My MIM strat was purchased new in the mid to late 90's. It's undergone some modifications (EMG pickups, new bridge, etc) but it has always been my most versatile and sweetest sounding guitar. The best thing about this out of the box was the neck. The feel is so nice and it plays extremely well, even to this day. I've been complimented over and over throughout the years at how good the neck feels. A fun aspect of the Stratocaster is how easily you can customize your look with pick-guards and pickup covers. To me, the MIM is a best bang for the buck across the board. You can use it in anything from heavy/hard rock to blues/country, jazz and ambient work. It's a workhorse. I give it a 4 instead of 5 stars because the hardware, tuning keys and pickup poles all corroded fairly quickly. However, strats are fun and easy to mod in all of those areas, and the MIM is a great platform for doing so.