Price paid: $ 439
Purchased from: Daddy's Junky Music
Sound — 10
This guitar is the Standard by which all others are judged as far as I'm concerned. A lot of people tend to comlplain about the pups on these guitars, but Fender did some serious upgrades to these MIM models which actually improved the tone. Now you get a thicker trem block, jumbo frets, and shielded compartments. Of course if you put the 5 way in any setting other than 2 or 4, you're going to get pup hum. That's the norm with single coils. I always leave the 5 way in the 2nd position so that's not a problem for me. I love the tone on this guitar, whether it's clean or distorted, you can tell it's a Strat.
Overall Impression — 10
I play classic rock and '80s hair metal and this guitar can do it all. It is very versatile and can cover any type of music contrary to what the naysayers bitch about this model. If this ever got lost or stolen, I would immediately replace ot without hesitation. As a matter of fact, I would love to get another one down the line with a Artic White finish. I would not compare this to any other model of guitar only because, I am a Fender player at heart and couldn't see myself playing anything else.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I bought this guitar in March of 2007 and have since used this on many of gigs since then without having to use a backup at all. To say that this guitar is reliable and durable is a understatement. I've been playing for over 35 years and this is one of the, if not the, best guitar that I have ever had the privilege and the pleasure of having in my collection. This guitar is a great deal for anybody who cannot afford to shell out $1,000.00 for an American made model. My hat is off to Fender for improving the MIM Standard and at the same time, thinking about the little guy.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Here's where I give this a lesser grade and that's only because this one was a floor model, so who knows who was f--king with it before I bought it. I noticed that the bridge saddles on these models are not very sturdy, so I changed them to Graph-Techs which helped tuning stability immensely, plus they actually improved upon the tone. I also changed the pickguard to a white pearloid strictly for cosmetic reasons and I installed a set of locking tuners. I also checked the intonation which was off a little bit, along with lowering the action and doing a truss rod adjustment. Now, I have it set to my liking and it plays just fine.
Features — 10
Mine is a 2006 Mexican made model with a beautiful sunburst finish and a rosewood fretboard. It has 21 frets and is made of Alder with a vintage style bridge, along with a 5-way pickup switch and a volume and 2 tone controls. It has 3 Standard single coil pickups and a 60th anniversary metal emblem on the back of the headstock. It came with the standard Fender Ping tuners and a heavy duty gig bag.