I finally got to play a D'Pergo with a beautiful swamp ash body and maple neck. Had a little guitar powow with some friends aquiantnces etc., There were a lot of wonderful strats present -more than twenty, including a 56 refinish, a variety of CS and masterbuilt strats, a couple of Suhrs a Grosh and several very nice partscasters including one made up of early 60s parts. A lot of great amps everything from a from a Carr Mecury to a Komet Concorde Now for me a guitar is something that once you lay your hands on it you either bond with it or you don't. to try to put it into words and offer an acurate desription is not easy. So to assist in this I will try to describe the D'Pergo in terms that are important to me: Tone, Articulation, Dynamics and playability. Articluation: this is where the D'Pergo excelled. Hold your hand out with your fingers close together (an average strat tone with bunched up mids) now spread yourt fingers as wide as you can. The D'Pergo had huge note seperation Very clear and spacious. Piano like depth very nice. Playability: This particular D'Pergo was an excellent guitar fit and finish wise impecable as were the frets. The neck too felt very natural in my average sized hands. Overall this and the balanced weight of the guitar combined for just a great playing experience. Now I'm partial to well broken in guitars but for a new shiny instrument the D'Pergo was very complelling in this regard - in a word excellent Dynamics: While I felt the D"Pergo lacked MacroDynamics particlarly when we turned up the gain on some of the higher output amps, it did excell at clean settings and at moderate volume levels where you could really lean in and listen to the microdynamics and harmonics of each note Tone: This is probably the most subjective area and is really up to personal taste. The D'Pergo despite its vintage moniker had a more of a modern tone to my ears. it had hints of tele to my ears and a slightly more extended if polite presentation than some of the other more up front Strats I played. As I played it I kept thinking this is not your fathers strat. Whether this a good or bad thing really depends on your perspective. I think it really would make the D'Pergo a compelling compliment to someone whose got the more vintage Strat thing covered. To my ears and hands the D'Pergo is a fantastic guitar and was definetly one of my favorites of the day. It ranked in my top 5 in articularion and playability and in my top 10 with regard to dynamics and tone Now you can be yeah or nay for vintage woods recelaimed or otherwise. To me while that makes for great add copy, I've heard my share of new wood guitars that sounded spectacular. This I can tell, having played many boutique strats over the years, the reason why some of these boutique makers turn out exceptional guitars consistantly is because they take the time to seek out best tone woods, listen to each piece, match complimentary electroncis and hardware. in short it's a labor of love that cannot be replicated with higher throughput manufacturing The D'pergo is not magical nor is it night and day better than every other strat I've played. What it is is an exceptional guitar that embodies all the fanstastic qualities of a maker who builds em one at a time with great thought and care.