Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
My music preferences are all over the place. I like rock, reggae, some heavier rock (I like a lot of bands, but my favorites are 11 and Audioslave). I was able to get some decent sounds when I played songs from my favorite bands, but obviously it's harder to emulate Tom Morello's guitar-playing with a beginner's guitar. I hooked up the guitar to a 10watt Crate amp and I used FAB Overdrive and FAB Echo (both made by Danelectro) along with a Dunlop CryBaby Wah pedal. I couldn't really tell the difference between the middle and neck pickups (the 2 single coils), but the humbucker was extremely different. I noticed some other reviewers say otherwise, which confuses me. The humbucker in clean mode doesn't really suit my tastes. It just doesn't sound right. When using the humbucker, I turned up the Overdrive to get a significantly fuller sound with some crunch. The single coils sound pretty smooth while clean, unlike the humbucker. Keeping in mind that this is a beginner's guitar, the pickups aren't great so you don't get much crunch or raw fatness (even when using the humbucker). So hardcore metal is out of the question. Awesome jazz and blues will be lacking as well. Even so, there's some decent variety for a beginner: the clean single coils sound nice enough and the humbucker (with Overdrive) adds a good kick. That's the main reason why I wanted a guitar with an HSS pickup configuration when I first started playing. However, after a little over a year of casual playing (I'm "just" a hobbyist), I grew tired of the guitar's limitations, sonically-speaking. It's also quite annoying to have to retune this guitar so frequently.
Overall Impression — 10
No, this is not a good guitar. It's made with cheap hardware and cheap wood. It's got cheap pickups and if you dare to use the whammy bar, expect detuning to occur. So why am I giving an Overall Impression score of 10? Because this guitar was only $200 (USD). It's made for beginners, and it's great for beginners. I tried out some other beginner guitars and they were substantially worse. This guitar's neck is friendly, the pickups are decent (until you grow tired of them), and the whole package is just a blast for a novice to have fun with. That's why it's still a success. If you want superb sound and quality, don't get the GSA60. If you want a great beginner guitar with good value, get the GSA60.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar would be a pretty bad choice for Live playing due to the tuning problems. But the strap buttons were good, the tuners never fell off, and all-in-all, a beginner will be fine practicing on this guitar. However, I did experiment with the tremolo bridge and its whammy bar. To my dismay, I broke one of the springs inside the body cavity. It's easy to replace, but it's still annoying and disappointing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I had trouble with the action when I changed to a set of low-gauge (.9) strings. The paint on the headstock did chip a little, but other than that, the guitar didn't scratch easily. I would say that out-of-the-box, it was decently set up (from a beginner's perspective), but still far from par. The main disappointment was the action being higher than I would have liked.
Features — 9
The main things you got to know (and probably already do) is that it is a super Strat type of guitar with two single coil pickups for the neck and middle, plus a humbucker for the bridge pickup. I don't want to mention too much of what has already been said, but it has a 25.5-inch scale bolt-on neck, agathis wood for the body, a lackluster tremolo bridge, a 5-way pickup selector (with no way to tap the humbucker). Some people say their GSA60 had locking tuners, but my 2005 model did not. Regarding accessories, I got a nice gig bag, boring nylon strap, good cable, some strings, and a 10watt Crate amp all for 300. To sum up the features: it's a beginner's electric guitar. With that in mind, it's got enough features. It could use a better bridge though. Also, as expected, the guitar does not stay in tune for long.