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I've owned a few agathis guitars and never had any of the issues you mention. It's a cheap wood, but cheap doesn't equal inferior. Most squiers are fine instruments after some fret and nut work.

If you can find a strat in good condition in the $50-$70 range, I'd be surprised if you don't find yourself enjoying the guitar after a few hours of work.
 

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It also just occurred to me that some of the squier lineup have or had alder bodies; My standard has an alder body, I know some of the affinity series instruments had alder bodies, though they were likely 7+ pieces of scrap material. Just food for thought.

I'm not sure which models in the squier lineup are agathis, but they've used lots of different body woods: soft maple, pine, alder, basswood, plywood, and I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. The point is, I'm sure none of these species are problematic. Music man makes some of the highest quality mass produced instruments in the game, and they religiously use basswood bodies on their high end instruments.

Happy hunting!
 
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