Price paid: £ 90
Purchased from: Gear4Music.com
Sound — 5
I found that due to the 5-way selector switch you could make a variety of sounds, the only issue being that none of them were ever really that nice. With a bit of overdrive, however, it could still make a pretty nice sound, which as a first guitar pleased me enough; all you really want from a first guitar is for it to make a loud noise! Again though as I've played more guitars, I've found the sound of this one to be less nice every time I play it. I could never play it clean either, without being disappointed.
Overall Impression — 3
Overall, this is a decent beginners guitar to start with, once you've managed to set it up, which is an absolute pain in the a-se. But after about a month or so all the problems will start to appear and it will infuriate you to the extent that it's not worth maintaining the guitar anymore. I wouldn't buy this again if it was offered to me for a fiver. A shame, really, because when I did have a moment when it was all working and set up right and I was playing some old rock anthem with a bit of beefy overdrive, I liked it. Not for the quality of sound, but just because for some reason it just felt really good. I have to admit that I did bond with this guitar, but after a year and a half of ownership now, it's really not worth it anymore.
Reliability & Durability — 2
To be fair it could never be said that I treated this guitar well, but for whatever reasons after a few months the finish was ruined, full of big dents and discoloured slightly. I could never trust this guitar to be in tune when I started playing, it was as though as soon as you left it alone it made an extra special effort to fall out of tune in some new confusing way. The tuning pegs feel flimsy and are slightly misplaced, and the jack disintegrated within about a month and despite my attempts at a fix, hasn't been the same since. Also, teh wiring inside the jack is ridiculously bad, and with very little length after one or two fixes if it goes again, you're going to need to re-wire the whole thing. It's driven me crazy and has currently rendered mine unplayable; now it sits in the corner without a jack or jack cup on it collecting dust, it's really not worth fixing any more. Very poor. The body does feel solid though.
Action, Fit & Finish — 1
The guitar was put together okay, although not great, and the input jack fell apart instantaneously. It came with a horrible set of strings on it, I'm not sure what make but my guess is they were made by Gear4Music, but whatever they were they weren't nice at all, and I managed to snap the high E just on a bend, albeit some time into ownership. The guitar was poorly set up and it took a few gurus to try and help me set it up properly, most of whom struggled to due to the way it lost tuning so quickly. Generally not nice for a beginner to have to cope with when they've first started playing. The tuning pegs were also misplaced slightly; no practical implications but just not nice aesthetically. Also, the jack was wired poorly, with very little length left in the wire as means to fix it when it breaks, which it will, because the soldering and attachment is absolutely pathetic.
Features — 4
I found the best thing on this guitar to be the classic Strat 5-way selector, I bought it as my first guitar so was playing all sorts but found usually I could get a decent sound from one pickup or other due to teh range of choice. The fretboard was decent, nice to play with at first but as I've played other guitars I've found it seems worse and worse to me every time I play it. I kept the pickups standard, but if I had to keep using this guitar I'd definitely change them. The finish is okay, not great but not drastically bad. The pickgaurd was nicely finished though, another favourite feature for me and something I'd definitely cannibalise if I was to buy another Strat-bodied guitar. The bridge was also nice, and came with a trem arm that I used to love messing around with. Overall though, decent at most. I bought mine with an accessories pack that included amp, strap and carry bag, all of which were poor quality. I got a lot of use out of the amp, but was never really happy with it.