Purchased from: Lovemore Music
Sound — 10
I play almost all kinds of music, but on this guitar I play mostly blues (Jimi Hendrix, and SRV kind of stuff) and classic rock. The guitar is definitely not suited for metal (as anyone could deduce because it's a strat.) The guitar definately sings, and with plenty of delay and gain it has that awesome Strat Solo tone which sounds awesome if you like it. The throatyness of the neck pickup is great for blues, and it really does sing this baby. The Bridge pickup is VERY bright, which is expected for a guitar meant to encompass the 50's vibe. Currently I'm using it through a Roland Cube 30X and a Boss DS-2 distortion pedal. I've played it through a Marshall MA50C Valve amp, and a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Definately would recommend a tube amp, a solid state just doesn't justify the amazing classic Strat tones that this guitar exhibits. The pickups are not noisy, but it does have single coil pickups; so expect the normal 60 cycle hum on the Neck, Middle, and Bridge positions when on Medium-High gain. Noise is profoundly increased on the middle pickup only, and at very high gain. However, in positions 2 and 4 (combined Neck-Middle and Bridge-Middle) the 60 cycle hum is eliminated thanks to reverse wiring of the pickups which cancels out noise. The pickups are very Vintage voiced compared to the Fender American Standards. The pickups (being single coils) are very dynamic, and you can get almost any sound. It's what makes the Strat famous for emotionally fuelled music and what makes it so personal, the single coil pickups will pick up any rake, scratch or slightest variation in picking. You can make all kinds of Vintage tube "pops" and smooth blues with this guitar. It makes it great at High Gain, because you don't loose any emotion or dynamics, most of it will be retained meaning you can squeeze that extra bit of flavour into your music. The whammy bar I use rarely, but it does a good job like it should.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, the guitar is amazing for the price. This might just be the best kept secret in the guitar world, almost. I've been playing for 5 years now; I've had an old Strat copy; and an Ibanez ART-120 - which was a great guitar, but not nearly as good as this. If there's only one thing needed to complete this awesome guitar, it would be a beautiful valve amplifier to really bring it alive. If it was stolen or lost, I would cry, because this guitar feels so special because it's so unique, I've never met anyone in my area/province with one, and it would break my heart to loose my first step down Stratocaster lane. If it was, I'd definately buy another one, or even try the CV60's Stratocaster. I compared it to an American Made Standard strat. They feel about the same, but the Standard has very differently voiced pickups which makes the comparison hard; but the USA made definately is the better instrument, but considering the price tag the CV50 really is amazing. I've played normal Squier stratocasters and they don't even come close to this. I'd say this is about on par with the MIM stratocasters.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have already used this guitar live and it's great. The build quality on this guitar really is outstanding especially considering the price. The neck finish is really immaculate. Hardware is of good quality, strap buttons are very solid, but I have had a strap end pop off (not live, it was at home) which gave me a fright, I think If I really was gigging a lot with it I would invest in some strap locks, but for what I'm doing; just the occasional small gig and jam, they're perfect. I have had a loose input jack socket which has needed tightening. If I were to have a backup, there is nothing at this price that would be nearly as good. So it would have to be the same guitar. I would definitely use it without a backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I cannot really comment on the guitars set up from the factory, because I had the guitar tech change the strings on site because the originals were rusted. But I recall him not even having to set up anything after the string change; perhaps he was rushed. But the guitar feels great. Pickups are adjusted well, action is great! Everything was great, but there was some ticking when using the whammy bar, and I used an old Strat tip of putting some graphite shavings (from a pencil) into the nut grooves. Which sufficiently lubricated it and the ticking stopped.
Features — 8
This guitar is of year 2009 as indicated by the Serial Number, and is made in China. 21 frets on a great feeling 1 piece GLOSSED maple neck (The neck finish is really immaculate). Full alder body just like real strats. I got mine in the Olympic White with Gold Anodized pickguard, and I think it looks great. It has a Gloss Polyester Finish. It really does capture the Vintage style and the guitar doesn't feel like just another guitar that millions of others have. It has the vibe, look and sound of something that is really special and unique. It really makes one feel different and the guitar looks great playing on stage. As indicated, it really is a true Strat in its own right; Classic 50's style body contours (deeper than 60's and current strats) which makes for an amazingly comfortable play like most strats. The guitar is equipped with 3 Custom Vintage Style Single-Coil Strat Pickups (really Vintage Voiced) with Staggered, AlNiCo 3 Magnet Pole Pieces and Aged White Covers. It has 1 Volume, 2 tone, 5-way selector switch. All pots and controls have an off-white vintage-aged look to them which I think is really cool. In correspondence to the 50's vibe, the guitar is equipped with Kluson style Vintage tuners. As far as I know, the guitar only came with a Whammy Bar (also Vintage tinted), allen key, and manual on how to adjust the truss rod. The reason I give it 8, is because it didn't really come with anything special, meant to capture classic vibes, it isn't exactly feature packed, but how much more could even be done?