When I started playing guitar back in the early 90's, the first guitar I got was a Squier which had terrible action, went out of tune all the time among other issues which were just considered par for the course when it came to Chinese made guitars. Now I'm in my 30's, I own many guitars; fenders, schecters, a few high price ibanez guitars like the M80M and I thought that I would just get myself a "smack around guitar" so I went for this affinity HSS strat only to receive a guitar which is on par (sorry for the golf references) with the Fender standards that I own.
aesthetically there are no flaws, the neck doesn't have that nasty shiny finish common on a lot of guitars so it's nice to play. it's also nice and light thanks to its alder body which is definitely a pro if you plan on gigging/carrying it around a lot.
the 2 cons I found on it were 1. the nut is only filed for gauge 10 or lighter strings (easily sorted) 2. the humbucker pickup isn't that nice but it's certainly good enough to practice on - I changed mine for a SD Invader; however that is a purely subjective thing
to call this a "ideal beginner guitar" is very much an understatement - I'd certainly be happy gigging/recording with it.
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