Sound — 9
I mostly play rock, and maybe a little metal. Either way, it suits me great. Has that great classic tone, and also handles distortion very well. I'm using this guitar with my 2 amps (Crate GX-15R & Crate GX-30M) and my 1 effects petal (Zoom GFX-707). Not noisy, in fact I get minimal hum from my amp when I'm playing. This guitar has the ability to generate all kinds of sounds; I love it.
Overall Impression — 9
This is my first guitar, and I don't see why I would ever need to buy anything else. The sound is versatile, and can suit many different playing styles. If it were stolen, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another. My only complaint - the fretboard doesn't have that gloss finish that the MIA's have, which makes it get dirty easier. So just take care of it. My last little comment: this is a great guitar, IMO, at least as good of sound quality as an American Standard. Also, Strats are so easy to upgrade, so it's really future-proof (meaning it won't be obsolete).
Reliability & Durability — 9
So far, this guitar has lasted 10 years, and seems at least as good as a new 2009 Strat. This guitar is tough, and I wouldn't hesitate to gig with it without a backup. Strap stays on tight to the stock buttons, but I am still looking at some rubber strap locks for it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Once again, I am only a beginner, and I did buy this guitar used. Everything was in really good condition, especially for a 10 year old guitar. With a good cleaning/polishing, this thing could look (and play) like new. No factory flaws with the guitar. A+ for Fender MIM Quality
Features — 10
Bought this from a private seller on Craigslist. For $350, I got the guitar, a Crate GX-15R, a guitar stand, a Zoom GFX-707, 2 sets of cables, a soft case, a strap, an electric tuner, and some picks. As far as details go, I'll tell you everything I know: 1998/1999 Arctic White Strat with a maple fretboard, SSS configuration, all stock.