Purchased from: ?
Sound — 9
I play a wide variety of music. Metal, prog, blues, jazz, etc. My Strat does an amazing job for all of these. Many people find that it's not a great metal guitar. Pfft. As long as you've got good distortion, and you know how to use the pickups to their full potential, it works great. As for anyone who disagrees with me, look at Impellitteri and Malmsteem, two of the fastest shredders on the planet. For blues, select the middle pickup, round off the tone, the guitar gives you such a warm tone, put the tone to 10, you get a nice jazzy, chirpy sound. Play around with the pickups a bit, find your favourite tone.
Overall Impression — 9
Well, like I said. I play metal, blues, jazz, prog, etc. My Strat can Switch between them quickly and smoothly. I've been playing guitar since I was 8. I've played many guitars, but the Strat has to be one of the most versitile for the price range (and overall). I play it through a Marshall AVT50 and a Vox Pathfinder 15R, with a GNX3000 (DigiTech) through the FX loop. It sounds amazing. If it got stolen, I'd probably never get over it. I'd just burst out into tears. I'd probably not buy another one though, just because it wouldn't be the same. It's a sentimental thing, I'd have to say it's one of my favourite and cherished (though not taken great care of) possesions. However, the only things I'd like on it would be a better bridge, a humbucker on the back, (but I'm too lazy to get it) actually, that's a problem about Mexi-builts, you've gotta drill a new hole if you want a new pickup (depending on what kind of pickup it is). The last thing I'd like on it would be more frets. It needs more frets. But, it's not something that truly affects the sound, durability and playability of this amazing guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I give this thing a 10 in this category, no question about it. This thing has fallen off chairs, slammed into numerous desks, tables, walls, etc. To prove its durability, I dropped it purposesly in front of a friend. I've used this Strat for probably 4 years now. I'm wreckless with it, but it's fine for the guitar. It sounds just as great as when I first played it. This guitar should come with at least a 10 year warranty, because if it's in good (tonal) shape and I own it, it'll probably last you a good while.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
As for how it came, the shape was fine. However, the bridge popped up after a while (I'm not completely sure whether it was my fault or the manufacturer's). It got me a bit of a Floyd-Rose thing going on. The tuning kinda sucked, but surprisingly, the guitar made some nice squeals. Action. Not greeeat, but not bad. I can still play really fast and stuff. However, the neck is ridiculously fast (at least on mine). If you plan on playing fast, get a maple neck, with just some laquer or varnish on it. I give it a 7 in this category.
Features — 8
Well, I own a '02 Strat (Providing I read the serial right) and it's a Mexi-built. It's 21 frets, two-piece neck, but the fret board is the neck itself, maple. It's solid body too. The bridge is pretty Standard, not great for any work on the whammy bar. But, if need be, cram a block of wood in the back, intonate it, and it stays in tune pretty well. It's got S/S/S pickups with a 5-way selector Switch. The 60-cycle hum gets a tad annoying, but with a noise-gate on it, the thing stays silent.