Price paid: C$ 300
Purchased from: The Arts
Sound — 6
The amp has multiple effects, CD input (good for CD based lessons) - several amp mimic settings, built in metronome and jam rhythms. There is some hum on the pickups, the pots are a little noisy, a little heavy/muddy on the bass. Want blues, you can find blues. Want jazz... good luck. Grunge - it gets muddy really fast but my daughter's friends seemed to think that was "the sound" of grunge as they were looking for it. I don't know - I just wanted Blues. The highs are a bit flat.
Overall Impression — 7
I play blues, my daughter is rock. We've been noodling about for 4 years Other gear includes three Acoustic guitars (Garrison, Jasmine, Yamaha), one Vintage Fender Mustang, Yamaha keyboard, harmonicas + microphone, ... For the price the guitar is pretty good. I should have asked about setup when getting it. If stolen/lost? It is a beginners pack with several months of intensive time on it - I would replace it something intermediate - perhaps a MiM Fender Strat. (Do good, practice a lot, get rewarded with something better.) In the same price range it is a beginners guitar that can be upgraded to sound hot and feel good for those inclined to dabble. As a beginner guitar it compared well with the Epiphone for sound quality. What matters in the guitar is whether the beginner will like the look of it enough to pick it up to play. My daughter practices with the Squier Strat, her friend practices with her red Epiphone Special II... In the beginner range that is what matters the most otherwise they never leave the beginner range. I compared it to other products - the Telecaster (because I liked the sound), the Epiphone (because I liked the look) and went for this one partly because it came as the pack and it felt comfortable. Anything I wish it had? I'll be changing over to some coated strings in a bit. For the pack, it is complete and (almost) ready to play out of the box. (Needed tuning.) People want to say "Squier Sucks" (yeah, I've seen it.) Most of it is pretty Standard stuff. Cheaper equipment that won't last long but you don't have to throw the guitar away... Update what breaks as it breaks and use it as a learning experience for later in life when you want to fix your good guitar. With the little play amp and the headphone jack I can even sneak some practice time in late at night without waking the family - something I couldn't do with my old dreadnaught.
Reliability & Durability — 5
This wouldn't be my first choice for live play. I got it for my daughter and even she took the tremulo bar off. I would gig with it if it were my backup and I needed a quick pick. I expect the pots and coils to need replacement in two years when it will become my daughter's backup guitar - she understands the need for a backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 4
The action setup is surprisingly good out of the box. The fingerboard looks poor due to irregular colouring though it feels fine. The strings feel terrible - possibly oxidized for sitting too long in the shop waiting for a sale. The pickups and practice amp are low end... expect hum. This is stuff for kids garage bands and practice - this is not intended to be your prime gig material unless you are in junior high. The final score here is lower than average - the fretboard cosmetics annoy me and the feel of the strings is just funky.
Features — 7
22 Frets, Solid body, black, included DEC amp, 5 way selector, Volume & 2 tone pots, HSS pickup configuration, whammy bar, gig bag, strap, picks, cable, tools, extra spring... Standard inexpensive Strat kit. Of course it is going to be Asia, Walnut Skunk Stripe on the neck...