.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guy that said that his Strat 'broke in half', well, you must have hit it pretty hard. I've had mine about 3-4 years, its been(accidentally) dropped, twatted, thunked and whacked off all manner of walls, doors etc, and all it has is a few tiny dents/chips in the paint. Mind, I've never dropped it in a way that could cause serious damage. Maybe he should just take better care of his guitar?...But yeah, the hardware's all been solid so far, almost good as new tbh, and the finish is fine, you can just see faint little scratches off the pick etc when you turn it to the light... It's a hardy bugger! Surprisingly good for gigs, apart from the noise from the single coils.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well, it IS Taiwanese, and made in a factory, and my Dad had to tighten the cable jack when I got it... It is an Affinity model however, so its actually pretty good quality compared to other 'beginner' models. Good action, not too light, not too heavy. In fact it could do with being a bit heavier tbh cause most other guitars are a bit hard on my fingers after being so accustomed to this one! The tremolo is a stickling point though. All it really does is whack the guitar out of tune. I hardtailed mine again, it got so irritating (its hardtailed in the factory), and I don't use it often. The G string has a tendency to go out of tune as well, even without the tremolo. Look past that, and you actually have quite a nice guitar, ESP. for the price.
Features — 10
My model is in Bullet Black (least I think that's the name of the finish), 22 frets, rosewood neck with hardwood body, with tremolo, 1 volume + 2 tone controls and a 5-way selector switch. Came with a 15G 'Frontman' amp that includes a gain Drive which is easily cativated by pressing a button.