Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 1
Bad sound. My opinion, it cannot do blues, rock, country, maybe some carefully controlled jazz... Heck, they'd even resurface your driveway, do landscaping, or paint your house in a way that would be not only bad, but still economic. I don't know if it was the hardware, or just the body, but these guitars sound alive, and resonant, in a good way. I only put the "1" for the original setup. After replacement, I would give the goods a "1". But hey, a "1" is far and few in between... Meaning you just don't see many, if ever. It has huge amount of hum, I hate them, it can't play rock, bad distortion and stuff. I'm using a Roland 20xl which is a nice small amp. If you buy this, buy an EMG Strat pickup certainly better sound.
Overall Impression — 1
I've been playing for more than 10 years now and I've owned 5 Acoustic guitars, 2 teles, 2 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop and a Strat and this is my new addition this Squier strat. I just love the shape of the Strat above any other guitar bodies commercialized... And the headstock looks great as well. But the sound of this guitar, man I hate it, compared with my other guitars. I play blues and rock, which is not matched for this guitar. I its lost, I don't care, I'll just stick with my tele. I wish it had better hardware and wood.
Reliability & Durability — 1
So far a "2." Other than one bad tuner, all of the Bridge and hardwares are bad. All the electronics and hardware are what you'd expect... Eternal. Even the seemingly-crappy white plastic nut has held up. If the frets on one of them had never had oxidation spots, this would have been a "1" based on other guitars I've played.
Action, Fit & Finish — 1
First, I'll say that the neck fit the pocket like a glove in all three of these I have. The body paint (candy apple red and black) was impeccable, even a perfect finish. The neck finish is great, except that there were some imperfections on the fretboard... Little "bumps" under the lacquer. The dots seemed to be a little recessed, rather than flush with the surface. This may have happened with aging. After ten-plus years, three of the frets on one of these has a few "rust" spots, which I have never seen before, or since on Fenders. These are the only pre-1998 strats I've owned where the stripe kept perfect to the surrounding wood, no shrinking or expansion that affected the finish. The maple was nice, almost figured, with nice refractions almost like tiger eye, probably due to the ice, dark tint. The bummer... When I went to replace the tuners on one, after meticulously removing the first, I noticed that the tuners had been installed with what must have been some kind of high-speed drill for the screws... The tuners had been installed so tight that they actually left little marks or outlines of the six-in-lines pressed into the back of the headstock, as well as little "pull-up" bumps around the screw holes. Not only that, but the installation screws had been screwed in so tight that there were actually CRACKS between the holes for the tuners and the screws, to the NEXT tuner!... To the next tuner, to the next tuner... Four in a row on two of the guitars, and three in a row on the other. Horrible. Working in primate ethology, I can attest to being acquainted with monkeys with more finesse. A year or two after these were released (1997), Fender began lifetime warranties on necks, so I can be relieved in assuming these technicians had been euthanize or sent to a zoo before 2000. If I had never had to replace a tuner... The necks fit the pockets so tight that the heels of the necks are actually stained with the red from the candy apple red, and the black finishes. That's one part that helps me to never think of selling one of these, ever. Pickups are not adjusted well but I likes the finish.
Features — 1
The Squier California Stratocaster has a traditional vibe and modern feel. Recently upgraded throughout, these classics boast player-friendly features like the 21-fret fingerboard and a slimmer neck for easier playing and choke-free bends. The California Strat's die-cast tuners are lifetime-lubricated for years of trouble-free service and tuning stability. A new twin-pivot Bridge with satin-anodized saddles provides smooth tremolo action. I don't like this really, I'm better off with my newer Telecaster (affinity).