The California Classic (CC) was supposed to be a guitar to pull a Jimi Hendrix...set on fire. Right out of the box the set up was spot on and played and sounded exceptionally well for a guitar at any price. Compared to my Fender MIM Strat the sound and feel was as good. So it didn't make the bonfire.
The finish (thin paint and lacquer) is good but not near the quality of a Fender costing $500 or more but as good as any Squire or MIM Fender under $500. The tuners do keep in tune but are stiff/uneven and cheap. The pots are cheap and will fail down the road. I know since I replace a failed tone pot after two years of use. Frets need a little filing as any sub $500 guitar and some dressing of the fretboard would be recommended. The neck being straight and the head with my guitar had "MONOPRICE" on it now switch to a simpler "M" logo and likely to switch to the new Monoprice logo "IIIP". The Basswood body is light and utility routed to install any pick-up set-up. Altogether the construction makes for a Great beater/back-up, Novice/Maverick player, or Modifying project.
Compared to my Fender MIM or Lonestar the sound is a little bright but the CC has ceramic pups yet yields a vintage like Fender tone. Sustains like both Fenders.
Overall I the tone is negligible enough to use this for gigs, practice and at this price not worrying about beer spills, accidental drops-dogs, kids grubby hands, or theft; if you can withstand the gear snobbery from dumbass critics. It comes down to this you want to be known for your gear and broke or your tone/sound and pay the bills. If you fall in the latter this may be the guitar for you.
Very cheap when Monoprice has sales + free shipping. Feels as good or better than a Fender Squire and looks better to me as well. Holds a tune very well. I leave mine hanging on the wall and take it down once in a while to practice. Seems to always be in tune to just get going.
Comes in a cheap case and crud strings but not an issue for the sub $100 price. Some decent strings and some fret conditioning and this is a very playable guitar that looks good too.
Haven't had it long enough to comment on reliability.