Price paid: $ 319.2
Purchased from: Allans
Sound — 7
I've owned this guitar for about 1 year, and must say I am impressed. I have recently bought a Fender Mexican Strat (with 3 single coils) and this guitar is lighter by comparison. The pickups are a bit muddy with distortion. I don't expect much for the price tag, but once you get some chops under your belt, you'll want more. This is a very versatile axe though, the humbucker allows you to experiment a lot. A great beginner's Tool. Agathis is supposedly mahogany-like in tone, and it does sound different from Alder Strats. Compared to my MIM Strat, it actually a little warmer, and the humbucker allows a lot more versatility. Better pickups would undoubtebly improve the tone, and I intend to upgrade this one. I like that it is a little warmer sounding. Clean this guitar sounds ok, distorion is harder to muster a useable sound, but still fun. This axe can go anywhere (2 SC's plus bridge bucker means it will do almost anything you tell it to).
Overall Impression — 8
I'm an alt-rock, psychedelic rock fuzz junkie. So getting a Strat was pretty much essential. I got this as my first axe, as I wanted to toy with a lot of different sounds and for this it does it's job well. For the price, there is no complaints. The neck-feel is impressive, and the pickup combo really helps you find your voice. I don't think it's a gigger, but it offers enough to be a great first axe, a tonal powerhouse, and will probably help you much when choosing your next axe to better fit you. A great first step.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I took it apart and put it back together. Considering I'm a retard when it comes to dissassembling and re-assembling guitars, it lived and plays well. I had a few 'near misses' when the strap decided to let go and try to throw my gutar down (Very lucky to catch it), I invested in strap locks and haven't looked back. Other than that, The finish shows no wearing, and nothing is broke. Seems solid, though I wouldn't gig without replacing the pickups, unless 'River of mud' is your tone (and there's nothing wrong with that)
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Okay, when I brought this home, the strings were rusted to shit (probably just not maintained), though after a once over this Strat played great. The neck has a real Fender feel to it, slim and fast, though not Ibanez shred-god worthy (wizard necks are shred-kings) but fast, relaxed, with no faults. While cheap, it's light, and very fun to play. Built well, no obvious flaws, played very well once I changed the strings. Should note that I tried to sting this up with 10-52 strings, and gave up as the string floated over it's 'nut-space'. I don't wanna file it, so it's good ol' 9's for me.
Features — 9
The Standard series Fat Strat. 22 frets, 2 single coils and bridge humbucker. Agathis (i.e. cheap mahogany) body, with rosewood 'board and maple neck. '70s Hendrix headstock, and everything else fresh out of China. I have a red one (not transparent finish), with mega awesome black pickguard and pickups! Very versatile combination.