Price paid: £ 120
Purchased from: UniSound
Sound — 8
There is a very bad preconception towards the Squier brand - people say they sound terrible and this is simply not the case. Any guitar can sound good if it has a good player behind it. This is intended as a guitar for people to learn on. Some assume it's the guitar that sucks and not the player - it's usually the opposite way around. I play anything except heavy metal and this guitar really suits that. Currently, I am playing it through a Marshall MG 10 (terrible amp) and a Korg AX 1500 (fantastic effects board) The pick ups are acceptable; they can manage a nice clean sound and can be distorted quite well; they heaviest I've managed to make them sound good at is around a Rage Against The Machine level distortion. Any higher level of distortion sounds silly. The pick ups are a little muddy and don't have much clarity compared to some of the fenders I played but are by far the most clear, bright and punchy that I played in the same price range. The neck pickup can produce a nice, full sound (see 'The Tourist' by Radiohead) and the bridge can bring some 'squealing' tones and deliver a bit of Red Hot Chilli Pepper style funk (see 'Can't Stop') There is a lot left to be desired but, a beginner almost certainly won't be able to tell the difference. If I used the ear I had been developing after the last 3 years I would rate the sound 7 however, if I heard this when I was beginning to play I would rate it a 9. So I struck the middle ground with my rating.
Overall Impression — 10
As I said earlier, I've had this guitar for 2 years now; I think that's sufficient time to give this a review. Now, I'm really ready to move onto bigger and better things but as a starter guitar - look no further. Seriously, in hindsight there is no other starter guitar I would buy and I've played a lot. The Les Paul copies in this price range are just terrible and for a Strat type guitar this is the best in the price range. Also, you can get pretty good deals with them. Strats are the most versatile guitars, full stop. Although, if you play metal look to install a humbucker in here or just look for a more metal orientated guitar. For anything else, this is what you want. it's versatility is perfect for a beginner trying to find his/her style. If it were stolen, no, I wouldn't buy a new one. Mainly, because I'm buying a new guitar tomorrow though. But, for the while I'm keeping it as a back up guitar. I don't wish it had anything extra - for the price you pay this guitar is as good as perfect. To summarise in a sentence; a perfect beginners guitar that has great reliability and versatility. Thanks if you took the time to read this.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have gigged with this guitar several times and it has never failed me in the slightest. Totally reliable for gigging; however I highly recommend fixing some strap buttons on. Many-a-band practice I had my strap fall off and I look like a bit of a pleb. I've had the guitar for 2 years now and no piece of hardware has stopped working in that time. There's a few dents from where I've knocked it around but you only notice them if you look for them and why would you do that? It's a really solid guitar and feels it. If I see it about to fall over I don't Rush to catch it because I know it will be fine. Unless it's on concrete. Then I jump for it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was surprisingly well set up. It sounded fine when I got it and after a small pick up adjustment I managed to make it sound as good as it's ever going to sound; the people at the factory knew what they were doing. The action was perfect, it was very low but not to buzzy levels. (after I changed the stock strings though)The finish is definitely not very good. If you put it in some lights you can see the lines where the spray pointing gun has gone up and down (particularly on the curves) and the colour is a little bit depressing to be honest. The pick up selector is quite noisy too; especially with distortion on, but that's nitpicking. The volume pot was Busted from day one; anything below volume 10 the amp buzzes like crazy. I literally can't keep it on anything less than 10 but, hey that's not exactly a bad thing? :D
Features — 7
This guitar is a Standard Squier Strat made in 2006 in China. It consists of 21 frets, which is quite irritating as a lot of songs incorporate notes on the 22nd fret; but as this was a starter guitar for me this allowed me to develop my bending as every time I needed to play the 22nd fret I'd just bend up there. The neck is rosewood and I think the body is made out of alder like strats should be. Finished in black with a white pick-guard. Not the prettiest combination I have to say. It has non-locking tuners and the Standard bread and butter features found in all Strats - 2 tone pots etc.For the price I managed to get a couple of picks, a strap and a small practice amp thrown in.