Price paid: $ 167
Purchased from: Sam Goody
Sound — 8
This guitar sounds like a Strat. The downside of this guitar is almost certainly the Smart III amp that came with it. The amp is horrendous. If you turn up the volume to half, it will start to distort. Badly. the sound it produces is always muddy, and the included overdrive is really fuzzy. So, buy a different amp before upgrading your guitar. The guitar has a good sound otherwise. On a side note, I've kept my amp around because I actually enjoy the horrendousness of the amp turned up all the way on clean. I've used it on at least two recordings.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is fine for beginners, and as long as the amp is replaced, the guitar will sound fine. The only reasons to upgrade are as follows: you want a guitar with humbucking pickups for a fatter sound or you want a guitar that displays a much more well known name on the headstock. But hey, Paul Stanley loves his Silvertone. Not that I like Paul Stanley, but still.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar takes a beating. Mine is chipped everywhere, but still plays fine. I would use this guitar as a backup maybe. I stopped playing it when I bought other electrics, but I recently pulled it out again. I forgot how this guitar makes me smile.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up well, some things I changed. I acidently dropped the guitar once, breaking the nut. I bought a brand new graphtech nut and saddles, greatly (I mean really awesomely) helped the sound. The clarity is incredibly better. Everything else was spot on. Oh, except for the 5-way pickup selector. That became a little noisy when switching. I think it just needs a cleaning.
Features — 9
I bought this guitar five or six years ago, as my first guitar. Not knowing much about guitars, I chose this one for its looks and price. I compared this guitar to a friends Squire Strat recently, and noticed several differences: the neck on the Silvertone is a little thinner, the tuners are a little more stable, the body is a little thinner as well as lighter (good for long playing). These are the major differences, and I believe the Silvertone to be the better buy for a starter guitar.