Price paid: A$ 800
Purchased from: Guitar Centre at the Gabba
Sound — 10
I bought this guitar as my first electric, as I wanted a guitar that would be able to handle my my penchant for blues rock, as well as fitting my unhealthy obsession with Pink Floyd and The Stones. Tonally the USA pickups sound fantastic and emulate those classic SRV and Hendrix moments. As is with all Stratocasters the guitar has a nice bright sound that shimmers on clean settings and dirtys up for a crunchy overdrive. Overall a very versatile guitar that suits many styles and has a timeless tone.
Overall Impression — 10
I mainly play blues, blues rock, rock, classic rock, hard rock, prog rock and all those kinds of genres and this guitar suits these styles perfectly. I have been playing guitar for over 5 years and use this mainly with a Peavey Bandit 112 and DigiTech RP250 multi-effects pedal. If it were stolen or lost I would have absolutely no hesitation with buying another, it simply suits me perfectly. I love it's fantastic neck and beautiful pickups, as well as it's finish. Of course I could go on about the Saga of the rusted screws but it is really not a big issue. I knew that I wanted a Strat but did try a few other guitars including American Standard Strats, but I honestly liked this one best. Although single coils do have that annoying buzz it is not a big issue, it is barely audible in a Live situation anyway. Overall a timeless design and a well-built, beauiful sounding instrument.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have gigged with this guitar on numerous occassions and it hasn't let me down. All the hardware has stayed in good order and the strap buttons are nice and solid. I would have no hesitations in using it in Live performances again and would have no problems using it without a backup (but I have other guitars that I use Live as well so there would always be one on hand anyway). The finish has lasted extremely well since 1999 so I don't think I'll be having any problems with it. Certainly a very well built, reliable guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This guitar had been set up by the guys at the store I bought it. I am left handed so they only had a few lefty Strats in store and although the others were good this one stood out in terms of both tone and playability. The action was just right and all the hardware was in good order, although some of the screws were rusted (not a big deal but a bit annoying). The pickups were also adjusted to a great sounding height. Apart from the screws I am completely happy with this guitar.
Features — 10
This particular guitar was made in 1999 and is a Mexican Standard Stratocaster. The guitar is finished in a beautiful wine red with a rosewood 'board and maple neck. it's body is made of alder, which has a nice tone for the styles that I play with this particular guitar. The bridge is a Standard Stratocaster Vibrato, which is great for dive bombing and all those freaky effects. Pickups are passive American single coils (they had been upgraded by the previous owner) and are controlled by a pickup selector, two tone controls and a volume control. Tuners are Standard Fender-made tuners. I knew the guys I bought this off and bargained a case and cable out of them (I was also buying an amp at the time, so they were happy to throw them in as freeies), but with new Strats you get a gig bag as Standard.