I really can't stand Fenders though. My first guitar was a Fender, and it was impossible to do anything with it. It sounded like crap, and it felt like crap. I probably wouldn't take a Fender if someone gave it to me.
But....it's all a matter of personal preference.
BTW, what does everyone know about powered pickups? I used to jam with this guy who had battery powered pickups in his setup. I don't know what kind they were, but his guitar sounded awesome.