I ordered this guitar to fill a void in my electric arsenal. Need something inexpensive right now, so Squires are know for their value and they are easy to modify. Was not very impressed with an earlier Squire Classic Vibe Stratocaster, so thought I'd try this baby. Good move! Right out of the box I was very pleased with the quality - - nice clean frets, beautiful slick neck (even had some nice graining), decent tuners, great paint job, and solid hardware. It did need some serious setup, but all my guitars do because I like easy action.
I decided to remove the crappy stock strings and do a complete setup on this guitar. Had to put lemon oil on the fingerboard, and polished the frets with 0000 steel wool (although they were fine). I removed the neck and made sure the neck joint was free of any paint or stray sawdust that would interfere with sound transfer, and tightened it down fast in the good-fitting pocket. I never use the tremolo, so I blocked it with some maple blocks and loosened the springs somewhat. I put on some Fender .009's and set the intonation, and filed a couple of the string slots in the nut, and put graphite in the slots - - now this guitar is a real peach! Stays in tune for days, and it plays like butter after tweaking the string saddles. I couldn't believe how solid it was and how great it played! I couldn't put it down the first couple of days!
I must say this is the best purchase I've ever made on an electric. It plays circles around my old USA Strat I used to have, and the sounds from the Duncan pups is very strong. I did have to raise the pickups to their maximum (which is where I like them) but they have plenty of bite and power. I especially like the neck pickup, and the #2 position is very nice. This guitar is built like a tank, and is rather hefty for basswood (7 lb. 14 oz.) but I like that. It just vibrates with tone, you can feel it in your bones. Really pretty thing, with the MOTS pickguard. Hardware seems fine, so I'll probably just leave it all stock.
I will be gigging with this one for sure, and if you want to give 10 times the price just to say you have an American Strat then be my guest, but this Squire is simply amazing, and I know a good guitar when I see it. Solid as a rock, and with that sound you always know says "Stratocaster". Just make sure you realize you'll have to do some major setup and a few "adjustments", but the hardware is all there to make it a killer axe.