Price paid: $ 230
Purchased from: Holze Music Co.
Sound — 6
The pickups are fairly hot, and suit my punk playing style very well. They also produce nice clean tones and they are hot enough to play decent metal, although this isnt a partucularly dark guitar. The guitar is virtually noiseless. Being a Strat, it could theoretically suit any style of playing. The bridge pup is a little bit muddy when distorted in my opinion, but it works well to produce a bright-yet-full clean sound. The only problem I have encountered has been that the springs for the tremolo were reverberating inside the body of the guitar, so I deadened them with a peice of ducktape.
Overall Impression — 10
For almost any style of music, this guitar could do the job. The only thing I wish it didn't have is the tremolo. I never use it and it's just a big cavity in the guitar that I dont need. I would not buy this guitar again because I feel that I am ready to move one to greener pastures, but I still use it for a backup whenever I was able to get a better guitar and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent guitar at a low price. The bang for the buck factor on this guitar is thru the roof. The sound is versatile and quality. I compared it to Ibanezs, Epiphones, Washburns, etc. and ever time it still kicks the pants of guitars twice its price. I even stacked it up against a Gibson Les Paul Special and although I was biased in favor of the Les Paul, the Strat still won in my mind. Despite my somewhat lukewarm ratings elsewhere, in the overall bang for buck department, I give it a five.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I use it to gig regularly. It's solid enough to gig, but I bring a backup Telecaster just in case of any mishaps onstage (one time at a gig I was skanking during a song with my guitar on and the headstock got caught in my bassists strings. Needless to say, it ruined the song and we were both terribly out of tune). Backups are like seatbelts: never a bad idea. Since I dont really take excessively good care of my stuff, some of the hardware is starting to rust because I live in Texas and sweat is a frequent issue. I should have wiped down the guitar after playing it, but I never have. Other than that, this axe is solid and I expect to be playing it for years to come.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
When I bought the guitar, there were no overt issues with the craftsmanship. There was a ding in the back of it, so I got a discount on the guitar for that, but the ding was caused by some guys who had come into the store earlier that day and knocked over a bunch of guitars. Over time, however since the guitar was new, the neck settled in and the fretboard cured, so I had to have it readjusted. I found that the frets were slightly uneven due to normal settling, so I need to get them worked on. The only other issue I had with it was the tremolo. I don't use it, so I had the bridge set down onto the body of the guitar.
Features — 8
This guitar was made in 2002 in Indonesia. It is the full-on Squire Stratocaster, as opposed to the Strat or Affinity. It's a 20th anniversary edidtion. - 21 middle of the road frets on a medium-thin rosewood neck - Metallic black finish - 2 stock humbuckers - 1 volume, 2 tone, 3 way selector - Standard Stratocaster tremolo bridge.