Great Strat at any price
I just received this guitar from Sweetwater, and I'm quite astounded at how well it plays and how great it sounds. The build quality, finish, and attention to detail are equal to many more expensive guitars. The only thing that gives it away as a budget guitar is the finish on the bridge (and I'm sure it uses cheaper pots and switches than more expensive Fenders, but I'm not picky about those) . To me these things don't really affect the sound quality, as this guitar's Duncan Designed pickups sound as good as the Vintage Noiseless ones on the new Deluxe series (I have a rosewood board Deluxe Roadhouse in Ice Blue and a maple neck Ash body Deluxe in Transparent Blue). I think they sound better than Fat 50s or Texas Specials. Very responsive and crisp sounding, with a lot of vintage vibe. And it plays like a dream. For some reason it seems to be easier to bend on this guitar than my other Strats. It's definitely a keeper! And Jonathan Casarow's customer service was second to none.