Custom Handmade Standard Series Stratocaster review by SX

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  • Features: 6
  • Sound: 5
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 3
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 5 Decent
  • Users' score: 7.8 (5 votes)
SX: Custom Handmade Standard Series Stratocaster

Features — 6
Lent my nephew my favourite guitar (an Ibanez worth around SGD$500) and he lost it. He compensated me with this guitar so, idk the cost and build year. 21 frets, rosewood fretboard, bolt-on neck. Not so sure about the neck and body wood. A black finish which seems durable. It has a six-point rocking tremolo bridge, commonly found in lower end guitars. Passive electronics, 1 volume knob with 2 tone knobs and a 5-way selector. SSS configuration but I changed it to SSH. Die-cast SX tuners which is crap. The logo at the headstock is kinda faded, which I think is due to the poor craftsmanship.

Sound — 5
I play a range of styles, mostly GN'R, Scorpions, Metallica, Deep Purple and some light metal. I play it through an Ibanez TB15D. The clean sounds phenomenal for a cheap strat copy, but it's crap in od/distortion. On maximum overdrive (10), it sounds perfectly clean with craploads of feedback. Usually, the overdrive on 6 is enough for me to play some heavy stuff. The volume pot is technically useless. You either turn it up to the max or you won't hear a sound. That is, the sound is not so audible unless you crank up the amp. 

The stock pickups were very weak. I like humbuckers, so I changed the bridge pup to Tesla Plasma X1. The sound is still weak in od but at least it distorts now. I think the wiring is just crap. I mostly use the bridge pup, so I can't say much about the middle and neck. Looked into the wiring and the soldering wasn't done properly. Poor connections. It has a capacitor, which I think boosts the "cleanliness" of the sound. Not sure if changing this helps it to distort easier or not. Does great in clean, but not in od. It doesn't suit my playing style, so obviously it won't get much score.

Action, Fit & Finish — 3
The pitch after the 12th fret is off center regardless how I set it up. Regardless how the pickups were adjusted, it's still weak. Don't want to waste money on sending it for a proper set up, seeing how crap the other features are. Nut is molded, and the plastic looks like it could break easily. Rust was on the pickup pole pieces and screws. Not sure if my nephew bought this to compensate me or he stole it from somewhere. The body and neck feels "chunky." Fatter and thicker than a normal strat. The neck is lacquered, which is easy to play on. White pickguard on black body and painted-black jack cover. Changed it to chrome.

Reliability & Durability — 7
The sound is too weak to play live and I would not even consider it as a backup. The machine heads were okay for a while but now, it feels like it's going to fall off. Tightening it a little still feels the same but it's nearly impossible to turn. I decided yo change the cream coloured knobs to steel knobs to make it more appealing to sell off. The finish seems durable but only time can tell. Strap buttons are decent but they weren't drilled in properly. Seems like a rushed job or just plain lack of workmanship. The jack feels solid, in fact too solid. Every time I try to pull my cable out, it feels like I'm wrestling a snake. Kinda afraid if I keep using it, I'll destroy my cable. Accidentally dropped it and the tail hit the floor quite hard, but it's still standing without dings, dents or paint chips.

Overall Impression — 4
My other gears are: Craftsman ST130 (a strat copy too) which I use for practice and an ESP LTD EC-50 which I use for gigs. I've had this guitar for 5 months, but I rarely play it because it doesn't fit my playing style much. I'll only play it if I feel like playing some nice clean rock ballads or riffs from a folk rock song. If this guitar was stolen, I'll be glad that it's gone and that I gave it to an idiot. Won't be buying another guitar because I already have another 2 electric and two acoustic. If I had to, I'll look into Rally or Epiphone Les Pauls. Kinda p-ssed he lost my favourite guitar. I've had it since the late '80s.

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