Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Bentley Music
Sound — 10
I play and listen to everything with the exception of country. The best thing about this guitar is simply it's adaptability. I can play pretty much anything on this guitar, from rock to blues. It sounds great with or without distortion, and the 5-way pickup selector gives a great range of tones. From the gritty bridge pickup to the bassy neck pickup, you name it, the Strat's got it. The only downside is the very annoying hum when selecting a single pickup on high distortion, though that could be caused by my amp. My practice amp is a cheap Bullet 150 from Fender as well, not the best amp in the world. I've noticed the hum is much less when I use it with a better amp.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is as versatile as I am, and to me it's my perfect match. I've been playing only slightly more than a year, but despite my relative lack of experience, this is still an excellent guitar to me. I have tried out many of my mates' guitars, including Ibanez, Jacksons, and Gibsons, but none of them impress me as much as my own Strat. I might be a little biased, but to me this is simply one of the best guitars in the world. The sheer versatility of it is amazing. You can get the single-note clarity that one expects from a Strat, or you can get a gritty and growling tone from it if you know how to tweak it right. If I were to lose it, I would definitely get another one, No Doubt about it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is excellent at live gigs, very reliable. It'll take any measure of bashing and jumping, though I haven't personally tried it, I'd bet my money on it. There is only one downside, which is the strap which, strangely, seems to give way when I'm sitting rather than when I'm standing. I'm not sure if this is a problem with the strap button or with the strap itself. The finish too is near perfect, I've accidentally bumped it into all kinds of surfaces, there's only one scratch on the back which is minute and would have been unnoticeable if I hadn't looked for it. At a live gig, I always have a backup, but I would trust it without one. The one fault I seem to get a lot is that the strings rust very quickly, but that's probably due to the humid climate I live in rather than the guitar itself. Haven't had the problem since I switched to Elixirs though.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I'm not sure how the guitar was set up at the factory because the dude at the music shop redid everything for me when I got it. So no comments in that department. I have no complaints what'soever about the hardware though, the tuners, bridge, neck, pickups, everything is solidly built. The finish is also excellent, no flaws anywhere.
Features — 9
This is a Mexican made, 2006 Standard Strat which I got about half a year ago. 21 jumbo frets with an Alder body and Maple neck and fretboard. The finish is a cherry-red finish, and the bridge is a synchronized tremolo. 3 knobs, volume, bridge tone and neck tone. 5-way pickup selector. Also came with a gig bag. It would be better if it came with a solid case.