After being at university for a year and having traded in my strat for an acoustic I found myself in a band where I needed to play electric. As a long time strat lover there was only one option, however I couldn’t afford a US made guitar and wouldn’t reduce myself to a Squire. I started looking for a Mexican or Japanese strat before coming across this second-hand guitar (again the photo is not the actual guitar). As a young teenager I remember being blown away by Richie Sambora especially his playing on the “BonJovi Unplugged” MTV session, and I also remember an issue of the Guitarist magazine in the early 90s that reviewed both the high-spec Sambora strat along with this cheaper Mexican made version which I rather fancied at the time. So when I saw this instrument at a very reasonable price I snapped it up, probably around 1999 ish.
How does it sound?
This instrument had a DiMarzio PAF humbucker in the bridge position which (in my opinion) is a great improvement on the singlecoil in the equivalent position. As mentioned previously I love the range of sounds available on the strat and the humbucker just adds to the tonal smorgasbord. Feel wise the neck, balance and fret finish of this guitar was not as good as my previous US strat but it was still very playable. I liked the locking nut however had huge problems with the Floyd Rose tremolo. Initially I liked the fact you could tune using the little black dials however I found the tuning stability very poor. Latterly I found out that the Floyd Rose pivots about a blade that needs to be maintained in order to work optimally. When I first got this guitar I was using it through a small rack system with an ancient ART preamp & Calvin power amp, however then moved to a Laney VC30-210, the latter “vintage” amp not quite being a good match for this very much rockers guitar.
Keep of sell?
As a bit of a guitar snob I always figured I would upgrade back to a US made Fender eventually. This one worked well for a few years however the tuning instability caused me all sorts of issues and after a gig where I really struggled to keep the guitar in tune I think the writing was on the wall. Still I really liked the humbucker, the occasional dive-bombs that were possible with this instrument, and it was nice to own an instrument I had coveted as a kid.