Price paid: $ 274.5
Purchased from: Speed Music
Sound — 7
I play mostly punk and alt. rock music, so the Strat is a staple choice. The general 3 pickup setup suits most kinds of music though I wouldn't really recommend it to the kind of people Who want to play metal (it's just not pointy enough, go get an Ibanez or ESP or Jackson or something). Sound quality overall is good even through the amp it came with which was unfortunately the victim of a stray foot at a practice. I now play it through a Zoom G1X pedal and Marshall MG series amplifier and it still produces a well-rounded sound although there is a small amount of buzz at high volume.
Overall Impression — 7
This is a great guitar for punk music, has lots of character and can be very powerful with the right equipment backing it up. This was my first guitar, so I've been playing since sometime in september 2001. I now have a Line 6 Spider II, Marshall MG100DFX, an Epiphone Les Paul Standard and a Les Paul Custom. I wish I'd asked the sales assistant if it came in a more exclusive colour, though. If it were lost or stolen, I'd be pretty annoyed because it has a lot of sentimental value to me and we've been through a lot together. I'd probably make the stretch and buy a Fender Telecaster as a replacement though, for sheer versatility, looks and quality they surpass Squier. I love that this guitar has taken so much punishment and is still in one piece, the ease with which it can be modified is also impressive. All I need is a replacement pickguard and this is going to get a refit with a double-coil in the bridge position. Compared to the other beginner guitars I tried at the time I bought this, it was far superior. The quality of sound, finish and good looks made it a no-brainer decision. Everything I could possibly wish this guitar had can be added without too much difficulty. It is really easy to change the parts and relatively inexpensive to buy mods for.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've gigged this guitar several times in the last seven years and I'm proud to say it is still in good shape. It's lightweight and so allows for a lot of movement when onstage with minimal discomfort. The original hardware is still all intact with no signs of rust or looseness and it holds tune wonderfully. There was an incident with the whammy bar that I don't like to talk about, but it's a feature that's not really necessary for me. The strap buttons were a big problem, extremely temperamental, they had a habit of throwing my strap off so I replaced them with locking ones. Also, one of the tone knobs has loosened through years of abuse. It has been used without a backup on many occasions, there wasn't enough room for another guitar in the car and even though I've dropped it more times than I can remember, the finish is for the most part still great and the dings that can be seen give it character. (not totally sure how much of the original blue is left really to be honest, there are a lot of stickers on it).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The pickups and action needed a slight adjustment when I got it, but this can be sorted without having to get it set up at a music store (that's far too expensive for a guitar this cheap). The bridge, neck and finish were fantastic and had no visible flaws.
Features — 6
This is a review for a blue 2001 Affinity Series Squier Strat bought as part of a beginner's pack (this is before the frontman pack so it didn't come with a 15g or whatever). Mine had 21 frets, a rosewood fingerboard and the usual 3 single coil pickups, 3 controls, 5-way selector and tremelo. The set included a 20w 'Panther' amp, tuner, crappy gig bag, basic nylon strap and a bag of Fender picks.