Price paid: £ 20
Purchased from: A friend desperate for a 20 bag.
Sound — 7
After fixing up the strat, it sounded alright. The bridge pickup gives you a beautiful bright tone that you would expect from a strat, however the neck pickup is a bit too muddy for my liking. When plugged in with the distortion turned up to 11, there's feedback to be had but it's very managable, I tend to use feedback while playing and it's a nice little thing to have if you're into that kind of thing.
Overall Impression — 7
For something so cheap, you really can't go wrong with it. In the 6 years I've played guitar it's certainly nowhere near the best I've played, but it's not bad at all. The defining feature for me is the reliability, even with normal wear and tear this guitar could last a lifetime. If this was stolen or lost, I'd be annoyed but wouldn't buy another one. If the neck pickup had a warm tone instead of muddy then it would be an excellent guitar for its price. It would have been nice if the previous owner hadn't lost the tremolo arm though, prick..
Reliability & Durability — 10
By the admission of the previous owner, this guitar was thrown about a lot and in one case was used as a weapon. Despite all this, the guitar is in one piece, there's no cracks to be seen anywhere, just a lot of dinges and spots where the finish has come off to reveal the bare wood. Despite having a short but colourful life, it looks like it's been dragged through hell and back and managed to survive.. Actually I think it has been dragged through something since there's a part that looks like it's been partialy sanded, turning the black finish to a scratchy gray.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Ugh.. I'm sure it was decent when it came out of the factory but after 15 years of abuse it was in a near unplayable state. When I finally got hold of it and had a look at what needed doing, the most obvious flaw was that the previous owner had somehow broke the nut, filed the gap at the top of the neck and attempted to fit a nut from an Acoustic guitar! This caused the action to be sky high and it was impossible to hold down any string on the 1st fret. Once that problem was sorted I had to re-solder the wiring since the pickups would cut-out every now and then. Ignoring all of that though, all the hardware except for the nut is original and in great, working condition. The strings stay intune after they've settled for a while, the bridge has no flaws on it and the pickups and still going despite a bit of rust appearing on them.
Features — 5
The joys of buying guitars from friends who treat their posessions like crap. Fortunately this guitar was salvagable which is a testament to how much abuse it can take. This particular Strat was a Fender 50th anniversary one made in Taiwan, that probably means nothing except for the golden sticker on the back of the headstock. 22 frets, maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, clueless as to what wood the body is made of but I think they used Alder during the mid 90's.