OK, I just got this earlier this week, but I've had Strats before and I've put this one through the ringer, so not really a honeymoon review. Here goes... 2006 with maple neck. Came with a nice gig bag, but purchased a standard Fender hardshell case for it. Came with straplocks installed, vintage American tremolo bridge and some accessories. Purchased from Sweetwaters (my first purchase with them) and was set up perfectly for me, though I will likely swap out the strings for Ernie Ball Slinky's soon. The neck has a modest V shape and feels slim in a good way. The fret ends were all smooth and the neck felt nice and fast. Nut was neatly seated and cut, with a single vintage style string tree. Tuners hold pretty well and feel good. Only negative here is that the low E runs very close to the edge of the fretboard, more and more as you run up the neck. It's not a huge issue for me, as the distance is fine up until about the 15th fret, and I don't bend UP on the low E. Still annoying to see. But overall I would give the neck a 9 out of 10. The pickups, a Tex-Mex set, are very bright and have some good character to them. Not too noisy, but are single coils afterall. At first they seemed TOO bright to me, but now I set the tone controls to about 5 and turn them up when I want to cut through more. It's nice having the extra high end available when needed. With the tones turned down a bit, I can get a nice, mellow, vintage pickup sound. Very cool. At first, I thought the volume pot lost too much high end when rolling down and didn't give enough range. This was playing through my Peavey Delta Blues. But now that I've played it through my Reeves Custom 6 it works just fine, with nice range and high's retained. Hmmm. Overall, I'd give the pickups a 7. Not the best I've heard, but versatile enough for me. And again, they do have some character to them. The overall fit and finish is really very good. On par with my American Standard Strat I purchased in '94. Paint is flawless, neck finished nicely, though with a couple of very minor biffs on the fretboard and the aforementioned alignment nit pick. The American vintage bridge is MUCH nicer than the chromed Ping version I've seen on low to mid priced Strats. This alone would steer me to picking up another JV instead of the new upgraded Standard Strat. I'd give this an 8. The pickguard is a thin single ply. I've read some posts where people go off on this, saying it's flimsy, but I like it just fine. It doesn't flex too much or feel flimsy to me. The pickup selector was not mounted tightly to the pickguard though. I tightened up the screws and its fine now. Oh, and the selector operates with no fuss or noise. Feels solid. Overall, I couldn't be happier with this guitar. I think it's a phenomenal value, especially with the American vintage bridge and the Tex-Mex pickups. It's very versatile and wails for blues and rock. I'm also playing some reggae and ska with this and it works great in this context as well. Before buying this, I had tried out the new MIM Standard Strats (pretty nice actually) as well as an American 60th Anniversary Strat (disappointing given the cost) and this was the right choice for me. Excellent value, feel, tone, and versatility. I may have to pick up a few more down the road in different colors. Overall rating would be a solid 9.