Price paid: £ 399
Purchased from: Rattle 'N' Drum Music, Derby
Sound — 8
The guitar as it is suits my playing style very well, a bluesy lead style with lots of small runs and moving about the neck. I currently run it through a Boss ME50, because I am waiting on a new amp at the moment. Tend to use the big muff effect, with a light overdrive and some chorus, and on my cleans I use no effects and just use the guitars natural sound. The guitar makes no noise what'soever, unless you reali crank up the gain, but even then it is minimal. By switching pickups and some tweaking of effects, you can achieve most sounds, although I wouldn't advise using it for very heavy stuff. I plan to replace the pickups with the 1969 Vintage Fender set, but that's down to my personal preference.
Overall Impression — 9
I play blues, rock, progressive rock style music. This guitar, being a Stratocaster is symbolic with that genre of music, and this modern version more than holds it's own. I've been playing guitar and bass on and off for about 12 years, solidly now for 5. I wish I had asked them to Switch the pickguard over, I have a solid white one, but they didn't have any black ones in the store. If someone stole it, or I broke it, I would definately by a new one without hesitation. One small feature I really like it the redesigned headstock logo, they have redesigned it to look much more like the old 70s style logo, in a classy looking black and gold. I played a few other strats, some Squier ones (which were horrible) and some american models. The 2009 mexican model is pretty much the same in my opinion, only cheaper. As I said earlier, I wish it had better pickups, but I will be replacing them soon.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It will definately stand up to gigging and recording, or just bedroom use. Hardware is fine, apart from the issues I have already highlighted. Strap buttons are definately solid, wont budge an inch (I had problems with a Fender bass, so I've tried these out extensively). it's very dependable, but I would not use it without some form of backup guitar, not that I expect the guitar to fail, but you can never be too safe! The finish on my particular guitar is totally flawless, and has the feel that it will definately handle all those nights of sweaty forearms and grubby fingers. I would still be carefull with your belt buckle though.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Factory set up was spot on for my playing style and personal preferences. Pick ups are set well, get a full response from all the strings. All the routing seems fine, no gaps between the neck and body, everything is beautifully in line and straight. I would say change the nut, the cut on the B string is not ideal and I do have the odd issue with it from time to time. The tremlo arm wobbles and is quite loose, and the bridge isnt ideal, so I will be replacing it with a Callaham bridge and virtual pop-in tremlo arm.
Features — 8
This is the Brand New 2009 model, made in Mexico. It has 21 jumbo frets, on a Standard scale maple neck. Has a solid alder boy, in a gloss black finish. Normal Strat type body, with the stock Fender bridge. All the electronics are the normal Fender Stratocaster style and set up, all in white. Mine came with a Fender gigbag, a tremlo arm, large and small allen keys and all the paper work and a few Fender stickers. Also I managed to blag a handful of jazz 3 plectrums, but that's only because I asked.