Price paid: $ 65
Purchased from: Craigslist
Sound — 7
I play all sorts of music, but mostly blues, rock, and worship music. It handles those fairly decently. Here is my home effects rig: Korg Pitchblack Tuner-Crybaby Original-Digitech Bad Monkey-Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde-Boss DD-10-Visual Sound Liquid Chorus-Line 6 Spider 3 15 watt amp. The guitar does have a little noise, but it isn't intolerable. It has a brighter sound, but I set my amp settings to use REALLY high bass. Right now it is set to Bass-10 Mid-4 Treble 5-6. I use that EQ on all my guitars, not just this one. It sounds decent. The guitar handles funk pretty well. It does a decent job of handling OD and distortion, but the sound could be better. It has a decent sound, but for $65, I cannot complain. The pickups are cheap ceramics. I am planning on modding all the electronics anyway. It sounds like a basic, generic strat. It you are looking for that sound, this guitar is for you.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar will handle just about any music. I play everything, and it seems to handle it all, it just needs to be set up properly and used with good, quality effects and amps. I have been playing for 7 years at the time of this review. I own an Epiphone G400, a really nice Washburn Acoustic, boatloads of effects, and etc. I bought the guitar to take to Camp Electric so I could bang it around a college campus for a week in a gig bag and not have to worry about it being stolen or broken. I expected it to be terrible, but it is actually decent, and it will be much better after I mod it and take it to a luthier for a setup. I like the overall guitar, but it isn't perfect. The body and neck are okay. Everything else could be improved for the price of $100 in parts and a few hours of your time. My only regret about this guitar is the crooked trem claw. If you are a beginner or you need a beater guitar, buy either this or a Squier Bullet Strat. Get it set up (either by yourself or a professional), and mod it if you want to. It will be a better guitar after that. I am rating this guitar as an 8. It is a decent guitar, period. It is cheap and affordable. I have played Gibsons and Fenders, and while this guitar doesn't compete with them, it is definitely playable and you can make some okay music with it. I am not giving this a 10 because it didn't surprise me or give me a WOW!!! It is better than a 7 because it has decent construction compared to other guitars I have seen.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar seems pretty reliable for a ten year old guitar. I don't use the whammy alot, so I cannot comment on the tuning stability with the whammy, but the tuners seem to hold tuning decently (I'd much rather have Grover tuners like on the rest of my guitars though). I took a graphite pencil and drew in the nut slots and string trees. I also tightened the tuner screws and nuts. I am a bluesy player, so I bend a lot. If the guitar is setup and everything is tightened properly, you will reduce your chance of having issues with tuning stability. The hardware seems to be doing fine. The pickguard screws seem a little rusty, but it is ten years old and the guitar was probably mistreated (I can tell by the way I received it). The tremolo seems fine. The tuners are working well. It seems to be very durable at the time of this review. I would say that this guitar could withstand live playing. The intonation is slightly off on the upper frets, but it is barely noticeable. I have been playing guitar for 7 years now, and I know that this isn't the best live guitar, but it seems decent. I would use my Epiphone G400 for playing live, but this guitar would probably hold up.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought the guitar used, so I cannot comment on the factory setup. When I bought the guitar, whoever had it before the guy I bought it from didn't take care of it very well. The neck was dry and crusty. The trem and saddles were way outta whack. I could go on, but you get the point. After two hours of fixing what the other guy messed up, it plays pretty well. I set it up, and I was impressed with the playability. It has slightly higher action then what I am used to, but it is still playable. It mostly plays in tune except for one or two frets. After inspecting the guitar, the only flaws that I knew for sure were from the factory were that the tremolo claw screws were screwed in crooked, causing the claw to sit slightly crooked inside the guitar. I haven't noticed any tuning issues, but it just kinda messes with me now that I know that it is crooked in there. The rest of the flaws I was able to fix. I set it up, polished it, and lemon-oiled the rosewood fretboard. The guitar actually looks like a respectable instrument now. After I set it up, I would give it an eight. Before I set it up, it would give it a two. The finish is your average poly finish, durable as ever. I give it an eight because of the crooked trem claw and there are a few high frets.
Features — 8
I bought a 2001 Fiesta Red Squier Affinity Strat with a cheap Kustom amp off of craigslist for $65. It has the basic Strat specs, nothing more, nothing less. Overall, it is a decent guitar, and I will go into specifics later in the review. If you have a chance to inspect the guitar before buying it, do so. Take it to a tech for setup, you will have a much better guitar. Those that bash Squier guitars don't set them up properly or take care of them.