Overall, it is worth the money. There is overall good workmanship all around.
Model Year: 2003
Price: $350.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Sam Ash
MIM Fender Strat,Candy Apple Red with the standard Mex. (SSH) pick ups, poplar body, maple neck, and vintage trem, 22 frets. You do not buy a Fender for bells and whistles...
The neck is just about the right thickness (I am 6ft with long thin fingers). A few of the neck frets are a little sharp on the sides, but not bad. Initially the set up was good. The trem was floating a tiny bit high (slightly >1/8 inch) but the overall action was pretty low and there was no noticeable buzz. There was a lot of resonance when playing a ~C on the 13fret, 2 nd string. I did not notice this in the store. (Considered returning at one time because of this and pickups.) The vibration on the second string activated the 3, 4 strings and they droned unless dampened. I needed to reset the neck and raise the bridge string height a bit because the 2 and 3 string started to buzz. Still low action. Could be the amount of rain lately. Only minor adjustments as I only gave a 1/8 turn counterclockwise on the trussrod and put the string height at Fender specs). I played three before I had them open this ones box. One had a cracked neck pocket on both sides. Likely, this was just the finish. Watch out.
I have yet to decide if I like the standard pickups. With fresh strings the sound was too bright/tinny for me (unplugged or plugged in) . The strings are aged now and I have compensated with the amp controls. Recently, I replaced the std pickups with EMG SSH SAs. I like this much better as now the neck and mid positions are usable while before the hum made me avoid them. I routed a battery box and added a on/off switch.
Ok so far, had it 3 years.