Price paid: $ 240
Sound — 5
Have used it on a Line 6 Spider III 15, a Crate Half Stack, and a Johnson 2X12. Sounds fair, humbucker is much louder than the single coils. The single coil pickups are NOT hum canceling. You will experience hum in every switch setting except H and S-S (2 and 5). Nothing special about the pickups, just plain and fairly versatile. It's a basswood body, so it's neither bright nor dark tones. The single coils hum noticably, but it's been a while since I've had any other guitar, so I don't know if that's normal or not. I'm giving Sound a 5 because the pickups are good, middle-of-the-road, for a beginner or for practicing. The humbucker seems to be a mid-output, while the single coils give 1/2 the volume of the humbucker. Not quite the sound I want, but for the money they aren't terrible, at all.
Overall Impression — 7
Seems to be a good Rock/Alternative guitar, maybe Blues. It's good for Rythem, but that may change with different pickups. I've been playing guitar for a few years and bass for a few years before that. I own a Kramer bass, a Raven bass, a Crate BFX 220 head and matching 2X15 cabinet, and a Line 6 Spider III 15 guitar amp. If this were stolen or lost, I would get another. I like the paint job and am confident that replacing the pickups will round out the sound I want from this guitar. Love the paint job, don't care for the pickups. It's cool for a beginning guitar, but don't buy this and expect to sound as awesome as it looks. My favorite feature? No pickguard and it's not made out of plywood. I'm going to replace all of the pickups and have some push-pull pots put in. For the cost of the guitar and replacing the SSH pickups, I will have spent less than $500, so I don't think that's too bad for a gig-worthy guitar. I'm giving it an Overall of 7. I think that's fair considereing a good beginner guitar should be a "5" on a scale of 1 to 10. It's an awesome beginner guitar (that can be gig-worthy with better pickups) and a pretty well-priced one, at that.
Reliability & Durability — 10
You CAN play live with this guitar, you just have to dial in your sound with your amp. Probably better for Rythem than Lead with the stock pickups. Hardware is good, I don't see myself replacing the hardware anytime soon. Strap buttons are solid, haven't loosened or wallowed out after two years. I feel like I can depend on this guitar, but I would never use any guitar on a gig, without a backup, so that's a pretty moot question. The finish has held up extremely well over the past two years, seems pretty danged good to me. This deserves a 10. Mine has taken it's fair shares of bumps and falls over the past two years and still looks like I just bought it. I don't touch the body with a pick, so I don't know what the lack of a pickguard would effect, in the hands of someone Who scrapes the body with a pick.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar needed set up badly from the get-go. The tuning hardware was somewhat loose and almost all of it needed tightened up. The pickups, action, and intonation needed set, which should be checked and done with any new guitar, no biggie there. There was one re-drill hole for one of the screws that holds the neck pickup into place. The finish was good, no flaws there, controls and switch are tight. Everything seemed routed good as well. The neck was almost perfectly straight when I remembered to check it, last week. Considering I forgot to when I purchased it and it was only about 1/32 off, that's not too bad. The tremolo only had two springs, did not work well with the DiMarzio hybrid strings I use. The tremolo came all of the way up, and the strings I use are three heavy gauge bass and three lighter gauged treble strings. I put two more springs in it (total of 4) to make it more like a fixed bridge. I'm not a fan of tremolo systems anyways, so I recommend anticipating buying at least one tremolo spring if you get this. You could also get two or three springs or even a tremol-No clamp, if you want to make it more like a fixed bridge guitar. I'm giving this rating an 8. Tightening hardware isn't that big of a deal, it's something that should be checked/done when getting a new guitar, but the mis-drilled hole for the neck pickup is going to be a small hassle to fix. Only two tremolo springs come in this guitar (from my understanding and reading of a few other reviews) and it's not a big deal to put more in, but it should come with three, because two makes using the tremolo system impossible heavier gauge strings, due to the tremolo coming all of the way up when tuned.
Features — 7
Circa 2006, Indonesia Strat Body Custom Paint Job 22 Fret Maple Neck with Rosewood Fingerboard Basswood Body Standard Tremolo 1 Volume and 2 Tone Knobs Standard Tuners S-S-H Passive Pickups (more info below) Solid Body, No Pickguard