Purchased from: World Of Music
Sound — 9
This guitar somewhat fills the requirements of my music style. I play mainly 80's style shred (Vai, Van Halen etc.)as well as rock (AC/DC, Kiss, Led Zeppelin etc.)and just a touch of Clapton style Blues. This Strat fills my requirements for the blues and rock, but lacks a touch of sustain and bite when it comes to the shred style (a Duncan Custom would probably fix that). I play this Strat through a Fender G-DEC 15 watt amp and use various effects including Flange, Phaser, Wah, and stereo/tape delay, I can almost get the VH signature sound out of this Strat. There is not much variety of sounds from this guitar because the two single coil pickups are the same, so it is very hard to tell the difference in sound between the two. This guitar, as far as I know, Makes little to no noise when the humbucker is switched on, depending on the amp's settings. The single coils make a lttle more noise than the humbuckers as they aren't hum-cancelling. Overall, this is one great sounding blues and rock guitar.
Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing for about 2 years now and this is my favourite guitar. I also own an early '80s Yamaha G-231 accoustic guitar, which is an awesome guitar to learn on because of the wide neck and huge gut strings. If someone stole my Strat, I'd spend the rest of my life tracking the theif down so I can beat the crap out of them. The best part about this guitar has to be the Floyd Rose. The worst part about this guitar is the low-output single coil pickups. I tested a Yamaha Strat copy(about 25% less money than the Strat) before buying my Strat and in comparisson, the Strat won hands down. I would definately recomend this guitar to anyone looking to buy an excellent guitar for under a thousand dollars.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is rock solid, except the strap buttons, the one on the upper horn keeps working loose after having the strap on a while. I would most definately use this guitar at a gig whitout a backup, as long as the strap buttons were changed first. This is one guitar the will last for several years of hard playing, if it is well taken care of. I also had a slight problem with my high e-string breaking at the saddle with extreme whammy bar use (it is a Floyd-Rose after all). After tuning my guitar a half step down, I haven't broke a single high e-string yet and I have had my guitar tuned a half-step down for almost six months now.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Since this guitar was a demo model, it probably had countless people adjust things to suit them in the 5 minutes they were playing it for. So it would be very hard to determine Who well the factory set it up. There were no routing errors, allthough there is a scratch on the underside of the headstock, and a miniscual dent just above the pickguard, but this could just have been from it's life as a demo model. The guy at the store said to bring it back in a month to get it set up. Before I got it set up, It played beautifully, no buzz or anything. After I got it back from being set up, the low E-string kept rattling in the nut slot, even through my amp, unless I maxed out distortion, which made songs like "Stairway to Heaven" Sound like crap. I took the guitar back to the store several times (which isn't easy since I Live an hour and a half away from it), and they said nothing was wrong. Only when I actually stayed there and watched the guy fix it, It got done properly, I have since never stepped a foot near that place. Other than that little problem, The guitar's fit and finish is excellent.
Features — 9
My second guitar, a Mexican made Fender Stratocaster HSS. I don't know the exact year but I got it Brand New in 2005, so it could be either an 04 or an 05 (it was the store's demo model, so they knocked $150.00 of the price). The body is solid alder painted in wine red. It has a polyester finish. The 25.5" scale length neck is maple with a walnut skunk stripe, I believe the neck is also finished with polyester, nonetheless it feels great and plays fast. The fretboard is unfinished rosewood with 21 medium jumbo frets. The bridge is a genuine licensed Floyd Rose II. The Strat's humbucker and two single coils are made by Fender. I found this guitar's bridge humbucker sounds great for blues and heavier, dark metal styles, but lacks, in my opinion, a little output, and a tad bit of sustain, nonetheless it still has enough output and sustain for lead legato lines. The two single coils in the neck and middle are great for playing blues rythmn in both clean and dirty tones, but lack a ton of output and sustain for legato playing. As on most Strats, there is a single five-way selector Switch. There is one master volume control, a tone control for the neck pickup, and a tone control for the middle pickup. The tuners are none-locking, Fender tuners. This guitar comes out of the box with a set of 9-42 Fender nickleplated steel strings.