Price paid: $ 181.17
Purchased from: Costco
Sound — 4
This was my first guitar which I used to play more simple songs by bands such as Green Day and Nirvana which everyone plays when starting out. Used with the supplied amp, the tonal range is quite limited, as the clean is thin and the distortion is an unpleasant growl, also a lack of a gain knob means you cannot adjust the levels of distortion. I bought a Marshall 50DFX with my second guitar and tried playing this through it. While the pickups are weak, I still use this guitar for playing certain songs with a slight crunch/light distortion and some cleans, for example last summer by Lostprophets. I have also experimented with this guitar through my Behringer distortion pedal, this used in conjunction with the second switch postion (middle and bridge pickups) produces quite an impressive sound for such a cheap guitar, however doesn't quite cut it when compared with my Les Paul.
Overall Impression — 6
At the time of purchase I was into pop-punk/grunge/nu metal and so on, and while this fulfilled my needs as a beginner, now I would not consider it a good match for these genres. Since then, my music taste has changed to include metal, thrash, hardcore and emo, which generally require a humbucker equipped guitar which my Epiphone Les Paul handles very well. If this guitar were to be stolen or lost, I wouldn't replace it. I would look into getting a Jackson or LTD as a backup to my LP (also to fill the space on my wallmount). Looking back, I wish I had bought the Squier Metal Pack, which includes a Showmaster equipped with a more powerful pickup and generally better aesthetics along with the slightly better Frontman15G amp.
Reliability & Durability — 3
After around 1.5 years of use the neck pickup stopped working. Taking off the pickguard revealed a broken connection on one of the soldered joints which was easily fixed. Over this time the tuners have become very loose on several occasions and have required tightening. However, most other parts have remained intact and are in general working order. In the future I may plan to have this guitar refinished and refitted with a single active bridge humbucker along with better quality hardware (bridge, tuners, knobs etc) in order to make better use of it. Ideally, you'd want a better quality guitar for gigging. I don't think the quality of materials used were intended for intensive gigging/live performance.
Action, Fit & Finish — 3
The factory set-up was below average, and having no clue about guitars at the time, I didn't bother to get it set-up correctly. In comparison to my girlfriends guitar, which is an Affinity (set up at the shop it was bought at) this guitar doesn't play as well and feels of lower quality. While the wood did not contain any noticable flaws, the pickup selector crackles when used, and the input jack has a tendency to come loose. Also due to the nature of the Strat input jack housing, it is quite awkward to tighten the bolt around the plug.
Features — 6
Made in Indonesia 2003, 21 frets, 2 volume & 2 tone knobs, 5 way selector and sunburst finish. Alder Strat-style body fitted with a white pickguard housing 3 passive single coil pickups. Pack included a Squier SP-10 combo amplifier, strap and pick. A decent bunch of kit to get started with.