Sound — 9
I use it to play rock and blues. The sound of the guitar is like you should expect it from a Strat, very bright. I've had some experiences with MIM Strats and the difference is amazing! MIM's lack that certain punch or feeling, call it what you want to convince you you're holding a Strat. This one doesn't, it does sound like a Strat and you feel like you're holding a woman that can sing instead of a Britney Spears. The tremelo is alright but requires some exp to get it goin good. If you tune your strings first, then use your tremelo for a minute, tune again, the guitar will stay perfectly in tune. If you don't, it'll detune really fast. Kinda hard to give a natural overtone/overdrive, but a pedal can easily help that (or just give your gain knob a boost). As I said, once you get it going it's a beauty. You can make it sing, you can rape it, make it squeal (talking bout feedback here, not bout actually raping it), name it! I also removed the backplate for easier restringing, but it gives a very natural reverb to the guitar which gets and extra point from me. The only letdown it CAN give you is HUGE feedback when it's not properly grounded. Mine is as silent as a nonhumbucker guitar can get and I hope most of em are and I'm not just a lucky basterd.
Overall Impression — 9
I own a Strat copy, an Acoustic and a Jag besides this guitar and it easily completed my collection except for a humbucker guitar. This is what I needed and finally convinced me I'm really a Strat guy. Sometimes I smash guitars onstage (hence the Strat copy), but this one will NEVER EVER get smashed, because: 1. It's very rare 2. It's a very odd-looking guit and 3. I simply love it. If it ever gets stolen, I'll find the dude who stole it and smash his face with one of my cheap guitars. Then I'd say I don't blame him, because I'd steal it too if I ever saw one (and didn't own it yet). If I ever lose it/can't find the guy, I'll cry like a little baby for a long long time, try to get myself over it and just get a new one. For a Squier I never thought there was actually a guitar that's as good as an American Strat. My mate trying to convince me trading this guitar for a Tele made me suspicious but the first time I held it and played it I immediately got my Tele. Yes, maybe I'm exaggerating, but I'm in love and don't we all then? ;)
Reliability & Durability — 10
I used it on gigs and certainly hasn't let me down (yet). It's already rocking for 10+ years, I expect it to certainly do so for at least 20 more. I've had no trouble with my strap getting loose, even though my mate used straplocks on it. Guess he didn't have such a good strap. The finish'll probably get darker over time and maybe start wearing, but right now the finish is still completely intact and the neck hasn't even start to wear.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
This was my mate's first guitar, so it says alot if I tell you he traded it with me only because he wanted a Tele really bad and kept it as his main guitar for over 10 years. By that I can't tell alot bout this part, but as I got it from him the set-up was really good. Action was nicely adjusted for easy playing, no probs with the pups, etc. He even made the tuners tighter, so it doesn't detune that fast. Only sad thing was I had to refret it, but what do you expect after 10 years of rocking it? The finish darkens a bit after a while, but it has a really nice contrasting effect with the pickguard.
Features — 8
The legendary Pro-Tone Series from the 90's indeed are what they say, a class instrument. Made in Korea, a body made from ash, one-piece maple neck and (some of them) gold hardware. Mine is in the sapphire blue trans finish and had gold hardware. The pickguard has this broken white effect, which would most likely seems kinda kitsch but works perfectly with the colour and looks of this guitar. Tuners really hold the strings in tune. Bridge is made from "Fender stamped" hardened steel tuners. The neck has a satin finish which feels really nice to the hands and prevents getting stuck with your hand on the neck (I have sweaty hands, so that happens sometimes with a laquer finish). Also has a skunkline (which is handy and for some people very attractive to a guitar).