Price paid: $ 128.1
Purchased from: Second-hand
Sound — 8
This is my first electric guitar, and after playing this it won't be my last! The single coils provide a beautiful sharp, clean sound through the amp, but they send through loads of hum on overdrive. Frankly, the amp is basic to the extreme, but it's decent, although overdrive on and off is somewhat limited. I now use a Laney HCM30R amp with a Korg 105od pedal for overdrive, which has considerably improved the sound quality. I play punk to heavy rock (AFI are my favourite band, but I also play Muse, Feeder, Metallica and bands like this). Normally, to get rid of the hum, I make use of the pickup wiring in positions 2 & 4 so that the reverse-wired middle pickup cancels out the mains hum, effecitvely becoming a humbucker. You've got to hand it to Fender, they knew what they were doing. The sound from two pickups is quiet different compared to a straight single, it sounds a little muted to me, but playable. With the single coils, the range of sounds is wide, but it sounds best on clean. I took the scratchplate off last week and found out that Squier thought far enough ahead to leave cutouts in the body for humbuckers, and I reckon I'll put bridge and neck humbuckers in soon.
Overall Impression — 9
Personally, I'll admit this guitar doesn't quite suit my needs for the music I play, but it's still great. It's only really the pickups that need overhauling, and maybe the trem, and that'd make it perfect. I've been playing since January 2007 and love it. When I went to buy it in May, I loved it the moment I saw it, bonded with it the moment I held it. This guitar caused me to buy a 30w Laney HCM30R amp to replace the 10w practise amp that now fulfills the task of travelling, and because of the limited overdrive on the amp, I now own a rare Korg 105od pedal that really brings out the best in this guitar. I didn't get a tuner, so I bought a Korg CA-30 which is damned accurate. I think I asked all the questions I needed when I bought it, "Who do I make the cheque out to?" For the price I paid, it's a bargain, and the quality is amazing. Even new, they're some of the best beginner guitars for their price. If someone stole it, I would personally inflict a most painful death upon them, and I'm not thick enough to lose a guitar. If I had to get a new one, such as if it broke, I'd probably go for a more advanced guitar like an Ibanez because my skills have increased considerably playing this Strat. I'm going to keep ahold of it though, because it's so damned well-made. I love the clean sound, the neck, the frets and the glossy finish. I hate the bridge and the messy overdrive sound. My favourite feature would have to be the neck, because it's so easy to fret. I've compared this to my mate's Ibanez GSA-60, and it's actually pretty similar, just that the Ibanez has a double-locking trem and bridge humbucker. The design is very similar and feels familiar to play, although the neck has a slight camber that mskes it easier for my mate to play. The only thing I wish it had was a better player who'd taken up guitar when he first thought of it in 2001! I'm now 17 and really should have got into music earlier, but this Strat is helping me catch up.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Absolutely will this withstand a gig! It's solid, totally solid. The body is very strong, and feels like I could drop it without smashing it. It's taken a couple of slight knocks in my possession (I'm 17 by the way), but the previous owner seemed a bit more energetic, as there are two large chunks of the vinyl missing from the back! Underneath though, the wood's still smooth. The neck's taken a few dents, but it's still smooth and sleek, this axe was built to last. The strap buttons are good quality, but my strap's fallen off a few times (only when I've picked it up, fortunately, it's locked on well when playing), probably as the buttons are a bit narrow. It's also got a nice weight to it, not heavy, but you can feel it's there and strum hard without it moving too far. If I made a couple of upgrades (trem and pickups), I'd gig this guitar without a backup, definitely. Truely built to high standards. The finish is very sleek, the vinyl's like 3 layers, and is very tough. On the areas that aren't plastered with my stickes, scrathes just polish right off, and attacking it with a duster leaves a brilliant Shine you can see your face in.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar is so easy to play! The action is just right for the beginner, nice and smooth, and mine was set up fine. It might be that the previous owner had a play around with it to get it perfect, but I can say this, I love it. I've twiddled around with the pickups but I'm fairly new to guitars, so I don't know if I changed anything. The bridge tremolo is poor, quite frankly, just the slightest vibrato action sends it flying out of tune. Originally, I didn't get a whammy bar, and I think I know why. Otherwise the the trem springs are very strong, but this is still a basic beginner's guitar. I'll probably fit a Floyd Rose in it's place eventually. I couldn't find any flaws with the hardware, it's very well-made.
Features — 9
I've got no idea when this Strat was made, but it's a few years old. It's the Chinese model, and by the serial number, it's the YN series. It's got 22 medium jumbo frets (unless no-one counts the last one as it's tiny), an agathis body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard and a vinyl coating on the body. It's got a gorgeous gloss black finish that really shines when polished, but it shows up fingerprints damned well! It's got a generic synchronous tremolo and generic tuners as well as the Standard 3 single-coil pickups with 5-way selector, master volume and 2 (useless) tone dials. Mine currently has Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings on. I got it with the SP-10 amplifier, a big padded gig bag (definitely not the included one), a Fender strap and a long cable that seems pretty dodgy.