I decided to hit the local GC and give a few Strats a test drive. I know.. most guys around here think GC = Antichrist.. but anyway. I'm in the market for a maple neck/fingerboard Strat. I've been hearing good things about the newer Mexican made Strats, so I figured that would be a good place to start. Picked one up, plugged into a Fender amp, and proceeded to check it out. Not bad, really. Much better than the Mexi strats of a few years ago. Neck was a decent profile, fret edges felt good, p/ups weren't great, but they'd most likely get changed anyway. A definite candidate for Hardware/Pup upgrade. And at around $380.00, hard to beat the price. Then, just for kicks, I picked up an EJ strat. My first chance to try one, by the way. The difference between the two guitars was unbelievable. It goes way beyond "night and day". It felt better just picking it up off the rack. It was a bit heavier... neck was fatter, but way comfortable. After plugging it in... what a GREAT strat tone! Bell-like tones in the number 2 position.. nice and sparkly bridge.. warm, fat neck pickup.. me likey! I was astonished at how much better the EJ was. Definitely "$1000.00" better, if you know what I mean. Guess I gotta wait awhile. I'm getting me one of those EJ's!