Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: Restoration Hardware
Sound — 8
I play everything from old Zeppelin and AC/DC to Atreyu and Mewithoutyou. The 5-way pickup selector Switch is versatile and can give anything from a punchy high sound to a metallic sound perfect for power chords. Stock, it was a bit difficult to find the right sound, but after I modified with Fender noiseless pickups, the sound came through like crazy. I would however suggest using a different amp with this guitar. The dinky little Fender SP10 just doesn't cut it for anything except practice. And it has a shite overdrive channel. I now use a Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce and a Marshall Guv'nor pedal and that has been working well for me.
Overall Impression — 6
The thing here is that Fender basically took a Strat, put a different-shaped headstock on it, and knocked $250 off of the price. From what I understand, there were also a number of these guitars produced in black with a humbucker at the bridge position, mine is a red one with 3 single-coils. This is a guitar for the absolute beginner. It's great value for the money, seeing as how it lists for about $50 less than a Squier (and I got it for less than that) and at the end of the day, it's still a Fender. If you've been playing for a while, you could do better than this.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I very rarely play live, but I do wish I had a backup sometimes. Or at least another guitar. The strap that came with the guitar was a little weak, so I swapped it for a leather Levy's strap. No problem with the buttons.
Action, Fit & Finish — 4
Wow, here is where the problem is. The finish has begun to fracture on the back of the neck where the fingerboard connects with the neck. Not cool, since my brother's Squier (2 years older than mine) doesn't have the same problems.