Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Singapore
Sound — 9
I play music along the lines of rock, hard rock, alternative rock, blues and metal. The Strat, in stock form, is not very good compared with my Jaguar, but it is pretty decent. It's HSS configuration makes it extremely versatile. It allows me to play what I want to play, but there's a but of a problem for metal. The Strat's not really a metal guitar. There's a bright sound overall due to it's alder body. The stock humbucker sounds pretty thin and weak. I like the neck pickup, but it can get a little muddy sounding. I don't really use the middle pickup, but it sounds pretty decent too. I'm currently using it with a Laneey LC15R, and it sounds awesome. To my suprise, there is not much noise with this Strat. With a pickup change, this guitar has tremendous potential.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, I like this guitar. However, I do have certain problems with the guitar. Such as the weak sounding pickups and the neck. I don't play as much metal as I used to play, so it's fine as of now. Unfortunately, when I bought the guitar (2.5 years ago), I didn't know much about electric guitars (I haven't joined UG yet), and I wished I bought the SSS Strat instead, or perhaps a higher-end Strat. Such as the deluxe or the highway one. Compared to my MIA Fender '62 Jaguar, it sounds pretty weak, but with a pickup change, I believe I will love this guitar much more.
Reliability & Durability — 8
A few months after I got the Strat, there was signs of rusting on the bridge especially, and some oxidation on the pickup pole pieces and tuning pegs. This is mainly due to the extremely humid climate in Singapore. I can use it on a gig without any backup, as the Strat can keep in tune really well. I don't use the trem much so it's all great. I haven't changed the strap buttons actually, and I just bought the locking strap buttons. I'm going to install them soon. The finish seems reasonable. I don't think it would wear off in the near future.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
This guitar was set up really really really badly. The action was too low and there was a lot of buzz. There was also newspaper stuffed into the guitar. However, that's the only major problem. I'm not liking the feel of the finish of the neck. I like the nitrocellulose finish on my Jaguar, and the polyurethane finish feels rough compared to the nitrocellulose finish on my Jaguar.
Features — 8
This Strat is made in Mexico in 2002. 21 medium jumbo frets on a rosewood fingerboard on a C-shape neck finished with satin polyurethane finish. Alder body with 2 single coil pickups on the neck and middle positions, and a humbucker on the bridge position. Passive electronics. Bridge is a Vintage style synchronized tremolo 1 volume knob, 2 tone knobs for the single coil pickups only, and 5-way selector switch. Machine heads are Fender/Ping Standard cast/sealed tuning machines.