Purchased from: Music123.com
Features: - Made in Mexico.
- 21 frets, rosewood fingerboard.
- Alder body, maple neck.
- Midnight wine finish.
- Stratocaster body.
- Vintage style synchronized tremolo.
- 3-way selector.
- 2 Fender Tex-Mex Fat Strat humbucking pickups.
- Non-locking grover style tuners.
- Nothing included. // 8
Sound: I picked this guitar for it's clean sound. The neck humbucker is very clear and bluesy, and has a nice full sound when overdriven. When the selector Switch is in the middle, the sound is very neutral, without a lot of bass or treble. The bridge humbucker is nice and trebly, but not very hot. It is quite versatile, pulling off everything from a warm, almost acoustic clean to a creamy overdrive to a slightly squealy distortion. However, I don't think this guitar is suited for metal. I'm using it with a Marshall 15 watt amp, and sometimes with a Boss DS-1. While the bridge humbucker could be better, it has a great sound for the price (especially the clean neck p-up), so I'll leave a 5. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The action was fine, although the floating bridge needed adjustment. However, I was not happy with the 18th fret, which was too high. Luckily, the store I bought it from (WWBW, the supplier of Music123) has a free set-up on all new guitars. The downside is I had to wait 2 weeks to get my guitar back. The pickups were properly adjusted. Everything else was fine. I'd like to note that the finish on the neck, the "satin polyurethane," is very attractive. It's a dull, smooth, Shine. Also, the "midnight wine" on the body is interesting, it seems to change from burgundy to black at different angles. // 8
Reliability & Durability: I cannot make a judgement on whether this guitar will withstand live playing, as I have only played live once with it, but it seems solid. The strap buttons are very solid, and the input jack hasn't wiggled yet. I haven't had any problems asides from the high fret, so I think it's okay to use it at a gig without a backup. The finish is tough though, I've rubbed it against metal a few times, but the finish doesn't show any signs of scratching. The tuning is pretty stable. // 10
Overall Impression: I play a little bit of blues, and a lot of clean stuff. I also play stuff with moderate distortion/overdrive. I've played for about two years, and this is my first electric. I am using a Whirlwind Leader cable. I keep it in a Levy's gig bag, which I highly recommend. It is the most padded gig bag on the face of the earth. However, don't expect to use the pocket on it for anything other than papers, it's extremely tight. I wish that I would've checked that fret before buying it. I can't believe I missed it. If it was stolen or lost, I would seriously consider buying it again, but I would probably shop around again for new deals just to make sure there wasn't anything better.
I love it's clean. I cannot emphasize that enough. The clean, with new strings, sounds almost like an acoustic. With the right amp settings, it has a very, very, smooth, almost warbly blues tone. The overdrive is also creamy (a lot like Weezer's tone, actually), and it (again, with the right amp settings) borders on being able to pull off a squealy distortion, but not quite. I am probably going to change the bridge p-up in the future, but I don't know what I want to change it to yet. I did not find any other comparable guitars, except for a Hamer (unknown model), which had a broken tone knob. However, the price on the Fender and the sound were both better. I also tried a PRS which was way better, but way out of my price range.
I really wish I had a guitar stand with it. I hate to add another 5 rating to the review section, but I don't think that the messed-up fret will detract from any other guitars you will find. The sound is amazing for the money, unless you are looking for heavy distortion. If you are into this guitar but looking for a better version, try looking at the Stratocaster Deluxe HH or the American Strat HH which are both extremely nice (especially the American Strat), but again, out of my price range. // 10