Purchased from: Costco
Sound — 5
Suprisingly, it suits my style quite well, being that it's crap. Seriously, it suits thrash and neo-classical noodling faily well. I employ a Line 6 Spider II 112 as my partner in masturbatory "shred." I don't use any effects except for maybe some reverb, a suggestion of delay, and a hint of phaser (so I can properly carry out the religious hymn, "Eruption," during my daily prayer to the god known as, "He Who Rocks"). One problem is that the the Low E and A strings sound pretty muddy. This is a no-brainer; its noisy when thers a high distortion setting or loud volume. It can go clean quite well when you set the neck pickups on. I use the buckers for leads and metal rhythm.
Overall Impression — 5
Like I said, I fool around with Yngwie-style stuff, authentic classical repertoire, and 80's style thrash. I've played for two years. My current gear: A Yamaha EG112C, a Kremona FL650 (nylon-string classical guitar) and a Line 6 Spider II 112 amp. I could'nt have asked anything before buying this guitar, since I didn't know anything about the world of guitar. If it were ever stolen, I would laugh at the thought of the criminal selling it and at the same time, finding that it sells for peanuts, or that it plays like peanuts. My favorite thing about it is that it is my only and first electric guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I would, believe it or not, play a gig with it. I don't believe it would just bust apart all of a sudden. The volume knobs don't seem to work; the volume/tone is either on or off. The strap buttons are solid. I've played a Gibson LP that had it's buttons come out, but not my Costco guitar! The finish is chipping but I don't care about it that much. It looks like it has seen many more years than it actually has.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
I guess the factory set-up was good, no significant problems. Pickups were satisfactory out of the box. Two years later though, the bridge is rusting, some of the tuners are loose, and the middle single-coil pickup doesn't work. The action is a little higher than I would like, and since the bridge is shot, there is nothing I can do.
Features — 7
I imagine that it's a 2003 model (I've no idea; I bought it then) made in Japan. It's got 22 frets with a rosewood fretboard. It also has a maple neck and alder body with a transparent finish. Of course it's shaped like a Strat with a vintage-style tremolo bridge. Passive electronics (like Yamaha would spring for active pickups for their starter packs). You get one volume knob and one tone knob for its two single coils and 1 bucker. It has economy tuners (non-locking dammit)from Yamaha, I suppose. It did, however, come with a gig bag, strap, cable and a crappy amp (GA-10).