I've lost count how many years I've been playing guitar for. Around 6 - 7 years, I really don't know. I first learnt to play simple stuff on an awful nylon string classic acoustic. For someone wanting to play some punk rock, it wasn'r great but it did teach my fingers some strength. So Christmas was coming up and I didn't even need to tell my parents what I wanted. They took me to the local guitar shop and there was this stratocaster copy in shiny black and white which captured my heart right away. So my parents bought it for around £100 along with a 15 Watt Fender amp and a "starter pack" with cables and plectrums and more bits and bobs. I never left that guitar alone and after a while I think my family got really annoyed with the amount I played but I just got better and better. I owe a lot of where I am (I'm now going to study creative sound and music in university) to this guitar.
This guitar is designed to be a budget stratocaster but it does the job so well, the fretboard is very smooth and not too thick which means its very easy to reach everywhere for people like me with small, chunky fingers. The scratch plate is very hard wearing and the body of the guitar is well painted. The hardware (strap holders, input plate e.c.t.) does come loose if you're rough with them. The tremolo 'whammy' bar doesn't quite fit and ticks out a mile so I don't bother with it.
The neck isn't made out of the greatest of quality wood, it dents really easily if you lean the guitar up on it. It feels quite nice to play though. the headstock is a nice shape, not as big as fender strat headstocks but I think its nicer. The machine heads are sturdy but again can come loose. The nut can cause some problems if you use heavy gauge strings, it wears down. Mine has and instead of getting it repaired, I've put a bit of paper under the string thats caused the damage and the problem has since gone.
The guitar is quite heavy but that is coming from someone who's other electric guitar is an Ibanez that is extremely lightweight. The tremolo 'whammy' bar doesn't quite fit and ticks out a mile so I don't bother with it. Its full size, 22 frets and three single pickups.
So I've had this guitar for around 5 years now and since it has been dropped, rained on, thrown at a wall, and been used as a drumstick on cymbals. To say its taken a beating is a huge understatement. It still plays the way it did when I first had it. I still gig with it and I record with it (because it sounds great through a Laney MXD hardcore). It's soldiered through everything I've thrown at it and you really cant ask for more than that.
I highly recommend one of these to anyone looking for a first guitar, get one, it'll stand by you loyally to the end. I'm never letting mine go without a fight!
You can buy one from www.backalleymusic.com They are my local music shop where I bought mine from and they do operate online.
Thanks for reading, I hope this helped!