Price paid: $ 299.99
Sound — 9
What makes the Strat so important is its versatility to accommodate a wide range of music styles and tastes. Not to knock on Gibson, but you can make a Strat sound like anything, with a Les Paul, your options are a little more limited. The older stock pickups on the Standard strats were hotter than the new models, but they still suffice. I generally run my guitars through a Marshall JTM600 60W Head Unit, into a Marshall 1960A 4X12 cabinet with 30 watt Celestion speakers. The Strat has a nice twang to it, and really has a throaty sound with the neck pickup. Definitely a bright sounding guitar, with the proper pickup, this can be a really nasty sounding guitar. I bought this as a reliable backup onstage.
Overall Impression — 9
I play rock/pop punk, and a Strat loaded with a hot pickup in the bridge position is perfect for that kind of music. I have been playing for 6 years, playing shows for the last 3. I now own two Standard strats, a '70s Madeira acoustic, an Epiphone Strat copy, and a Les Paul Studio. If this guitar were stolen, I would absolutely get another one. I love the responsiveness of my guitars, their feel, and the sounds I get out of them. I think the electronics and some of the hardware can be a little wishy-washy but easily upgraded. You can listen to some of my bands music online at (most of the sound is my older Strat, with a Seymour Duncan JB Jr. pickup in the bridge, coming through the Marshall JTM600).
Reliability & Durability — 9
I couldnt stress more that this is a workhorse guitar. I've been gigging without a backup for a long time, and that Strat has held up amazingly, as I really beat the shit out of it Live. The hardware is what it is, you get what you pay for, but spending the extra dough for awesome parts makes these guitars really really last. I plan on upgrading the tuners and getting the electronics shielded and upgraded as soon as I get it. Any guitar, Fender, Gibson, Jackson, whatever, will last as long as you take good care of it. Almost comparable to cars in a sense. If things sound funny in your car, you get it tuned up, checked out. Same with a guitar. It's people that don't take care of their guitars and cars that make the manufacturer look bad.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Since I bought this guitar used, there are some cosmetic dings, but nothing a touch up couldn't fix. As for the action and fit, I never use a guitar straight off of the shelf, as that's foolish and you may miss out on a great guitar because it hasn't been set-up in years and sounds like garbage when you first play it. For a 7 year old guitar, it's in great shape, nothing a good setup and upgraded parts wont make better. I usually get the tuners upgraded, along with the bridge saddles for improved string performance. and I highly recommend putting an aftermarket pickup, like a Seymour Duncan, in the bridge position for a fat and punchy tone.
Features — 9
The Standard Stratocaster I purchased online is a 2001, blue agave, completely stock Strat. It's actually the same exact guitar pictured on this review page. Made in Mexico, this Strat features an alder body, rosewood fretboard, with a Blue Agave finish. Pretty average stuff for the most part, but for the money, this guitar is an excellent value! What I particularly enjoy about the mexican made strats, is that they are an excellent platform for upgrades, etc. For the extra 700-800 bucks, you can get an American made Strat, with different woods and better hardware, but if you invest 50 bucks here and there with different upgrades, you can have a very comparable and awesome sounding guitar for half the price.