This is the bargain basement student guitar from SX and though the price is obscenely low, it is not a bad first guitar, a backup or a guitar to cannibalize and make into a really gigable Frankenstrat.
Pretty much since the SX line started appearing in the US via Rondo Music and often through Amazon.com, their line of insanely inexpensive but well made basses have been finding their way into the hands of hobbyists and pros alike. Easy to customize or modify with better pickups, tuners and sometime bridges or just playable as they are, the SX basses are a great value for the money.
With the SST, essentially a Stratocaster copy, the beginner or advanced player can own a Strat-like guitar with decent hardware for around $79. Yes, $79.
The review model has a maple neck that has been finished with a tinted lacquer for a vintage look and medium jumbo frets. The sunburst finish is nice with no obvious runs or blobbing. Not a nitro Fender, but remember the price. It also sports a skunk stripe and a peghead that is pretty darn close to the Fender design. The body is solid Alder and the pickguard is a 3 ply (W,B,W) that you rarely see on cheap Strat copies.
Now for the beginner, you can pretty much play this guitar out of the box with just a set up and maybe a fret polish. The review model had some rough fret edges and a bit of scratchiness that would be annoying to deal with for too long.
For a few more dollars invested in better pickups, tuners and maybe a bridge or at least a solid steel block (I have no idea what the block on the SST is made of but it seems cheap), you can have a great little Strat that will kick a Squier to the curb and maybe make a Mexican Strat a trifle jealous.
I suggest picking up these parts at a discount supplier like Guitar Fetish (www.guitarfetish.com). You can get some sweet pickups, tuners and a steel block for under $100. The GFS pickups at Guitar Fetish are simply amazing for the money.
The stock pickups in the SST are playable but squeal at high volumes and are microphonic. The tuners are of the cheapest Asian variety and do have a tendency to slip. I did not investigate the pots, but I bet they are not of the highest grade either.
The SST also comes in a hardtail variety with a Gibson-style tune-o-matic (which just plain weird on a Strat!), left-handed models and short scale and 3/4 models. Currently on the Rondo website, the SST looks like it is being phased out for a new model called the SX Hawk. There are a few SST’s available in pink (!) at this writing.