Price paid: $ 60
Purchased from: Music Go Round
Sound — 8
The sound of this thing is really amazing for a guitar in this price point. A guy can pick one up dirt cheap and have a nice workable guitar. The hum has a nice lead sound to it not as warm as some but it's nice for bluesy stuff which I play. I've also played 80s rock with it and it does well with that too. The single coils have a nice tone to them, better than I expected and not as noisy as I thought they'd be. The middle is reverse wound for noise cancelling which is a nice feature for me as I tand to use some effects with it. I find that it's as versatile as I need it to be and handles many styles just fine.
Overall Impression — 8
My overall impression is actually very good. It's not a USA guitar but I wasn't looking for a USA when I bought it. I was looking for an inexpensive fat Strat to jam on and as a platform to modify if needed. For right now I'm leaving it alone and just enjoying the different sounds I can get out of it. I've been playing over 20 years and have over 20 guitars in the house and this fits about in the middle. It's got great sound in it and to me would be a great investment for a new player or for someone like me that likes to mod guitars. It's a real steal of a deal for the price. I'd say it can hold it's own in the intermediate guitar market and can say for sure that it's a finer instrument than many "starter guitars" out there. I'm not going to say it's gonna kick my Gibson's butt but in certain situations I like it better. Again, I buy guitars to serve a purpose and this does exactly what I need it to do for now and when it doesn't anymore, I can mod it and have a nice platform to build on with minimal initial investment. I would recommend anyone try one of these out as I would bet it'll surprise ya. Anyway that's my 2 cents worth.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I would use it live personally but I always have a few guitars when I play live so it wouldn't be the only one I'd bring. I'm not afraid it'd let me down though. Strap buttons are good, hold secure. I think anyone could feel confident having this in their arsenal of guitars. I don't plan to throw it out a window or off of a building and won't guarantee that it's going to take tons of abuse but I think it'll withstand the normal wear and tear associated with gigging with it or jamming around.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The action is good after some minor adjustments, the tuners are kind of weak but that's an easy fix. Tremolo system doesn't knock it out of tune as fast as I'd imagined. I can't speak for the factory setup as it came used but I did my own setup on it anyway. Frets feel fine, no sharp edges, just an all around solid piece of gear for me. Neck is comfortable and not super heavy. Lightweight guitar and a joy for me to play. It's not a Japanese or American Jackson or an Ibanez but the assembly is solid.
Features — 7
This is an affordable import from the mid 2000s as far as I can tell. Standard Fender scale, 22 fret 25.5". Alder body, maple neck, rosewood board. Has a nice trans blue finish on it and is in the fat Strat configuration. Vintage trem, Volume and 2 tones, 5 way switch, hell just think of a fat Strat and you have the idea. My ratings will be based on how well it performs for the money. Seems like it's built pretty well and like it'll stand up to a lot of what I plan to put it through and is nicely appointed for a guitar at this price point.