Looked at Squiers and Epiphones on the low end price wise. They were more expensive and I didn't like their necks as much.
You get what you pay for but with some tweaking this is a great guitar. See comments above about shielding and output jack.
I like the neck and it has a wide sound range with the pickup combo.
Very good guitar for the budget minded.
OK I have been playing this for like a year now and really love the neck and overall feel. Replaced the input jack plate, pickups, selector switch and volume pot and it sounds as good as it feels.
This is probably the best beginner/beater guitar you can find. Put in new electronics and you could hang on to it for a long while. I plan on it!
Model Year: 2003
Price: $169.99 (new)
Where Obtained: Guitar Center
Made in Indonesia. Solid agathis body in a double cutaway (Strat), maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, 1 humbucker/2 single coil pickups (generic), chrome tuners (coarse as hell), 1 tone and 1 volume control, "vintage" (budget) style chrome tremolo, chrome adjustable bridge. Comes in black, red metallic, dark blue metallic finishes.
Basically a budget level Fat Strat knockoff. Probably one of the most versatile beginner gits out there.
This is a low end guitar but it plays pretty well. Neck was more comfortable than other guitars in the price range. Frets are decent. I had to lower the action a little. Excellent for a first electric guitar.
Played through a stereo, Crate 15W and 10W amps. Sounds good for it's price. When I got it the sound was just decent. First I adjusted the pickup hight. Then I sheilded and grounded the electronics and it helped 100%. As far as components go it's a budget axe folks so it's got totally low end trem, tuners and pickups. Despite that it sounds as good as the Squires and Epiphones in the same range.
With decent strings and some sheilding this guitar sounds great.
I would upgrade the electronics and pickups if I keep it long enough.
*Update* OK it's been a year or so since I made the original review and after replacing the electronics and pickups it sounds totally awesome. I can get really good strat and SG sounds out of it now. I can't believe it.
The body is pretty solid and handles abuse pretty well. The finishes looked nice. ( mine is blue. ) Despite the cheap tremolo it holds a tuning pretty well. The input jack is mounted to a crappy piece of plastic so it may break so I'd recommend replacing that.
Stock controls are el super cheapo. Go to stew mac or guitarelectronics.com and get replacements for the electronics and it will be well worth it.
I have had this the body totally apart more than once and it is holding up nice. It has taken a beating and is still kicking. Got the metal jackplate and new electonics and now it is sweeeeeet!!!!