Price paid: € 379
Purchased from: Thomann
Features — 9
The guitar is brand new and made in China. It has 21 frets and an alder neck. The fingerboard radius is 9.5" and has medium jumbo frets. The fretboard is glossy and very well finished. The nut is decent and made of synthetic bone. The body is made of alder and is quite light which I like. The finish on the body is polyurethane with a metallic green paint and very glossy and well finished. The bridge is a Squier bridge but saddles are good and hold string bends really well and the tremolo system is good enough. The pickups are Alnico III and sound great, very bright though so might not suit everyone's taste.
The guitar has a standard strat setup of volume, two tone controls (one for the middle pickup and one for the neck). Although a '50s style guitar it has a standard 5-way switch rather than the original 3-way on the '50s Strats. The tuners are Squier and ok, will probably change them at some point but certainly better than the tuners on lower end Squiers. The guitar comes with no accessories apart from a couple of allen keys and obviously the tremolo arm.
Sound — 8
The guitar suits my music style. I sold my old Korean '92 Squier series to get this and it sounds different but I like it. The guitar is very bright and there is a little noise when using distorted sounds, this may be remedied by upgrading the electrics though later. The guitar sounds like a '50s Strat should, I played some Hank Marvin stuff and it definitely has that twang. The sound is very bright though and as I said above might not suit everyone's taste. I have a few amps but it not surprisingly sounds best through a Fender amp - Fender Mustang I.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
There was a problem at first and actually the potentiometer on the volume pot was wired incorrectly so was acting as a tone control and I had to get this repaired. The rest of the setup was fine and the guitar played great straight out of the box and I didn't have to adjust a thing. The finish is very good although the painted headstock has some paint overlapping on to the nut. I can't find any other flaws though. The body finish is polyurethane and I got a chip on it after a couple of days. It chipped very easily so might want to look after the guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar won't be used for live work only studio and teaching. The sound through the studio is pretty clean but again upgraded electronics will help improve this. The guitar is cheap enough so a seasoned professional may want to upgrade the hardware such as tuners, bridge and get locking strap buttons. As mentioned above the finish probably won't last too long with constant use. If I was gigging this would be a backup guitar and not the main one. With upgraded hardware and electronics I would consider using this a main one though as it's a lovely guitar to play.
Overall Impression — 8
I play all styles of music and this guitar is suited to most. The sound is very bright with not much bottom end so will sound thin for hard rock or metal. There's a lot to love about the guitar and it stacks up well against a USA Strat. It's a cheapish guitar though and a Squier so I guess you get what you pay for. Those who like to Mod will love this as the body and the neck are great and it's a great base to start with. If you upgrade the hardware and electronics then you'll have a very nice guitar indeed if you don't mind it saying "Squier" on the headstock.