AIL 90BP review by Spectrum

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (1 vote)
Spectrum: AIL 90BP

Price paid: $ 60

Purchased from: eBay used

Features — 9
Rated "9" because any Strat that is in new condition and unmarked and decent or better is well-worth 60 bucks. Likely made in China or Indonesia and headstock mimics SX Strat style exactly. Medium frets. Body may be "Sen" or other offshore alder or ash type. Sunburst finish is nice... a bit yellow on the neck tint and center body face, but not bad. Solid saddles and well-chromed bridge and tuners (small buttons and non locking with tall shafts). String through the tremolo block. Strat controls and no tone control yet on bridge pickup (easy to fix). SSS pickup configuration and pickups are pretty good. Black strap is 2nd rate and whammy bar is too tight in the trem block.

Sound — 8
"8" is fair because it is a very cheap guitar to buy and is a fairly nice Strat copy. Slick finish looks good, well-chromed hardware, and nuts slots are OK, but need adjustment. Pickups are pretty good, especially for a very cheap to buy guitar. I have a set of hand-wound Rose Strats that I got locally and they are gorgeous. Very well reviewed and $50 the set of 3. I play into a Fender Princeton Reverb ('73 Silverface) with Celestion 10" and it is ultra-clean sound. It reveals any shortcoming in tone, buzz, warbles, or other defect in tone...

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
"9" is a surprise and I have owned well over 200 guitars over the years. This is a well finished and nicely built Strat copy. Neck is nice and satin/gloss yellowed tint and a good profile. Fret ends all need to be smoothed and polished up, but will humidify the guitar first. Nut has too much plastic above the string tops and needs edges eased and slots lowered to get the "3rd fret test" right for each string. But the nuts is neatly installed and shaped. Pickups will need to be adjusted for height/angle and ad a jumper to make the front tone knob control the neck pickup. Think about why...

Reliability & Durability — 9
Solid guitar well put together. Not a crummy neck/pocket fit at all... rather nicely done and the finish is good a[plication and nice color scheme (yellowish burst type). solid strap button are the conical ones with white felt washers. Plastic guards are beveled edge and creamy off white... nice. I rate it a "9" knowing the guitar is not a Korean or Mexico $400-500 guitar. It cost $60 new, see? It's solid and look good, and weighs nice and the neck is impressive... like a neck from SX exactly.

Overall Impression — 9
I write my own songs and learned to play on a classical. Played sine early teens and can sing. If stolen, I would get another one: easy to set up and adjust and resell to make 40-60 bucks... nice looks and no worries about playing it on a stage. It is so cheap, you cannot walk away if you see it. $60 for a new and pretty decent Strat is impossible to ignore. It is not shabby... just "good enough." But even the pickups are adequate. I may replace them with good ones if the guitar "rings" and plays well after setup. Rated "9" since the trem bar was really had to get out of the trem block. Nut could have had the top trimmed off at the factory. But a guy who can set up a guitar needs maybe 2 hours work to make it ready, at most.

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