Price paid: $ 130
Purchased from: Local music shop
Features — 9
Probably a 2007 or so, this was my brother's before it was mine. He played for two years, stopped, then I picked it up a while later. Has 21 frets, rosewood fingerboard, maple neck, unknown body wood, probably basswood, silver, non-locking tuners, 2 tone 1 volume knobs, 3 single-coil pickups, 5-way pickup selector. It has a black headstock, which I have never seen on another starcaster, it might be a different run than most or something, as it also doesn't have a lot of the problems that I've seen others have. Came with gig bag, SP-10 amp, picks, strap, and cable.
Sound — 8
Definitely has a "garage rock" sound on overdrive, I run it through the amp it came with and sometimes through Guitar Rig 5 on my laptop. It produces a pretty good variety of sounds, between the tone knobs, treble and bass, overdrive, the pickup selector, and volume of the guitar and amp. It can sound like a bass if the bass is way up and overdrive is off. The clean tone is a bit disappointing, not as good as a Squier. It can make some decent sounds clean, but they just don't have the bluesy tone of other guitars, it just isn't very... striking maybe? I don't know, it just doesn't sound as good clean. But the overdrive is great, it has a gritty, angry sound, but it fits a lot of different artists and styles. I'd say the best fit would be The White Stripes or The Black Keys, like I said, garage rock. It's overdrive sound is kind of an everyman though, it sounds good playing just about everything
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Like I said, my brother was the one that actually got this. I do remember that we didn't have to replace anything, the guys at the store where my brother took lessons probably set ti up for him anything was wrong. After it hung in the back room for over 2 years everything was set up like it should be, the only issue I could think of is that the action on the low E string seems to be a bit low, it buzzes if hit VERY hard, doesn't cause any problems though. All hardware is in good shape, nothing is misaligned or faulty. Like I said, nothing had to be replaced and there were no big problems when we bought it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing is a tank. The finish is indestructible, I've slammed it around a ton and there is absolutely no damage. The strap and buttons are equally tough the strap is made of a thick cloth that I don't think I could cut with a knife under tension, I jump around a lot and swing the guitar when I play, never had any doubt in that strap. The tuners are solid, I have to tune it maybe once a week if the tuners aren't bumped against something. I haven't played live, just for friends and family, but I would definitely trust this thing if I did get a chance to play live. The hardware has survived at least 6 years of ownership and 3 of being played regularly, I live in Florida, so we have a humid climate, no problems at all. I think this guitar might outlive me.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a wide variety of music, mostly modern rock. The main bands I play are The White Stripes, My Chemical Romance, and Sleigh Bells, and this guitar covers those bases quite well. I have been playing guitar for about year and a half, this is the only guitar I own but I have done hours upon hours of research on guitars through various sources and I have talked to several players more well versed in guitar than myself. If just the guitar was stolen I would consider upgrading to something a bit higher end like an Affinity or low-end Ibanez, but if the whole set was gone I would buy it again. It has been a great instrument to learn on and I don't see any reason why I wouldn't keep using it. I just love how rock and roll it is, Jack White has been one of my biggest inspirations and this is the kind of stuff he uses: cheap, lower end guitars that most people wouldn't play live, and he gets great sounds out of it. It's sort of a misfit, under the shadow of the ever-popular Squier Strat, but as far as I've seen it's every bit as good as a Squier and likely tougher. Yeah it's heavy, and it buzzes if you play a chord with more than 3 strings on overdrive, but it's a decent guitar, it does exactly what it needs to: make sounds that I and others like to hear without any problems. And isn't that what really matters when you get down to it?