Price paid: C$ 125
Purchased from: Tom Lee Music
Sound — 7
Well, I basically bought this guitar, well for no other reason other than I've always wanted a sunburst strat, and I had $150 to blow on a trip to Vancouver. It's the lowest quality guitar I own, however, it really doesn't sound that bad. I play through a Line 6 Spider II 75w, and it sounds pretty good. I don't play a specific genre, but the effects I use on a daily basis are straight clean and heavy distortion, sometimes just a bit of overdrive, and it's handles those all reasonably well considering the quality. It actually handles any effect you throw at it well. It does get a bit of buzz like everyone else said, but for me, I only get the buzz when I lay the guitar down on the ground. If I've got it strapped on, it's fine. When it's distorted it does buzz a fair bit but hey all guitars do a bit when they're distorted. Basically, I bought this guitar as kinda a project, buy it cheap and upgrade all the parts with expensive replacements, but I honestly would be fine with it as is, as a good gig backup. But, seeing as I have 2 other guitars I put ahead of it as backups, and then my main guitar (Ibanez RG350EX), I'm still gonna go ahead with the upgrades :P
Overall Impression — 8
For all styles of music, it holds up surprisingly well. I've been playing for almost 5 years now. My main guitar is an Ibanez RG350EX, I also own an Ibanez GRG, and a Squier Telecaster, as well as some other guitars I'm building from scratch, or ones I'm rebuilding, and this one slots somewhere in the low-middle of things at this point. But for a beginner, I'd definitely recommend it, for playability and for price. If it were stolen, I'd be angry but I probably wouldn't replace it, at least not right away. It probably looks the best out of all my guitars, so that'd be the main reason I'd be sad :P I love the sunburst finish, nothing I really hate on it. The other products I compared it to, were the same Strats, with different colours, and I chose this one because of the sunburst. I couldn't afford anything more with the money I had on my trip. I definitely wish it had better electronics, but hey, you get what you pay for, and in this case you get more than what you pay for :P Besides, the electronics will be awesome, once I upgrade it anyways.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It feels like it can withstand live playing, but I wouldn't use this one given my other options right now. The tuners seem to hold up pretty well though for a cheap guitar, they haven't gone out of tune yet on me. It's built pretty durable, so I wouldn't worry about any of that if you're a beginner, it'll work just fine for you. I'd definitely use it without a backup at a gig if I were a beginner, but again in my position, stock, I wouldn't. After I upgrade it and everything though I probably will use it for gigs, not even as a backup, but alongside my Ibanez for some songs that require a brighter sound. Finish is great.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
It was actually set up perfectly out of the box, and it's easier to play than all my other guitars, besides the Ibanez. Everything is perfect in this aspect. The finish is beautiful. My favorite guitarist John Frusciante plays a sunburst Stratocaster, and mines nowhere near his in quality, but it still looks like that guitar which I love, minus all his strat's nicks, as it is from like '65. Haven't had it long enough to bang it off anything, but the finish still seems pretty durable. The only flaw in the finish, is that when you look at it from a certain angle, under sunlight, you can really see where the wood is glued together, but it's not noticeable otherwise, you really gotta look for it.
Features — 7
It was made in China in 2010, 21 jumbo frets, rosewood fingerboard. I'm gonna guess it's made of basswood for a guitar like this, and it's got a maple neck. Sunburst finish. 2 tones, 1 volume, 5way selector. S-S-S. Pretty much the Standard Strat setup. Solid beginner guitar.