Sound — 7
I generally play through a Marshal acoustic amp via tube amp modeling & subtle effects... So good clean tones are essential, and on the whole, this guitar meets my requirements for my sought after warm blues tone through neck / middle pickups. Note however that the pickups are very weak in the mids, and need significant adjustment to balance treble & bass. A bit of a revelation when I finally got around to doing this! Have recently changed these whilst repairing some components and carrying out shielding upgrade, and now with the electrics swapped-out, this in genuinely a great sounding guitar, and my guitar of choice. I've rated as the stock item, but note that upgrades are relatively inexpensive, as (electronics aside) the quality where it counts is great.
Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing for 20years. Styles range from: classic, acoustic, blues, rock. Not an expert by any means, but fairly competent. I'm very much in favour of quality & good value kit, and will make my own mind up, rather than rely on brand. As such I would recommend the Silver Series Squier for a project route to an awesome sounding (relatively) inexpensive guitar, rather than a finished product... Go look for one second hand and I don't think you will be disappointed.
Reliability & Durability — 7
A solid beast in most regards, and since the (I would deem necessary) upgrades, the Strat is totally reliable. I don't use trem, so it also stays in tune, although I understand this can be an issue for those that do. Very happy.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Pretty well set up when purchased (from new) many years ago, but obviously needed a little tweaking for personal preference. The main problem(s) I've encountered are mainly electronics related i.e. the pots ceased to cause any tonal change at all, the 5way switch stopped working in certain positions, and there was a significant grounding noise issue due to either a poor connection, or poor shielding. I never found out why as I shielded and replaced components at the same time. Oh, and the finish on the bridge saddles deteriorated over time and have similarly been replaced.
Features — 8
One of the rare and sought after Silver Series Strats, made in Japan. Sunburst (basewood) body, rosewood fingerboard, Gotoh tuners. All standard apart from some recent mods. Standard Strat config hence score of of 8.