Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Guitar Center (used)
Sound — 9
My guitar has been modded with a Demarzio Super Distortion humbucker in the bridge position. However the two other stock single coils that are still installed are very "Strat" sounding and have that nice twang that many look for. If you left this guitar all stock then I suppose it would be great for blues, jazz, ska, some light rock, and clean music. My modded pickup upgrades the guitar to some metal, heavy rock, and such. Unplugged the guitar has great sustain although do to the low output of the single coils, you may not be able to use all the sustain. The guitar body has a great clean tone that allows both the highs and lows to come through. Again the stock pickups could be better, but if modded this guitar could match against any mid ranged Fender Stratocaster.
Overall Impression — 10
I play everything from metal to blues to clean. This guitar (although modded keep in mind) will suit all my needs so far. The tremelo is great to have, the locking nut will keep the guitar in tune longer also. So far, if this guitar was lost I would go track down the guitar or purchase another one. I recommend this guitar as a beginning guitar. The stock hardware is decent for players up to intermediate. If you become in need of a better sound/electronics, the body and neck of the guitar are well suited for upgrading. I would compare this guitar to any other entry level Strat like Squire or Stagg. This guitar is a great buy and for only a few hundred dollars, you can have a perfect setup that can rival any expensive Fender Strat.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Although I have only had this guitar for a few days, I have played it extensively. I plan for this guitar to be my main guitar for gigging with my band around my town I would use it for a short gig without a backup if I did not need to have different tunings for songs. However I will use my Mockingbird for lower tuned songs when we play metal. The strap buttons appear to be solid and have not come loose yet. The hardware will last but you may want to eventually upgrade to something with a bit better tone or output. The electronics will last, but again, you may want to upgrade.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Although I can't talk about factory setups, I can tell you that after a free setup from Guitar Center, the guitar was perfect. I had my favorite D'Darrio Nickel Wound Blues/Jazz Rock strings (0.011) installed to give me a slightly heavier gauge and this guitar responded quite well to the heavy gauge strings. All the electronic parts do not make any noise. The modded humbucker does cause a screw up when the pickup selector is switched to 2nd position. Due to the humbucker and the middle pickup being both active, all the bass and mid of the signal dissapears. Again this is caused by the Demarzio humbucker and is fixable.
Features — 10
First off, I am reviewing the Custom Handmade Vintage Series Stratocaster. I did purchase mine used, but for a mere $200, I was in for a great surprise. The neck is laminated with a very eye pleasing clear coat. The fretboard I believe is rosewood although I could be wrong. The body of the guitar is believed to be either basswood or alder. The bridge is a Licensed Floyd Rose Tremelo. The nut is locking and also has a bar above it. There is a 5 way pickup selector to switch between the bridge humbucker, and the two other single coil pickups. I have only had the guitar a few days and I already have enjoyed having a Floyd Rose which was a nice little addition to my guitar arsenal.