Purchased from: Geetar Center
Sound — 10
Well, I play alot of '60s and '70s rock like Zeppelin and Hendrix, country, jazz, and the good SRV stuff. Sound is great, and can get very thick with a well overdriven amp. I commonly use a little 15 watt Fender amp, no pedals, just set it on a medium Drive volume with alot of gain, and the sound is tailor made for Hendrix type rock. As for variety, the 5 way Switch is very useful. For example, with less gain and bridge pick up, adding high treble volume on the amp, you get a nice sort of clanging sound.
Overall Impression — 10
For me, great match for a great price. When I first got it last June, I wanted to get something that I could use for several years and beyond, and something that could take some abuse. Thus far, thing is working very well, and I could see it surviving for a while. For the cost, I'd buy anohter one if it got lost, though if it got stolen, then I'd probably kill that fellow who pilfered it. As for buying something else. I've never used a Les Paul, but I rather like the three single coil pickups, and the Switch, so I'd stick with Fender or Squire.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Live palying? Well, sans a snap-crackle-pop cable, it'll be just fine. Though, got to get that output plug squared away. One certainly does not want the sound cut off randomly. Hardware looks quite durable. Strap buttons, I may need some duct tape for those guys. Now, without a back up? Yeah, I'd feel good without a backup, so long as I have GHS strings. Finish looks like it'll last well, but looks are the last thing on my mind.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Only flaw is self induced. Some nut accidentally knocked in the middle pickup knob, so the pickguard is chipped in, and the knob has a habit of falling inside the guitar. Fretboard action is pretty good, and fits my hand well. The bridge, again, I think it's just me, but I've never strung it correctly because it's always pulled up so far out of it's little hole, you cant really use the tremolo bar. Hardware shines like stars. The output plug thing. Well, it's where you plug in your guitar cable and I don't know it's technical term. Anyway, the nut outside the plug tends to get loose often, and I find tightening it only cuts any output whatsoever. Dunno if that's what's supposed to happen, but that's what I get. When I first got it though, thing was fine, so I'll bet this is all my doing. It gets a five.
Features — 10
Very nice, especially concerning the cost. This particular guitar features you normal Strat body, three single coil pickups in usual Strat formation, knob for bass pickup tone, knob for middle pickup tone, volume, 5 way pickup selection Switch, black polyurethane finish, and mirror pickguard. Tremolo bridge is an added plus, but I have never strung it correctly without having that floating brigde be raised too high. Probably just me. Fender strings are worthless, so get some GHS before you leave store. Wood, agathis body, maple C-shaped neck, and nice rosewood fretboard, with 22 med-jumbo frets. My opinion, a very nice Strat design guitar with accordingly great features for a much smaler price than your usual Strat. Great buy at $199 too.