Price paid: £ 80
Purchased from: Gear4music.com
Sound — 8
At the time, I was very into classic rock. I got rid of the cheap stock amp because the distortion was quite weak and sounded awful to me. Instead, I got myself a Roland Cube 15X later. Even with singlecoil pickups, the tone was great on the Distortion channel. The Metal Stack channel gave out a quite brutal tone [early Metallica, with less chunk], even with cheap singlecoil pickups. This tone was still not as good as I hoped it would be though [even if this isn't a metal guitar!]. The Distortion and Overdrive channels gave me a nice Hendrix tone, especially when the mids were raised. The cleans were quite crisp [even more so with fresh strings] and sounded brilliant for a cheap guitar like this. What I don't like are the singlecoil pickups. I felt they were too weak. I had to raise them to help deliver the metal tone.
Overall Impression — 7
At the time, I was playing lots of rock and some metal. It suited rock better than it suited metal - the pickups just weren't powerful enough. I've been playing since April 2006 and since then I have owned 4 guitars [a Herald HL44 classical, this Gear4Music Strat copy, a Stagg L350 and an Ibanez RG120]. I find that this Strat copy is inferior compared to the other guitars I own. Before I bought the product, I just wish I knew how powerful the pickups were. If this guitar was stolen, I wouldn't really care that much - right now, it is sitting in the loft in a poor condition and it's probably worth 30 now. I really like the neck of this guitar. It feels really comfortable for my hand to just slide around on it. On the other hand, the finish quality is poor. It will not last long. I did not compare this guitar to others because this guitar was the cheapest one I could find. I was a beginner and did not want to spend a fortune.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I do not think this guitar could withstand live playing because I just don't think the body is durable enough. In the first few months, I found a lot of scratches in the finish. This never happened to the classical guitar I had months before that. The hardware seems it will last. I haven't seen any damage/wearing on it. The strap buttons are indeed solid. The have never let the stock strap rip out or let the whole peg rip out. Then again, this is a beginners guitar, so I wouldn't expect to see many beginners gigging with this guitar. In fact, I wouldn't expect to see many people gigging with this guitar, given that the finish is so easily damaged.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
I do not think this guitar was set up particularly well. I had to ask my friend [who has been playing guitar for a lot longer than me] to help me intonate the guitar. As a beginner, this was very difficult for me. Like I said before, the pickups were not high enough, but this was easily adjusted with a screwdriver. I did not find any other flaws.
Features — 8
I got this guitar in October 2007 and it was my first electric guitar. This black Strat copy was made in Korea and has the following features: - Basswood body - Three singlecoil pickups - Vintage style tremolo - 22 frets [checked on the website to make sure my counting was correct] - Rosewood fretboard - Bolt-on maple neck - White pickguard - 1 volume, 2 tone knobs with a 5 way pickup selector switch This guitar also came with a stock amplifier, a cable, a set of strings, a pick, a strap and a gig bag. Since this is a starter pack, I just wish it came with some sort of tuition - maybe one of those cheap chord DVDs.