Price paid: A$ 70
Purchased from: Cash Converters
Features — 5
Being a used guitar I have no idea when or where it was made. I've had it for ten years, and it was already well worn by then. I'd guess 1990s, and probably made in one of the cheap Asian manufacturing countries, like China or Indonesia. It's a strat copy. It looks pretty much like a Stratocaster, except for the headstock. The headstock isn't the classic Strat style. It's not very big. The tuners are very cheap. The electronics work the same as a Strat. Three single coil pickups and a 5 way switcher, which works rather well. It has a tremolo, but it doesn't do much.
Sound — 9
The styles of music I play are well suited to strats. Some blues, some '50s/'60s rock 'n' roll, some Chili Peppers type of stuff. This style of guitar is perfect for me. It probably won't be the best for metal players though. It doesn't really suit heavy distortion or overdrive. It's much better suited to a clean sound, with maybe a bit of fuzz. This guitar actually does a decent job of sounding like a Strat. The pickups are pretty good and you get the classic Strat sounds on the 5 way selector. Lots of variety in sounds for one guitar. There's a little noise on the single coils (cancelled out when you select positions 2 or 4), but that's typical of Strats.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
The frets are quite cheap and fretted poorly. There's some fret buzz that can be minimised by setting up the guitar properly. After years of use the frets have indents and grooves in them, which increased fret buzz. This also means the action can't be too low. The body wood is fairly poor quality. It split and splintered where the screws hold the tremolo in place at the back. The jack has a tendency to become loose and cause a lot of buzz. This can be fixed by unscrewing the jack and pushing in pin so it connects with the plug better. But I've had to do this quite often.
Reliability & Durability — 6
This guitar lasted me ten years, and had at least one previous owner before that. It finally kicked the bucket after ten good years. The tremolo broke and the the bridge pickup stopped working. I could fix it, but it's probably not worth it. It was so cheap to being with. I'd be spending more on new parts than it's worth. But until recently, this guitar served me very well. I got a good ten years out of it. That's good for what I paid for it, but considering some people still play their grandfather's guitar, this guitar is obviously cheap in comparison. You get what you pay for.
Overall Impression — 6
I am a Strat fan and this cheap copy is actually not too bad for what it is. If I invested a bit of time and money into fixing it up, it would be a great little guitar. It was a great little guitar for about ten years of heavy abuse. If you ever see one at a thrift store, or a second hand website online, and it's in working condition, you might want to buy it if the price is under $100. It's a great guitar to have around. You can beat it up, abuse it, mod it. It sounds pretty good for what it is. If you want a cheap Strat copy, this one isn't just too bad. Although, you can get better ones if you want to spend a little more. The entry-level Squier is very cheap now, and is certainly better than this hunk of junk. (I say that with love though. It was a hunk of junk that brought me lots of joy over the the years.)