Suits surf, punk, blues, or country perfectly. With the polepieces adjusted higher and volume full blast it gives killer mid-range. Through changing the tone control and pickup selector it is also capable of an excelent blues or country tone. If I heard this and an original Ventures model blindfolded I would guess someone switched this with a Mosrite. It's that good. I'm currently playing through a silverface 40 Watt super reverb chassis in a 2-12 fender cabinet(Basically a Pro Reverb). IF YOU INTEND TO USE ANY OVERDRIVE OR DISTORTION WITH THIS GUITAR YOU WILL HAVE TO GET IT SHIELDED. I tried 3 different overdrive/distortion pedals with which it was completely unusable do to the amount of noise before I took the liberty of taking the pickguard off and just as I suspected, only worse. No shielding except for maybe (and that's a big maybe) 1 inch aluminum on the bottom side of the pickguard around switch and the volume and tone controls. Not even any paint shielding! Other than that just the standard bridge/tailpiece grounding wire. I am not even plugging this into any distortion until I shield it out myself. There was enough buzzing I would almost fear in its currently unshielded state, it could damage the speakers. But for being on the shelf for $399 I could have done much worse. However, being that I can do the work to correct this myself in less than an hour, I will overlook the poor shielding and rate this category purely on the tone.
Definitely tough enough to withstand live playing. Looks like hardware will last. Finish was well-applied minus the previously mentioned flaw. I will get locking strap buttons though. I don't trust any guitar without them. Dependable, stays in tune(better than my strat) through an agressive vibrato workout. I would not use any guitar without a backup.
I've been playing for 4 years. I've owned an Explorer, ES-125, ES-175 copy, USA standard strat, 50th anniversary tele, and various other guitars. If it were stolen I would find the person, strap them to the floor run wires from various metal parts on my hot and running amps while randomly changing the ground switches until he is an ex-human. As before, the only thing wrong currently is the shielding situation.