Price paid: $ 366
Purchased from: Westside Music Centre
Sound — 10
Classic smooth Strat sound. Neck on low tone gives the great bluesy tone, turn up the gain and you get Sunshine of Your Love, while high tone gives a funk tone. Middle pickup is great for chords. Bridge is very bright and snappy (no tone control) and is great for Voodoo Child-esque solos. I usually have it on mid + bridge with mid on 7 or 8 tone. I use it through a Boss OS-2, a Crybaby and a Zoom G2. 1u into a Fender 15 watt. Sounds amazing. Can cry, sing and scream.
Overall Impression — 9
Strats are famous for matching almost any style you throw at them, and mine is no exception. Blues, jazz, rock and metal are the best (very fast neck) and it excels at each. I've only been playing for about 2 years, but I know a good guitar when I play one, and this is a great guitar, it suits my playing style perfectly, and if a guy nicked it I would be on him in seconds with various interesting surgical instruments. However, although there is a whammy unit on strats, don't divebomb on them! All it does is pull them out of tune. If you want to to an EVH, get a Floyd-rose equipped guitar or a Yamaha, they're pretty good at staying in tune. A little whammy vibrato is good on Strat's, but Hendrix spent a lot of his time tuning. If you divebomb too much, the bridge will break away from the body and smack you in the face. You have been warned.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This is a proper Fender, not a knock-up job, so it can withstand most of the inevitable wear and tear, but as with any guitar, you need to take care of it for it to outlive you, look how many strats Hendrix got through! The hardware is good quality and the strap buttons very solid. I had to install straplocks on my Squier because the buttons were too short and the strap easily fell off after a while, but the Fender is safer. I probably wouldn't take my only other electric to a gig as a backup as it is f--ked up. Finish is durable enough.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Great setup, though it takes about a week to break in a Strat. Black finish is perfect, doesn't show up fingerprints as badly as you'd think. Note to others: mine came with a sticker on the backplate. See if the plastic covering is still on before attempting to remove the sticker! It could save you a lot of trouble.