Cross posting on two forums, because like every internet person I crave validation. Finally got off the pot after obsessing over which Strat to buy for a couple months. Contenders were a few different Fenders, various small builders (used), and the Silver Sky. Picked this one for both practical reasons and because it had a lot of what I was looking for: rosewood, sexy nitro finish, a great sounding neck pickup, some modern appointments on a vintage’ish design, etc. Had to order it, since the one I wanted wasn’t available locally, which scared me a bit. I traded in an old amp head at GC, so that saved me a little cash with the discount. It’s really nice looking if you’re into red Strats. Gave it a pretty close inspection and didn’t find much wrong with it out of the box, but a few things I had to take care of. Finish was perfect. Feels light - just estimating based off the one guitar I know the weight of, less than 8lbs. High E was too close to the edge, which was an easy fix. Frets and board are rounded off, so it was really close to the edge. Fretboard needed a good cleaning and oiling. Pretty dry and some gunk. Looks fantastic now. No sharp frets on account of the rounding they did. Too much relief. I figured I’d just pull the guard, but it doesn’t have the little route above the neck pickup. Had to pull the neck off. Kind of annoying, so hopefully it’s stable and doesn’t require too many adjustments in the future. Basic setup stuff. Action was too high, Trem wasn’t floating or decked (I decked it). I didn’t check the fret level, but I will one of these days. Ended up with a Fender-spec action, which is fine. I’ll probably try to get it a little lower down the road, but I just wanted to play the thing. I set it up with D’addario XT 10’s. Plays a little stiffer than my Esquire. More like my Telemaster I guess - nothing extreme, but noticeable. I don’t mind a little fight because I’m ham-handed. Acoustically it sounds fine - has some life to it, but isn’t a vibrating mess. Plugged in - just great. About everything I’d hoped for. Played through my old Ampeg it’s just awesome. I adjusted the amp to make the neck pickup do it’s thing, but thankfully that didn’t make the bridge unusable. Obviously a little bright with the amp set that way, but they wired the tone to the bridge and the pot has a good sweep. Easy to move back and forth that way. Not a really scooped sound, which is my preference. Neck and bridge were both dynamic and sounded great at or just above breakup. Position two was the biggest happy surprise. Normally I’ve hated that position in Strats I’ve tried. Too wimpy usually - this has some great sparkle but with a touch of balls. Position four was really nice up the neck, but not as gratifying as pos 2. Built a few Helix presets to cover the bases too and came away with some great tones. Not old-Ampeg nice, but not much is. It’ll probably get most of its use this way. In all - really nice guitar. I liked the price of the Professional series, but wanted something that looked and felt a little better and it’s got that going on. Sounds more in line with what I wanted too. In the past, I’ve tried to make Strats act like other guitars, but I’ve finally realized it’s more enjoyable to love them for what they are and what they do best.