Sound — 6
I'm a typical Grungy Punky Indie Kid often referred to as "An Asda Smartprice Kurt Cobain" and this thing has suited me fine. Pickups don't excel in any area but they aren't terrible quality. Guitar has basically been the basis of my rig and sounds amazing through a Boss DS-1 on full distort if you knock it into using the bridge and mid pickups with no tone in the middle. Incredibly versatile but lacking some real power, often dwarfed by Squiers and Epiphones in terms of volume.
Overall Impression — 7
After a year of heavily playing this and learning on it it is going to be a slight shame when my upgrade arrives in about a month (Squier Vintage Modded Telecaster Special). This is a very solid guitar for someone looking for their first electric or for parents looking to give their child a first guitar but don't want the natural noise of an acoustic. If this were stolen, I'd probably by another due to the durability and the ability to take a total beating. This guitar has been perfect for my style. Crap 15w amp, average guitar. Crank it up! The fuzz and hiss just makes it work, even though it's unintentional. If you're looking to play in a kind of scuzzy punk band then quite frankly I don't know of a better starting guitar. Get yourself a decent distortion and away you go!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Whilst having a bad build quality the guitar is incredibly reliable and has been a real workhorse for me. Has been used live and works well, strap buttons have only recently started to pop out, a bit of glue or a bigger screw should sort the problem. Finish starting to become sunbleached but still looks reasonably striking (Arctic White). Body is chipped and battle scarred but all electronics are still working. This guitar has been to music festivals with me, days out in town, bashed on concrete stairs in a lightweight case, dropped, thrown about and generally mistreated. It's still alive and it's safe to say that this guitar has developed a character of its own.
Action, Fit & Finish — 4
Came with a stupidly out truss rod that had to be adjusted by a friend straight away for me. Has no electrical shielding at all, this has to be added if you want to upgrade your pickups like I have, 5 way selector is noisy, metallic creaking noise from either tuners, bridge or springs whenever the tremolo is used, this is caught by the pickups and rockets through your amp. Finish has now become quite sunbleached and is very chipped around the butt of the guitar.
Features — 6
Bought as a Christmas present in December 2010 as my first electric. Basswood body, 6 stud Strat trem. Tuners are annoyingly stiff, always feels like a string is about to break when tuning and THEN it starts to turn properly. This has led me to use the tuning technique of "cower and tune", much to the amusement of my friends. Trem use knocks the tuning out wildly, it's best just used for adding flourishing the ends of songs and getting some cool feedback effects. Not useful for any wannabe Steve Vai's at all.