Purchased from: Long & McQuade in Calgary
Sound — 8
I like to play all kinds of rock music (anything from Ozzy to Blink) and this guitar suits that style just fine. The Stratocaster (in my opinion) was designed to be plugged into 18,000 different pedals, and huge effects-laden amps, so why busy yourself with all kinds of tone control on the guitar? I am playing through a Roland Cube-30 amp (Roland is the company that owns Boss, who makes all those FX pedals we love so dearly). This amp has several preset tones, which are modeled after Fender, Marshall and Mesa Boogie amps, and this guitar sound just fine through all of them. It comes thru a little weak on my Marshall setting, but that could be the amp causing that. Essentially, this guitar is useless if your amp is useless. To play different kinds of music, you will need a quality amp, or lots of pedals. But hey, if you want to play without distortion, buy a Telecaster. I have never gotten any hum, buzz or feedback playing this guitar. I have also never been trying to play any song and said to myself: "Man, I wish my guitar was good enough to play this the right way!" But I repeat, don't expect a lot of variety without a good amp setup. I give it a 4 because it does need help from a good amp setup.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for a little under a year, although I practice enough that it might as well be two years. I am thoroughly satisfied with my decision to buy this guitar, and I would buy another one if it were stolen or lost. The fact that it's a concert quality guitar that costs only $700 dollars is the best part about it, and you definitely get your money's worth in that area. My main objective was to buy the best Stratocaster I could buy for the least amount of money, and this was it. I only compared it to other Fenders (including Squires and Tele's), so if you think your Gibson is better, than I have no say on that. In closing, I just want to give two warnings. Number one, don't write this guitar off as being just a stupid blink-182 merchandising ploy, or think that it only sounds good when playing blink's songs. Second, don't think that buying a concert-quality guitar like this one will make your crappy amp sound better. This guitar NEEDS a good amp setup to be effective. Overall, I give it a 5, simply because it is so cheap, yet so high-quality. I would suppose that since Tom Delonge has influenced so many kids to start playing guitar, that he designed it wanting it to be affordable, so that kids could buy it. Thanks for reading my review, and e-mail me at email@example.com if you want to make any comments.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Fenders are known to be reliable, and this guitar is no exception. It is the same guitar that Tom uses on concert, so it would obviously withstand live playing. I have had no problems yet with wear and tear, and none appear on the horizon, but then, its only been five months. I would never use it on a gig without a backup, but then, I would never use any guitar without a backup if I have the option.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought it new (5 months ago), and when I took it home, it was already tuned and sounded just as good as it does today. The action was perfect, nothing was scratched or busted or rusted. I read other reviews on other sites, and some people had problems with it going out of tune really easily, but it hasn't happened to me.
Features — 8
Wow. Considering how many f-ing tabs this site has for blink-182 songs, I cannot believe that nobody out there owns this guitar. Just as the name suggests, this guitar was co-designed by Fender and Tom Delonge, to play his music. However, before everyone jumps to conclusions, this is no one-trick pony. The guitar is a Miexican-made Stratocaster, and although Tom uses it in the videos from Enema of The State, I think that they only started mass-producing it in 2001. Just to clarify, this guitar is the EXACT same guitar that Tom might use in concert. It has 21 frets, and no tremolo bar. There is no tone Switch or knobs, just one volume control. This kind of makes sense since this guitar only has one pickup. I don't find that this adversely affects the sound though. The pickup is a Seymour Duncan Invader (Humbucker), and it sounds great. The clean tone is very rich (it is still a Fender after all). The body is non-veneered alder, and the fretboard is rosewood. It's very comfortable to play, the fretboard is nice and smooth, and (like all Strats) this guitar is double-cutaway. If anyone is wondering, the name Tom Delonge is inscribed on the metal plate behind the neck. I bought the guitar from Long & McQuade in Calgary, and paid $740 Canadian. In the Guitar World buyer's guide, the listed price is $699 US, so I got a pretty good deal. It didn't come with any accessories, but that depends largely on the dealer. I'm giving this guitar a 4 on features, simply because there is only one pickup, no tone control and no tremolo bar, but for my style of play, all those things tend to get in the way. Most of my tone is amp-driven anyway.